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Mexican Loaded Corn Cakes

Mexican Loaded Corn Cakes

As you have seen, we are reciving a lot of corn in our CSA boxes this summer. I started looking for ways to use corn and became infatuated with the idea of corn cakes when I realized this was an opportunity to recreate one of […]

CSA Unboxing: Week 4

CSA Unboxing: Week 4

It definitely feels like we have transitioned to fall here in Chicago. The weather has been hovering around 65 degrees and it is getting dark earlier and earlier. It’s almost like the seasons decided summer was over on August 31 on the dot. The sun […]

Refrigerator Pickles

Refrigerator Pickles

Like most picky eaters, when I was a child I frequently decided I didn’t like things without actually trying them. Pickles were one of these foods. The vinegar smell turned me off and I didn’t see anything to gain by eating that weird smelly cucumber on the plate when I could just pass it off to a family member. I also loved cucumbers as a child, so I am sure part of the thinking was why did you ruin my perfectly cucumber?

Well fast forward 20 years and we received four huge cucumbers in our CSA box. I couldn’t deny the fact that pickles were an obvious choice for using and preserving them. I have had some pickles as an adult that I didn’t hate, often at restaurants where they were homemade.

I opted for refrigerator pickles because a. I think the vinegar flavor is a little milder than canned pickles since they don’t require as much vinegar for preservation purposes.; and b. I don’t want to mess with boiling cans and hoping I won’t give myself salmonella.

I waited to post this recipe until we were able to taste the final product to be sure they were good! I actually really liked them! I made sure to flavor the pickles with some of my favorite things: garlic, red pepper flakes, and peppercorns. In addition, you can’t have pickles with some sprigs of dill, mustard, and coriander seeds.

We have already polished off one jar, they are so delicious! I was impressed how crisp the pickles stayed even though I didn’t use pickling cucumbers. The pickled garlic cloves are a great treat when you get to the bottom too!

First we fill mason jars with mustard seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns, red pepper flakes, and sprigs of dill.

Jars are filled with the spices and dill.

Water and vinegar are simmered with cloves of garlic and salt. The garlic is removed and placed in jars, jars packed with cucumbers, and brine poured into the jars.

Jars are filled with cucumber spears and brine. The cucumbers float but will push down once the lids are put on.

Lids are screwed on and jars are refrigerated for two weeks. After two weeks you can open them up and start using them!

 

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Refrigerator Pickles

These pickles are packed with flavor from a mix of garlic, mustard, coriander, peppercorns, dill, and red pepper flakes. They are a bit spicier than I expected, so reduce the red pepper flakes or leave them out all together if you don’t like spice.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Author thebraveradish

Ingredients

  • 3 8 oz mason jars
  • 9 cloves garlic
  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 3/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 3/4 tsp coriander seeds
  • 3/4 tsp black peppercorns
  • 6 sprigs fresh dill
  • 3/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 tbls white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbls kosher salt

Instructions

  1. First, prepare your jars. Place ¼ tsp each of mustard seed, coriander seed and black peppercorns, 2 sprigs of dill, and 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (if using) into each jar.
  2. Cut the cucumbers into spears. I think mine were cut into eights width-wise and roughly thirds lengthwise. Be sure to test the height if the cucumbers in the jar to ensure the lids will close.

  3. Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a simmer. Once simmering, add the garlic cloves and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and salt and bring the pot to a boil. Cook until the salt dissolves. Turn off heat.

  4. Using tongs or a spoon, remove the garlic from the pot and place 3 cloves into the bottom of each jar. Pack the jars with the sticks of cucumber; you want them to be tightly packed. Then, pour the brine over the cucumbers and fill to the top. Screw on the tops and refrigerate. After 2 weeks they will be ready to eat!

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More-Veggie Kung Pao Chicken

More-Veggie Kung Pao Chicken

Growing up there was a ‘fancy’ Chinese restaurant in town that we would frequent on special occasions. They had big lazy-susans in the center of the table for easy family-style dining, which were very exciting for children. It was there that I fell in love […]

CSA Unboxing: Week 3

CSA Unboxing: Week 3

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind! I was out of town most of last week so I am playing catch-up both with my CSA boxes and posting recipes. I have a backlog of recipes to type up and post! We also still have […]

Raw Tomato Sauce and Spaghetti

Raw Tomato Sauce and Spaghetti

Will was out of town much of last week so I was back to cooking for one. When I am cooking for just myself I gravitate towards simple and easy dishes, leading to today’s post!

