Lots and lots of fun farm cooking to share with you guys this week. Yesterday was CSA sample day, and I was challenged with making two new recipes to share with our CSA members. In case you missed them, here are some of my other CSA sample posts:
This week’s featured ingredients were red potatoes and fresh blueberries – YUM! My first creation was a Potato and Leek Gratin – believe it or not, my first time baking this type of casserole-type dish. Because I typically try to cook as healthy as possible, I’m not really used to layering things in cheese and milk and baking them, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do…
I started with fresh leeks – washed and rinsed to get rid of the sand.
And a big pile of kennebec potatoes – very similar to Yukon golds.
I sliced the potatoes and tossed them generously with salt and pepper. In this type of dish, you only get one shot at seasoning – go big or go home.
I sautéed the leeks in a bit of olive oil on the stovetop…
And added a tsp of ground cumin. It was supposed to be cumin seeds, but I ran out, so I did a mixture of both and hoped that nobody noticed!
Spiced leeks, softened and ready to go.
The flavor punch in this recipe comes from the gruyere cheese – one of my favorites.
I grated 3/4 cup…
And added half of it to a bowl, along with the leeks and sliced potatoes.
Then I loaded the entire mixture into a 2 quart baking dish. It just barely fit!
Now comes the fun part. I poured 2 1/3 cups low-fat milk into the mixture, and set it in the oven to bake for 45 minutes.
After time was up, I pulled the gratin back out to find the potatoes starting to brown and soften.
Topped the mixture with the rest of the gooey cheese, and put it back into the oven for another 45 minutes. Good thing I read my recipe ahead of time and started this bad boy nice and early!
About 2 hours after I started, this bubbling bowl of deliciousness was ready…
Brown, bubbly cheese. Sooooo hard to resist!
This recipe was a BIG HIT! I can’t say I was surprised though – let’s get real. Potatoes, milk, cheese… what’s not to like? The CSA members (and staff members!) gobbled it up – always a good sign of a dish well done.
But I assure you I did not just wait for potatoes to cook all afternoon. I also made an amazing Vegan Chinese Black Rice Pudding with Blueberries. Ohhhh yes. I was pretty excited when the volunteers came in from the field and dropped off 6 pounds of blueberries in the kitchen.
If I had to guess, I would estimate a 2 cups in the pudding to 2 cups in my mouth ratio. :)
I got started by cooking 1 cup of dry Chinese (Forbidden) black rice. I am sure that any rice would have worked, but the recipe called for this particular black rice. It gave a nice color effect, as it turned PURPLE when cooked!
The rice went in to a simmering pot of 1 cup coconut milk, 1 cup soy milk, and 1/4 cup of honey.
Stir, stir, stir until it thickens and gets creamy. As you can see, I took this job very seriously.
Once it was thick enough, I added the star of the show – blueberries!
Ten more minutes of stirring and simmering (and salivating)…
Happy cook! :) I feel very lucky to do what I do every day.
Finally finished, and poured into a bowl to cool before serving.
Two hours later, cooled down for service. 100% amazing!
The CSA customers couldn’t get enough of this stuff, and also couldn’t believe that it was vegan! I think this would be really fun to take to a party. Definitely one to make again!
All set up and ready for customers. Fancy – I know. :)
These were two totally different and fun recipes to make. Now that it’s been a few weeks and I’m getting the hang of it, I find that I really enjoy talking to the members and showing them what their produce is each week. It is fun to suggest ways for them to use it, and I am much more comfortable and natural talking about cooking and food than I realized. Guess that culinary arts degree is getting put to good use!
More fun cooking coming up next! I was BAKING all day long, mmmmmmm…