Thanks to a tip from JasmineG, I've joined the cult of the Mariquita Mystery Box, and I have to say, it's seriously reinvigorated my cooking.
The box for 10/5/11 (Oakland pickup @ Camino):
Fresh chile de arbol
Tomatoes (mixed heirloom, New Girl)
Romanesco cauliflower with chili, fish sauce, basil, garlic - this was a riff off a Momofuku recipe - I sauteed the cauliflower instead of frying it, and used basil instead of mint because I didn't want to buy any additional herbs beyond what I had. It was ok, but this dish definitely works better with mint.
Beef and cauliflower tagine - this was a new recipe for me - Eat Your Books helped me find this Paula Wolfert gem (from Couscous and Other Good Food), which also used chilis and cilantro. The beef is flavored with onions (I used shallots), cilantro, paprika, cumin, ginger, and cayenne (I added a chopped fresh chile). The cauliflower is parboiled and added at the and put in the oven for an additional 15-30 minutes. I was amazed at how much flavor the cauliflower picked up in that short time, and it absorbed the stew juices beautifully, like an Atkins friendly mashed potato substitute.
Salad caprese - obvious, and perfect.
Apple galette (I had a scrap of leftover Trader Joe pastry, rolled it out, thinly sliced 2 of the little apples, fanned them out, sprinkled a tablespoon of turbinado sugar, and baked at 450 until pastry was brown)
Gnocchi with pesto - I had already committed to making gnocchi when I peeled the skins of my boiled potates (which looked like small russets) and discovered yellow, slightly waxy flesh. They made for slightly gummier gnocchi than usual - I think they would have been perfect for rosti.
Roast red peppers - these were used in 1) frittata (with parmesan and basil) and 2) romesco - garlic, chili, almonds, tomato, olive oil - I used it as a dip with blanched celery - am planning to use the rest with manchego for crostini). I didn't think about the combination of red peppers and potatoes, but just realized I could have done the Yukon Gold + romesco combo from Suzanne Goin's Sunday Suppers at Lucques (I really love Goin's romesco but it takes more time and effort than my version.)
The celery is probably the biggest challenge at this point - it was an enormous head, and I usually only use celery in mirepoix. I'd love to know what other people decided to use with theirs.
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