The Box Meal Plan
This weekday Box includes some more delicious Hachiya persimmons (don't forget to wait until they're ripe!) and apples, both of which make us feel all autumn-y, even if we're still bathing in 70-80 degree humidity. These recipes all feature our fruits and capture that fall sweetness, even in savory dishes. And since we are in New Orleans autumn, they still avoid the oven!
Apple Butter is a classic use of this fall fruit. If you have a slow cooker, this recipe is a breeze, but it's pretty low-effort even without one. Apple butter is sweet enough for desserts, but not so sweet that it doesn't feel like a healthy spread for your morning toast!
Latkes are always a delicious part of a meal, and by pretending that they're like hash browns, we can cheat them into breakfast! These Persimmon Latkes are a fun way to sweeten the deal and add some vitamin filled fruit into your potato pancakes that can seem a little like, well, fried starch.
Because Fuyu persimmons are sweet enough to enjoy firm, they have a lot of versatility when it comes to cooking. This Persimmon and Arugula Pasta makes a great lunch (or dinner or leftovers), and it comes together super quickly. As always, pairing fruit with arugula makes a nice balance of sweetness and the greens' bitter spiciness.
Chicken and apple is a delicious and traditional pairing, but often recipes will require a lot more work two marry the two. This Chicken with Apples and Chardonnay is a simple, elegant solution. A quick sautee and a few spices and herbs, and you have a wonderful, savory dinner that will satisfy and impress. If you want to take this vegetarian, we suggest lightly baking some slices of the chili marinated tofu from the VEGGI Farmers' Cooperative, before tossing them into the apple mix.
The name "persimmon" translates loosely from ancient Greek as "divine fruit," and who are we to contest it? This unique fruit has a short season, and we're carrying Fuyu and Hachiya varieties, so make the most of them while you can! Here are some ideas for getting the most of "Jove's fire" (another translation). Keep in mind, Fuyu persimmons are flatter, looking more like tomatoes: they are good to eat firm or soft, as sweet from the word go. Hachiya persimmons are longer in shape, and they are tannic and not very nice until fully ripe: you can recognize ripeness by the extremely soft texture of the fruit - it is almost pudding-like.
Being in between field and hothouse tomato seasons can be hard for salsa lovers. If you haven't tried a Persimmon Salsa before, take advantage of the lull in your typical foundation by branching out! As with any salsa, adjust the spiciness and salt to taste: this recipe calls for Fuyu persimmons, which can be used while firmer; feel free to try Hachiya if you prefer your salsa less chunky, too!
We've featured several zucchini and summer squash breads, and before we get fully into fall with pumpkin breads, try this sweet Persimmon Bread. The sweetness of the Hachiya persimmons lets you mess with the amount of sugar you add, which can be a fun experiment in texture. Of course, we don't have to tell you how much better naturally occurring sugars are for you, compared to refined ones, so this bread is absolutely allowed for breakfast.
Peaches and other stone fruits get a lot of play in light salads, but persimmons make a really bright addition of their own. An Arugula and Persimmon Salad is an easy lunch, but so packed with flavor: the sweet persimmons balance the bite of the arugula, especially if you bring in the acid of a citrus based dressing.
And though this recipe looks deceptively like the greens and sweet potato or greens and squash recipes we'll see in the next few months, Roasted Persimmons with Mushrooms and Greens make a great dinner for early fall. Cooking the persimmons adds a little more heartiness and depth to their profile, and their softness blends well with the toothier mushrooms and greens.
These recipes manage to feel indulgent without requiring too much of your time in the kitchen. Throw them together for a last minute meal or impress guests with how hard you slaved over a hot stove/cutting board/blender!
Fruit and veggie slaws are a fun way to mix up salads or make a quick topping for a taco. This Radish, Cucumber, and Apple Slaw uses matchstick cuts of each to get a crunchy blend with a little spice and a little sweetness. The Arkansas Black apples in season right now are great for a recipe like this, since until they get very dark and ripe, they'll be more on the crisp and tart side. If the raw radish is too spicy for you, switch it out for turnips - they'll have a little bit of the sharpness, but give a much milder taste overall.
