We were supposed to entertain a few families at the lake last weekend, but after an emergency call to 911 to report smoke billowing from the house, we prudently canceled. Turns out that it was a faulty boiler, no cause for alarm, but with our house full of steam and smelling like antifreeze, we made plans to host another weekend. Leaving us with a truckload of food, and nobody but ourselves to eat it. Which isn’t such a bad thing, but my husband has cried uncle on the amount of food that I’ve been serving lately and has been an eyelash-width from starting a juice cleanse.
On Saturday morning, I headed out first thing to the Ringwood Farmer’s Market to pick up my weekly Bialas CSA box. After last week’s episode, I was relieved to find out that they’d run out of ghost peppers, although my box was supplied with a healthy dose of jalapeno peppers. I’ve learned my lesson though – these will stay far out of the kids’ curious hands and have been buried in the farthest reaches of my cooler. Likely to never be seen again. If you don’t see a jalapeno recipe for the next few weeks, please remind me to dig them out before they develop more white fur than Santa Claus.
Here’s what we received in this week’s box:
1. Bok choy
3. Fresh leeks
4. Green beans
5. Fairy tale eggplant
9. Turnips with greens
10. New potatoes
12. Indigo rose tomatoes*
13. Swiss chard
*purchased from Bialas Farms separately
Once back from the market, we started our Saturday with one of my now famously rich meals – breakfast tacos, which I made with some leftover sliced strip steak, cilantro, tomatoes, and a lime crema. My timing was way off, with Rodney nowhere to be found when the tacos were done. Thinking maybe I’d disrespected his plea for lighter meals, I searched the house, but apparently he’d already left to take the kids to the park. Leaving me to eat two of these things by myself and ruining my appetite for the rest of the day but one does not let breakfast tacos get cold, wither and die.
To make the breakfast tacos:
Whether you’re grilling from scratch, or using leftovers, all you need are a few slices of sautéed strip steak per taco. First start by heating a large cast iron pan over medium heat and adding three flour tortillas (I use fajita size). When one side is starting to brown, flip, and add a dollop of sour cream that’s been mixed with some lime juice & zest. Add the steak to the top of the cream, add a few chopped tomatoes, a fried egg, and some cilantro sprigs over the top. If you like things spicier, add some hot sauce.
Given that I had a mound of food to cook through, I knew that I had to get cracking early and cook as much as I could in order to freeze some meals. With the mound of turnip greens, and the leafy green chard, I figured that a braised dish could use both at once, along with the ham hock that had been taking up space in my freezer.
I found a tasty Southern-inspired recipe on Epicurious, and made it pretty much to the letter, swapping kohlrabi for the carrots and adding the bunch of Swiss chard to fill out the greens.
As you can imagine, my kids, not having grown up with Southern influences aside from cornbread, didn’t want to even be in the same room as the braised turnips.
They were much more interested in this activity: a make-your-own pizza bar using some locally-purchased flatbreads. What I didn’t tell them is that pizza-making lets me use up just about every leftover in the fridge, so kids, thank you.
The best part of the pizza bar? Grilling the pizzas…(yes, one has a bite out of it already)
Please excuse the blurry shot – I was surrounded by smoke and had three little helpers standing by. This was a Ninja-quick mission to get in and get out, hopefully with crispy pizzas and body parts intact.
Lauren made Rodney’s pizza, which resulted in a tower of tomatoes. “Why so much tomato?” he asked me, not knowing that he was in fact eating a masterpiece. To which I gave him a sideways neck jolt towards the little chef. Silenced.
My own pizza was base on a pizza that I grew up eating in Toronto at a restaurant called Il Fornello. In the 80s it was the place to go for Canada’s best imitation of Wolfgang Puck’s California Pizza Kitchen. I ordered pizza #11 from the menu every time – pesto, chicken, goat cheese, and eggplant. I tried to replicate the dish exactly, except that I didn’t have eggplant. But it was still delicious.