This is a great way to use up a lot of CSA vegetables, plus it’s delicious! This greek meal tastes equally as well the next day for a picnic lunch – you can even eat it cold! (*Indicates Potomac Vegetable Farm (PVF) produce. For more information about what we are doing with our PVF CSA share, click here.)
Last evening, Greg and I hosted some colleagues for dinner. I knew our guest of honor was a huge fan of two comfort food staples: meat loaf and macaroni and cheese (I usually make these whenever he comes to visit). After a stop at the DuPont Circle Farmer’s Market, I was all set to make something comforting, yet special. The results were worth it and our guests, I believe, felt very special!
Macaroni and Cheese:
My first stop at the market was Copper Pot Food Company, to see my friend Maude, who was volunteering. Stefano Frigerio, the chef-owner gave me all the market intel. When I explained that I wanted to make macaroni and cheese, he handed me the last two boxes of his cavatelli and said “Go there and get milk, then go there and talk to her and ask which cheese they have today that will melt best. Then come back.” I did as he said, and when I came back with the dairy, he told me “Here’s what you do. Don’t bother with butter and flour. Heat some milk in the microwave with the shreded cheese for about a minute. Then pour the mixture into a blender and whip it into a cheese sauce to pour over the pasta.” I had never done this before – I’m a fan of the beschamel type of mac and cheese, which gives a decidedly-rich and heavy end product. I wanted Stefano’s pasta to be the standout, highlighted by the cheese sauce, so I took his advice. The resulting mac and cheese was amazing – light, airy, and not oily!
- 2 packages cavatelli pasta from Copper Pot Food Company
- 1 cup organic creamline milk from Clear Spring Creamery
- 1/2 pound Wallaby cheese from Keswick Creamery
- 2 oz Claire’s Organic Camembert from Clear Spring Creamery (my own addition!)
- salt and pepper to taste
For the Topping
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 8-10 fresh young garlic chive shoots, chopped
- 3 tbsp truffle oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta as directed. Drain, and place equal amounts in 4 ramekins.
- In a microwave safe bowl, heat milk and cheese for about 1 minute on medium heat to soften.
- Blend the mixture on high speed in a blender until smooth.
- Pour cheese mixture over the pasta in the ramekins.
- Bake at 350 until the cheese starts to bubble.
- Top with panko mixture and broil until the top is golden brown.
- Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes before serving.
Meat Loaf Sandwiches:
This very simple sandwich used local, sustainably raised meat from EcoFriendly Foods, LLC. I just eye-balled the recipe.
- 1 large package ground beef from Ecofriendly Foods, LLC
- 1 small package ground veal from Ecofriendly Foods, LLC
- 1 onion, minced fine and drained
- 1 carrot shredded fine and drained
- 1 clove garlic, minced fine
- 1 egg
- 1 pinch cumin
- 1 pinch celery salt
- 1 pinch garlic salt
- 1 slice fresh whole wheat bread, ground into breadcrumbs.
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients loosely (do not overmix or you will have tough meatloaf)
- Line a loaf pan with two peices of fresh bread to absorb the drippings during cooking.
- Shape the mixture into a loaf, and place in the loaf pan.
- In a saucepan, combine all ingredients for the sauce and cook over low heat until combined.
- Top the meatloaf with 1/4 of the sauce and bake at 350 until the loaf is cooked through (depending on the size it will take a different amount of time. Mine took 50 minutes).
- Half way through cooking, top with another 1/4 sauce, reserving 1/2 to serve with the sandwiches (be careful not to cross contaminate!)
- Cool the meatloaf for several minutes before cutting.
- Serve over thick sliced white bread from the farmer’s market that has been buttered on both sides and grilled in a pannini press.
The meal was fantastic – the table was set with white tulips and a bottle of wine, and we enjoyed good conversation, good food, and good friendship. The meal was topped off with homemade Philadelphia-style vanilla bean ice cream, another of our guest’s favorites. He was tickled pink, and it wasn’t that difficult to pull off!
