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CSA 2016: Week 7 – Week 10

I. Am. So. Far. Behind. I’d blame our busy summer schedule, but since I say the same thing ever year, I don’t think that’s a good excuse. Whatever the reason, I am just now getting around to talking about weeks 7 and 8 (even though we are eating the goodies from week 9 10 as I write this). We’ll be lucky if I even get a post up about week 11, since I plan to pick it up on my way home from work tomorrow, throw it in the cooler and drive it across the country. Veggies on vacation! (That sounds so much healthier than our other vacation staple, ice cream.) 

CSA 2016 Week 7

We picked up week 7 during EAA Airventure, which meant that most of it ended up in produce saver bags to wait until  the airplanes flew home. Except the blueberries, of course. We ate those by the handful until the pint was gone, which, as you can probably imagine, didn’t take long. Here’s what we received:

  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 pint of blueberries
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 red onions
  • 4 ears of corn
  • 1 kohlrabi
  • 1 1/4 lbs. of green and yellow beans

CSA 2016 Week 8

For week 8, we received:

  • 2 yellow onions
  • 3 red onions
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 4 ears of sweet corn
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 lb. of snap peas
  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 bunch of beets

Neither of us were overly thrilled about eggplant. However, I think I found our preferred method of eating it, thanks to Cook’s Illustrated. Eggplant involtini (especially with the homemade tomato sauce) isn’t half bad.

CSA 2016 week 9

Here’s week 9:

  • 4 ears of sweet corn
  • 1 bunch of Swiss chard
  • 5 red onions
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 4 jalapeño peppers
  • 1 bag of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bag of baby red potatoes
  • 6 tomatoes

I did lots of typical stuff with a lot of this: corn on the cob (boiled to perfection thanks to Cook’s Illustrated), pico de gallo and caprese. It may not be fancy, but it was all delicious.

CSA 2016 Week 10

OK, week 10. (Not only is my writing getting shorter, but my pictures are getting worse. Some blogger I am!) 

  • 2 pints of cherry tomatoes
  • 3 leeks
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 4 ears of sweet corn
  • 1 bulb of fennel
  • 1 bunch of beets

The cherry tomatoes ended up in another batch of caprese, and I caramelized the fennel with some onions. I roasted the cauliflower and the broccoli. Thank goodness beets keep well in the fridge, since most of our CSA beets are still hanging out in the crisper drawer. When we get back from vacation, I’d like to use a bunch of them in this beautiful tart. We ate half of the corn on the cob. I used the last two ears of corn (along with the leeks and some Swiss chard from our garden) to make this tasty flatbread / pizza for dinner last night.

Whew! I think we’re all caught up now… or at least until tomorrow’s pick up.🙂

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Our Raspberry Rendezvous

Last month, Andy and I met some friends in Michigan for the 4th of July. We made it our goal to find the best ice cream place near our campground, which led us to Bud’s. Not only do they have an award-winning chocolate milkshake (made with chocolate and love, I’m told), they also have delicious ice cream. Three of us had the raspberry rendezvous, which is a raspberry ice cream with raspberry-filled chocolate cups. It was pretty great.

There were so many flavors that we had to go back to Bud’s the a second day, and we were surprised to find that we’d made an impression. (Apparently we had a lot of questions. In our defense, how do you know what’s in “happy camper” ice cream unless you ask? Marshmallow and crushed graham cracker, in case you wondered.) I ordered the award-winning shake the second day, and, while it was good, I should have stuck with the raspberry rendezvous from the day before. Turns out the shake only won second place.😉

I meant to share this with you last month. Not only is July national ice cream month, but Andy and I also found a place to pick raspberries and some of them found their way into my own version of this ice cream. Perfect timing, right? Well, just like every summer, things got busy, and before I knew it, July was over! Good thing I’m not limited by manufactured holidays. Any month is ice cream month around here. And since this recipe should work with both fresh and frozen berries, you won’t have to drive to Michigan to try it.

RaspberryRondevousIceCream

Raspberry Rendezvous Ice Cream

18 ounces (approximately 4 cups) raspberries
3/4 cup sugar, divided
4 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup mini dark chocolate raspberry cups (I found these at my local bulk food store.)

Combine the berries and 1/4 cup of sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the berries soften and begin to release their juices, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook until the mixture thickens slightly, stirring often so it doesn’t stick or burn.

