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 artichokes, chard, broccoli, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, eggplant, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, carrots, cucumber, oranges, tangerines, persimmons, pomegranates and pears.
Eggplant and pumpkin quinoa salad
My first dish of the week is a simple, healthy salad. I used the pumpkin, eggplant and pomegranates from this week's box. I bought some quinoa and chickpeas (both precooked) as additions. I cut the pumpkin into bite-sized pieces and baked them in the oven with olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne pepper. I cut the eggplant into slices, sprinkled them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and grilled them on my panini grill. I baked the chickpeas in a hot pan and deseeded de pomegranates. Once everything is cooked and prepared, mix all the ingredients together with the quinoa and enjoy!
This week's box included three artichokes, which I had never cooked with before. I had to look up online how to clean and cook artichokes. I decided to stuff them with a mixture of walnuts and parmesan cheese. For this recipe you need artichokes, lemon, garlic, walnuts and parmesan cheese.
First you need the prepare the artichokes. Cut the tips of the leaves, slice off the top of the artichokes, remove small leaves at the base and cut off excess stem. I wanted to cook them in halves, so I cut them in half and removed the fuzzy choke and purple leaves on the inside. Then I places them in an oven dish in a water bath with garlic and sliced lemon. Bake/steam this in the oven until the heart of the artichoke is soft. In the meantime, blend some walnuts with parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. Once the artichokes are cooked, add the mixture and bake until brown and crispy. You can dip the leaves in the filling.
Shakshuka with chard
I recently went to an Israeli restaurant where they served these amazing oven dishes named shakshuka. I decided to make my own version with the chard in this week's box. Apart from the chard, I also used some of the onion from the box. I had to buy crushed tomatoes, eggs and feta in the supermarket.
Cut both the stems and the leaves of the chard, but keep them separately. Bake the stems and diced onion for a couple of minutes. Then add the crushed tomatoes and season the sauce with salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper and cilantro. Let this simmer for a while. In the meantime, bake the leaves in a pan until wilted. Place a couple of heaps of the leaves in an oven dish and add the tomato sauce around it. Make some wells in the sauce for the eggs. Once you have added the eggs, put some of the tomato sauce over the sides of the eggs so they will stay in their place. Bake this in the oven for about 8 to 12 minutes until the egg whites are set. You should be able to wiggle the egg a little bit but not too much. Add sprinkled feta cheese on top and serve with bread to dip.
Sweet potato, broccoli and chicken bake
For my last dish I used the sweet potatoes, broccoli and onion from the box. The only thing I added was the chicken. You could bake all ingredients together, but I decided to bake the chicken separately in a pan. Of the vegetables, the sweet potatoes need the longest time in the oven. So start by cutting the potatoes and sprinkle them with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin and cayenne pepper. Put them in the oven and prepare the broccoli and onion in the meantime. Cut the broccoli in small pieces and dice the onion. Add them to the potatoes in the oven and bake together. For the chicken, cut them into pieces and marinate with olive oil and herbs you like. I used salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, cumin and paprika. Bake until cooked through. Once the vegetables and chicken are cooked, mix everything together and enjoy.