Thursday, July 28, 2011

Grasshoppers: Pickup Number 7

 In this week's basket:
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 4 Ancho peppers
  • 3 nectarines
  • 5 peaches
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 watermelon
  • 3.89 lbs. smoke-cured ham

Yikes! More sage! After a week, I still had no clue what to due with my previous batch of sage. The leaves were starting to darken, so I stripped them off the stalks and saved them divided into 5 ziploc bags, which I placed in a larger ziploc bag, and then put it all in the freezer. I had a vague notion that I would simmer some basil with tomatoes to make pasta sauce. But then a friend suggested pesto! Shoot, yeah! So that's definitely what I'm going to do with this current bunch of basil.

The Ancho peppers are destined to become Chiles Rellenos. I learned the hard way that it's easier to char the skin off the peppers by broiling them in the oven than it is by searing them in a skillet on top of the stove. If I only had a gas stove, I'd just have to turn the peppers directly over the flame. I feel lame and inadequate because I don't have a gas stove. Yeah... don't get me started. In any case, I know the Chiles Rellenos are going to be muy sabroso.

As for the nectarines and peaches, I learned (again, the hard way) that if you put such fruit in the refrigerator you interrupt the ripening process. With that in mind, I put the fruit in a large glass bowl in the open air. I intend to monitor them closely to avoid rot and snap them up at the peak of ripeness. I recall hearing Paula Poundstone complain about buying a melon at the grocery. She said she had to wake her kids up in the middle of the night because "the melon was ripe". And yeah, sometimes it seems about that bad. If they all ripen at once, I think I can pop them in the refrigerator so I don't have to consume them all within a few hour window. You can tell I'm not an expert fruit-haver.

The tomatoes are probably going to go into a salad. As for the eggplant, I'm thinking Eggplant Parmigiana. The very thought makes my mouth water. Eggplant is notorious for sucking up all available oil, so it can be a challenge to sauté. When it turns out right, it is well worth the effort. I'll serve it perhaps with some angel hair pasta. Oh! And toasted bread with some of my homemade basil pesto! Yum!

The watermelon is so cute. It's the size and shape of a small, toy football. If it were closer to Comic-Con, I'd poke a hole in it and pour in a pint or so of vodka. Always a good party treat. As it is, I'll probably cut it into fourths for light desserts or afternoon treats.

The ham... wow. It's all frozen in one large package. I'm thinking I could use part of it in a sinfully delicious casserole of cheddar cheese, sour cream, and potatoes or macaroni, with maybe a small amount of green pepper as a counterpoint. If I unthaw it, I unthaw it all. This means that, at some point, I'm going to be eating a lot of ham. (And why does "unthaw" mean the same as "thaw"?)

Again... so much food... so little time.

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