Farm to Table Friday: Potatoes, Apples,

Pork and GnocchiSince the Labor Day weekend commemorates the ceremonial end of summer, it seemed fitting to whip up a meal with richer flavors to herald the coming cooler weather! Luckily, our CSA box contained the perfect ingredients to do so: potatoes and apples! On the menu this week:

Homemade Potato Gnocchi with Thyme & Lemon Sauce
Apple-Stuffed, Cider-Braised Pork Loin

While the  pork loin screamed “Fall,” the crispness of the citrus in gnocchi sauce made the meal still feel appropriate for late summer.

From Bailey
Homemade Potato Gnocchi with Thyme & Lemon Sauce

This recipe comes from Cooking Light Magazine. It was easy to do and I really liked it!

Ingredients:

  • 2 (10-ounce) baking Potatoes
  • 2.5 ounces all-purpose Flour (about 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons Kosher Salt, divided
  • Cooking Spray
  • 4 teaspoons Butter
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated Lemon Rind
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh Thyme
  • 2 teaspoons fresh Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Kosher Salt
  • 2 tablespoons shaved fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper

When I made the recipe, I doubled it in order to have enough to feed five people. I also used smaller potatoes, so I just weighed my potatoes with my food scale to make sure the ounces were correct.

To start, bake the potatoes at 400 degrees until they are soft when pierced with a fork. While they are baking, mix the flour and salt and set aside in a large bowl. When the potatoes are done baking and cool enough to handle, remove the peels and put them through a potato ricer. Problem: I don’t have a potato ricer!! Instead I used the small side on my box grater and it worked just fine; the potatoes should be pretty soft and should break apart easily. When you have riced the potatoes, mix them with the flour and salt to form a dough.

Roll the dough into a long rope on a lightly floured surface. I broke my dough into multiple pieces since I had to much of it. After you roll it out to a thickness of about 1 inch, cut them rope into 1 inch pieces. Big Advice: Don’t fret if you feel like your pieces are too small. I did this and made them bigger. When I cooked the gnocchi they got HUGE. Trust me, smaller is better in this.

Next, indent each piece with a fork to create grooves in them. I don’t think I’ll always do this step. While it makes them prettier, it was really more of a pain to me.

gnocchi dough  cutting gnocchi
indenting gnocchi
  ready gnocchi

Next bring a large pot of water to a boil and lightly salt it. When it’s boiling add the gnocchi in batches. They are done when they float. Set them aside on paper towels to dry. 

sauce ingredients

Next heat a large saute pan and melt the butter and olive oil in the pan. Add the shallots to the pan and cook until they are tender. Next add the rind, juice, dash of salt and thyme. Put the sauce, the gnocchi, and the cheese in a large bowl and toss gently to coat. I found that the gnocchi were very delicate and got sort of mushed when I tossed them. I think they’d be better if they were drizzled with the sauce and the cheese was sprinkled on top, to preserve the integrity of the pasta. Despite their delicacy, they came out tasting quite delicious and paired wonderfully with the stuffed pork tenderloin!

From Megan
Apple-Stuffed, Cider-Braised Pork Loin

Ingredients:

  • 4 Cooking Apples (red or tart)
  • 2 Shallots, minced
  • Dried Currants (optional)
  • 1 Large Onion
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 ½ cups Apple Cider
  • 1/3 cup Maple Syrup (real stuff, no Aunt Jemima)
  • 3 tbsp Honey Dijon Mustard
  • 3 lb. boneless Pork Loin
  • 3 tbsp fresh Rosemary, milled or finely chopped
  • 1 tsp kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper

Step One: Pre-heat the oven to 365. Wisk together the apple cider, maple syrup, and mustard, then set aside. Finely chop two apples, and combine with the shallots and currants.

stuffing

Step Two: Slice the pork loin longways, ¾ of the way through (so it opens like a book). Spoon the apple/shallot mixture onto the opened pork, then refold and secure tightly with cooking twine.

Stuffed Pork

Step Three: Combine the rosemary, salt, and pepper, and use the mixture to cover the outside of the pork loin. Heat olive oil in a skillet over high heat, and brown the pork on all sides, turning regularly (8-10 minutes).

