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 broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, carrots, onions, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, oranges, tangerines, persimmons, pomegranates, bananas and plums.
Sweet potato, spinach and bean stew
This week's box included two new items for me, the broccoli and the spinach. All three dishes this week include either one of those. The first of those is a stew in which I used the sweet potato, carrot, tomatoes, some of the onion and the spinach of this week's box. I added a can of lentils and a can of chickpeas for extra fibres, and some garlic, spices and vegetable broth for more flavour.
Start by baking some onion and garlic in a little bit of olive oil until translucent. Then add sweet potato and carrot (cut into pieces) and bake for a couple of minutes. Add the lentils, chickpeas (both precooked) and tomato (cut into pieces) and vegetable broth. Bring it to a boil and let is simmer until the potatoes are cooked through. You can add spices like cumin, cayenne pepper, curry powder, salt and pepper. Lastly add the spinach (cut into strips) and heat it until wielded. I added a bit too much of broth this time, so my stew unfortunately was a little watery. I could have cooked it longer, but I was too hungry to wait.
Broccoli, eggplant and spicy corn tacos
When I saw the broccoli in the box, I immediately thought of this recipe. I have made it couple of times before and I couldn't wait to eat it again. For this dish I used about half of the broccoli and all of the eggplants from the box. I bought tortillas, avocados, corn and beans in the store. Three elements need to be cooked - the broccoli, corn and eggplant - while the other two just need a little preparation - the avocado and beans.
I baked some precooked corn in a pan with olive oil, some salt and cayenne pepper. This doesn't take a lot of time, just until everything is mixed well and heated through. Be careful with the amount of cayenne pepper, the corn can get really spicy very quickly.
I cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces and baked them with some olive oil and salt and pepper until they were charred all over. This way, the broccoli is still a little crunchy.
I cut the eggplant into little cubes and baked them with olive oil, salt and pepper until they were soft.
I used one avocado for three tacos. I mashed the avocado with a little bit of salt and pepper. I drained some precooked beans and cleaned them with water.
To plate up the tacos, start by adding the mashed avocado on the tortillas. Then add the broccoli, the eggplant, the corn and lastly the beans. I really like the combination of these ingredients. The freshness of the avocado, the crunchiness of the broccoli, the spiciness of the corn, the smoky flavour of the eggplant and the soft texture of the beans. Eating them without spilling is a challenge though!
Penne with broccoli and chorizo
I used the other half of the broccoli in a simple pasta dish. I added spicy chorizo, penne pasta and garlic from the supermarket. You can also use another type of sausage for this recipe. I would recommend to add cayenne pepper or any other spicy peppers if the sausage isn't spicy on its own like mine. It definitely adds something to the dish.
Cook the penne pasta as stated on the package and save some of the cooking water for later. I used the same method to prepare the broccoli as in my previous recipe. I cut them into bite-sized pieces and baked them with olive oil, salt and pepper until they were charred all over. You can also boil the broccoli if you prefer that. I cut the chorizo into pieces and baked them with some garlic until they start to become crunchy. Mix the broccoli and chorizo with the cooked pasta and add a little bit of the cooking water of the pasta. You can sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top if you like.