Remove the pan from the heat and reserve 1/2 cup of the sauce. Use an immersion blender to puree the remaining sauce until smooth. Strain the mixture into a glass bowl through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any stray seeds. (Save yourself a dish and use the same saucepan to cook the custard in the next step!) Let the sauce cool.

In a medium bowl (or glass measuring cup for easy pouring), whisk the egg yolks and remaining sugar together. Pour 1 cup of cream into a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually pour the hot cream into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return the egg-sugar-cream mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large glass bowl (or my often-used Pyrex measuring cup) and pour the custard through the strainer. Add the berry puree (not the reserved 1/2 cup), lemon juice and remaining 1/2 cup of cream to the custard. Stir to combine, then cover and chill until cold.

Freeze the custard in a ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When the ice cream is done, add the chocolate raspberry cups, letting the machine distribute them through the ice cream. Ladle about one-third of your reserved raspberry sauce into the bottom of the airtight, freezer-safe container that you plan to store the ice cream in. Transfer about one-third of the ice cream to the container and use a butter knife to swirl the raspberry sauce through the ice cream. Layer some more of the raspberry sauce in the container and then top with more ice cream. Swirl the sauce through the ice cream again, then top with the remaining ice cream and any remaining sauce. Give the sauce one more swirl to distribute it through the ice cream. Cover the ice cream. Freeze until firm.

Adapted from Bon Appetit, inspired by the Raspberry Rendezvous at Bud’s in Interlochen, Mich.

Click here for a printable version.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2016 in Dessert, Ice Cream

 

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CSA 2016: Week 6

Let’s start with the important stuff this week. Do you see what I see?!? TOMATOES! I was extra excited to see these in our share Tuesday night. My friends and I had were talking about menus for the week, and Bethany said she was going to make bruschetta, which sounded like a really good idea, except for the fact that the tomatoes in my garden are completely green. And no one should make bruschetta with grocery store tomatoes in July.

Our CSA came through for me though, with four beautiful tomatoes! So, bruschetta it is. I actually think it will make a good snack next week at Airventure, as long as I prep the bread at home before we go.

CSA 2016 Week 6

Here’s the rundown for week 6:

  • 4 tomatoes
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2 small heads of fennel
  • 1 kohlrabi
  • 1 onion
  • 1 pound of green and yellow beans
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 summer squash
  • 1 bunch of garlic scapes

The cucumbers are probably going to wind up in our cooler next week. The scapes are destined for pesto, and I am probably going to caramelize the fennel. We started eating through our kohlrabi stash this week, so now I am down to just three in the fridge. I took my sister-in-law’s advice and oven-roasted them with olive oil, salt and pepper. They were all right, but I may turn the next batch into fritters.

I’ll probably roast the cauliflower, since that’s our favorite way to enjoy it. As for the onion, well, I put onion is almost everything, so I’m sure it will be consumed rather quickly. I’d like to use the zucchini and summer squash in this galette.

Which brings us to the green beans. When they are fresh from the garden, they are one of my favorites. I steamed some with dinner the other night, and I’ve been taking a handful to work each day for easy snacking. Between our garden, the CSA and our generous neighbors, we have a LOT of green beans in the fridge. I might get to can some for winter enjoyment at this rate!

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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The Perfect Summer Side

Ah, summer. The season of picnics and cookouts, graduation parties and camping trips. You know what all of those things have in common? Food! Whatever’s happening, people need to eat, right? And most of the time, there will be pasta salad on the table. Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s drowning in mayo and isn’t so good. Sometimes, much to Andy’s dismay, it’s the only side dish at the party.

Unless, of course, this pasta salad is available. It’s so good that Andy (who says pasta salad makes him gag), eats more than just a polite serving. He goes back for seconds and thirds. And then he raids the fridge for the leftovers.

The first time I tried it, I was amazed  that something so simple could be so delicious. It’s just orzo, lemon juice, olive oil, fresh basil, feta and dried cherries, with some greens thrown in for good measure. My friend Bethany made it for a get-together, and wow. It was summer loving at first bite for me. Clearly, this was something special.

Like any good summer salad, this one is easy to throw together. It tastes good straight out of the fridge or at room temperature. I can’t decide if it’s the basil, the cherries or the feta that puts this one over the top. Maybe it’s all three together, in a trifecta of awesomeness.

