Sunday, November 25, 2012

Delicata Taco Bombas

Delicata squash have taken over my seasonal taste buds for the moment.  This squash ranges in size and for this particular rendition I used the smallest ones I could find.  I got these from Paradise Valley Produce at the Thursday San Rafael Civic Center Market.  Last week I put sloppy joe filling in them and Steve commented that I should really try to do a "taco" version as he was just picking them up whole and taking huge bites out of the entire combo.  The kids really liked them too, I thought they might balk at eating the skin, but once they tried it they cleaned their plates. 

This flavor profile is really different to me.  Not particularly sweet, just the right amount of heat and a very clean feeling after you eat them.  I'm not sure it will please everyone but after the excesses of Thanksgiving it was a nice break.  There's not a ton of cooking time, the bulk of the work is actually in the prep.  I had "leftovers" with this quantity, actually looking forward to trying it the next day to see if the flavors settled in any kind of exciting way, but alas, Steve struck before he went to bed and when I went to try them the next day they were a distant memory. 

Delicata Taco Bombas

6-8 small delicata squash (no bigger than the size of your hand--if bigger use less squash and cut accordingly)
1-1.5 lbs. grass fed skirt steak
1-2 poblano (pasilla) chiles
3 cloves garlic, chopped
sea salt
fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh sage
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup chopped white onion
organic olive oil

Rub the skirt steak with the garlic on all sides and season with salt and pepper.  Leave out on counter and let come to room temp while getting everything else ready.  Turn on grill to high or oven to broil and roast peppers until blackened all over (If using the grill get your oven going to preheat to 375 as well).  Put roasted peppers in a glass bowl and cover, or in a plastic ziploc, to allow to steam on their own--turn oven down to 375 if you need to.  While peppers are going, start prepping the squash.  Wash the squash well and cut off stem ends and slice lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds and set them cut side up in whatever pan you are roasting them in. Drizzle then brush all squash with olive oil.  Sprinkle half the sage on to the squash along with salt and pepper and put in oven for 20 min. or until tender when pierced with fork. 

10 min. before pulling out the squash, grill the skirt steak about 3 min. side for medium.  I went 2 min. and it was a little too rare on the thicker end of the steak, but it's really up to you.  Combine the chopped onion, cilantro and remaining cilantro.  Remove the skins from the poblanos, seed them and take the tops off.  It's easy to do under runing water.  Chop the poblano into strips

Assemble your "taco".  I did chopped steak first, a slice of poblano and a spoon of sage onion cilantro mix.  Very delicious!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pickled Watermelon Radish

I'm going to miss my CSA box from Tomatero Farms this winter.  Although I go to their stand weekly anyway at the Farmer's Market, it was always nice to have a few vegetable decisions made for me.  For a few weeks running we were getting watermelon radish, something I had zero experience with.  The first time we didn't get a lot and they were mixed in with the beets so I assumed they were turnips and I roasted them off.  They were nice that way but it wasn't something I was going to pull off every night.  Then we got quite a few the next week--I just stored them in my Debbie Meyer Green Bags and waited.  I was waiting for inspiration.  Then we got another big bag of them.  Time to make a decision.  I REALLY did not want to waste these so I looked up a few pickling recipes and decided to try out one that didn't take a ton of effort.  I'm still working my way into preserving--I have all the supplies, I just need to convince myself to do it (I have some beets that are on their last stand, maybe I'll get to them this week).  Anyway, this recipe worked well, and it turns out the pickled radish is a nice snack, you start eating them and it's difficult to stop.  Because I had at least 5 pounds of them I ended up with 5 quart jars full of the stuff and took it to a potluck to try to get through them, they were a hit with most, I did have one person who was not into them AT ALL.  They last about a month max in the fridge, so maybe if you have a ton of them you can bring them as a fun contribution to Thanksgiving dinner.  There is honey in this recipe, I don't think you can leave it out, it really balances the sour out.  Use a local source and get it raw Grade B.  Also, you can do this with any radish really.  I love this information about the health benefits of radish from  Radishes have been revered as a powerful food throughout history. It's said the Greek physician Androcydes ordered his patients to eat radish to avoid getting intoxicated, which makes sense given they stimulate the function of our livers and digestion. Radishes and their leaves are an excellent source of vitamin C. The leaves are also a good source of calcium. Studies have found radishes can aid the body in the lowering of cholesterol, blood pressure and chances of getting certain cancers

