Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Farm Share Smörgåsbord: Revs 1, Manchester United 4

Yes, this post is two weeks late. No, I do not have an excuse. Other than the fact that while I've NOT been posting, the Revs have, for the most part, NOT been losing. We won't count the rock bottom loss to the Union.

In hindsight: The game vs. Man U was a pain in the ass to get to. I am accustomed to there being no traffic en route to Gillette Stadium In The Middle Of Nowhere. Mostly because the game allegedly drew three times this season's average attendance. In spite of the crappy traffic, I welcome casual and fairweather soccer fans to Gillette, because, hey, if you'll make the trip all the way to Foxborough for a soccer game, you're all right in my book.

We made two dishes for this game, both inspired by the contents of our farm share. And both adapted from one of my go-to cookbooks: Vegetarian Food for Friends by Jane Noraika. I forgot my camera day-of-game, so you're limited to these two sad iPhone photos. But the cookbook has lovely photos of both dishes.

Recipe 1:
Zucchini and Patty Pans
infused with mint and balsamic vinegar
adapted from Jane Noraika, Vegetarian Food for Friends

  1 lb. yellow and green baby patty pan squashes, cut in half (or whatever squashes you have on hand, really)
  1/3 cup olive oil
  2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  3/4 cup pine nuts lightly toasted in a dry skillet
  1 handful fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  3 zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/8 inch slices
  sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Put the patty pans on a preheated grill or stove-top grill pan. Cook on each side about 5 minutes or until tender, turning over when starting to brown.
2. When cooked transfer to a long serving dish. Pour over the oil and vinegar and sprinkle with pine nuts, mint, salt and pepper.
3. Cook the sliced zucchini on the grill for just 1-2 minutes per side. Add to the patty pan mixture and turn to coat. Cover and marinate for about 2 hours in the refrigerator, then serve.

*In case you're wondering, this is what patty pan squashes look like:

Patty Pan Squash

Recipe 2:
Lemon, Fennel, and Scallions
on grilled dill polenta
adapted from Jane Noraika, Vegetarian Food for Friends

   3 tablespoons unsalted butter
   1 tablespoon olive oil
   1 1/2 cups polenta
   1 1/2 oz. fresh parmesan cheese, grated
   handful fresh dill, coarsely chopped
   se salt and freshly ground black pepper
   2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
   3 tablespoons olive oil
   2 garlic cloves, crushed
   2 bulbs fennel, sliced
   sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
   8 scallions
   1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
   1 tablespoon olive oil
   sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
   1 1/2 oz fresh parmesan cheese, grated
   grated zest of 1/2 unwaxed lemon
   sea salt

You'll also need
   A jelly roll pan, 12x10 inches, lightly greased
   A cookie cutter or glass, 3 1/2 inches in diameter

1. To make polenta, melt the butter and oil in medium saucepan. Add 5 cups water and bring to a boil. Pour in polenta in a steady stream, beating all the time. Continue to cook according to package direction, until the grainy texture has disappeared. Stir in the parmesan, dill, salt and pepper. Spoon into the prepared jelly roll pan, then let cool until firm
2. To marinate the fennel, put the vinegar, oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Add the fennel and seta aside to develop the flavors.
3. Out scallions, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper in a separate bowl and set aside to marinate.
4. Cut out rounds of polenta with the cookie cutter or glass. Cook on a preheated grill for about 4 minutes each side, until browned.
5. Add the fennel to the grill. Cook for 5-10  minutes until browned on both sides and tender. While the fennel is cooking, add the scallions and cook for 2-3 minutes until lightly blackened.
6. Serve the polenta piled high with fennel and scallions and sprinkle them with parmesan, lemon zest, and sea salt. Pour any remaining marinate juices over the top.

I'd like to point out that both of these dishes were pretty easy and crowd-pleasing. And convenient to the contents of our share!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Left Coast Veggie Sandwich: USA 2, Mexico 4

I am not cut out for cross-country flying. A full week after arriving home in Boston from a whirlwind tour of LA and Seattle, I swear I still feel jet lagged. Despite my lasting grogginess and the fact that both teams I support lost their matches, the trip was wholly worthwhile.

We kidnapped my high school pal, Kristina, from her home in Santa Monica and whisked her off to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena for her very first USMNT cap. It was to be a friendly little outing to watch the USA play Mexico in the finals of the Gold Cup. Not! I'm not sure Kristina was fully aware of what we were getting her into, but she sure was a great sport. Even after she got hit in the back with a projectile cup of lemonade in the stadium.

The AO tailgate was small in numbers. But it certainly did not lack energy!

On to the food:

Apparently it is frowned upon if you bring a grill in your carry-on airline luggage these days. We left the grill at home and settled on making a cold dish for the big game. This worked out in our favor, as the Rose Bowl parking lot was a balmy 89 degrees with blazing sunshine.

So we wanted something cold. And, since we lacked both time and the amenities of our home kitchen, we wanted something pretty straightforward. Being on the west coast and all, it was only right to include avocado in our dish. Chris LOVES mustard, so there needed to be mustard, too.

What we ended up with was a tomato, avocado and very sharp cheddar cheese sandwich with micro greens and honey spice mustard on sourdough bread. Did you know that Sierra Nevada makes mustard? It's a novelty item, for sure. But it was delicious!

Yet again, the food was yummy. The game was crummy. We didn't have time to wallow in self pity over the devastating loss, though. A mere 6 hours after returning to our host home following the game, Chris and I were back at the airport preparing to fly off to Seattle, where we would ultimately watch the Revs lose to the Sounders. And develop an all consuming envy of the rewarding atmosphere Sounders fans enjoy.

thanks for the support banner, ECS.

It was almost eery how happy all the Sounders fans seemed. I've grown accustomed to Foxboro, where many people stand cross-armed and frowning. Where the pleading cheers of dedicated, albeit frustrated, supporters echo off of empty seats around the stadium. But not in Seattle. Even as the Revs took a 1-0 lead, fans were smiling. Children were cheering. The entire stadium joined in to a booming "Seattle!"..."Sounders!" call and response. A few folks jeered us, the lone Revs-jersey-wearers in our section, and then quickly added, "Welcome to Seattle, it's great that you made the trip."

Maybe someday, New England...

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