Browning Pork

Step Four: While the pork is browning, dice the onion and remaining two apples. Once browned, transfer the pork to a baking dish, and arrange the diced apples and onions around it. Heat the cider mixture in the skillet for 2 minutes, then pour cider mixture over the pork, apples, and onions.

Pork in Baking Dish

Step Five: Put a lid on the baking dish, and bake for 45 minutes, or until internal temperature of the pork reaches 150 degrees.

Baked Pork

Step Six: Remove pork from baking dish, place on a cutting board, and cover with foil. Use a slotted spoon to remove the apples and onions from the dish, and place in a serving platter. Pour the remaining liquid back into a skillet, and heat on high, stirring regularly until the sauce thickens.

Braising Liquid

 Step Seven: Slice the pork into medallions (watch out for the cooking twine!), and transfer to the serving platter with the apples and onions. Pour the reduced braising liquid over everything and serve immediately.

Stuffed Pork Loin with Gnocchi

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Farm to Table Friday: Tomatoes, Corn, Peppers

Tacos and CornAs soon as we saw corn, tomatoes, and green peppers on our CSA list, we were inspired to head south of the border for this week’s Farm to Table dinner! This meal ended up being perfect to enjoy on a hot summer day. On the menu this week:

Carnitas Tacos
Fire Roasted Salsa
Sauteed Corn & Pepper Salad

From Bailey
Carnitas Tacos & Fire Roasted Salsa

To start we made Carnitas Tacos. This slow cooked pork is one my favorite items to order at a Mexican restaurant. Instead of going slow and making this on a smoker, I have a great recipe to make carnitas in a crock-pot.

Slow Cooker Carnitas

  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Ground Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 3-4 Bay Leaves
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 4 lb. boneless Pork Shoulder

This is very easy to assemble. Combine all the dried spices, pat them all over the pork shoulder. Put the shoulder in your crock pot, cover it with the chicken broth and drop in the bay leaves. I usually do this at night, then stick it in the fridge. Before I leave for work the next morning I pop it onto low and when I get home in the evening the meat is ready to go. I take it out of the crock pot and shred the meat with tongs or a fork.

IMG_1374 IMG_1376 IMG_1380

Fire Roasted Salsa

  • About 2 lbs. assorted Tomatoes (preferably small or medium)
  • About 1 lb. assorted Peppers (I use the small sweet peppers)
  • 1/2 cup chopped Onion
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • 1 Lime
  • 1/4 cup fresh Cilantro
  • 3 cloves Garlic, diced or minced
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Special Materials: A food processor or blender

Step One: Clean the peppers and tomatoes, then put them on a preheated grill. Turn them every few minutes to get a good char on each side.

Tomatoes and Peppers Veggies on the Grill Roasted Veggies

Step Two:  When the peppers and tomatoes are roasted, put them in a food processor bowl, You will easily be able to pull apart the peppers to remove the stems and seeds. Add the chopped onion, juice of the lime, the cilantro, garlic, and as much jalapeno as you want to control the spice level. Fire up the food processor and work the ingredients until you get a salsa consistency.

Salsa on the Stove

Step Three:  Move the salsa from the food processor to a pot and heat it on the stove to meld the flavors, serve warm.

**If you don’t have a food processor you can use a blender or just chop everything by hand. You will end up with a chunkier salsa, but it will still taste delicious!

We used gluten free, corn soft-shell  tacos for the Carnitas Tacos, and topped out tacos with the Fire Roasted Salsa, avocado slices, cilantro, and lime juice. Delicious!!

From Megan
Sautéed Corn and Pepper Salad

Since we had already made corn on the cob, I wanted to try something new that could also incorporate the green pepper. I came up with this Mexican-inspired sautéed corn and pepper salad. It’s easy to make and has a great flavor. I liked it so much, I ended up making it again to bring to a cookout later in the week!

Corn IngredientsSautéed Corn & Pepper Salad

  • 6 ears of Corn
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1 Red Onion, chopped
  • 1 pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  • ½ cup of fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh Lime Juice
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Step One: Using a sharp knife, remove the corn from the cob. I found it easiest to hold the ear of corn in a large bowl while I cut it, so the kernels did not fly everywhere.

Step Two: Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Once heated, add the corn, green pepper, and red onion. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until crisp tender. Add a small pinch of red pepper flakes, stir once, and remove from heat.

Saute Corn

Step Three: Pour the corn, pepper, and onion into a bowl. Add the cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Enjoy!

