CSA 2008, Week Sixteen.

Oh, Summer.  You have gone and left me behind, even though you promised to stick around until Sunday.  How cruel, how heartless.

How typical!

Regardless of the telltale chill of fall in the air, my CSA box this week from The Food Project had the most summery surprise inside: the prettiest, plumpest raspberries.  Their taste was so very quintessentially raspberry, with the perfect combination of tart and sweet.  I suppose I could have done something with my bounty like make a sauce for peach melba or another dessert, but honestly, popping them into my mouth like so many candies was the best possible thing.

The rest of the box held the following:

  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Chard
  • Edamame
  • Hakurei turnips
  • Kabucha winter squash
  • Onions
  • Pac toi
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes

The edamame was very exciting, as I’ve only ever seen them in either little frozen packages or prepared and sprinkled with coarse salt at restaurants.  These arrived dangling like pale yellow earrings off of a bouquet of hairy, spindly branches.   After I plucked each pod off of each twig, I steamed them and peeled a few out of their shells.  They were nutty and sweet.

quinoa-stuffed-pepper

I was also happy to see the peppers, I’ve got a recipe that I haven’t made since the last cold spell this past spring.  It’s a savory and heartening dish to which the peppers add more than a hint of sweetness.  I always add tons more cheese than the original recipe calls for; I’ve also replaced the suggested Provolone with a combination of mozzarella and Parmesan, since Provolone might be one of the only cheeses that I don’t like.

The best part, in my opinion, comes immediately after removing the peppers from the oven — the heat causes the vegetables to both sizzle like a snake and sing like a bird.  I’m serious; if you make this dish, make sure you take a second to lean in and give the peppers a listen.

All in all, it makes for a great meal, and the perfect one to usher in the fall, no matter how reluctantly.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers, adapted from Everyday Food
Makes four portions.

4 bell peppers  (Though I used two huge red peppers, two small purple peppers and one small green)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
½ cup fresh parsley
1/3 cup walnuts coarsely chopped
1 cup coarsely grated mozzarella
¼ cup coarsely grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 450˚.  Stand peppers upright in an ovenproof baking dish; if they cannot stand on their own, use a knife to level off the base of each pepper.  Cut off pepper tops just below stem and remove the ribs and seeds. Discard stems, chop tops and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium.  Add onion, garlic, coriander, chopped pepper tops; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion has softened, four to five minutes.
  3. Add quinoa and cook until fragrant, one minute. Add one cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until water has been absorbed and quinoa is tender, eleven to thirteen minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, walnuts, a third of mozzarella and half of Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper
  4. Stuff peppers with equal parts quinoa mixture and return to baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until peppers are tender, about fifty minutes to one hour.
  5. Uncover and top with remaining cheese and bake until cheese melts, about ten to fifteen minutes more.
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