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.
Last week there were some issues with the mail and I unfortunately did not receive my box. This was not the fault of Imperfectus, but they reimbursed me nonetheless. This week, I was once again happy to receive my box. This week's box included sweet potatoes, lemons, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, green/red bell pepper, onions, lettuce, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, pears, apple, melon, banana, peaches and pomegranate.
Tacos with chicken, refried beans, avocado and pomegranate
As soon as I saw the two pomegranates in the box I knew I had to make a dish around them. After a little bit of googling for some inspiration I decided on these tacos. I got some tortillas, kidney beans, avocados and chicken breast from the store.
To get the seeds out of a pomegranate you carve out the top first (first picture). Be careful not to go in to deep with the knife as that could leave a mess. Then you have to score along the wider parts of the pomegranate. It may not be clear on the pictures, but a pomegranate is not exactly round. Mine could be divided into seven segments (second picture). After separating it into segments you can carefully open it like a flower. Then you can remove the seeds by hand or tap on the outside until the seeds fall out.
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.
The last thing I prepared were the refried beans. Start by baking off some diced onion in olive oil. Once the onions have softened add garlic, cumin and cayenne pepper. Stir for a little while and then add drained beans and a cup of water. Cook this for about 5 minutes, mash it by fork or in a mixer and bake them for another 5 minutes (keep stirring). At the end, add some lime juice and salt if needed.
To plate up the tacos, top a tortilla with a spoon of the beans, a couple of pieces of the chicken and some diced avocado. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds on top and finish it of with a little bit of lime juice. These tacos tasted so much better than I expected. I highly recommend them! The only thing that would make them better are corn tortillas, but they are not available in my supermarket.
Lemon zucchini bread
In my box there were four lemons and I wondered if I could make a delicious bread with them. I decided to pair them up with one of the zucchinis from the box.
- ½ cup of olive oil
- 4 tablespoons of honey
- 3 eggs
- 300 gram zucchini
- Zest and juice of 3 small or 2 big lemons
- 2½ cup spelt flour
- 2½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
Start by combining ½ cup of olive oil (you can also use coconut oil), three eggs and four tablespoons of honey. If you want your bread to be sweeter, I would suggest to add more honey. Mine did not turn out to be sweet at all. Add about 300 gram or two cups of grated zucchini and the zest and juice of three small or two big lemons.
In a different bowl combine the spelt flour (2½ cup), baking powder (2½ teaspoon) and baking soda (½ teaspoon). Slowly incorporate the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Add this mixture to a baking tin and put it in a 180 degrees Celcius oven for about 50 to 60 minutes (depending on your oven). Once you can insert a skewer or tooth pick into the bread and it comes out clean it is cooked. Take it out of the oven and let it cool down in the tin for about 15 minutes before trying to take it out. I thought the sourness of the lemons was really interesting in this bread, but I would add some more honey the next time.
Sweet potato, chickpea and vegetable curry
For my third dish I used the sweet potatoes, bell peppers, onion and some of the tomatoes from the box to make a delicious curry. From the store I got chickpeas, coconut milk (400ml) and garlic.
Begin by frying of a diced onion with two cloves of garlic. Once the onions start to soften add some curry herbs to the pan. Then add all of the other ingredients: the diced sweet potatoes, bell pepper and tomatoes, the drained chickpeas and the coconut milk. Add some more herbs like cayenne pepper, cumin or curry if you want. Bring this to a boil and let it simmer until the potatoes start to soften. You can eat this curry with naan bread or rice, or eat it from a bowl without anything else like me. Enjoy!