Stuffed Vegetables on the Menu: Menu Tuesday

September 29, 2009 at 10:28 am

Rob Gardner

While some of you were planning your menus for the week on Monday, I was forsaking food, even local food, for the day.  Oddly, for once, my Yom Kippur thoughts did not center entirely on what I would eat come sunset.  Instead, I dwelled on the much fun I had in the year past.  Sharing my eat local experiences here on the Local Beet was one of those happy thoughts.  I hope these Menu Monday posts, whatever day, helps inspire you to include much local foods each week.  You can do no worse this week, than put on your menu what will probably be on our menu this week: stuffed vegetables.

I love stuffed vegetables, and I love the excuse to eat stuffed vegetables.  You know Jew have something similar to the extended party period from Halloween to New Year’s Day.  From the night of Slichot a few weeks ago, which is like our Midnight Mass with a big sweet table, to the forthcoming dance in the streets Simchah Torah, this is our holiday season.  So, we are going from the “High Holidays” to Friday’s commencement of Sukhot, the holiday of harvest and bounty, and no foods symbolize more, the harvest and the bounty than stuffed vegetables.  Friday, we most likely will stuff.  European or Askhenazik Jews stuffed cabbages.  Sephardic Jews stuffed about anything they could get their hands on.  We follow the latter, not the least because as much work as it is to stuff vegetables, I believe that stuffing cabbage is even more work, all that careful peeling of leaves, blanching and then rolling.  Stuffing peppers, zukes, hard squash, onions,  eggplants, is not so difficult but does demand a lot of time for gorging processes.   Our CSA included eggplants and peppers, getting us part of the way, but we will need to pick up summer squashes before starting our stuffings.  We stuff with rice and local hamburger, bake with home-canned tomatoes and garnish with local egg-distant lemon sauce. 

Stuffing peppers will hardly get us through the surplus of CSA peppers.  Many need to be roasted still, and my wife challenged my pepper laziness the other day.  Still, instead of manning up to my peppers, I said, “go ahead.”  We need roasted peppers for Zuni Chicken salad foll0w-up.  Any recipe that covers eight or so pages in a cookbook needs to be set aside for special days, and my birthday the other day was the excuse for the first Zuni salad.  Not only did my wife make a great eight page salad, she localized it with local romaine, Illinois walnuts replacing pinenuts and Michigan dried cherries replacing the dried currants.  Of the three chickens she roasted, the next will go with roasted peppers.

Zuni salads will not do any dent in the many apples still around from apple picking and also from the CSA box, nor will Zuni salads do any dent in the $20 bag of peaches we got to celebrate the last of the local peaches.  My wife promises a pie.  I’m angling for a little cooked up peach butter. 

Those peaches were the only thing we picked up at farmer’s market this week.  We can draw instead on the beets, the broccoli, the cauliflowers, the acorn squash that have arrived in recent CSA boxes.  We still have tomatoes and cucumbers and Wisconsin feta and I feel several more Greek salads until hard frost hits.  And more than anything, I have to remember to use the purslane I always have to buy but too often ignore once it’s in house.  I imagine next year when I fast, I will also be happy about locally sourced menus.

What will you be putting on your menus?