Saturday, April 21, 2012

Community Supported Fishery

This was a new idea to me, but one that makes plenty of sense. A friend in the Boston area tipped me off about the Cape Code Fish Share. Participants buy shares that consist of a variety of fish, sustainably fished off Cape Cod. Share are offered in six week sessions several times a year, based on the fishing seasons, and they come in multiple sizes. There are pick-up sites around the Boston and Cape Cod areas, plus a couple here in the Pioneer Valley (Amherst, Northampton, and Easthampton for the current share session). If you like fish and seafood (some share options include lobster and scallops) - and especially if you like fish but have shied away from it because it's hard to know how it was fished or where it came from - check this out!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Grilled Ham Steak

If you love ham but find a whole ham is a lot to cook for any old night, get your hands on some ham steaks. Many local pork farmers offer these - essentially 1/2-3/4 inch cross slices out of the whole ham. A single ham steak will typically feed 2-4 people. An added bonus - they are great on the grill!

No recipe is really needed here. Make sure you bring the steak to room temperature before cooking, then grill over a medium-hot fire for 4-5 minutes per side and serve.

Ham steaks are great served straight with no condiments, but you can also pass mustard at the table or any glaze you'd serve with a baked ham, though I personally think the savory or tangy ones work better with grilled ham than the sweet ones.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mustard Grilled Steak

It hasn't been so warm the last week, but the sunny days have lured us outside nonetheless and tempted us to the grill. I really liked this simple steak preparation with spicy mustard. I used a chili pepper spiked mustard that we have, but a regular spicy brown mustard would work as well - use something grainy if you have it, and add a dash of cayenne or chili powder if you like. The steak, of course, comes from our share of a grass-fed cow from Freeman Farm. Leftovers makes nice steak sandwiches the next day.

Spicy mustard
Chili powder or cayenne (optional)
Salt (coarse salt if you have it)
Freshly ground pepper

Take the steak(s) out of the fridge about an hour before you plan to cook it (or any amount of time you have, up to an hour). Pat it dry and place it on a plate. Spread both sides with mustard, about 1/2 tsp for each person's serving. Add a dash of chili powder or ground cayenne if you'd like a little extra chili pepper kick. Sprinkle both sides generously with salt and add a bit of freshly ground pepper. Let sit until ready to grill.

Grill the steak over high heat, 4-5 minutes a side for medium rare. Let it rest for a few minutes when done, then serve hot.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Greek Spinach Pasta with Lamb or Goat Sausage and Chickpeas

Still too early for asparagus, but local spinach is not too hard to come by. I keep finding new ways to puree it with pasta because it's about the only way I can get my four-year-old to eat the stuff. And it also makes for some tasty sauces. This one has a Greek flair, enhanced by the use of lamb or goat sausage. I used goat sausage from Hillman Farm.

1 lb cut pasta such as penne
Olive oil
1 large shallot or small onion, minced
1/2 - 3/4 lb spinach, stemmed and rinsed
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb lamb or goat sausage, casings removed
1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked chickpea

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. Drain and toss with a little olive oil when done. While the pasta cooks, prepare the rest of the dish.

Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet. Add the shallot or onion and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and saute over medium-high heat until wilted but not mushy. Remove from heat and puree in a food processor. Add the oregano, lemon juice, a splash of olive oil, and salt and pepper and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Reheat the skillet and cook the sausage, breaking it up as you go. Add the cooked sausage and chickpeas to the pasta, then stir in the sauce until everything is well coated. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot.

Serves 4-6.