Last month in our Fresh Fork basket we received some Stanley plums (aka “Italian plums”). I had no idea how I was going to use them and I knew that my husband wouldn’t eat all of them as I am the pickiest of picky when it comes to fruit. No, really. The list of fruits I don’t like is much longer than the list of fruits that I actually do like. Granted, I’ve come a long way from my childhood where I would eat only apples, grapes, and raspberries – but I still have a ways to go.
We were invited to my inlaws’ house one night for dinner back in September and I needed to throw something together last minute to bring along and share. I settled on this plum cake, as I haven’t really cooked much with fruit and needed to use these plums. Plus, my husband loves cake – so why not?
Italian Plum Cake
- 1 cup unblanched almonds
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus another 1/4 cup for topping
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 2 lbs Italian plums, pitted and sliced (I used about a quart)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter the surface of a 10-inch tart pan or springform pan.
- Put the almonds and 1/2 cup sugar in a blender or food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the flour and salt and pulse once more. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Stir in the melted butter. Add this mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients and whisk until the batter becomes nice and smooth.
- Pour the batter into the pan and smooth with a spatula. Arrange the plum slices on top on a circular pattern. Sprinkle sugar generously over the plums. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the top is golden and a pairing knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Serve warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired.
This cake was, for lack of a better word, devoured. There was not a piece left to take home and a pint of ice cream was a perfect accompaniment to the cake. The almonds and sugar take the sweetness of the plums to the next level…and well, who doesn’t love cake? I was very proud to have made a dessert that was a win with not only family but myself included! I intend to make this again next fall when Italian/Stanley plums are in season.
We are blessed with the overabundance of produce and cursed with a shortage of time in the evenings. The weeks have run together and I realize that I completely forgot to blog!! Then again, I’m still getting back into the swing of things and I’m in the tail end of marching season…so there 😉
September 30, 2015
– breakfast sausage patties – these were delicious on a Saturday morning
– pinto beans – went into a failed tamale pie. I am not used to cooking with fresh beans!
– acorn squash
– eggplant (2) – eggplant rollatini was made. Not too shabby!
– green beans – made into a delicious potato & green bean salad on a Sunday with friends
– green leaf lettuce
October 7, 2015
– beets – I love that they last forever, like the squash. There’s not a rush to get to them!
– cornmeal – Some was used for soaking clams and for the failed tamale pie. I still have some leftover so I may instruct a certain husband to make some cornbread…
– broccoli – Used in the chicken & broccoli dish I made after the tamale pie failed
– sweet potatoes – baked in our Sunday night clambake
– cabbage – Made into stuffed cabbage casserole. Post to (hopefully) come!
– chicken patties
– spaghetti squash
October 14, 2015
– cherry tomatoes
– concord grapes
– green beans
– green cauliflower
– romaine lettuce
– green peppers
Told you I was behind. This past week was even crazier! Thankfully the coming week is going to be a bit more low key – but just a bit, mind you. Irregardless we are munching away with another delicious week of Fresh Fork.
- Beets – again, roasted and awaiting consumption, probably Monday night.
- fresh pasta – How cool is this!!!??? We received Butternut Sage linguine. The bag includes 3 servings; one of which has been consumed by Hubs on a night where I was fed at conferences and he was left on his own. Tossed with pesto from the freezer and a few tomatoes, it’s a satisfying meal!
- carrots – To be roasted for dinner…yummy!
- butternut squash – to the pantry it goes…I have enough for soup now
- yellow onion
- a gigantic kohlrabi – probably to be diced and frozen for winter stir fry
- yellow summer squash – This was sauteed with the cherry tomatoes and some garlic, basil, salt, pepper and olive oil
- cherry tomatoes – I wonder how much longer we’ll be receiving these…they’re just oh-so-good
- green peppers – Not my favorite, but always necessary for casseroles and crock pot meals.
A busy week at our house!
I think that most exciting thing about our new CSA is that we get other foods in addition to just vegetables. We are true omnivores in our house and the Small Omnivore Basket that we receive each week is just perfect! As this post is ridiculously late, here is a recap of our 2nd week, as well as how we prepared these foods:
- pears – I am not a fan of pears, but Hubs is, so most of these were consumed as breakfast
- roma tomatoes – These were sliced and roasted with some garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
- red leaf lettuce – Salads. Perfect with those beets
- golden beets – Roasted for an hour in the oven; holding court in our fridge and used in salads
- eggplant – One was used in eggplant parmesan. The other is still in the fridge and needs to be used ASAP!
