Wednesday, February 20, 2013

LOCAL FARM BOX DAY! and some bread alchemy

Just some chit chat from me for the moment:

YAY! it's local farm box delivery day from Greenling, Austin! I was so delighted about my box last time and the whole experience and the fact you don't have to sign your life away in blood. I am equally as thrilled that three people signed up as a direct result of my waxing poetic and cooking with the bounty that arrived on my front porch. Oh yeah, I like that.

I have dutifully put my neon green box on my front porch and am waiting for delivery man to swap my sad empty box out for a happy, delicious, full, box. I'm going to try not to ambush him on the front lawn this time, yeah, I'm sort of scary like that. Again, I have not gone on their site to see what's coming today. I think it takes all the fun out of it. Isn't mystery the thing?

Speaking of mystery, I am also going to start receiving a "nibble box" from Graze this week. Husband signed me up for a healthy snack to be delivered weekly. I'm very excited and figure anything I'm not delighted with will merely be combined and dipped in chocolate... that's my idea of a healthy snack! I'll blog the results of the weekly box. Hopefully it'll be fantastic, I have reasonable faith at the moment but then I'm full of the fresh fruits and vegetable delivery spirit at the moment and may be looking through pale green colored glasses :-)

I have to say that I have noticed that people are starting to take my recommendations to heart. I know a number of people who went out and bought the Nesco pressure cooker that I own, bought the pampered chef garlic slicer solely on my recommendation. If the Graze thing works out, I know a couple of people who want to jump on that band wagon as well. I am rather enjoying the fact that I have an every growing online presence as well a voice that is being noticed among the small circle of cyber foodies who come to stop here. I also like that I stopped at least 2 purchases of the Cuisinart Hard Anodized pans based on my experience with their quality as well as their shoddy public customer service, it's only a 600 dollars I stopped (and I do realize that doesn't put a dent in a company of their size) but in my mind, it mattered. I'll keep my eyes open for cool things and certainly report my findings. I think we all need to stick together here and use our money, time and energy wisely. I don't mind taking the lead here at all.

Today, I have a new experimental version of my crusty Italian boule rising. I usually just toss everything in the mixer but last night, I looked at my original "recipe" and took out a 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water and 1 tsp of yeast, combined them and covered it and left it on the counter. This morning, I noticed it had risen about 2 inches above where it started but then had deflated before I got to it 9 hours later. Feeling brave, I added the rest of the ingredients I usually do, mixed it until it was a soft dough and put it aside to rise on the counter. I also used cool water instead of slightly warmer than room temperature. In my mind, I will develop more flavor from the starter/bigga/poulish whatever you call it in your neck of the woods. It may also become a lifeless blob that does nothing, I'll let you know.

I have reasonable faith will get this right, eventually. Luckily, I have a willing group of victims who are willing to test, test, test the food I deliver to them. I am pretty happy with the other breads I've mastered. I think they all taste separate and distinct. Unlike the store bread, even the "artisan" stuff that all tastes the same, has the same internal texture but merely the outsides look slightly different. I want DIFFERENT. I want my ciabatta, my baguettes, white sandwich bread and bolillo and Portuguese rolls to be different from each other, I think they are. Once I nail this Italian crusty boule thing, I'll be dancing in the streets.

I am delivering today's boule to a friend to test while we go on our way to Book Club (for teens) later today. I'll be itching for the report.

I'll report back after my green box delivery... with pictures, and my meal list based on what I see. We will do like last time, I'll do a list of what I think I'll be making then will post the dishes separately, all tagged with Greenling.

9:40 am! It's HERE!!! THE BOX IS HERE!!

WEEEE!  *yeah, I'm really this excited.  I am going to list my plans for the food here.  I'll blog the specific recipes when I do them and then will link back here.  All this is off the top of my head as I open...

I open and VOILA!  It just smells fresh and clean, let's dig through...  Ooooh, an oregano plant?!  cool! There's beautiful fresh spinach in here.  I'll eat some in today's salad and I'll put the rest in filling for some fresh pasta I'm going to make and roll into mini lasagnas.  NEW plan, I'm doing pasta for lunch, with olive oil, garlic and lemon and i'll chop half the spinach in. Yummy!

Brussels sprouts, ah, my favorites.
Last time, I cooked them in the pressure cooker and kept them in the fridge and tossed them in a little bacon fat when I wanted them as a side or just threw them in whatever I was cooking as a delicious addition.  I will do that again this week with them. 3 minutes on high over water in the pressure cooker, rinse, and put in a ziploc in the fridge.  YAY!

Oranges and meyer lemons.  I'll use a little zest and juice from both for a vinaigrette today.
I will eat 2 of the oranges ;)
I will use one orange to make the orange/lemon buttermilk pie minis that I experimented with and mastered.
I'll make lemon curd (recipe on the blog but I'll redo it with these) and fill the tart shells I made and froze a couple of weeks ago.

Chard, I love it.  It'll be chopped and sauteed and eaten with the chicken thighs and rice I'm doing tomorrow
Kale:  I'll make kale chips.  Toss lightly in olive oil, salt and pepper and into a hot oven for about 15 minutes.  Delicious snack!

Lettuce, oh look, still with roots.  Avocado!!  FABULOUS!
I see a greens (and thin red onion) salad at lunch, with a lemon/orange vinaigrette from some of the orange and lemon above and the avocado

Cauliflower.  Wow, it's a beauty.  Super quality.  It'll be steamed (in the pressure cooker) and then become cauliflower and cheese.  I'll make a bechamel, add some grated old Irish cheddar I have, drape the cauliflower, add bread crumbs and bake it until it bubbles.  It's a great satisfying meal.  I'll blog the long form of course.

So, here's this week's haul.  Bounty from the local garden.  All beautiful, fresh, clean, healthy and exactly the quality I'd pick at a farmer's market.

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