Thursday, August 6, 2009

ways to use your farm share

Do you ever feel like the same themes are coming up over and over again? I've walked into about five conversations in the last few days about the anxiety that can come with a farm share. I'm talking about vegetables, taunting you from the refrigerator, starting to spoil, reluctant to be eaten. It's one thing when you waste already old and nasty veggies from the supermarket, but somehow when their fresh and wonderful and farmy-y, there seems to be more guilt involved. This can of course translate out of any situation in which there might be an excess of produce in your refrigerator- the garden went into overdrive and you harvested all of the cabbages in one swoop (making kraut as we speak), or maybe you turned shopaholic at the farmer's market. Either way, you've got veggies that are stressing you out, and what a nice problem to have. There are a lot of things that can help out in this situation, many of them using a box of freezer bags or some empty mason jars and a big pot of boiling water, but today, we're just going to talk about cooking them for dinner.
I'm going to draw my inspiration from Deborah Madison on this one, most specifically, her newest cookbook, Local Flavors. This is a really really, yes really good cookbook. She goes around to different Farmer's Markets in the country and creates recipes from what she finds in each region.
I find that the secret to using up all the veggies in my fridge is to find recipes in which I can use a lot of different vegetables. Soup is always good for this, as is, of course the old standby seasonal pasta. But one of the major favorites around here is the galette. Back in the fall, I wrote about a roasted potato galette, but the truth is, you can put anything in one. Essentially, it is a rustic tart made from a flaky pie crust, filled with vegetables. I like to roast the veggies first, and I tend to add some sort of cheese in there, although it's not necessary unless you're addicted to cheese, like me.
Deborah Madison gives us her galette dough, which goes something like this:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 1/4 sticks of cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup ice water
1 T apple cider vinegar (I added that in, as I tend to need some extra tenderizing)

Cut the butter into the flour until the butter is in pea sized chunks. Add the salt. Then mix the water and vinegar together, and slowly add it until the dough holds together. I've been doing this process in the kitchen aid this week, and the pie crust adventure is going MUCH better.
Press into a small flat disc, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
When it's time to roll it out, roll it to about 1/4 inch thick, add the toppings in a heap in the center. Fold the crust over the toppings, leaving a nice hole in the center. Bake at 425 degrees until the crust starts go golden, 30-40 minutes.
Tonight our galette contained 2 potatoes, 1/2 fresh eating onion, and 1 red pepper, all roasted. It was also scattered with lavender brebis blanche, which is one of the best cheeses I have ever had. This is a very special cheese, worth the mail order if you don't live around here. Some rosemary, salt and pepper, a glug of olive oil, and that was the end of that.

The other anxiety easing recipe I want to talk to you about is the platter salad, also inspired by Deborah Madison. Tonight, our platter salad looked like this:

Basically what we've got is a bunch of vegetables, some cooked, some raw, thrown on a nice looking plate with some excellent dressing. Think of these more like little art installations- don't be bound by the usual limits of salad. Tonight we had steamed green beens, steamed yellow wax beans, raw lemon cucumbers and tomatoes, and roasted potatoes. The combination of raw and cooked feels a little thrilling as well as the rebellous act of excluding lettuce (I know, I know. I promise I'll try to get out more). I made some of Deborah's garlic vinaigrette, added some herbs, and it was not only dangerous and thrilling, but also really tasty. Toss each ingredient gently in the dressing before putting it on the platter.

Garlic Vinaigrette
1 crisp new garlic clove (they're new now!)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 T red wine vinegar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
6 to 8 T extra virgin olive oil

and if you've got herbs that are stressing you out too,
the fronds from one large sprig of dill, finely chopped
3 basil leaves, finely chopped
a handful of oregano leaves, finely chopped

Peel and coarsely chop the garlic. Pound it in a mortar with 1/2 tsp salt until it is a paste. Transfer it to a jar, add the vinegars, oil and herbs. Put the lid on the jar, and shake it up. Season with pepper.


  1. looks lovely m'dear. i agree about how presentable the plate of veggies looks, but now you've got me curious about your kraut*

  2. can i have some kraut? I had some in amish country recently that had caraway seeds in it and YUM. Your thoughts?

  3. This is pretty much my fantasy summer dinner. I'll be right over ;-)

  4. Paige, you're totally invited. And ladies, kraut is coming- never fear.