Tuesday, August 23, 2016

CSA Week 11

The summer is flying by! I have still been cooking, however haven't had much time to write about it! This past week, I had a helper so that makes getting through the bounty a bit easier. I was also out of town earlier this month, so that threw me off with my cooking.

This week, I had this to deal with:
cherry tomatoes
bell pepper
green beans

The zucchini was turned into zoodles and was topped with a pan roasted artichoke sauce.

Last week, I made a version of succotash with my box and had some of that left. I simmered it with the cherry tomatoes and a bell pepper (I forgot to add it in the first time around). Then it was whizzed up with the immersion blender, added some milk and topped with the mixed herb pesto I made a while back.

The cabbage was made into sautéed cabbage, very simple.

The eggplant was turned into an eggplant bake with leeks, ricotta and toasted bread...it was so good, that I have extra ricotta and I might make it again this week!

The green beans, corn, carrots, and jalapeño were turned into a raw salad based on a recipe out of a new cookbook - the CSA cookbook (appropriate, no?).

Another great idea I got out of this book was to use the kale stems to make pesto. I never thought about this...and I am a person that really hates to throw out anything! It has walnuts, parsley stems, kale stems, and lemon. I added in a smoked gouda chunk I had in the fridge, and I am looking forward to topping some pasta with this masterpiece.

The rest of the kale was turned into my favorite shredded kale caesar.

We also made jalapeño spoon bread with corn, but we didn't get a picture of that as the directions said "serve immediately" and thats exactly what we did!

It was such fun to cook with friends, it makes me think back to when I started cooking my CSA box a few years ago...it really makes an afternoon fly by with good conversation and you get to split up the work!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

CSA Week 8

Well the veggies keep coming. Seems to be a good variety so far, so I'm very happy about that. In the boxes this week are:
bell pepper
cherry bomb peppers
yellow squash
grape tomatoes
red tomato
green tomatoes
1/2 loaf rustic loaf
lots and lots of herbs (thanks to a friend for these)

It seems I now have a reputation for making anything into something delicious, thus the extra green tomatoes and the large bundle of herbs (sooo thankful for abundant herb gardens!). I decided to pickle the tomatoes using the left over brine from my pickled chard stems (a huge hit at work, by the way), with some added salt, vinegar and spices. Most of the herbs went into a mixed herb pesto that will be delicious in the coming weeks.

I had some lovely scrambles for breakfast this week with the tomato, a green pepper and one of the ears of corn. The grape tomatoes and cucumber didn't last long either - I just love a cucumber and tomato salad with vinegar.

The potatoes, corn, leeks, bell pepper and a jalapeño were made into a spicy chowder. I made a favorable broth using chicken stock, the corn cobs, rosemary, thyme and oregano. I whizzed it up with my stick blender and it's nice and smooth. Good thing I only used the 1 jalapeño, it has a kick!

The zucchini and summer squash were turned into zoodles and made into a broccoli, cheese and zoodle bake. What a great idea! The recipe calls for kale but I used the leaves from around the broccoli instead, gotta improvise!!

I think I'll use the carrots in a salad when I get more cucumbers.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

CSA Week 7

Since I was out of town last week, my CSA sharing partner had the whole box. This week my second box started, so I'm going to have to start getting more creative!!

So in box 1, I got:
2 yellow squash
1 bunch broccoli raab
herb bouquet

box 2:
3 ears corn
1 red onion
2 large and 3 small cucumbers
1 ripe tomato
1 green tomato
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
3 red potatoes

I was really looking forward to the corn! I will soon get sick of it - the last time I had this CSA, we had corn every week for about 6 weeks, I am trying to be better prepared this time around.

My sourdough starter needed some love, so I made a batch of dough with the intent of using it for pizza. I made a pizza with thinly sliced zucchini, corn, tomato jam and a local cheese. So lovely!

I got some fun new containers for meal prep, so I used them this week. I made oven baked chicken - the sauce was a mix of the leftovers of the dressings from my salads a few weeks back, the green tomato (using it kinda like a tomatillo), olive oil and all the sage from the herb bouquet - everything went into the blender and on top of the chicken. This is a really easy way to cook chicken and it was pretty quick to put together.

I made parmesan zucchini and corn saute with the rest of the corn and squash. The recipe called for dried herbs but I used the fresh herbs from my bouquet.

The last thing I made was the grain side - it's a farro, white bean and broccoli raab gratin. The recipe is from America's Test Kitchen and you bake the farro, what an interesting idea. This may not have been the best weekend to keep the oven on for a few hours (it's in the 90s+ here), but you do what you have to do.

I made a cucumber and tomato salad one night. 

I didn't use the potatoes - if I get more next week, then I will have enough for meal prep. I also didn't use the onion, in favor of using other onions in my pantry that were going bad.

Meal prep!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

CSA Week 5

I'm on vacation this coming weekend so I'm trying to cook up the CSA before I go. We are also in the time of year that our new residents start and so we have a lot of welcome parties - some we bring food and some we don't. Also my friend that shares my share with me is out of town this past weekend, so I had the whole share to myself.

What's the the box this week:
snow peas
herb bouquet

The chard was made into a salad with millet, chickpeas and frozen corn. The herbs went into my dressing. This will go to one of the picnics - it's vegetarian and gluten-free, so a crowd pleaser. Some of the salad I kept for me for lunches, but added pulled pork for protein.

I also pickled the chard stems. It's pink due to adding Sriracha.

With the broccoli, I wanted to make a broccoli salad but I'm not a huge fan of raw broccoli, so I roasted it. I added in the snow peas for crunch and used some of the herb dressing mixed with yogurt for a creamy dressing. It's also destined for the picnic, so now I have a few salads to share.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

CSA Week 3/4

Happy Independence Day America! I spent most of this holiday weekend laying low, recharging after a very busy weekend last week.

