Mystery House

The Iron Chefettes Ride Again….So Soon!

Maxwell w Red Onion

Allez cuisine!

This box did keep me busy.  Have a look:

8 Aug 09 Box 1

8 Aug 09 Box 2

A hot banana pepper, corn, collards, onions, garlic, cukes, summer squash, cherry tomatoes, green and purple beans, salad mix, and basil.  Plus there were the blueberries that Amy mentioned last week, and tomatoes.  We both bought them, so they count.

Let’s get the blueberries taken care of right away, since Amy wrote about hers last week.  Okay, so I’m slow.  But I made pie!

I have to say, pie scares me.  I’m not afraid of much in the kitchen, but I’m afraid of pie.  See, my mom makes the best pie crust I’ve ever had.  Anywhere.  And if you knew the two of us, you’d know that I’m not just saying that because she’s my mom.  We’re notoriously honest with each other–if one of us makes something crappy, the other one will say so.  No hard feelings, we’re just that way.  So when I say she makes the best, most tender, flakiest crust in the world, I’m not kidding.  Me?  I’m terrible at it.  I work the dough too long.  Can’t seem to not work it too long, no matter how hard I try, and it’s never right.

Pie Dough

Looks so innocent, doesn’t it?  But it’s pure evil.  Out to get me.  Oh, I know what Amy’s saying.  Something along the lines of, “I told you baking was bad.”  But it’s not all baking.  I’m fine with baking anything but pie.  Which, alas, is also the baked thing that I love most.

This time, I didn’t use the vodka crust.  I really wanted to try it the old-fashioned way and see if I could finally get it right.  Guess what?  I couldn’t.

Pie Unbaked

It doesn’t look as if anything’s wrong, but the crust was slightly tough.  Not tender and flaky and perfect.

Mom made note of the fact.  I did, too.  We agreed that I need more practice.  “One pie a month,” she said.  I wondered who was going to buy me bigger clothes after I eat all this pie.  We also agreed that even though the crust wasn’t perfect, it was still pie.  Blueberry pie.  Which was gone in no time, because even an imperfect blueberry pie, if it is homemade, is a lovely thing.  (Although, between you and me, I’m still wishing I could get the crust right.)

Pie 2

Oh, and those blueberries were amazing.  Sweetest ones I’ve ever had.  I’m dying for more.

We sprinkled the sweet corn with chile and lime juice, and ate it with black bean and chorizo tortas.

Corn w Torta

Some of that gorgeous lettuce, and the tomatoes, went into BLTs.  I adore BLTs.  They are one of the main justifications for the existence of summer, in my book, and I have them as often as possible while I can.


One of the big favorites this week was definitely the Zucchini Ribbon Pasta, which Laura wrote up in the CSA newsletter.  You can also find the recipe here.  The M.E. was a bit worried when I made this, thinking it was going to be some treacherously bland vegetarian thing, but the recipe is somehow far more than the sum of its parts.  It’s truly fabulous, and he gave it a big thumbs-up.  I’m likely to make this again before the summer is over.

Zucchini Ribbon Pasta

Then — oh joy and rapture! — there were collard greens.  The majority culture around here is just starting to catch on to how good these are, but I’ve been crazy about them since I was a little girl, and I can’t have collards too often.  I wanted to try something different this time, and I kept thinking about shrimp and white beans.  Don’t they sound like
they’d be good with collards?

I admit, I’ve been winging the majority of these CSA recipes, just throwing in whatever seems to work.  In an effort to make better use of my cookbooks this week, I took the brilliant Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s The Italian Country Table down from the shelf.  Lo and behold, she knew what I was thinking.  (Mysteriously, she often does.  But that’s another story.)  I used her recipe for Spaghettini with Shrimp, Chickpeas and Young Greens as a starting point, and was happy that I did.  Okay, I left out the pasta, changed the can of chickpeas to a cannellini beans, and changed the mix of salad greens, dandelion greens and curly endive to collards.  But otherwise I followed the Gospel of Lynne.  Pretty much.

I sauteed onions, peppers, and black olives.

Beans Greens 1

Added the greens, earlier in the process than she does, because the collards were past the baby stage and needed more cooking time.

Beans Greens 2

In went the beans.

Beans Greens 3

And shrimp.  And there it was, a scrumptious dish, just what I wanted.

Beans Greens 4

(It’s still cooking in that last photo, so if you think the shrimp doesn’t look done, you’re right.)  There were a few other details, of course, but I can’t remember them.  So get a copy of the book.  It’s well worth having if you like authentic Italian food.

