Is it box time again already!? I feel like I just did this…
1 hass avocado
1 box of strawberries
Half pound of german butterball potatoes
1 bulb fennel
1 stalk rhubarb
1 bunch radishes
Pretty good haul this week! Not a lot of ready to eat items, so that’s always fun. I did eat the oranges for lunch at work, and I cut the avocado on top of a side salad at one point. Some of the shallots are still with me because there were so darn many of them, and I seem to get them every box recently. I used one, though.
Sadly the strawberries had to be thrown out. No, I didn’t use them with the rhubarb as you might expect, and I waited too long to use them at all, so that was a sad loss. Sorry, strawberries, my bad.
The first item I cooked was the potatoes. I actually made them the very same night I got the box per Eric’s request. I didn’t do anything too fancy with them, just a nice roasted potato side dish to the dinner we have so often.
The second item I used was the rhubarb. I’d never worked with or eaten rhubarb before so this was going to be an adventure. I did already know that it is quite tart and is usually paired with something sweeter. Since I am not a huge fan of fruit pies I definitely did not want to make the classic strawberry rhubarb pie. The internet was very helpful in pointing me to other rhubarb options.
Who knew the inside was green? Anyway, my plan was to make rhubarb shortbread a la this recipe from Fork Spoon Knife. She made it sound so tempting, and since she and I both only had 1 stalk I thought it sounded like the perfect thing to try. I’m not a big fan of sage, though, so I was going to use basil as my savory herb. I chopped up the rhubarb and cooked it down in some water with a small spoon of raspberry jam to help with the flavor and tartness.
Spoiler alert: This did not work out as planned. Apparently my stalk of rhubarb was much larger than hers, therefore throwing off the recipe because I did not measure my rhubarb at all. Bad baker. I thought, well, I’m a professional baker and I can still follow the guidelines of her recipe anyway so… let’s keep going.
What I got was not at all shortbread. I could tell my dough was way too soft for that. Probably all the extra rhubarb mess I had thrown in. These turned into very nice fluffy risen cookies with bits of rhubarb and basil, and spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and ground sage (just a tad! I had to!). They weren’t bad really! Very warm from the spices, chewy/fluffy, and full of rhubarb bits. They reminded me of… cake! It’s good to know that I can basically make a recipe on the fly, but it’s also interesting that what I came out with was more or less cakey cookies. I am definitely a cake baker.
The radishes and fennel were the last items to be used. We ate them for dinner tonight! I braised the radishes on the stovetop like I’ve mentioned before. It’s my favorite way to eat them. Possibly the only way I’ll eat them, and definitely the only way Eric will eat them. They were excellent tonight. I also ended up braising the fennel in the oven which was new for me. I’ve been roasting it to a caramelized shoestring which is delicious, but I wanted to try something new. I quartered it in a small dish with shallots (there they are!), crushed coriander seed, dried basil, salt, pepper, and some vegetable stock. Braised it in the oven for an hour. The fennel quarters got incredibly soft, but retained their mild licorice flavor mixed with all the other flavors I had added. I thought it was quite nice and I enjoyed mine.
Our dinner tonight was a big plate of braised radishes, braised fennel, and steamed broccoli with one pot stovetop mac and cheese on the side because I knew Eric would be extremely unhappy with the dinner options otherwise. I have to say I am extremely proud of him and I considered this meal a success. He ate up all of everything except the fennel which he didn’t touch until everything else was gone. One tiny bite of fennel and he gagged it back up. I think he didn’t like the licorice flavor, and I’ll forgive him for that. It’s definitely a unique taste not for everyone. Also, I had the exact same reaction to a cherry tomato I decided to try last night. We can’t all like everything. I won’t make fennel for him anymore. But definitely a win for the radishes!
That’s it for this box!