Week 2’s CSA box included a large container of beautiful mixed tomatoes. The small cherry tomatoes and mix of colors called out for a raw preparation. I immediately thought of this raw tomato sauce my Mom has been making for years. I think she first heard about it listening to Lynne Rosetto Kasper’s radio show, The Splendid Table.

This recipe really allows the sweet, tender tomatoes to shine. Lynne’s technique of rubbing the serving dish with garlic allows the tomatoes to take on a slight garlic taste without an intense raw garlic flavor.

Being the garlic lover that I am, I wanted a little more garlic than the rubbing of the dish imparted though so I added a small amount of crushed garlic. I also seem to put red pepper flakes on everything these days so added a sprinkling here for a touch of spice. The dish is rounded out by a big handful of fresh herbs and olive oil to bring it all together.

First, we start out with luscious tomatoes. Lynne suggests using a mix of varieties and I have to agree! Each variety tastes a little different and will add oomph to this simple dish. I cut the tomatoes into halves and quarters, depending on how big they were. It is okay if they aren’t all the same size!

Beautiful CSA tomatoes.

Next, we rub the inside of the serving dish with garlic. Rubbing the dish with garlic will impart a very subtle garlic flavor without overpowering the tomatoes. Add the chopped tomatoes, chopped parsley or basil, olive oil, a big sprinkle of salt and pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes to the bowl. I wanted a little more garlic so added half a clove of garlic, pressed, as well. Stir everything up and let it sit for at least 10 minutes while you cook the spaghetti.

Sauce is mixed and ready to go.

Cook the spaghetti according to the package, drain, and add to the serving bowl. Mix it all together and serve with sprinkled cheese!

Zoom in on the final product. So easy and so delicious!
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Raw Tomato Sauce with Spaghetti

This raw tomato sauce, inspired by Lynne Rosetta Kasper, is fast, simple, and delicious! Perfect for a hot summer day when you can’t stand the thought of cooking or when you score perfect tomatoes from the farmers market.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 people
Author the brave radish

Ingredients

  • 1 clove of garlic end cut off
  • 1 lbs ripe tomatoes cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 1 tbls packed basil or parsley leaves chopped
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbls good quality olive oil
  • salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • ½ lbs spaghetti I used whole wheat
  • grated parmesan cheese optional

Instructions

  1. Start boiling a large pot of water for the pasta.

  2. While water is coming to a boil, prepare the sauce. Cut a small piece off the end of the garlic. Rub the exposed end of the garlic on the inside of the serving dish. Save the leftover garlic clove.
  3. Add the tomatoes, parsley, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and a healthy sprinkle of salt and pepper to the bowl. Press half of the garlic clove (or finely mince) and add it to the bowl. Mix it all together and let sit while you cook the pasta, at least 10 minutes.
  4. Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, and add to the serving dish. Mix well to evenly distribute the sauce.
  5. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.

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Asian Tacos with Napa Cabbage Slaw

Asian Tacos with Napa Cabbage Slaw

At the risk of sounding like a cliché millennial: I love tacos. When there is a protein, spicy sauce, and cheese involved what is not to love? We did not eat much Mexican or Latin American food in growing up except for the occasional ground […]

CSA Unboxing: Week 2

CSA Unboxing: Week 2

It is time for our next CSA box! I have almostttt used all of last week’s box. I tried really hard but still have some beets and cabbage left. I need to start pickling…. The good news is that this week’s box is pretty difference […]

Zucchini, Corn, and Jalapeño Pizza

Zucchini, Corn, and Jalapeño Pizza

I love a good vegetable pizza. However, the veggie combinations at pizza shops are often lacking and I am always surprised when it costs $2 per veggie to make my own. So making my own pizza is a cheaper way to make the veggie pizzas I want.