Told you this was a busy week.  But wait!  There’s more!  I had to do something with the summer squash, something entirely different.  And one thing we really, really love is paella.

I found the perfect recipe in Penelope Casas’s book, Paella! This is pretty much the book to have if you want to make paella.  I’ll warn you, it takes a lot of prep.

Squash Paella 1

But honestly, I love making it.  Paella is fun, and it’s really a treat.  It’s one of my favorite things to make when we have dinner guests, despite the fact that it requires so much last-minute time in the kitchen.  People always wonder why I’ve disappeared for so long during what should be cocktail hour…until they taste the paella.  Then they get it.  (They really get it when they see the mess in the kitchen afterwards.)

Conveniently, Ms. Casas had a recipe for Green and Yellow Squash Paella with Pesto.  It used the aforementioned summer squash and zucchini, basil, and a hot pepper (perfect use for that banana pepper).

Squash Paella 2

It was really delicious despite, as noted by the M.E., the absence of any form of pork products.  I promised to sneak in a little sausage next time.

I made a Vietnamese chicken salad which was a perfect vehicle for some of those great cucumbers.  Yum.  I did use a recipe.  From, um, somewhere.  Don’t remember where I put it at the moment.

Vietnamese Chicken Salad

I sauteed green and purple beans (which all wind up green in the end) with cashews, shallots and sherry vinegar.  Yum again.  Note the pork chop in the background.

Beans w Cashews

I made chicken and pinto bean burritos…

Broccoli Accompaniment

…which had nothing whatsoever to do with the CSA box, but they went along with this broccoli:

Broccoli w Adobo

I know.  It just looks like slightly scorched broccoli.  But it’s actually Grilled Broccoli with Clary’s Exquisitely Wicked Marinade, from Crescent Dragonwagon’s brilliant doorstopper of a cookbook, Passionate Vegetarian

And it is indeed exquisitely wicked.  You’ve never had broccoli like this.  Lime, adobo seasoning (which you don’t have to search for in a million stores–Google it and mix up your own), pineapple juice, rum and some other stuff.  It’s such a good marinade, I think I’ll try it with some other things, too.  Like pork.  Heh.

I love leftover green beans for lunch, so I made a bean salad with chicken, water chestnuts, walnuts, sesame oil and soy sauce.  There were regular old lunchtime lettuce salads, too, but I didn’t photograph them.

Bean Salad for Lunch

Oh, and I made a big container of refrigerator pickles with most of the cukes.  From this recipe, which is very good and is also surprisingly low in salt.

Fridge Pickles

You’re probably worn out by now.  I sure am.  And I used a lot of actual recipes written by actual other people this time, so I’m feeling virtuous.  But that wasn’t it.  There was one more thing.  I made an odd and special recipe, one of our favorites this week, which was so interesting that it’s deserving of its very own post.  Come back on Monday — yes, Monday! — and I’ll tell you all about it.  I’m sure this is probably breaking some rule and Amy’s Dead Chairman will let me know about it, but what the hell.  I’m doing it anyway.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. * Amy says:

    Ooo…beware the rumblings of Evita…she is even more hot-tempered than Frida!

    Posted 8 years, 11 months ago
  2. * marylou says:

    Any blueberry pie (homemade, of course) is a good one. Where did you get the berries? Or where did they come from? I’ve been a bit disappointed in the ones i bought recently.

    Posted 8 years, 11 months ago
  3. * Ann says:

    Oh, yum. That’s a lot of good looking food!

    Posted 8 years, 11 months ago
  4. * deb says:!

    Posted 8 years, 11 months ago
  5. * Lorette says:

    Lordy. I want to come live at your house. I’ll help with paella prep. I think it’s time for paella again around here.
    I adore Crescent Dragonwagon. Have you seen her cornbread cookbook? We ate at her Dairy Hollow House restaurant when she still had it, it was divine. Her gumbo is the best ever.

    Posted 8 years, 11 months ago
  6. * Carrie K says:

    They’ll have to find her dead chairman for her to chastise you.
    Looks good! Especially the green beans and cashews because I’ve got a bushel of green beans from the garden.
    My Dad makes the best pie EVER. All kinds. I have no idea how he does it but he has the gift.

    Posted 8 years, 11 months ago
  7. * bezzie says:

    I’m exhausted and hungry now!

    Posted 8 years, 11 months ago
  8. * Guinifer says:

    They all look wonderful (especially the VN Chicken salad), but the Zuchini Ribbon Pasta has made it on to my grocery list of the week!

    Posted 8 years, 11 months ago

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