Cake for breakfast is a time honored tradition, and it's even easier to justify (not that you need to) when you make it look like breakfast. This Apple Cinnamon Cake uses fresh fruit and spices to supply great flavor without being over sweet. Don't forget that if you don't have buttermilk, you can make a substitute with regular milk (not skim) and either lemon juice or vinegar!
English cucumbers are favorites because they tend to be sweeter than larger, darker cukes, and with their tiny seeds and narrow seed cores, they skip some of the bitterness imparted by larger seeds. This Cucumber and Yogurt Soup is a wonderful use for them, and sauteing the chopped cucumbers in butter before blending them lends a richness that isn't always found with similar recipes. (We won't tell if you skip the lobster salad this recipe suggests. Some shrimp or white fish will do nicely!)
Hunan Eggplant with Shiitake Mushrooms is a hearty main dish that is great on its own, with rice or noodles, and is delicious hot out of the pan or cold for lunch. Switching out vegetable stock for the chicken and skipping the bacon is an easy way to vegetarian this dish up, and if you don't keep chili bean paste on hand, just use some blended red pepper flakes and minced garlic!
It's always good to have some easy recipes in your back pocket, but sometimes those recipes can get a little worn. Sliced radishes in a salad? Delicious, but hardly an innovation. Potato gratin? Well of course, but sometimes you need a little change. Pasta with butter and sage? A favorite, but what about when you want something a little less starchy? These recipes take some typical recipes and ingredients with new twists.
Not to knock raw radishes, because their spice and crunch are some of our favorite fall flavors (and this recipe still includes some!), but these Sauteed Radishes are a simple way to jazz up a side dish or snack for a slightly heartier palette. Including some wilted radish greens and a few slices of raw radish keeps the sharpness present, but the sweeter, cooked pieces balance out nicely.
Breakfast burritos have been winning more and more favor along with their savory breakfast brethren. What better way to take lunch or dinner ingredients, and even a lunch or dinner preparation and turn it on its head? A good match for this Box are Mushroom, Greens, and Egg Burritos, and of course, bacon is always optional. This recipe calls for spinach, but of course any green will do - we love it with komatsuna or spicy mustard greens!
Potatoes are always been a savory favorite, but if you haven't experimented with turnips in their place, this is your chance! Turnips Anna is a riff on the more traditional Pommes Anna, and like any recipe named in French, you can count on this being a rich, buttery lunch (or dinner, or breakfast...)! Turnips bring a little more light sharpness to the dish, while still mellowing after being cooked in fats and herbs! Of course, include the bacon at your own discretion!
Brown butter and sage have risen to deservedly great prominence in the recipe lexicon. Of course, sometimes you may want to add some more subtle flavors into the mix, and just maybe offset the health implications of a sauce that is mostly butter. Shaving Sweet Potato Ribbons instead of pasta is a great way to quickly incorporate some extra taste and nutrients into a meal, and come on, brown butter sauce always wins in the end anyway.
This weekday Box has a trove of goodies, so we're centering our recipes on the oft-overlooked sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are delicious, healthy, and amenable to so many types of dishes, which makes them a delightful ingredient to keep on hand. They are one of the best vegetables for beta-carotene, also found in produce like carrots or pumpkins.
Homemade snacks are always so much better (and better for you) than heavily processed ones, and these Sweet Potato and Greens Mini-Frittatas are no exception. They're delicious and snackable for kids and also vegetarian and gluten free.
If you're going to take the time to make breakfast in the morning, you may as well do it right. Sweet Potato Waffles are hard to beat, especially with the pecan honey butter included in this recipe (and especially especially if you get some local pecans and honey!). The natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes only takes a little push from some sugar in the recipe, but depending on your tastes, they could even do without.
These Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Lime Juice and Roasted Peppers are so straightforward, they barely need a recipe (but we'll give you one anyway). These make a wonderful lunch on their own, especially if you have a gas grill, griddle, or panini press, and they can also provide a nice balance as a side for larger grilling endeavors.