Last Saturday marked the sixth meeting of a cooking club Kim and I are involved in with our significant others and one other couple. We’ve done Indian, Irish, Mexican, Greek…it was never intended to be a trip around the world, but it’s ended up that way. This month I decided to take us to the continent of Africa for an Ethiopian feast. The menu:
Doro W’ett (Chicken Stew)
Beet and Potato Salad with Lemon
Atar Allecha (Spiced Green Pea Puree)
Misr Allecha (Stewed Red Lentils)
Yemiser W’ett (Spicy Yellow Lentils)
Yetakelt W’ett (Vegetable Stew)
Served with Honey Wine and Injerra
I didn’t make the Injerra, I purchased it from a shop on 18th street in Adam’s Morgan. Everyone really enjoyed the meal, and there was enough left over for lunch all week (and dinner on Sunday). It was delicious and economical.
Stay tuned throughout the week for the recipes!
This past Friday, before snowpocalypse 2k9, Greg and I had Kim, Rex, John and Sutton over for our monthly dinner party. After making lamb meatballs and tzatsiki as an appetizer for our christmas cocktail the week prior, I had Greek food on the brain, and devised the following menu:
Chilled and Dilled Avgolemono Soup
Simple Greek Salad
Grilled Lamb Skewers
Orzo with Feta, Tomatoes, and Dill
Roasted Garbanzo Beans with Garlic and Swiss Chard
Semolina and Ground Almond Cake
I was able to use a lot of the items from our final CSA box that Kim and Rex picked up for us last week. Red wine and good conversation flowed, and before we knew it, there was a few inches of snow on the ground.
This weekend, my husband and I celebrated an early Wigilia with friends.
Wigilia, meaning vigil, is a traditional Polish Christmas Eve celebration. Every holiday season, my mother who immigrated to North America from Poland, would prepare this traditional meal for my family. I have fond memories of decorating the house and preparing the food for this traditional feast. After getting married about 5 years ago, my mom put together a little book for my sister and me which explains the tradition and includes translated recipes for the 5 course meal.
In my mother’s words, here’s her explanation of this Polish tradition:
Wigilia take place on Christmas Eve. It is traditionally a vegetarian meal where no meat is served. There are “supposed” to be twelve dishes or items to symbolize the 12 apostles. The table is festively set and an extra plate is set for some traveler that does not make it home for the holidays. The dishes are traditional and are the same from year to year as far as the availability of ingredients.
Traditionally the Christmas tree was put up and decorated that morning. The children would set the table and wait for the first star to appear. Then the feast would begin, The family would gather around the Christmas tree. The mother or father would read the story of the first Christmas and the meaning of the oplatek (an unleavend wafer). After the blessing the father starts with the oplatek and passes it to all gathered. Each person then breaks the oplatek with one another and wishes all the best for Christmas and coming New Year. The family then sits down at the table for the meal.
After the meal, the family would take a break and sit down to sing Christmas carols. Later coffee, or tea is served with Makowiec (poppyseed roll) and other desserts. The family would then open their presents and attend midnight mass to close the Wigilia celebration.
The following courses are all based on my mom’s recipes. Instead of preparing 12 courses, my mom would typically prepare 5:
This is a wonderfully colorful and delicious autumn meal that combines the rich colors and savory flavors of roasted purple cabbage, red-orange bell peppers, deep orange butternut squash and carrots, sweet onions, with the tartness of chimichurri sauce made with cilantro, parley, garlic, red wine vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil and grilled pork. The simple carrot, ginger soup balances the savory and tangy flavors of the roasted vegetables and chimichurri sauce with subtle hints of sweetness and spiciness. (Click on these links for the recipes: Roasted Autumn Vegetables, Chimichurri Sauce, Carrot Ginger Soup.)
September 12, 2009
WINE – Central & South American Wine Flight
APPETIZER – Butternut Squash, Corn & Coconut Soup
ENTREE – South American Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas, served with Green Salad tossed in Honey-Lime Dressing
DESSERT – Heavenly Chocolate Flourless Cake with Raspberries, served a la mode