It’s been a busy CSA summer, and hence, no new entry for almost two months. Rest assured we’ve been cooking up a storm to deal with our weekly supply of farm fresh vegetables, fruit and eggs. Now with the focus of fall in the air we’ll be back and writing more regularly. To ease back into writing regularly, I thought I’d start with some of the less substantive, but no less good, things that I made this summer that were part of summertime get togethers and celebrations.
For her backyard my friend Emily (a passionate member of the Fort Greene CSA) comissioned me to make chocolate beet cupcakes, which I had made for an anti-Valentines day party at my house several years before. The only problem was I had gotten the recipe off the Internet and all the recipes I could find were way to complicated and made the simple process of making a beet cupcake far too laborious. No matter. Before I started improvising completely, Mark Bittman came to my rescue (like always!) in his How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. The frosting is simply confectioners sugar, margarine, vanilla, and lemon zest. The best part about the cupcakes? They were chocolatey, not too sweet, and matched my shirt.
Chocolate Beet Cupcakes with Beet Frosting
1 1/2 sticks (12 TBSP) butter or margarine
2 medium, raw red beets, grated- about 1 cup after being pureed
2 cups sugar
2 1/2cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 TBSP coco powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 milk or milk substitute
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tin or use muffin cups.
Put beets in food processor and puree with 1/2 cup sugar. Remove and set aside. In the food processor combine the butter, remaining sugar, and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the beet puree, setting aside about 1 TBS for the frosting. Add 1/3 of the flour and mix, followed by the 1/3 of the milk. Alternate the milk and flour and add the baking powder, salt, and coco powder. Pour into muffin tins and bake for 30 minutes and check. Bake for additional time until a knife comes out clean.
Cool and frost.
Frosting colored with Beet Juice
1/4 cup margarine
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 TBSP beet puree
2 TBSP Milk or Milk Substitute
1 tsp vanilla
Zest of 1 lemon
Mix margarine, beet puree and sugar in food processor. Slowly add the liquid until you have the right consistency. Front cupcakes and then sprinkle the lemon zest on top.
A few weeks later to celebrate all of our summer produce bounty we threw an impromptu party, invited the neighbors and made drinks and eats featuring our CSA vegetables.
Lemongrass Mojito Style Cocktail
Fresh mint or basil
Fresh squeezed lime juice
Rum or vodka (if using basil, may I suggest basil)
Muddle the lemongrass simple syrup with mint or basil and lime juice. Shake with rum or vodka and ice. Pour into a glass and add soda water.
I made an unsuccessful attempt at a non-diary clafoutis, which is a sort of mid-way between a cake and a custard, earlier this summer and decided to try a full on dairy recipe from the Gourmet cookbook, fortunately to great success.
With lots of huge cabbages to use we decided to try Julia and Jacques’ stuffed cabbage recipe, featured on Julia and Jacques’ “Cooking at Home.” I know cabbage is not everyone’s favorite, but this was really delicious with lots of ground beef, onions and tomatoes. I’ll let SMH write more about it when he has time.