This past weekend I bought measuring cups. I had been sliding by without them by strategically picking roommates that already owned them. But now, it’s been on my list for a bit and I figured I’d take the leap. My family lovingly made fun of me – “oh, are they for decoration and you’ll take them down once a year to dust?” They are making a fair point. I notoriously rarely measure. I only measure when I’m baking an unfamiliar recipe and even then, I’m only sort of measuring. To me recipes are more like guidelines, or suggestions, or inspirations. Or just pretty pictures. Things to be glanced at and kept in mind while throwing ingredients into a bowl.
My system isn’t fool proof -it’s mine after all. Sometimes my cookies are spread out and weird, or my pies aren’t quite sweet enough. Ah -the trials of trying to be decadent.
Cooking lunches on the farm, or dinners for myself, is my favorite kind of cooking. Cooking is more forgiving and changeable than baking. I add things as I go and change my mind in the midst of prep. I like baking, but I’m commitment shy, and cooking fits that perfectly.
I feel lucky to have access to fields of produce – and this time of year it is full of options. Your share this week is almost its own recipe. There isn’t anything in there that couldn’t go together somehow -if not in the same dish, on the same plate. I learned to love cooking with whatever produce was around when I first started working on farms. I cooked a lot of what I’ve come to call “summer medley”, and I still do. Herbs, onions, zucchini and tomatoes all in a pan -what more could a girl ask for? Simple and tasty- and there is no shortage of any of those things this time of year.
In a society that values having access to all the choices, all the time, I am glad that you all have chosen to creatively acquiesce to the ingredients at hand this time of year from our farm. There is a certain peace in letting the season help you choose what is for dinner.
For the farm crew,
P.S. Farm Day is coming up Sunday, August 26th, from 2-5 pm . Come out to say hello! Also come out for farm tours, hayrides, kids activities and farm fresh snacks!
In your share this week:
- New potatoes
- Head lettuce
- Greens mix
- Green pepers
- Hot Wax pepers
Steamed Herb Potatoes
- 1 1/2 pounds small new potatoes
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, basil, or tarragon)
- kosher salt and black pepper
Steam the potatoes in 1 inch of water until tender, 12 to 15 minutes; drain. Toss with the butter, herbs, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Carrot soup with tahini and crisped chickpeas
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
2 pounds (905 grams) carrots, peeled, diced or thinly sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 regular or 6 small garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon table salt, plus more if needed
Pinch of Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes
4 cups (945 ml) vegetable broth
1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15-ounce (425-gram) can, drained, patted dry on paper towels
1 generous tablespoon (15 ml or so) olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons (25 grams) tahini paste
2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
Pinch or two of salt
2 tablespoons (30 ml) water
Pita wedges, garnish
A few large pitas, cut into 8 wedges
Olive oil, to brush pitas
Za’atar (a Middle Eastern herb blend) or sesame seeds and sea salt to sprinkle
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
Heat two tablespoons olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add carrots, onion, garlic, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper flakes and sauté until they begin to brown, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat your oven to 425 degrees F. Toss chickpeas with one tablespoon olive oil, salt and cumin until they’re all coated. Spread them on a baking sheet or pan and roast them in the oven until they’re browned and crisp. This can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size and firmness of your chickpeas. Toss them occasionally to make sure they’re toasting evenly.
Once vegetables have begun to brown, add broth, using it to scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Cover pot with lid and simmer until carrots are tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small dish, whisk together tahini, lemon juice, salt and water until smooth with a yogurt-like consistency. If more liquid is needed to thin it, you can add more lemon juice or water, a spoonful at a time, until you get your desired consistency.
Spread pita wedges on a second baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with za’atar or a combination of sea salt and sesame seeds and toast in oven with chickpeas until brown at edges, about 5 minutes.
Puree soup in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth. Ladle into bowls. Dollop each with lemon-tahini, sprinkle with crisped chickpeas and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with pita wedges. Forget January, you’d eat this anytime. Right?