I stumbled on this amazing company in Spain: Imperfectus. On this website you can order a box filled with 'imperfect' fruit and vegetables. I love it so much that I currently have a weekly subscription with them. Every Tuesday I receive a box of 8-10 kilos of fruit and vegetables that are considered too ugly in terms of shape or size to be sold in the supermarket. You do not know what will be in the box as it depends on what's in season, but the products are always fresh. One of the other advantages of this box is than none of the produce is wrapped in any plastic, unlike in all of the supermarkets here in Spain. Every week I will try to come up with new dishes inspired by the contents of my Imperfectus box.
This week's box included zucchini, green/red bell pepper, potatoes, lettuce, chard, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, cherry tomatoes, mini green peppers, parsley, bananas, pears, plums, peaches and figs.
Pasta with parsley pesto, walnuts and tomatoes
After receiving basil in my box last week, this time I was surprised to see they had added parsley. Maybe not very original, but again I turned the herbs into a pesto. This time, though, I turned it into a pasta dish. Apart from the parsley, I also used some of the tomatoes from the box, and garlic from on of my previous deliveries. I got spaghetti, walnuts, parmesan cheese and arugula from the store.
To make the pesto, I blended the parsley (1 cup) with arugula (2 cups), walnuts (3 tablespoons), parmesan cheese (quarter cup), olive oil (half cup) and garlic (1 glove). I mixed the pesto and a little bit of water with some cooked pasta. I topped it with raw chopped tomatoes, chopped walnuts and grated parmesan cheese.
Cream cheese filled peppers with potatoes
I finally wanted to do something with the mini green bell peppers I receive almost every week. They are pretty strong in taste, a little bitter I would say, so I thought it would be a good idea to fill them with cream cheese. I served the peppers with baked potatoes from the oven. From the supermarket I got cream cheese, gouda cheese, walnuts and jalapeños.
For the filling I mixed cream cheese with grated gouda cheese, chopped jalapeños and chopped walnuts (see picture for amounts). I cut the peppers in half and got rid of the seeds inside. Then I filled them with the cream cheese mixture and added some more grated gouda cheese on top. I baked them in the oven until the cheese was melted.
Honey roasted figs with yogurt, walnuts and cinnamon
I made this fig dish for breakfast, but it would also serve well as a dessert. I cut the figs in halves and roasted them in a hot pan with honey for about five minutes. Then I combined them with some Greek yogurt, walnuts and cinnamon.
I am so excited to share this recipe as I have made it a million times before. I would normally make this dish with eggplant, but I was surprised how good it tasted with zucchini as well. The recipe basically comes down to three layers: grilled zucchini slices (or eggplant), a tomato/minced meat sauce and mozzarella cheese. I always grill the zucchini/eggplant on my panini grill, but you could also achieve this in the oven or in a pan.
For the sauce you need minced meat, tomatoes, onion, garlic and herbs like salt, pepper, cumin and cinnamon. Sauté some onion and garlic in a pan before adding the minced meat. Season the meat with salt, pepper, cumin and cinnamon. When the meat is cooked, add chopped tomatoes and a can of pureed tomato sauce. Season again with salt, pepper, cumin and cinnamon. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for a while.
Once the tomato/meat sauce is done and you have grilled all the zucchini slices you can layer up in an oven dish. Start with slices of zucchini, top with some of the sauce and add a layer of cheese. Repeat this for a second time. I put this in the oven for about half an hour at 200 degrees Celcius. If you choose to make this with eggplant I would suggest leaving it in the oven longer, but at 180 degrees Celcius. This way the eggplant gets a little more time too soften up, without the cheese burning on top.
Quinoa with chard, carrots, onion and mushrooms
For this dish I used the chard, carrots and onion from the box. I also got quinoa and mushrooms from the store and used some of the garlic from two week's ago. I first baked the carrots for a couple of minutes with some onion and garlic as they need the longest time to cook. Then I added the stems from the chard and baked those for another minute or two, before doing the same with the mushrooms. Lastly I added the leaves of the chard until wilted and added some salt and pepper. I served this vegetable mixture with some precooked quinoa.