Here's what's in the box for these weeks:
week 3 -
snow/sugar snap peas
garlic scapes

week 4 -
snow/sugar snap peas
herb bouquet
summer squash

The scapes were turned into butter - I found last year that making a compound butter like this at the beginning of the season was a great way to add some garlic flavor to dishes (and I think it lasted at least until Thanksgiving, individual results may vary). The compound butter had 2 sticks softened butter, garlic scapes, zest and juice of 1 lemon, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese. Put in food processor until smooth. I store mine in the freezer and just chunk off a bit until I get enough for my recipe.

My CSA offers an herb bouquet, which i think is a great idea - you get just enough to add to recipes, not a ton that you don't know what to do with it all. I've been wanting to make my own herb vinegar for a while and made extra white wine vinegar a while back and basically forgot about it. So, I took the chives, thyme and sage from the bouquet and started flavoring the vinegar. From looking around the interwebs it looks like this needs to sit for about a week then strain...will report back on that one.

The herbs also went into a pea salad - parsley, basil, and mint. The peas were mostly snow peas with a few sugar snaps thrown in. I found this great recipe in one of my new cookbooks, where you cut the peas lengthwise. Then you make a lemony dressing and add in the chopped herbs...it's pretty delicious - nice and fresh with the lemon and crunchy peas.

The kale was turned into caesar kale salad - it's pretty much my favorite way to eat kale. And you can make a big batch, dressed, and it keeps - does not wilt like a lettuce salad. I've made the slaw exactly as the recipe suggests in the past, but this week I knew I needed the salad to last, so the egg was out.

The cucumbers were pickled in an Asian-style pickle with rice wine vinegar, ponzu soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, chile-garlic sauce...they will keep for a while.

I'm planning on just sauteing the squash, just simple.

I think I'm finally getting the hang of this CSA thing - I think the key is highlight the veggie in a way that's not too complicated. But also choose something fun to do with your share when you have a little extra to play with!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

CSA 2016 Week 2/3

I was out of town last week, so I ordered all greens that I could cook down so they would last to this week.

What's in the box this week:
week 2 -

week 3 -
head lettuce
mixed baby lettuce
1/2 crusty bread loaf
asparagus (bought at work as part of a green market for $1.50)

What also went into the cooked greens were some spinach and arugula that were going to go bad while I was out of town (why I thought I would eat 2 giant extra containers of greens, I will never know). So when I got back from my conference, I made green rice to use some of the greens and scallions.

To continue using the greens, I made 2 crustless veggie quiche. One went to a BBQ on Saturday and the other will go with the salad greens for lunches this week. It's a neat idea - you use onions as the "crust" then add in any veggies you have - so this one had the cooked greens and asparagus. Only one had the pretty top on it, so that one went to the BBQ.

The escarole went into a sausage-bean soup. I neglected to read the weather report and it's to be in the high 80s/low 90s this week...oops. Well it's pretty delicious, so it will be worth it, sweat and all.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

CSA 2016 Week 1

It's so wonderful to have such a wide variety of places to choose from when it comes to CSAs in my area. In the end, I have decided to go back to my original CSA through Covered Wagon Produce. Last year, one of my co-workers went with Covered Wagon, so this year we are splitting a whole share among 3 families and they live up by that farmers market, so I don't have to drive 30+ minutes in afternoon traffic once a week to pick up the box - what a blessing. My biggest complaint with Covered Wagon was that they had limited greens in their offerings. I think this is mainly due to when they start offering the share - which is July and by that time, it's too warm to have dainty lettuces and spinach.

So to offset this, I joined a second CSA through Old Tioga Farms - and will be splitting this as well. I heard about them when I lived in Central PA and their farm-to-table dinners in their own farm house. Since then, I have had 2 lovely Italian dinners over the past few years and now can utilize their CSA (they didn't deliver up toward me for the first bit and it would have been about an hour drive down to the farm). There's a few benefits to this CSA - they have my greens and it starts earlier in the season - June! They also have cooking classes occasionally and go to Italy to cook in the late winter/early spring - anyone interested??

Another fun thing with this CSA is the pick up location - which could end up being deadly. It's a local dairy with a farm store and some crazy-delicious ice cream. I've heard a lot about it and driven by but have not stopped in - boy, was I missing out! I'm looking forward to the milk I bought this week - it comes in glass, I didn't know that was a thing anymore! I think my future yogurt will also be extra delicious...

For the initial week we got:
mixed greens
beets and greens
radish and greens
rainbow chard
focaccia bread - did I forget to mention we opted for the bread share as well??

The mixed greens and spinach went to my co-sharer, as well as half the bread. The greens all went into a pot to braise. I added in my homemade pancetta, some reserved cooking liquid from a pot of beans and that's it. I just couldn't wait and made my inaugural CSA dish a plate of avocado toast on focaccia bread with braised greens. This dish made me so happy, I just couldn't help but show it off via text to all my fellow CSA sharers to make them jealous!!!

The rest of the greens were mixed with some white beans and will make a lovely addition to lunches.

I got really fancy with the beets and made a Beet, Cheddar and Apple Tart based on this recipe from Martha Stewart. I made bread dough with my sourdough starter rather than use puff pastry, so it's not quite as buttery as I imagine the original recipe is...but you have to feed the starter and it was rainy today! (somehow that seems to make sense in my head...)

Rather than go raw with the radishes (particularly since I have been enjoying many salads lately with radish), I found a recipe for Braised Radishes with Bacon and Shallot from the Kitchn. My grocery store didn't have shallots so I used regular onions instead. I also use the last of the beets as well - the share this week was 1 very large beet and few smaller ones. It's a very nice flavor, and once again, will go nicely with lunches alongside my tarts.