CSA week 13: Bruschetta, beets, and creative reuse

-New potatoes
-Zucchini/summer squash
-Hot pepper
-Heirloom tomatoes from the garden of the woman, Judy, who runs my pick-up location!
-…..baby lemongrass?

Let’s address the last item first. I’m 99% sure this is young lemongrass. It sure smelled lemony. And grassy.

I chopped up the whole thing and made simple syrup (1-to-1 ratio of water to sugar, brought to a simmer and then cooled), but I kept the whole pot just below a simmer for a long time, trying to infuse the flavor into the syrup.

I’ve got kind of a lot of the strained results in the fridge in jars right now.

I used some to make really misguided cocktails and now Ben won’t touch the stuff. It wasn’t the syrup’s fault! It was me and my flat soda water! Drat. Maybe a citrus salad would benefit from it?

That night I roasted a whole tray of beets and spent ages cursing and peeling them once they were done. I can’t seem to get a grip on them if I wear gloves, so fuchsia fingers it was.

I sliced and dressed some for salad that night, then chunked up the rest and used them…for a while. In fact, we are still eating them. To go with the beets: Grilled sausage and salad made from most of the giant red heirloom tomato.

The next night I looked in the fridge and saw leftover sausage, beets, and feta cheese. My mom had recently been talking up bulgur wheat, which I loved as a kid, and I’d laid in a supply when she was here. But I forgot that what I bought with her was in a box, so I cooked…something similar looking. From an unmarked bulk-goods bag in the pantry. I also grilled up the pile of little zucchini and squash.

I followed the pilaf directions Mom had sent me, which I will post once I’ve actually used them properly. Here’s how my batch went:


I forged ahead and mixed the mass of….whatever it was…with the other stuff, which of course turned pink from the beets, and called it a night.

Ben said something about Alpo when I handed him his plate, but then he liked it that night and in leftover form. (Of COURSE, whenever I cook something weird I end up with tons and tons of it.) I don’t think he’s ever had bulgur, so he wasn’t expecting the separate grains and drier texture I was looking for.


You guys, do you think those were steel-cut oats? Did I try to make pilaf out of oatmeal? This is why bulk bags are dangerous. I really need to label things; I have a whole container full of tiny bags of bulk spices, and all the different cayennes/paprikas/etc. have gotten confused.


So yet another night, I wanted to use the rest of the red tomato, along with the yellow tomato, and I was feeling incredibly lazy. Bruschetta time! I chunked up the tomatoes, dressed them with sherry vinegar and oil, salt and pepper, and some basil, and then smashed them up really with with my hands (not shown).

But what about protein? I decided I’d also make a batch of the white bean spread I made for our Christmas party. I use rosemary and lemon zest plus lemon juice at the end to brighten it up. It’s explained over at the older post–if you haven’t tried that yet, do; it is SO simple and you can use it as a sandwich spread, bruschetta topping, dip… (Uuugh, revisiting that post reminded me that all my old posts are full of weirdly sized images. I fixed the ones there, but there are so many left to do!)

The key to tomato bruschetta, I think, is in the hand-smashing of the tomatoes and then further smashing as you put them on the bread (which I toasted, rubbed with garlic, and drizzled with olive oil). That helps them hold together and stay on the bread as you eat, instead of toppling off and rolling around, like you sometimes get in restaurants.

We ate more beets, too.

4 thoughts on “CSA week 13: Bruschetta, beets, and creative reuse”

  1. Yep, I’m guessing steel cut oats. But who cares!? You can merely claim that you were hopping on the Bittman savory oatmeal craze. It’s just a grain like anything else, we’re only culturally conditioned to think of it as a grain which can be used in only one application. I recently decided that I wanted to eat more oatmeal for breakfast, but I just can’t get excited about sugar that early in the morning so I went on a hunt for savory recipes. Here’s a link that generated some interesting comments about savory oatmeal: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2009/01/mark-bittmans-savory-oatmeal-with-scallions-and-soy-sauce-recipe.html

  2. Have you ever tried using paper towels to swipe the skins of beets? If you steam them as they roast (I make a packet out of foil and then open them up for the last 20 minutes or so), they get roasty, but the skins come right off. Or, cut them in half and roast cut side down.

  3. You have my sympathy – every time I make beets it looks like a murder scene in our kitchen. Thankfully we only get beets a few times a year.

  4. Mara– Thanks for the link! I’ll give it a look.

    Adrienne– No, but that’s brilliant. I’m so trying it next time. I did packet my beets in foil, I just took the pic before sealing them up! I never open it till the end, though, so I’m curious to try opening the packet up for the last portion of the cooking time. Thanks!

    But Jeanne, beets are sooo delicious! I peel over the sink and only cut them once they’re cooked, which reduces the splatter.

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