- zucchini – Shredded and frozen; zucchini fritters TBM.
- spaghetti squash – Thankfully squash keeps for a little while! Perfect for a weeknight meal.
- cider – This was gone pretty quickly; a certain Hubs of mine loves cider this time of year
- turkey patties – These were put in the freezer and thawed when we had family over for lunch. It was a perfect lunch before traveling out of town for the night.
I am loving the variety, and like I said before, really loving having a kitchen of my own again 🙂
Its a good day when it’s CSA Day – or shall I say, Fresh Fork Day. Our CSA bundle arrives Wednesdays up at the church we occasionally go to; I’m slowly learning the ropes of how they do things. Apparently I can also order other local eats to supplement our basket such as meats, pastas, breads, eggs and more. I’m thinking bacon next week 🙂 Anyway, we have subscribed to the Omnivore basket – in addition to vegetables we will also receive fruit, as well as grains and occasional meat. I’ve also signed up for the Winter Share…which will bring us healthy, locally-sourced foods throughout the dreary Cleveland winter. You can imagine how excited I am!
Anyway, let’s get to our basket:
- green bell peppers
- ‘longhorn’ peppers – my guess is that they are sweet?
- cherry tomatoes
- Stanley plums (aka ‘Italian plums’)
- a GIGANTIC purple carrot
- two zucchini
- acorn squash
- butternut squash
I am in no way, shape or form ready to eat those squash yet. It’s a little too warm now – cooling off this weekend for a bit – so I figure these will be stored for a little while and put to use once the weather ‘officially’ turns. The peppers…I’m thinking either a pepper relish or fajitas next week. Tomatoes and zucchini are always easy to use up; if I don’t I will freeze them to use this winter. The leek should be pretty easy to use as well.
As far as the plums go, I am going to see how many my husband takes for lunch…if any are left I will bake something with them this weekend. The carrot…that huge, purple carrot…I’m thinking roasted, or chopped up for snacking.
It’s great to be blogging again, especially about a CSA share! And it’s good to be back into the swing of things again 🙂
I KNOW! I’m a slacker.
But at least I’m starting to be creative in the kitchen again – give me some credit here! And marching season is officially over so I’m a little less occupied with writing drill, football games, and such. ANYWAY…we’re in the tail end of CSA season and have one more box to go after this post!
- Swiss chard
- Brussel sprouts – roasted with olive oil and topped with salt, pepper & balsamic vinegar
- cayenne peppers
- Fresno peppers
- potatoes – Perfect for beef stew
- ARTICHOKES – how cool is that?!
- pie pumpkin
Not sure how a filter got put on this one…I think it was late at night?
- zucchini and squash
- red sweet peppers – Perfect for sausage and peppers on a Sunday afternoon
- kale – I used this in a recipe for risotto instead of baby spinach
- green and purples peppers (and a poblano, too)
- Brussel sprouts – roasted with olive oil and topped with salt, pepper & balsamic vinegar
- onions – French onion soup, anyone?
One more week to go before it’s back to purchasing our weekly fruits and veggies. It’s hard to believe…and with the summer that we had I’m still thankful for the variety that we were able to receive from the farm.
Anything fun in your CSA this week?
This post is excruciatingly belated – partly because I’m behind in blogging, and partly because I wanted to wait until the weather started to turn to post this recipe. Thanks to my husband, I’ve grown to really love and appreciate having soup for dinner. It makes great leftovers and is a satisfying meal; with my culinary ADD, the more veggies and herbs, the better! 🙂 Thus it’s now fall and I’m *finally* ready for soups and stews.
I came across this recipe back in August, when my CSA was chock-full of tomatoes and eggplant. Especially eggplant. I had a Sunday afternoon to play around in my kitchen, and I decided to make this soup ahead of time to freeze for cooler weather. I’m thankful that I did – this soup really hit the spot during our first chilly week up here!
Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup
- 3 pounds roma tomatoes,cored and cut in half
- 1/2 lb carrots, sliced into 3/4-inch pieces
- 10 cloves garlic (cut it back a bit if you like)
- 4 tbsp
- salt & pepper
- 1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
- 1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
- 2 tsp curry powder
- cilantro – for serving
- rustic bread – for serving
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees . Make sure that you have two racks in your oven, towards the middle.
