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Purslane is rich with Omega-3!

In Recipes on July 12, 2011 at 7:51 AM

purslane

Verdolaga is the Spanish name for a common garden weed known as purslane or pigweed in English. It is widely eaten in the Middle East both in salads and cooked like spinach. It has a reputation for curative powers going back to the ancient Greeks. It’s extremely good for you, in fact, purslane has more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other vegetable plant.

For more info on storage, perparation and recipes, download Just Food’s Purslane Tip Sheet.

More Purslane Recipes:
Purslane and Parsley Salad
Purslane Cucumber Salad
Purslane Green Bean Marinade
Purslane Gazpacho
Purslane Pasta w/Cherry Tomatoes
Purslane Salsa
Purslane Spanish Rice
Grilled Zucchini Salad with Purslane and Tomato

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Week 4: Squash Blossoms Arrive!

In Recipes on July 5, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Squash Blossoms

squashblossomsSquash blossoms (also sometimes called “zucchini flowers”) are cheap and plentiful in Latin America, where they are called flores de calabaza, but around here they’re mostly a farmers’ market delicacy.  Nutritionally, the flowers are similar to lettuce; you’d have to eat a lot to get much out of them. Aesthetically, however, they can bring a dish to life with a splash of color and texture. Depending on who you ask, they taste like popcorn or something slightly sweet and nutty; or, more poetically, like pure summer and squash perfume.  There are many ways to cook and enjoy these beauties—fried, baked, souped-up or stuffed.

Now, when it comes to squash blossoms, there is one very important but simple question: is it a boy or a girl?

Male blossoms grow from the branches of the squash; female blossoms bear fruit. Male blossoms will be downy, even hairy to the touch; female blossoms will have a soft, fleshy ovary center behind the blossom—which develops into the fruit; the male won’t.

Why is this important?  Well, it may be a matter of taste. Some say the male blossom is preferable because the lump of squash ovary is not there. Easier to prepare and eat.  Others say the female blossom is not only plump but succulent. This fruitier blossom is delectable.  One thing is for certain, there are more male flowers than female flowers on each plant, and the male flowers keep longer. Fruitier female squash blossoms spoil quickly and should be prepared and served on the same day they are picked. Male blossoms will keep a few days.  Male blossoms appear first. The female flower will contain a 4-part pistil in the center.

Store: Squash blossoms are very perishable. Arrange them on paper towel lined tray, refrigerate and use within one day.  Male blossoms will keep for 1 week at 50ºF (10°C) and 2 to 4 days at 40ºF (4°C). Chilling injury will occur if held for several days at temperatures below 50ºF (10°C).  You can also freeze, can, pickle, or dry squash blossoms. If cooked, blossoms will store in the freezer for 6 to 8 months.

Prepare: Open and inspect squash blossoms for insects before using them. Pull off and discard the green calyxes surrounding the bottom of the blossom. Clean blossoms by gently swishing them in a bowl of cold water. Shake them dry. Trim or snip out the anthers or style.

Serve: Use squash blossoms as a garnish raw on crêpes, green salads, fruit salads, soups, and quesadillas.

Recipe: Squash Blossom Quesadilla

Delicate flores de calabaza (squash blossoms) are delicious in quesadillas, soups, and tacos or simply battered and fried on their own.

  • 2  8″ flour tortillas
  • 1 cup grated queso oaxaca, a creamy Mexican string cheese
  • 5 fresh squash blossoms
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • Salsa

1. Top one flour tortilla with 1/2 cup grated cheese. Trim squash blossoms and remove and discard their stamens. Arrange squash blossoms over the cheese, overlapping them slightly. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and tortilla.

2. Heat canola oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook quesadilla, flipping once, until cheese is melted and quesadilla is golden brown on both sides, 4–5 minutes in all. Transfer to a plate, cut into quarters, and serve immediately, with salsa, if you like.

Other recipes:

Hot Sauce Mixer!

In How To, Recipes on October 13, 2009 at 12:37 AM

P1040515Thanks to Gina for hosting our amazingly spicy “Hot Sauce Get Together”! We’ve managed to come up with FIVE different recipes using up several pounds of Serranos and Cayannes. We HIGHLY recommend handling the peppers with disposable rubber gloves and occasionally goggles to avoid injuries. With so many taste tests, everyone felt the HEAT!!! Hope this inspires you to try it at home. Here are some highlights:

Vietnamese Hot Pepper Sauce = Extra spicy! Use in noodle soups, any recipe that calls for heat or as dipping sauce(perfect with summer rolls)!
Sliced Serrano Peppers
Minced Garlic
Distilled white vinegar
Fish Sauce
Sugar

Yemenite Zhug = Spicy! Use with Middle Eastern foods, sandwiches, on scrambled eggs and anything else that asks for a spicy green paste.
1 pound Serrano peppers
5 heads Garlic, peeled
1 bunch coriander, washed
1/2 teaspoon Cumin powder
Salt to taste
Olive oil to cover

Cayenne Hot Sauce = Not too spicy because we removed seeds. Great in Mexican dishes, pasta or any recipe that asks for sweet heat.

10 large fresh red cayenne chiles
2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
3/4 cup white vinegar Salt

Cut stems off peppers and cut peppers in half lengthwise. Remove seeds 
and ribs. Preheat broiler. Place peppers, cut side down, on rack in 
broiler pan. Broil for about 5 minutes or until the skin blisters and 
blackens. Transfer peppers to a plastic bag for about 10 minutes. When 
cool, peel off skins(we actually left them on!).

Place chile pulp and garlic in a blender or food processor. With 
machine running, slowly add the vinegar until the mixture is well 
blended. Add salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate. Will keep in the 
refrigerator for weeks. Makes about 1 cup.

spicey

Most of the recipes we found called for vinegar and garlic beyond that there is a million ways to mix and match and get creative with hot peppers!!! Try adding apple sauce, tomatillos or corn…Have fun and send in your creations to tribeca-csa@googlegroups.com!