If you have any dill left over from last week, by all means make the Chilled Summer “Borscht” or pick up some dill at a market (along with a cucumber) because those beets you have this week would be perfect this way. Please refer back to the “Lettuce Management” notes from last week if you need green salad ideas. I’ve brought back the Green Curry that I know many of you enjoyed because it’s wonderful with beans and summer squash and lots of basil and you could add some of the beautiful torpedo onions too. And the Beet Green Tart is an elegant but fairly simple dish that is wonderful at room temperature for a light supper.
Chilled Summer “Borscht”
Chopped Salad with Beans, Fennel
Thai Green Curry with Green Beans, Summer Squash and Basil
Grilled or Broiled Summer Squash
Beet Green Tart
Cabbage and Fennel Slaw (with Torpedo Onions)
–adapted from the Barefoot Contessa 2006 (Ina Garten)
This is a chilled, summery version of the classic beet soup. You need to chill it for a few hours or even better, over night. The flavor improves vastly so plan ahead.
5 medium beets (about 2 pounds without tops)
2 cups chicken stock or veggie bouillon broth
10 ounces sour cream, plus extra for serving
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1-2 tablespoon sugar (or bit more to taste)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons champagne or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups medium-diced cucumber, seeds removed
1/2 cup diced torpedo onions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus extra for serving
Place the beets in a large pot of boiling salted water and cook uncovered until the beets are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the beets to a bowl and set aside to cool. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine sieve and also set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of the beet cooking liquid, the chicken stock, sour cream, yogurt, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, 2-3 teaspoons salt, and the pepper. Peel the cooled beets with a small paring knife or rub the skins off with your hands. Cut the beets in small to medium dice. Add the beets, cucumber, scallions, and dill to the soup. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. Season, to taste, and serve cold with a dollop of sour cream and an extra sprig of fresh dill.
Chopped “CSA” Salad with Green Beans, Fennel, Feta, Lime, Basil and Sunflower Seeds
–loosely adapted from Smittenkitchen.com
You can use different vegetables as the season progresses. Cooked corn and fresh red peppers would both be great. Quantities are just suggestions so please adapt to your taste.
To bulk this up into a more rounded dish, you could add a cup or two of thinly sliced lettuce, 1 to 2 cups of cooked, cooled grains such as barley, quinoa or faro, or a cup or so of cooked black beans. In each case, it would be best to increase (possibly double) the dressing so you’ll be able to cover everything well.
And some diced roasted (or boiled) beets would be a wonderful addition to add at the very end.
Serves 4 as appetizers and 2 as more of a meal-sized salad
2 cups perfectly cooked beans (see below), cut into ½-3/4 –inch pieces
½ cup fennel cut into small dice
½ cup carrots cut into small dice (optional – if you have some leftover from last week)
1 cup cabbage, finely chopped
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta or queso fresco
3 tablespoons torpedo onion, cut into small dice
1/2 cup or more, diced roasted beets (optional– see headnote)
1/3 cup well-toasted sunflower seeds, salted or unsalted
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon coarse or Kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon chile powder or 1/8 teaspoon each your choice combination of chile powder, cumin, cayenne or sumac
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup chopped basil
Mix the vegetables, feta, onions, seeds and basil in a medium bowl. Whisk lime juice, olive oil, salt, spice(s) and black pepper in a small dish and pour over vegetables, tossing to evenly coat. If you’re adding beets sprinkle them over the top or very lightly toss at the end so the whole salad doesn’t turn pink–or let it turn pink!
Adjust with more salt, lime, etc.
Perfectly Cooked (Green or Yellow) Beans
Perfectly-cooked-green-beans is a rather subjective thing. But this is my idea of a perfectly cooked green bean for adding to salads (wonderful with boiled new potatoes and pesto) or just dipped in aioli or as part of a vegetable platter. Trim and wash your beans and cook them in lots of generously salted, rapidly boiling water for about 5-6 minutes. Cooking really brings out the flavor in green beans and after 5-6 minutes you loose the “squeak” that you get if they’re not quite done enough. You want a big pot of water so the water returns to a boil right after you add the beans and it’s important to salt the water well, about 1 ½ tablespoons of kosher salt for a 6 quart pot of water. Drain them after 5-6 minutes and run under cold water. I don’t bother with the ice-bath method but you certainly can. Put out onto a dry dishtowel and pat dry.
Thai Green Curry with Green Beans, Summer Squash and Basil
I have made variations of this Thai-inspired curry for 15 years. It is not an authentic Green Curry but a tasty, quick adaptation. It is suitable to a wide variety of vegetables: asparagus, new potatoes and green onions in the spring; summer squash and green beans in early summer; green beans and eggplant in late summer, and pumpkin, leeks and potatoes in the fall/winter. You can easily add chicken or tofu to it for an even heartier dish though it’s wonderfully rich and satisfying without as well.
