Box Number Five

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This week I got two huge broccoli crowns, a couple mondo scallions, some lovely little fingerling potatoes, a bunch of beets with tops, grape tomatoes, salad greens, micro greens, an enormous head of cauliflower, and four (count ’em FOUR) bunches of kale. I also added on eggs and some local honey this week. The pic is the potatoes and one of the broccoli crowns heading into the oven to roast.

Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup (Slow Cooker)

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Finally got around to the bell peppers in the box. Since they varied wildly in size, but I was in the mood for stuffed peppers, I went with a soup format.

8 bell peppers, chopped (pretty chunky)
2 lbs. grass-fed organic ground beef
2 large cans organic crushed tomatoes
Salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste
1 cup quinoa

I just chopped the peppers, dropped in random chunks of the ground beef, added the canned tomatoes (rinsing the cans with water), and seasoned the top. Let it cook for a while to ensure the beef will stay chunky before stirring. Unless you don’t want the beef to stay chunky. About an hour before dinner (probably at about 6 hours on low), I stirred in the quinoa. All of the comfort food factor without the hassle of actually stuffing. Yum.

Kale Chips, Take Two

‘Chipped’ the rest of the kale. This time I used a little regular olive oil, some sesame oil, and soy sauce instead of salt. Had to make a couple adjustments, the normal cooking time (20 minutes @ 300 F) wasn’t right this time, either because the soy sauce added too much moisture, or having two pans in the oven changed things. I increased the time by five minutes for the second batch (which also got a touch of sambal oelek) and they came out perfect. And sticking the soggy ones back in for another 15 minutes rescued those as well. I think I may have some soy sauce powder that I bought for making backpacking food, I may use that next time I go the sesame oil route. Finally got motivated to ‘fix’ my second stoneware jelly roll pan to fit in my oven. I have a bad habit of buying pans that don’t fit in my oven (and trust me, you don’t want the revelation to come after a new pan has already been used to stack a lasagna). I’d been trying to decide if I wanted to go with cast iron or stoneware jelly roll pans (I’m trying to eliminate non-stick cookware). Found a good deal on some stoneware so bought two of them. And they didn’t fit. They were close though, so I grabbed some sandpaper that I have for glasswork, and went to town on one of them. Just took off enough on the handles to get it in. It rides on the rails for the racks. I’ve been using it more than I ever used the pans it replaced. But only having the one was cramping my style so today, since I was doing two bunches of kale and didn’t want to spend all day on it, I finally sanded down the second one. Life is good.

Signed up for the Winter CSA at Wood Duck Farm. Pretty happy that kale is on the list of expected harvest items for that one too (I’m hooked). Starts the end of January. Going with the same plan, alternate weeks, full share. Now I can just turn my garden over to asparagus (have a perfectly painless permanent planting), peppers, tomatoes, onions, and herbs. Let the farm handle the variety items, I was never all that successful with them anyway. Life is very good.

Broccoli Smoked Catfish Cheese Soup

I used one of the broccoli crowns tonight. I was thinking broccoli cheese soup from the start, but still hadn’t used the smoked catfish I made last week in the Flower Pot Smoker. Why not combine them?

Broccoli Smoked Catfish Cheese Soup

1 onion, chopped
3 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/4 cup flax meal
2 cups broth
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup shredded carrots
1 broccoli crown, grated
2 smoked catfish filets, chopped
8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Heat the butter and coconut oil in a cast iron Dutch oven. Add the chopped onions and sauté until golden. Add the flax meal and cook. Add the broth and milk. Add the carrots and broccoli. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook about 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add in the catfish, when it has heated through stir in the shredded cheese. When the cheese has melted, serve.

Kale Chips!

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I admit, I’ve never been a fan of kale. The only kale I’d ever had was so firm it was literally squeaky to chew, even after cooking. Apparently there are different varieties, the kale in my box was yummy even raw. I decided to try making kale chips before I realized that this wasn’t the squeaky kale I’d had before (and thought the crispy treatment would help). Simple recipe, I just stripped the leaves off the stems and tore them into smaller pieces. Tossed the pieces in some roasted garlic olive oil, sea salt, and a little crushed red pepper. I’d seen warnings about being careful to not overseason, they shrink and seasonings get amplified, so I went light. Spread them out on a stoneware baking sheet and baked at 300 degrees for 20 minutes. They came out crispy, still retained their green color, and were just delicious. I’m off to start another pan of them.

Chili Verde

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One hesitates to even call this a recipe. It is my go to dish when there are sweet potatoes around.

Pork (however much you have in whatever form it is in. Today I used a whole Boston Butt, last time, pork chops. Sometimes they have carnitas, that works too. It just doesn’t matter much)

1 jar of your favorite green salsa

Sweet potatoes, cut in chunks

1 can hominy (I prefer the Mexican hominy, it is more rustic and less processed than the American ones)

Salt and pepper to taste

Dump everything but the hominy in a slow cooker. Put on low or high depending on how soon you want to eat. About 1/2 hour before dinner drain and add the hominy. The pork should just fall apart.