- On a baking sheet, toss together the tomatoes carrots, garlic, and half of the oil. Spread into a single layer and arrange the tomatoes with cut sides down. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- On another baking sheet, toss together the eggplant, chickpeas, curry powder, and the rest of the oil. Spread in a single layer.
- Place both sheets in oven, putting the tomato mixture on the higher rack. Roast until the veggies are tender for 45-50 minutes, tossing each mixture halfway through.
- Remove baking sheets from oven. Using tongs, peel off the skins from the tomatoes & discard the skins. Transfer the tomato mixture into a large pot and puree with an immersion blender (if you don’t have one, use a food processor or blender). Thin with 2-3 cups of water; add eggplant mixture and continue to blend. Add an additional cup of water if desired.
- Turn on heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with cilantro and with a side of crusty bread.
Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup
Because of the chickpeas, this soup is ridiculously filling – thus a little goes a long way! Since I had made it ahead of time and froze it, the soup was a snap to defrost and eat on a chilly Monday. The cilantro adds a nice touch to it, and of course we ate it with some fresh bread!
While the ingredients may be a little out of ordinary, they are all things that can be found in your local grocery store (or CSA). You could even save yourself the step of peeling tomatoes by using canned tomatoes; just roast the garlic with the chickpeas.
Oh yeah – I realized after the fact that this soup is also vegan! 🙂 So, hooray for a satisfying soup that is filling, nutritious, and contains no animal products whatsoever (even though we all know that I am borderline meatatarian). Try this – you won’t be disappointed!
Today you get a two-for-one post, because I seriously am that behind up here on The Spicy Simmer. Don’t get me wrong – I love to blog! – but life has gotten in the way lately and by the time I get some free time to blog, I end up horizontal on the couch falling asleep watching The Tonight Show on Hulu. So, that’s where I’ve been…sorry!!
Week 14 seemed a little bit smaller than what we’re used to, but I’m not complaining one bit. With my schedule as crazy as it’s been, there has been a lot more preserving and a lot less creativity. Oh well – it is what it is!
We ended up getting a watermelon – imagine that! We also had the first squash of the fall season (I’m so glad those keep!) and tomatoes are still making an appearance. I was especially thankful for the garlic; I just can’t seem to get enough!
I feel as though Week 15 made up for whatever Week 14 may have been lacking. Look at the difference in the amount of produce! Lettuce, onions, garlic, parsley, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, a celery & celery root, and zucchini. The celery root & celery immediately went into the freezer for use in winter soups. I’ve blanched the peppers and put the parsley into a glass of water in the refrigerator.
While this post may be a bit lacking, rest assured that I do have some recipes on the way to share with you! Hopefully by the end of this week I’ll get them finally up and running. Thanks for sticking by me thus far – I know there are some of you out there who are faithful readers and haven’t given up on me yet, so thanks for sticking by me during this dry spell of sorts 🙂
Where is September going? The first day of fall is tomorrow…it was chilly this week…part of me is ready for fall and the other is trying to desperately cling to flip-flops and sundresses.
At least I can wear my Birkenstocks with socks if need be, right? 😉
• red butter lettuce
• jalapeño peppers
• lots of tomatoes – made into salsa later that evening
• green bell peppers
• lacinato kale – washed and frozen for soup this winter
Any fun goodies in your boxes this week?
This past week was so, so hectic! Between both school, the bakery, and meetings, I didn’t really have a lot of time to play. Thankfully, the coming week has me a little less frantic, so there’s more time to really create some fun things in our kitchen and actually cook for a change – as opposed to either Hubs making dinner or us getting take out. Don’t get me wrong, though – my husband has been a huge help and so patient as I get used to the new routine!
This past week , we had our usual favorites to enjoy!
- romaine lettuce – Salads for lunches
- garlic – Used in a soup recipe…coming soon!
- celery & celery root?! – My husband had asked the farm helpers what to do with this, and they said that it was really great for stock. Thus this was cut and put right into the freezer.
- grape tomatoes – Roasted and ready for anything!
- potatoes – These will be served with flank steak. Yum!
- green and purple peppers – Used in chicken fajitas.
- zucchini & squash – Most likely, this will go along with the flank steak and potatoes.
- slicing tomatoes – Now I finally have enough for a batch of salsa
The weather is starting to really feel like fall, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. We barely had a summer! Even worse, our house got so cold Friday night that we had to *gulp* turn on the heat Saturday morning to get the chill out. Let’s just hope that the fall weather stays for a while, or the warmer summer air returns. Heaven knows we’re not ready for white stuff yet…