CuTs from the Kitchen

It seems that being a locavore is all the rage these days. People are finally figuring out that they’re fat and sick because they eat nothing but chemical-laden crap. Well, we here at The CuT were driving that wagon before there was a band, partly because some of us are so freaking poor that we opt to spends hours toiling in our garden for a single tomato rather than pay for one. And then there is the PrissyBitch who would rather lose her pearls than be found shopping among non-organic produce. So we though we would share with you, our loyal readers, some of our favorite recipes and trace the ingredients back to their local roots.

Surf-N-Turf Prissy Bitch Style

It may come as a surprise that the Prissy Bitch actually likes to cook, but I do. It all stems from my love of entertaining. Granted, much like in life, I am a snob when it comes to my culinary endeavors and I am only willing to lay these manicured hands on the very best ingredients – by that I mean local organic. CT is littered with some of the best farms in New England, but it takes a lot of time and effort to run around this great state looking for the perfect ingredients for the perfect meal. This is why I choose to get my farm fresh goodies delivered right to my door while enjoying a stiff martini at the stroke of noon. This is why CT Farm Fresh Express has been my savior for well over a year now. It says “I care” without actually having to put in the effort. Anyway my sweets, here’s a little something I whipped up for the Renaissance Man and I the other night. Enjoy!

Starters – A simple salad of green butterhead and microgreens from Two Guys from Woodbridge (hydroponically grown), garbanzo beans from Aiki Farms in Ledyard, scallions (homegrown), croutons I made from Wave Hill Breads, Wilton, topped with Parmesan peppercorn dressing from Plasko Farm in Trumbull.

The Surf – Pan seared sea scallops caught off the cost of our very own Stonington, CT courtesy of Gambardella Seafood.

The Turf – NY Strip from grass fed, pasture grazed cows given no hormones or antibiotics from Stonyledge Farm, Hopkinton, CT. Cooked with a fresh herb rub of thyme, oregano, and rosemary — all homegrown.

Side – Smashed parsnips from Riverbank Farm in Roxbury, mixed with sautéed shallots, garlic, basil, and pine nuts.

Just another day in the life. Stay Classy CT. Until next time…

Asian Persuasion’s Shepherd’s Pie

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “Damn my condo association.” Last year and the year before, I grew tons of plants–tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and eggplant. And then, some crapeater complained and I am not allowed to grow veggies anymore (nothing in our bylaws prohibiting it–just the wicked witch of East of the River). However, I do have some pretty lettuces and herbs. As I don’t have the real estate to make my own grow house like PrissyBitch, I’ve made due by taking the overgrowth of other people’s gardens and Botticello Farms (who by the way holds “Farmer’s Markets” in large CT companies like Pratt & Whitney and the UConn Health Center). Now that The Boyfriend has moved in, I do cook more, because I don’t know how to cook for one. So here is one of my favorites.

Ingredients:

-potatoes good for mashing (and milk, butter, salt and pepper to mash them)

-carrots, green beans, corn, peas, squash, zucchini, mushrooms, any garden veggies you can find

-garlic and onion to flavor

-ground turkey or beef if you’re a carnivore

-mushroom gravy, shredded cheddar cheese (both optional)

Preparation:

If you’re using meat, brown it with some onion and garlic, salt and pepper and drain it. Layer it in a casserole dish (or pie plate). Next, chop up your veggies and lightly sauté them and layer them on top of the meat. If you want, douse that baby with some mushroom gravy. Then, take your mashed potatoes and layer them on top.  Cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove the foil and sprinkle some shredded cheese on top and broil it for 5 minutes to give it nice top.

Anti-Couric’s Freezer Foods

When I started thinking about this project two problems came up: 1) I don’t often cook traditional meals 2) We CuT ladies started our own co-op, and buy almost no produce. My salad recipe is hardly exciting, though I’m between lettuce crops and have been getting my greens at the Sandy Hook Organic Farmer’s Market from Washington’s Waldingfield Farm. But what I think might be of most interest to some of you home gardeners are the ways I’ve found to help make my summer harvest last through the winter.

Baked Eggplant First, I peel the eggplant in stripes, leaving strips of skin (doing the whole thing can lead to it falling apart in the oven). Then I slice it into thin “patties” (for lack of a better word). Then I dip it into a Farmer’s Cow egg batter, coat it in breadcrumbs, and then slap it on a cookie sheet. Once I’ve filled up the cookie sheet (or run out of eggplant) and put it in the oven at about 325 degrees for maybe 10 or 15 minutes. The real little, crisp slices make great chips dipped in marinara sauce. The bigger slices get put into a freezer bag and the freezer.

Tomato Sauce – You’ve’ probably already got your own recipe, but mine is pretty simple. I take the hordes of tomatoes left at the end of the summer, boil them, and then take off the skins. I coat the bottom of a pan with olive oil, throw in some onions and garlic (usually gotten from the PB’s garden because she’s better with bulbs than I am – I’m in charge of zucchini and squash for our little co-op), and then eventually I toss in the tomatoes. This is the point at which I raid the herb garden. Of course I throw some basil in there but I’ve also grown to love garlic chives and pretty much anything else I find out there. Then, a few hours later, I toss that shit in a blender, put it in a container, and freeze it. (You could also can it but I’m lazy.)

Zucchini Fritters – These are easy. You shred some zucchini, mix it up with some egg, and then take a spoonful and plop it into a warm pan with oil in it. Flip it. Cook until its brown, and then start over with the next one. The trick here is to get the right thickness…which, in my estimation, is pretty thin. You can freeze these too. For more recipes that help disappear your plethora of squash, check out Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

Sometime in October you’ll probably have to start breaking into your frozen goods. Obviously, the sauce has many applications, but I like to use it in conjunction with the eggplant. I pour it over a few slices, add some cheese, and I’ve got lunch. If you need more calories, put it on some bread. The fritters are a lot like potato pancakes and can be eaten at any meal.

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