Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Summer rice and veggies (on the first day of fall)

Because we had such a cold spring this year, what I think of as typical summer fruits and veggies - tomatoes, peppers, corn - were pretty late up at Grant Family Farms.  But just in the last two or three weeks, we're finally getting a summer bounty! 
Left - apple and kohlrabi salad; Right - rice and summer veggies; Back - sauteed chard.

I really was having trouble deciding what to make for dinner tonight.  Almost all the veggies in the fridge were very inviting so I felt pulled in different directions.  Unable to make a decision, I ended up making four things that I'm not going to pretend have any sort of theme: rice and summer veggies, an apple and kohlrabi salad, sauteed chard w/ garlic, and a split pea soup that I might put in a separate post.  The soup we didn't have for dinner; I made that for future lunches (although I might go have some right now...).  Despite a bit of discordance, the unifying theme is of course seasonal produce (whatever that means given our crazy seasons), so it ended up working out just fine.  The rice and veggies I loved, the salad I liked a lot, so I'll put the recipe here but I don't think it deserves its own post.  I am proud of myself for finding a tasty way to use raw kohlrabi.  Up till now I've just be pickling it or putting it in a soup.

Summer rice and veggies (serves 3-4)

1 c. uncooked rice (brown basmati is nice)
6-8 green chiles (Hatch, anaheim, etc)
3 ears of corn
1/4 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 T. butter
Salt and pepper
2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved, if desired
edamame (optional)

1.  Cook the rice according to directions with a little salt.
2.  Preheat a grill or broiler.  Place the chiles near the heat source.  Cook until the skin is blistered, not completely blackened (if it's very black the flesh is probably burned).  It should take maybe 5 minutes.  Flip over and repeat.  Once blistered on both sides, put in a zip-lock, tupperware, or bowl with saran wrap, and let sit for at least 10 minutes.  Then you should be able to get the skins off; a bowl of water helps.  Remove skins and seeds.  Chop the roasted chiles.
3.  Cut the kernels off the corn cobs.
4.  Cook the kernels over medium-high heat in a dry skillet or sautee pan.  Allow them to char (brown) a bit, stirring as needed.
5.  When the rice is done, stir together the rice, chopped chiles, cilantro, butter, and season with salt and pepper.
6.  Assemble on plate: rice mixture, topped with corn, topped with tomatoes.  I happened to have some leftover edamame, that I forgot about till after I took the picture, but that seemed to go well too, made it succotash-like!  Talk about a patchwork dinner...

Apple and kohlrabi salad (serves 4-6)

1 small kohlrabi
1 very large apple or 2 small to normal sized apples
Juice of 1/2 lemon
**Ribs from one fennel bulb - optional, see note
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 t. sesame oil
salt and pepper

1. Peel the kohlrabi.  Slice as thinly as possible into strips that are maybe an inch by half an inch.
2.  Cut the apple into bite size chunks.  Throw into a bowl with the kohlrabi.
3.  Squeeze the lemon juice onto the salad, toss.  Do this right after step 2 to prevent oxidation.
4.  Add in the optional fennel, cilantro and sesame oil, toss, and season to taste!

**Note on the fennel - the fennel we got in the CSA is really weird.  Instead of a big bulb that you could just chop up like an onion, it was composed of a thick, VERY fibrous, inedible (found that out the hard way) stem, surrounded by relatively thin layers of edible fennel bulb.  So what looked like a big old fennel actually only yielded a small amount of edible fennel.  I broke off the edible layers like ribs of celery and sliced them across the grain.  It probably only yielded about 3 T. of sliced fennel ribs.  It tasted nice, but you could certainly skip it.  And it's strong when it's raw, so if you do incorporate it, be careful not to overload.

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