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 pumpkin, zucchini, carrots, green/red bell pepper, mini green pepper, potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, cherry tomatoes, pears, apples, banana, peaches and plums.
Penne pasta with tomatoes and burrata
Every week I receive these amazing tomatoes in my box. This week I even had four different types of tomatoes and I just had to make a dish out of them. To celebrate the tomatoes I decided to use them as my main ingredient in a pasta dish. I bought penne pasta, sun dried tomatoes, garlic and burrata from the store. This recipe is really quick and easy and the food tasted even better than I expected.
Start by boiling water and cook the pasta. Then bake garlic (2 or 3 cloves) in some olive oil until fragrant. Add the sun dried tomatoes (95 gram), cherry tomatoes (12) and other tomatoes (4), all cut into pieces. Once the tomatoes start to blister, add one teaspoon of honey, two teaspoons of balsamic vinegar, basil, salt and pepper. Add the cooked pasta and stir until everything is mixed well. Put on a plate and top it with some delicious burrata.
Lettuce cups with shredded chicken and vegetables
For my second dish I used a lot of the ingredients in this week's box: lettuce, red bell pepper, carrot, zucchini and potato. I only bought chicken breast and used some of my kitchen staples for a dressing (garlic, honey, olive oil, vinegar, lime juice). The only two things I actually cooked for this dish were the chicken and the potatoes. I grated the carrots and zucchini, cut the bell pepper into thin match stick pieces, and left them raw.
To make shredded chicken you start by bringing a pot of water to a boil. Add the raw chicken breast to the boiling water (no need for cutting). Add some chicken broth (one cube) to the water and boil for 10 minutes. Then turn off the stove, cover the pot with a lid and let it sit for another 10 minutes. This method always works for me. These 20 minutes in total always leaves my chicken juicy. To be sure, cut one of your breasts in half and check if it is cooked through. If it is still raw on the inside, just put in back in the water, put the lid back on and keep it in there until it is cooked. As I am an efficient chef (or lazy), I don't shred the chicken the proper way (pulling it apart with two forks), but I just cut the chicken into bite size pieces.
For the baked potatoes, start by peeling them and cutting them into pieces. Put them in some cold water for about 30 minutes which would help them crisp up a little more in the end. Dry them and put them on an oven tray with some olive oil and the herbs you like. I added garlic and cayenne pepper this time. Put them in the oven until they are brown and crispy. Add salt at the end.
For the dressing I grated one clove of garlic and mixed it with two tablespoons of olive oil, one tablespoon of red wine vinegar, one tablespoon of honey and the juice of half a lime.
To plate up, get a sturdy lettuce leaf, add chicken, carrots, zucchini, bell pepper and sprinkle the dressing on top.
Spaghetti with pumpkin, spinach and walnuts
One of the amazing things in my box this week was the pumpkin. I was really in the mood for pasta this week so I just decided to make a second one. I got spaghetti, spinach, garlic and walnuts from the supermarket.
Preparing the pumpkin is going to take up the most time. I kind of hate cutting pumpkin, but it is so worth it. Cut the pumpkin into pieces, add olive oil, salt and pepper and bake them in the oven for about 50 minutes, until they are soft and start to brown. Mash about half of the pumpkin pieces (this should be easy if they are baked long enough). Prepare the spaghetti as it states on the package. Bake some garlic (2 cloves) and cayenne pepper in olive oil, add the pumpkin pieces and pumpkin mash, add the cooked spaghetti and the spinach. I heated this for about 10 minutes and the spaghetti got coated perfectly in the pumpkin mash. Put in on a plate and add some walnuts.