Mixing Corn

Farm to Table Friday: Kohlrabi, Peas, and Garlic Scapes

Welcome to our first farm to table dinner post! This year, the lovely ladies of Common Plate (that’s us!) decided to split a CSA (Community Sustained Agriculture) share from  Strites Orchard in Harrisburg, PA. We plan to use items from the CSA each week to make an original Farm to Table dinner.  Below are the recipes we used to create our first installment of our new weekly series: Farm to Table Friday!

Farm to Table DinnerPenne with Garlic Scape Pesto and Peas
Sauteed Kohlrabi
Grilled London Broil*

*The London Broil has nothing to do with the CSA, but we marinated it and grilled it to medium rare. It was delicious!

From Bailey:
Penne with Garlic Scape Pesto and Peas

Our CSA box included some interesting items this week. We got got fresh shelled peas and garlic scapes. I had never even heard of a garlic scape, but through my research about it I learned that it’s best used to make pesto or hummus. I decided to go with pesto.

Pesto StuffPesto Ingredients
Please note that all amounts are estimated.  You may need to adjust as you go

  • About 6 garlic scapes
  • 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmiaggiano reggiano cheese
  • 1/3 cup roasted unsalted almonds
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

When I made this pesto I first tried to do it in the blender which did not work. I currently only own a 2 cup food processor, so I thought I wouldn’t be able to make it all fit, but I found it was better to work in the processor in small batches than the blender blunder.

Peas in ShellThe first thing we did was shell all the peas, then steam them until they were done. Then we put them to the side.

To make the pesto don’t use a blender like I started out, just go right to the food processor.

Start with the almonds and get them well ground, add in the salt, pepper and basil. Chop a few times, then add in the garlic scapes. To use the scapes chop them up into smaller pieces before adding them in.

Garlic Scapes     Diced Scapes

Next, after grinding the scapes a few times, add in the olive oil, then finally the Parmesan cheese. It’s okay if the mixture is kind of thick, because when the pesto is heated it will cover the pasta well.

Pesto in Food Processor 1 Pesto in Processor 2

To make the final pasta, start with the pasta of your choice, long or short. I chose Trader Joe’s  Gluten Free Corn Pasta. Boil the pasta according to the directions, drain, then set aside. Start by putting some olive oil or butter in a large saute pan. Add the peas, then add the pasta and the pesto. Turn gently until all pasta is covered, and voila! There you go, a delicious side dish! Cover it with grilled chicken or sauteed shrimp for a great entree.

Peas in a Pan IMG_1195 Pesto Pasta

From Megan:
Sautéed Kohlrabi

Raw KohlrabiI had never seen, eaten, or prepared kohlrabi before… heck, I’m not even sure if I had ever even heard of it before it showed up on our CSA preview list! But part of the fun of belonging to a CSA is getting to try new things, so I determined to make a kohlrabi side dish. How hard could it be, right?

Once it arrived, however, I realized that I REALLY had no idea what I was doing. The thing looked like an alien. Several Google searches and helpful Youtube videos later, I decided to tackle sautéed kohlrabi. Thankfully, it’s surprisingly easy to prepare once you realize that it is not, in fact, an alien life form.

Cutting KohlrabiStep One: Remove any leaves from the bulb (ours came pre-removed). From what I’ve learned, the leaves can also be prepared, but the bulb seems to be the most popular part.

Step Two: Use a knife or vegetable peeler to remove the tough, pale green skin on the bulb. Then cut the bulb into thin, matchstick-like spears.

Step Three: Boil the kohlrabi in salted water until softened (about 5-10 minutes), then drain, pat dry, and set aside.

Step Four: Melt enough butter to cover the bottom of a frying pan. Add some minced shallots, and heat until fragrant.

Saute KohlrabiStep Five: Add the kohlrabi to the frying pan, and sauté until it begins to turn golden. Sprinkle a pinch nutmeg on top, and toss to combine.

Kohlrabi has a texture similar to a potato, and the taste is what you might expect if a broccoli and a parsnip had a (very tasty) lovechild. The mildness of the kohlrabi plays well with the butter, and the nutmeg gives it just enough of a kick to pull out some the earthiness of the flavor. New favorite vegetable? I think so!

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We hope you enjoyed the first installment of Farm to Table Friday!
Happy Cooking!