Pickled Watermelon Radish

1.5 pounds radishes, sliced thin with a mandolin--if you are using small radish, you can leave them whole
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemons
1 cove minced garlic
3 (2 inch) pieces of lemon zest

Place the radishes in a colander in the sink and toss with salt. Let rest for 15 minutes to extract some of the water.
Mix the sesame oil, honey, vinegar, lemon juice and garlic in a bowl and set aside.
Rinse the radishes and dry with a paper towel.
Add the radishes to the pickling mixture you created.
Add the lemon zest.
Place into a Ball jar and let marinate at least 1 hour.
Refrigerate to store. Lasts up to 1 month.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Yes, in all caps!  RIBS!  These are pretty easy to pull together, it just takes some time in the oven.  If you are watching the sugar intake, do these without BBQ sauce, they taste amazing without it, but you can add your own favorite if you want at the end--I get that ribs are not ribs without all the goop for some of you.  I have a good BBQ sauce recipe from Nourishing Traditions that's easy to pull together and avoids all the additives you find in the commercial brands. I got my ribs from Marin Sun Farms and they were soooo good.  Other good resources here in the Bay Area are from  Prather Ranch or Fallon Hills, or Tara Firma Farms.   I used pork spare ribs this time out, but you can use baby backs too.  You can also do this recipe with beef ribs, they typically do not have as much meat on them and tend to be a tad bit tougher, but they are less expensive than pork ribs.

I pulled this recipe from Emeril Lagasse and scaled it back a bit so I didn't have a ton of extra spice rub--original recipe here.  I also didn't use the grill at all, just did everything in the oven to keep things simple. 

One more thing about the spices.  In 2010 there were a couple of bad salmonella outbreaks from imported spices and while I haven't seen any news about repeat problems, better to be safe than sorry.   Please try to use all organic spices and ones that are made and processed here in the US, the FDA has pretty strict guidelines and can (somewhat) enforce them here.   


2 racks pork ribs

For the Rustic Rub:

1 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoons cayenne 
2 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoons onion powder
4 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoons dried thyme

3 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
1 tablespoon celery salt

Blend all ingredients in a small bowl, leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for a couple of weeks.  I use it for my "taco seasoning" when we do ground beef tacos.  This rub has lots of heat in it--feel free to dial back the cayenne and paprika if you don't like things too spicy. 

For BBQ sauce:

1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
3 garlic cloves, mashed
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. raw honey
1/2 cup Bragg's Liquid Aminos or Coconut Aminos if avoiding soy
3/4 cup agave sweetened ketchup
1/4 cup fermented fish sauce (optional)

Mix everything together with a whisk.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with a piece of aluminum foil that is large enough to cover the pan twice  lengthwise (you will be folding this over the ribs and sealing it).  Arrange the ribs, meat side up, in one layer on the prepared baking sheet. Divide the seasoning evenly between the 2 slabs of ribs, coating them well on both sides. Fold the extra length of foil over the ribs, and seal it tightly on all sides. Place the ribs in the oven and bake, undisturbed, for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the ribs are very tender. Alternately you can cut the racks into 5 or 6 rib pieces and put them in the slow cooker on low for about 6 hours

Preheat a grill to medium-high (or a 300 degree oven).

Remove the ribs from the oven and peel back the foil so that the ribs are exposed. Using a pastry brush or the back of a spoon, coat the racks lightly on the meaty sides with the barbecue sauce. Place the slabs of ribs, meaty side up, on the grill and cook until the barbecue sauce is thickened and lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Alternatively, return to the oven until sauce is thickened and lightly browned, about 20 minutes longer.

Remove the ribs from the grill (or the oven) and set aside to cool briefly before cutting between the ribs and serving. Serve with more barbecue sauce, if desired.