Serves 4 (generously)
2-3 handfuls of green/yellow beans, washed and ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups summer squash, cut into ½ – ¾ -inch dice, more or less
1 medium potato, diced (optional)
1 – 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 torpedo onion, cut in half and then sliced in thin half-rounds (optional)
1 1/2 heaping teaspoon (or to taste) green curry paste (Thai & True is a great local brand and Mae Ploy is also readily available brand)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 -2 teaspoons fish sauce (can omit to make it vegetarian/vegan)
1 can coconut milk (full fat preferably but light will work too)
3 tablespoons basil, packed and roughly torn
Juice of half a lemon or lime (optional)
White or brown cooked Jasmine or other long grain rice
Heat wok or large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add ½ cup of coconut milk (use the thickest, part usually at the top of the can) and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally for 2-3 minutes. Add the curry paste, garlic, onion (if using) and ginger and fry it for about 3-4 minutes until it’s fragrant. Then add the remainder of the coconut milk plus ½ can’s worth of water, soy sauce and fish sauce. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer and add the diced potato and simmer for about 3 minutes and then add the squash and beans and simmer for about 7 more minutes until the vegetables are tender. Adjust seasoning with a bit of salt or more soy sauce and/or fish sauce if needed and finish with a generous squeeze of lime or lemon juice, if using. Serve hot over rice.
Grilled or Broiled Summer Squash
Cut the patty pan squash (or whatever summer squash you have) into 1/2-inch think slices. Brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill or broil until starting to blacken, flipping to brown both sides. Enjoy as is with a little chopped basil or toss with other raw and roasted veggies for lovely side dish with more herbs. Layer on a burger or sandwich of any kind. . . .sweet, simple, perfect!
Beet Green Tart
This tart is quicker than it might seem. It’s a wonderful use for your beet greens and onions in this week’s share. The tart dough comes together very easily and does not need to rest or be chilled before baking. I bake the tart, in its tin, on a pizza stone that gets preheated in the oven. That way the crust cooks quickly and well and doesn’t get soggy. The high oven temp usually ensures that it works anyway so don’t worry if you don’t have a pizza stone.
It’s also a great dish to make in advance since it’s excellent at room temperature and it transports well and can be cut into thin slices for an appetizer too.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF
1 recipe Tart Dough (recipe follows)
1 large bunch beet green, stems finely diced, leaves roughly chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large or 2 smaller torpedo (or other) onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup whole milk
Zest of 1/2 small lemon (optional)
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan (or Gruyère or just plain old cheddar if that’s what you have)
A few pinches of ground nutmeg (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet; add the onion and beet green stems and cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent and softening. Add the garlic, and beet greens. Sprinkle a few pinches of salt. Turn the leaves over repeatedly so that they are all exposed to the heat of the pan, and cook until they are tender, about 5 minutes.
Make the custard. Beat the eggs; then stir in the milk, lemon peel (if using), grated Parmesan, and a few scrapings of nutmeg. Stir in the greens and onion mixture. Taste and season with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Pour the filling into the prepared tart shell and bake until the top is golden and firm, about 40 minutes.
–adapted from David Lebovitz
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
(or ¾ cup apf and ¾ cup whole-wheat pastry flour)
4 1/2 ounces, about 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2-3 tablespoons cold water
Make the dough by mixing the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and use your hands, or a pastry blender, to break in the butter until the mixture has a crumbly, cornmeal-like texture.
Mix the egg with 2 tablespoons of the water. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the beaten egg mixture, stirring the mixture until the dough holds together. If it’s not coming together easily, add the additional tablespoon of ice water.
Gather the dough into a ball and roll the dough on a lightly floured surface, adding additional flour only as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the counter.
Once the dough is large enough so that it will cover the bottom of a 10-inch tart pan and go up the sides, roll the dough around the rolling-pin then unroll it over the tart pan. “Dock” the bottom of the pastry firmly with your fingertips a few times, pressing in to make indentations. (I occasionally forget to do this with no ill effect so don’t sweat it if you forget.) If you don’t have a tart pan you can use a 9 or 10-inch pie pan too. The recipe for the dough is pretty generous so will fit a pie pan too.
Toast some good, crusty bread—rye bread if you have it would be classic. Spread generously with fresh goat cheese. Layer sliced roasted or boiled beets over the cheese. Sprinkle with sea salt, chopped dill (or mint or basil) and a drizzle of olive oil and freshly ground pepper.
Quick Cabbage and Fennel Slaw
This more simple technique than real recipe. Cut cabbage and fennel (however much you want) as finely as you can. Again, if you have some dill left over it would be great here. Mint or parsley would be good and the basil will be fine too if that’s what you have. Or skip the herbs. Finely slice some of torpedo onions.
Put all the vegetables (and herbs) in a big bowl. Make a dressing with lime or lemon juice (or champagne or cider vinegar), a little Dijon-style mustard, a tablespoon or two (or more if you’re making a lot of salad) of Greek yogurt or mayonnaise, a pinch or two of red pepper flakes, plenty of salt and pepper and a good splash of olive oil. Mix well and dress the veggies. Let rest for at least 15 minutes to let flavors marry. Adjust to taste.