Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Zucchini Bacon Cornbread

Bacon. Bacon. Zucchini.   We bought some really good small batch bacon this week, and so began the week of bacon.  My husband has been a happy, happy bacon boy -- bacon and beet greens brown rice lunches, and the double bacon theme for this supper -- zucchini bacon cornbread and bacon tomato soup.  In a Bacon Bliss.

Zucchini Bacon Cornbread

4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
2 small or 1 large zucchini
2 eggs
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup coarse cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt plus a pinch

Slice 10 thin rounds off of the zucchini and grate the rest on a box grater.  Reserve the rounds, and place the grated zucchini in a colander, and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt, toss to combine and allow the zucchini to drain for about 30 minutes.  In the meantime, cook and crumble the bacon.  Melt the butter and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Oil a 8-10 inch cast iron skillet and place in oven for about 7 minutes, until very hot.

Squeeze the excess water from the grated zucchini and place the grated zucchini in a bowl.  Add the eggs, honey, cooled melted butter and buttermilk to the bowl and combine.  In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients, including a pinch of salt.  Make a well in the dry ingredients, and add the wet ingredients to the dry, folding with a spatula just to combine without over-mixing.  Gently fold in the bacon crumbles.

Remove hot skillet from the oven and pour the batter in.  Arrange the zucchini rounds on top.  Bake for approximately 13-14 minutes, until it's golden and test toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Turnip and White Bean Puree with Preserved Lemon and Thyme (+ grilled spring onions, pork tenderloin and rotkohl)

One of the cool things about Texas is that at this time of year, you can find local vegetables from multiple seasons -- farmers are still harvesting the last of the winter crops (like Hakurei turnips), but also harvesting Spring veggies, such as the Spring onions pictured above.  Our bushel delivery arrived this week and included turnips, gorgeous Spring onions, bright red and juicy strawberries, carrots, lettuce and beet greens, as well as a sneak peek to Summer with the first of the sweet corn on the cob, and the Houston's Eastside and City Hall Farmer's markets have been packed with all the good stuff of the season.  It's a good time to live in Texas and love fresh food.

We've been on a white bean puree kick lately, so when the turnips arrived, it was clear this is how they should be utilized, along with the salty, extra lemony preserved lemons from our Meyer Lemon tree.  Add some garlic and thyme to the white bean turnip puree and you have the perfect compliment to grilled meat and veggies.  Though I could eat bowlfuls of this puree all on its own, we served it this time with grilled pork tenderloin and the beautiful Spring onions from the bushel, as well as some Rotkohl (a traditional German sweet and sour red cabbage) I'd canned from an earlier bushel bounty.  We may try this again with grilled Artichokes.

Turnip and White Bean Puree with Preserved Lemon and Thyme

1 (14  oz) can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
1 small to medium turnip, or 6 Hakurei turnips, peeled and diced
2 T olive oil
2 fat cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 t dried thyme or 2 springs fresh
1 1/2 to 2 cups vegetable stock, divided
1/4 preserved lemon (rind only)
pepper and salt to taste

Peel and dice the turnip and add to small pot with enough vegetable stock to cover.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer until tender, approximately 12 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of your dice.  In the meantime, rinse and drain the cannellini beans, the garlic, and heat 2 T of olive oil on medium heat in a heavy bottomed pan.  Add the garlic and allow it cook for about a minute.  Add the thyme, beans and about a 1/4 c veggie stock.  Reduce heat slightly and allow to simmer for a few minutes until everything is nice and fragrant.   Remove the tender turnips from the broth (reserving liquid) and place in a blender.  Add the bean mixture to the blender and allow to cool slightly.  Rinse and remove and discard the pulp from about a 1/4 of a preserved lemon.  Add the preserved lemon peel to the blender.  Puree, adding a little of the reserved turnip cooking broth as needed to help it along.  Season with pepper and salt as needed, though I found salt unnecessary in mine, as the preserved lemon provided just enough.

Spread some on a plate and top with your favorite grilled meat, fish or veggie (such as grilled artichokes or summer squash).