Did you know you can make cheater risotto with pretty much any shorter grain rice? The popcorn rice in this week's Box is a great start for a Sweet Potato Risotto with Komatsuna and Mozzarella. This recipe calls for arugula, and while that (or mizuna, or spinach...) would be great, we're excited about the komatsuna that's come into season recently. Pick up some Country Girl mozzarella with your Box, and you're good to go!
This weekend we have some fantastic items coming your way in the Box, and though they're all great on their own, we are flipping some expectations with recipes that might seem familiar, but don't use the ingredients you'd expect. See which twists you like best!
These Beer Battered Apple Rings don't quite know if they are a snack or a dessert, but that's okay, because we can't quite tell if they are a twist on classic summer or fall recipes. Either way, what's important here is that they are delicious and, if not "healthy," they're at least "healthier" - compared to some things!
Sometimes substitute ingredients can be a big let down, but not in these Vegan Sweet Potato and Ginger Muffins! This clever recipe incorporates some sneaky food science to turn out delicious treats that are healthy enough for breakfast!
It's football season, and that means wings. Of course, it's also 2014, and we're an open-minded, food-friendly group of people, so that also means delicious snacks that are not always meat-based. These Crispy Buffalo Tofu Sticks are a fantastic option: buffalo? Check. Finger food? Check. Dippable? Double check.
How could we avoid another shrimp recipe, with the special Box this weekend? Paired with the lettuce head from your selection, a Blackened Shrimp Salad is a wonderful dinner. The blackening spices are not always on hand, but remember: spices are always to taste. The important thing is finding the combination that works for you and your kitchen. (Pst: blackening spices also work wonders on tofu, if you opted to skip the shrimp!)
For this weekday Box, we're looking at several recipes that take ideas you might already be familiar with, and present new ways to tackle them. Chips made from dried fruit or sandwiches featuring vegetable stars (that aren't caprese) are a little off the beaten path, but they're great for broadening palettes and minds!
If you've been stocking up on apples from the Box, or if you have been lucky enough to go picking yourself, you may be wondering what to do with all that fruit. Apple sauce and apple pie are always great options, but these Apple Chips are not to be overlooked. They make a low-key dessert, but also will jazz up your lunch. If you have enough to do multiple batches, try mixing up your seasonings.
Quesadillas are hardly innovative for the breakfast table, but these Sweet Potato and Goat Cheese Quesadillas are a new take on a classic choice. Incorporating apples and some thin onion slices, this dish manages to be decadent without going overboard on fats or refined sugars. If you don't feel like making your own pepper jelly, don't forget that you can pick up many delicious options in the dry goods section of the market!
There are a lot of ways to cook eggs, and around the world, there are many ways to approach the idea of crepe or omelet. Usuyaki Tamago are a Japanese egg crepe used shredded as a garnish (at which point it is called kinshi tamago), or layered on top of dishes or as a delicate wrap. A simple but delectable none-the-less lunch is one or two of these with some mizuna thrown on at the end. Usuyaki tamago is flavored slightly with sugar, so the taste of the crepe can be a pleasant surprise for many western newcomers!
Though it's often assumed that the necessary ingredients for a sandwich include two pieces of bread, a meat item, and anything else ya got, we always like hearty veggie sandwiches. An Eggplant and Mizuna sandwich would be fantastic on any of the Bellegarde or Gracious Bakery loaves we carry. Spread some local chevre on too, and we'll be over for dinner any time.
As we look forward to more greens (we miss you, spinach and kale!), more roots (come back beets and carrots!), we're still trying to get the most out of the staples of summer. Zucchini and summer squash go so well with the temperature (and humidity), that we can't get enough.
It's been hard to say goodbye to the plentiful summer tomatoes, so we've done our best to draw out the experience. Thanks to a recent surprise crop of beautiful creole tomatoes, you can save some summer flavor for the fall (or even winter, if you can hold out that long!). These Jarred Tomatoes are a simple but satisfying way to preserve bright seasonal tomatoes without going all the way to making sauce or jams. A quick tip for jarring or canning newbies: if you don't have a pot that fits your jars, opt for smaller jars - it's cheaper than a new, large pot, and it forces you to use smaller servings of the tomatoes at a time, so they'll last longer!
