What? No Produce!

Every Wednesday that we’re in town, we post what we picked up from the Tucson CSA. Not this Wednesday, simply because Farmer Frank and his crew are taking a well-deserved two-week break for the holidays. You can be sure that we’re looking forward to next week!

For those who don’t know, joining a CSA (community supported agriculture) creates a contract between you and a local farmer. You provide up-front capital for your shares for a designated period of time, typically 6 or 12 weeks, and the farmer provides you with freshly-grown produce (or other items, depending on the CSA) every week. If a crop does very well, you might receive an abundance, but you also take on some of the risk, so, if a crop does poorly, your share reflects that, too. With the Tucson CSA, we normally get about 7-8 different types of produce each week, and Farmer Frank plants enough variety that we rarely have a dearth of food. If you’re interested in finding a CSA near you, check out Local Harvest. It’s how we found our CSA.

Charred Green Bean Risotto

Charred Green Bean Risotto
Charred Green Bean Risotto
Our Christmas dinner!

It appears that we went with Italian-themed dinners this past Christmas season: a pasta dish for Christmas Eve, and now a risotto dish for Christmas dinner. Truth be told, we also had a polenta dish between Christmas and the New Year. It’s not because we’re Italian; instead, we just like good food, and think that Italian dishes are some of the best around.

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Blackened Sweet Potato, Peas, Pasta, and Pecans

Blackened Sweet potatoes, Peas, Pasta, and Pecans
Blackened Sweet potatoes, Peas, Pasta, and Pecans
Fast! Simple! Delicious!

This is what we had for Christmas Eve dinner. We selected something that would be fast and easy, yet hopefully tasty, and a dish that would give us a chance to try out a new pasta dough. Originally, we weren’t going to bother writing this one up, so we only have a few photos, but we thought it turned out well enough that it deserved a shout-out.

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Sweet Potato Pasta Dough

shaping pasta
shaping pasta
A simple shape, for a simple pasta dough.

With the farm crew on vacation, we don’t get our weekly CSA share of produce. At first, that’s not so bad; we just eat what we have in the house in a creative way– today’s recipe is an example. In fact, this is part of what we had for our Christmas Eve dinner. Today, we’ll show you how to make the pasta dough, and, next week, we’ll present a simple pasta dish that’s good enough to serve for a holiday dinner. At least, we think so.

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Tempering Chocolate in the Microwave

chocolate covered bear paws
chocolate covered bear paws
Even with tempered chocolate, it seems to get everywhere.

Do you ever melt chocolate to coat something, perhaps caramel, or to use it to dip other items (say, sugar cookies), and are disappointed in how it doesn’t seem to harden? Instead of a hard shell, it stays soft and messy, melting onto your fingers as soon as your touch it. Well, if you’re like us, you’ve researched the matter, and found that your chocolate wasn’t in “temper.” And, you probably found difficult instructions on how to temper chocolate. We know we did. We’ve even tried it and told you about it. But, in that post, someone mentioned an easy way to temper chocolate. Really easy. So easy, it seemed as if it wasn’t true. However, we tried it, and found that it’s really easy to have perfectly tempered chocolate without double boilers, thermometers, or immersion blenders. Really!

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It’s Been Two Weeks!

weekly CSA share
This is a what a full-on greens season can look like!

Yes, two weeks since we picked up our CSA share, and it seems as if we got thrown right into the deep end of greens. Before we left on our trip and put our CSA share on hold, we were getting just a few greens. But, now, with our most recent pickup, we realize that we’re in the midst of a major greens season. We don’t mind, as we’ve learned over the years ways to deal with the abundance of fresh vegetables.

This week’s share:

  • Oranges (3)
  • Sweet potatoes (4)
  • Hanover kale (1 bunch)
  • Red beets (1 bunch)
  • Trombincino squash (1)
  • Cilantro (1 bunch) — traded for another squash
  • Tendergreens (1 bunch) — an heirloom mustard variety
  • Salad mix (1 bag)

And, it’s time for the farm crew to get a well-deserved rest, so the CSA is on hold for the next two weeks. A big thanks to the farm crew for all their hard work!

PS. You’ll note that we haven’t posted lately — it’s rush season around here — we’ll resume soon.

Yes, Away Again

applying ganache

Yep, we were gone for a while to visit family and to help celebrate a birthday. As part of the celebration, we made up a Chocolate Caramel Tart. It’s pretty easy, looks great, and tastes even better. See for yourself.

chocolate caramel tart
Cocoa nibs for visual and textural interest.