Welcome to yet another edition of The Harvest Dispatch, farmily! This week's The Quick & Dirty in Your Kitchen! will become a reoccurring theme of The Harvest Dispatch as I explore new and strange (and DELICIOUS!) ways to prepare local produce... from Sown & Grown and other Houston farms... the quick and dirty way. Big, lofty, beautiful recipes are lovely sometimes, but you know what? Sometimes ain't nobody got time for that! The Quick & Dirty in your Kitchen is less of a strictly instructional and more of an inspirational guide to start playing with local, seasonal produce in your kitchen!
First, the low-down on your farm share veg this week:
(Everyone received either cucumbers OR okra this week. More of both coming soon!)
Now without further ado...
The Quick & Dirty in Your Kitchen!
To begin, here are some standard ingredients I keep on hand for a quick-fix meal prep. These are flavors I just happen to be partial to. Take or leave any of them depending on your preferences, of course. I just love savory, buttery flavors, so these ingredients are items I keep stocked all the time:
We begin with my old favorite summer crop, amaranth. Her young, tender greens are great in a salad, sure, but what happens when she finally grows big and tall and no longer produces bounties of those lil' delights? I usually throw them into a simple sauté (my go-to for any cooking green), but if you're looking for a bit more spice, less generics, then I have a quick & dirty for you: Amaranth Eggplant.
The amaranth featured in this dish combines both Miriah and Calalloo varietals. The tomatoes and eggplant were purchased from our brother farm, Finca Tres Robles, at the East End Street Market. The main ingredients are as follows:
Chop up your onion/garlic/ginger and lightly brown them in some butter. Keep the heat low so as not to burn them. Simultaneously begin your tomato base by mashing them up over a low heat and bringing to a slow, light boil. Add salt to taste.
Note: Depending on your heat (spice) preference, this is the point at which I would add my 3 chile peppers to the onion/garlic/ginger mix. I cut out the center, remove most seeds, and thinly slice them. Mix into the saute and allow them to simmer on low heat.
Chop up your eggplant, add a bit more butter to the onion/garlic/ginger saute as needed, and then place the eggplant in saute so that each eggplant has good surface contact with the pan. Add 2 tablespoons water and cover with a lid to cook eggplant. After 5 minutes, remove lid, add tomato base, bring to a light boil, then reduce back to a gentle simmer.
Once the mixture starts to thicken, I added a good squirt of the Bragg's Liquid Aminos (it's just soy sauce, people), 2 dashes of turmeric, a pinch of cumin, the amaranth leaves, and the Thai sweet basil. I recommend replacing the lid on the pan until the amaranth and basil has fully wilted in the stew and voila! Serve on it's own or with wild grain rice.
THAI RED ROSELLE
My new favorite summer green, roselle, is quite the versatile lady. You can quickly blanch her to use as a spinach-like green in any favorite recipe. Today I'm going to show you the raw side of roselle in a fruit salad because it's hot outside and we all need a refreshing treat sometimes to make it through the day. Thus, Roselle-Ginger fruit salad:
First, finely chop your ginger and mix it in a bowl with 1 tablespoon sugar. Allow to rest while you chop up your main fruits and roselle greens. I quartered the strawberries, diced the peach, and left the blueberries alone. The roselle leaves were de-stemmed and sliced into medium strips.
I then added my strawberries to the ginger and sugar mix and allow this to rest for 10 minutes, too. You will notice that the sugars actually draw out moisture from the ginger as well as the strawberries creating a lovely little syrup for your salad. The longer it sits, the juicier it will become! Then I add my peach (same thing here, allow to rest, more juice, but feeling impatient, then just march onward!). Last to go in your fruit salad is the roselle greens. Mix everything together and serve as is or allow refrigeration for a cooling treat later on! Pro-tip: a quick squirt of lemon before you bite in can be a nice bonus.
Thanks for checking out the inaugural edition of The Quick & Dirty in your Kitchen! More to come soon so stay tuned! Buen provecho!