Finding a breakfast that is both healthy and decadent can be a challenge, especially adding in any efforts to eat seasonally. Fortunately for you, there is such a thing as Greek Yogurt and Zucchini Pancakes. The squash and yogurt keep these morning treats perfectly moist and keep this breakfast on the right side of your doctor's good side.
Packing lunch is such a boost to eating healthily and saving money. These Sweet Potatoes in Pesto make a great option for something filling and flavorful, but still easy to pack and munch on hot or cold. This is also a great way to incorporate your summer herbs into a dish that can span seasons: make a mess of pesto now, and apply liberally. The red sweet potatoes in the Box this weekend or some white ones from the market are both wonderful in this dish, though we love mixing them up for a more exciting color palette.
Summer squash is a delightful dinner in this still-warm season. It's easy to prepare flavorful dishes that aren't heavy, and it takes so well to the stove top, that it won't overheat your kitchen. This Cheesy Summer Squash Calabacitas is a grown-up and kid-friendly meal, and since it comes together to quickly, it's perfect for busy days!
Though it's sad to say goodbye to peaches and height-of-summer produce, we are thrilled to be at the start of greens season! Kale has already risen to vegetable stardom, so we wanted to highlight some other leafy treats as they come into the market. Across the board, dark leafy greens are high in calcium, vitamin A and C, and fiber, all of which combine for a health benefit smorgasbord.
As anyone who's ever juiced can tell you, a neat way to get the nutritional value out of greens is to pulse them in with other foods (or drinks). For late summer gatherings, we all know that Guacamole is a crowd pleaser, but you can sneakily add leafy goodness in for ninja vitamins.
One of the easiest ways to make a healthy, savory breakfast is eggs and greens. The combination of eggs and dark greens set you up with a protein rich meal, during the best time of day to get that in your body. This Cheese and Greens Omelet is a simple way to wake up, and it won't take much time or effort.
In addition to many health benefits, greens are wonderfully versatile, and their recipes are too. They'll bring slightly different flavors to the table, but we love experimenting with substituting multiple options as they're available. This Greens with Mustard Vinaigrette calls for dandelion greens, but turnip greens are a great switch: they're both on the bitter side for greens, which pairs wonderfully with a bright dressing. Turnip greens in particular are high in calcium, even compared to other leafy greens, so eat up!
Another great thing about greens is how easily leftovers can become great dishes. If you make enough of the greens with mustard vinaigrette above, you can save some for a dinner of Savory Potato Patties. Of course, regular mashed potatoes are great in this recipe, but the sweet potatoes in the Box will add color and a bonus helping of vitamin A and beta-carotene!
One of the beautiful things about the growing seasons in the region is we get two seasons of squash! Welcome yellow summer squash and zucchini (another summer squash with its own fancy name) back into the fold with a recipe for each meal, and a (non-squash) cocktail to accompany them!
Adding sliced cucumber is a great way to refresh plain old water, so imagine what it can do for your daiquiri! This Cucumber Lime with Basil Syrup is a bright cocktail, perfect for summer evenings on the porch. Of course, if you leave out the rum, it's a fresh drink for lunch or little ones!
Chocolate is an important part of a balanced breakfast. Fortunately, this White Chocolate Chip Summer Squash Bread brings sweetness without being overbearing, and since it's chock full of squash or zucchini, it brings nutritional goodness too!
We've tried a lot of pesto varieties in our time, testing different herb combinations, but this Zucchini Pesto is a new one for us! While like any pesto, it's easy to throw this over some pasta, this iteration comes across less like a sauce, so it makes a wonderful lunch on some fresh bread.
Rounding out our squash and zucchini meals, this Shredded Summer Squash with Sour Cream, Paprika, and Dill manages to keep a light, summery quality, while still fulfilling any diner's need for a hot, hearty meal. Use any combination of yellow squash and zucchini, but don't skimp on your spices!