Saturday, June 28, 2008

OLS: CSA supper

This week's One Local Summer meal was inspired by and mostly produced from the Community Supported Agriculture box we picked up Thursday night. Our week 2 box contained yellow squash, zucchini, beets, and mixed lettuce like last week and three new items: green beans, baby potatoes, and cucumbers.

The thinking for our OLS meal went something like this: cucumbers - tzatziki sauce; baby potatoes - potato salad; hmmm, how about a potato salad with tzatziki sauce instead of the normal dressing; green beans are good in potato salad; last night's grilled chicken leg quarter would make the whole thing a main dish. That with a green salad could be a good cold supper.

I made a half batch of this tzatziki sauce recipe and still only used about half of it in my dish, leaving plenty to dip and spread and dress other food in the coming week. I took lots of advice from the comments to make the sauce less runny -- used hand tools instead of the food processor, used yogurt cheese instead of the yogurt, and drained the grated cucumber for a few hours. I used rosemary instead of dill because that's what I had available from the garden and because I like rosemary with potatoes.

I blanched the green beans (cut bite size) and boiled the potatoes (whole), using the same hot water and ice bath water for both vegetables. The potatoes and grilled chicken were cut bite-size and all stirred in to the tzatziki sauce. I left the whole thing in the refrigerator for a couple of hours so the flavors could marry.

The salad is the lettuce mix from the CSA box. I grated beets in it. We tried the beets boiled and chilled last week, but didn't really like them. We didn't hate them so we thought there might be some way we could appreciate them. I baked those sliced beets in a 400 degree toaster oven until nearly burned and enjoyed the beet chips but with lots of oil and potentially carcenogenic charring. According to this article about "The 10 Best Foods You Aren't Eating," the best way to get health benefits from beets is to grate them and eat them raw, so that's the way we intend to try this week's beets.

I also put purslane on the salad. Purslane is number 6 on that 10 Best list. I considered buying seeds this winter after learning about the health benefits of purslane. But I was concerned about the weediness and wasn't sure we didn't have some already. We have a garden bed that we haven't really decided what to do with so, of course, it got weedy this spring. It turns out that one of the weeds is purslane. So, I'm gradually pulling the other weeds and this will be my purslane bed this year. Guess what? It grows like a weed! Much better than any of the vegetables I planted are doing.

The results? We liked the green salad even with two new-to-us vegetables. I grated the beets finely, pretty much liquefied them, and they blended into the homemade russian dressing. Next time I'll try a coarser grater to see if we like them that way as well. We barely noticed the purslane with the other greens.

The potato salad was, well, bland. I guess there's a reason that tzatziki sauce goes with spicy meat in gyros. We doctored it with soy sauce at the table and that helped a bit.


Debbie said...

Your meal sounds (and looks) great.

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