Growing up, we attempted to make various recipes for homemade pizza dough, often in the bread maker. It often came out soggy. I think the oven wasn’t hot enough and the dough recipe wasn’t quite right.

One of the biggest differences between then and now is the rise of Jim Lahey no-kneed pizza dough. I had never heard of Jim Lahey until his pizza recipe started being used by every food blogger a few years ago- and for good reason! It is easy and comes out great every time! The recipe is everywhere but I usually use this post by Tracy Shutterbean for reference.

This week, I made a white pizza topped with CSA vegetables: zucchini, corn, and white onion. Plus some jalapeño and cilantro for a kick.

We mix together the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a bowl, then add the water.

Mix flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and water.

Stir until a dough forms. At this point if you are using a spoon you should switch to your hands. Work the dough in an almost kneading motion in the bowl until it is fairly smooth. It will smooth out more when it rises.

Partially mixed pizza dough.
This dough is not ready yet. Keep mixing!

 

Well mixed dough, now ready to rise.
See how this is smoother than the previous picture? This dough is now ready to cover.

Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for two hours. It should almost double in size.

Dough after rising.
Dough after rising. Ready to form!

Dump dough onto a floured surface and shape to fit your pan. I’m old school used a cookie sheet. Grease the pan liberally with olive oil and transfer dough to pan. The greasing of the pan is key to it not sticking and getting a crispy bottom. Now you can top with whatever you want!

Dough stretched and placed on cookie sheet.
Dough is stretched and placed on the cookie sheet.

I topped with (in this order) grated parmesan cheese, torn fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced zucchini, corn, slices of jalapeño, salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Topped pizza
Topped pizza.

Pizza goes into the oven at 500 degrees for about 18 minutes until edges and cheese are browned. Top with cilantro and serve!

Pizza hot out of the oven.
Pizza hot out of the oven. How good does that look??
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Zucchini, Corn, and Jalapeño Pizza

I cut Tracy Shutterbean’s recipe for two pizza doughs in half to make one dough, which is why the measurements are a little weird. I did the math for you and have written them for standard measuring cup sets. It looks weird but I promise they work! I am not good at using frozen dough so always just make what I need. The pizza wasn’t as spicy as I expected. Depending on your head tolerance, consider using more than ½ jalapeño. 

Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 48 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Pizza Dough

  • 1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp instant or active dry yeast
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp table salt
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 + 1/6 cups water
  • olive oil for the pan

Toppings

  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 12 oz ball fresh mozzarella
  • 1 medium zucchini thinly sliced
  • 2 ears of corn removed from cob. About ½ cup when removed from cob
  • ½ white onion thinly sliced
  • ½ jalapeño thinly sliced
  • cilantro leaves for garnish
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil for drizzling

Instructions

Pizza Dough

  1. Add the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar to a large bowl. Stir to combine.

  2. Add the water and mix until a dough starts to form. Mix with hands until the dough is fairly smooth. I usually mix by making some kneading motions in the bowl. It took me 3-5 minutes to mix.

  3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours. Dough should about double in size.

  4. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

  5. Pour dough onto floured surface. Stretch with your hands to form a dough the shape of your pan. 

  6. Grease the pan liberally with olive oil, I used a 13x18 inch rimmed cookie sheet. Transfer dough to pan and stretch to the edges. I always end up with at least one tear from moving to the pan so just smoosh the dough back together once on the cookie sheet to mend the tear.

Top the Pizza

  1. Sprinkle dough with the Parmesan cheese. Tear pieces of the mozzarella cheese and lay evenly on pizza. It’s okay if there are bald spots; the cheese will spread when it cooks.

  2. Top with thinly sliced zucchini, white onion slices, corn kernels, and jalapeño. Drizzle with a few glugs of olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and fresh ground pepper.

  3. Bake in 500 degree oven for about 18 minutes until edges are crispy, cheese is melted, and zucchini looks cooked.

  4. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve!

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Braised Eggplant & Tomatoes with Toast

Braised Eggplant & Tomatoes with Toast

We are jumping straight into the CSA box with eggplant! As I said before, neither Will nor I really like eggplant. In hindsight, I think this is because most eggplant I have had was undercooked and thus a weird chalky texture. Because of my eggplant […]