I can’t believe that my vegetable CSA share finishes up at the end of the month. I’ve enjoyed the anticipation of visiting the farmers’ market each Monday unsure of what will look good that week. I’ve loved putting more of my dollars into the local economy and having conversations about how food is grown. On the other hand, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little relieved. With my hectic schedule at work and teaching on the side I’ve been finding it challenging to set aside time to cook each week. As a result, I often find myself struggling to use up the vegetables before they go bad. Luckily I haven’t wasted much, but I seem to be always coming close. My strategy lately has been to buy items that keep well like onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, and squash. However, even the squash seems to be giving up on me. Yesterday I had to toss out a beautiful Kabocha squash that had sadly molded while waiting for me to cook it up. Yes, I’m that slow. Thankfully I still have quite a squash collection so if you love squash recipes you’ll enjoy this blog in the upcoming weeks. On hand I have Butternut, Hubbard, Delicata, Acorn, and one that was hard to identify, but that we suspect is a Fairytale or Musque de Provence. Apparently it is one of the rarer varieties and with a name like that I couldn’t resist snagging it. At some point I’ll have to post a picture of my collection because although I haven’t eaten them yet they are making for a lovely centerpiece.
Because of my never ending produce supply I decided it was time to put vegetables back at the center of my table. Thankfully Cooking Light came to the rescue with a couple of easy to make recipes that allowed me to take advantage of ingredients I already had on hand.
First up was a recipe for Two-Potato Latkes. These tasty treats were practically effortless thanks to my food processor. They called for a mix of sweet potatoes and baking potato which made for a subtly sweet latke. Best of all they were oven-fried. I can sometimes be skeptical of this technique, but with the latkes it worked perfectly. They developed a perfectly crispy exterior and a moist middle. I actually liked them better than the fried latkes because I could taste the flavors more distinctly and I didn’t feel weighed down after eating them. Served with a side of homemade apple sauce and some low fat sour cream they made for a great dinner.
On the side I served another Cooking Light recipe, Orange-Balsamic Caramelized Fennel. The recipe called for braising the fennel in a mixture that included, among other things, balsamic vinegar, orange juice and broth. The result was perfect because it softened and mellowed the flavors of the fennel without losing their characteristically anise-like bite. I especially loved the savory flavor added by the broth. You could easily double or triple the batch size and serve it as a holiday side dish.
Overall it’s been a pretty good week for week for cooking. I may not have the time to make elaborate meals, but I’m still eating well and decompressing in the kitchen.
But on to the squash…What are some winter squash recipes that are not to be missed that I should try with my extensive collection?