I didn’t have arugula on hand, but I’d gotten a bunch of Swiss chard in our CSA the week beforehand, so I figured that would work out OK. I ended up sauteing the stems and then the chopped leaves, since I think they’re a little tough and chewy raw. It didn’t take that much longer, and it gave me something to do while I waited for the pasta to cool. Good thing too. Otherwise I might have eaten all of the feta before it made its way into the salad.😉

I almost skipped the pine nuts because they were ridiculously expensive in my grocery store but decided to splurge when I found a slightly cheaper package of them. I used some of my awesome Italian olive oil from Andy’s brother, Dan, and I think it really made a difference in the end result. So if you have the good stuff, this is the time to break it out. And then you may want to keep it out, since you’ll probably need to make a second batch to take to a picnic or something.

OrzoPastaSalad

Tri-Color Pasta Salad

1 lb. uncooked orzo pasta
3 tablespoons plus up to 1/4 cup of olive oil, divided
2 cups chopped greens (arugula, spinach or Swiss chard)
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup dried cherries
12 fresh basil leaves, torn
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 1/2 teaspoon salt (I didn’t measure this.) 
1 teaspoon pepper  (Again, I didn’t measure.)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, then drain the pasta and quickly rinse it with cool water.

Spread the cooked pasta in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with three tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside to cool.

While the pasta cools, prepare the rest of the salad.

If you’re using Swiss chard, separate the stems from the leaves and chop the stems into 1/4″ pieces. Add some olive oil to a large skillet and saute the stems until they are crisp tender. Chop the leaves into bite-sized / manageable pieces and then add them to the skillet when the stems are almost done. Take the pan off the heat.

If you’re using spinach or arugula, simply wash the leaves and tear them into bite-sized pieces.

Place the greens in a large bowl and then add the pine nuts, cherries, basil and feta cheese. Scrape the orzo into the bowl and add the lemon juice. Gently mixed until everything is well-distributed. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil (up to 1/4 cup) until the pasta is well-coated and doesn’t appear dry. Mix everything one more time, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve cold or at room temperature. Hide store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

From my friend Bethany

Click here for a printable version.

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2016 in Side Dishes

 

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CSA 2016: Week 5

Week five! And I’m actually sharing it the same week that we picked it up. I’m making progress!

CSA 2016 Week 5

This week, we brought home:

  • One Walla Walla onion
  • One head of lettuce
  • Two cucumbers
  • Two summer squash
  • One bunch of beets
  • Two kohlrabi
  • One pound of green beans
  • One bunch of garlic scapes

For once, the lettuce is not going into salads. We’re having tacos Sunday night, so I’m earmarking it for them. I plan on using the summer squash in our other favorite zucchini / squash dish soon. The cucumbers are going into salads and lunches for the next couple of days, and I am sure that we’ll simply steam the green beans until they are crisp-tender. I could make something with them, but why mess with perfection?

I used the beet greens from both week 4 and week 5 in last night’s dinner: bacon, scrambled eggs, and sauteed beet greens. A few years ago I wouldn’t have thought to cook the greens, but I’m older and wiser now. I sauteed the greens with chopped garlic scapes and onion in bacon grease. They were so good that I even had some for breakfast the next day. (Much better than a green smoothie, if you ask me.) I’ll probably roast the beets for dinner one night when it’s not 90°+ outside.

I need to do a little reading before I use the onion. If Walla walla onions are something special, I want to do something out of the ordinary with it.

For those of you keeping track at home, we are now up to FOUR kohlrabi in the fridge. I need to do something with them before things get out of hand. Fritters, maybe? Hmm.

In addition to our CSA goodness, our garden is coming into its own. I picked one and three-quarter pounds of snap peas this morning, and I really want to make this. Andy doesn’t love dollops of ricotta like I do, so I either need to make it when he’s gone or make a second dish for him. It looks like we’ll have beans soon as well. And as long as the cucumbers don’t completely invade the tomato plants, we should see fresh tomatoes in a few weeks too. Exciting stuff!

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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CSA 2016: Weeks 2, 3 & 4

Let’s catch up, shall we? We are a month into the 2016 season, and I am loving it! Except for the fact that I’m feeling slightly overrun with lettuce. We received two heads of lettuce for the first three weeks of the CSA and one head for week 4. Plus, our neighbors shared some lettuce from their garden, and now our lettuce is ready to go! Can you say salads?

I was pretty pumped for week 2: Asparagus, garlic scapes and sugar snap peas? Be still my beating heart. CSA 2016 Week 2

We received:

  • One bunch of kale
  • One kohlrabi
  • One bunch of garlic scapes
  • One small bunch of asparagus (the last of the season!)😦
  • One head of Romanie lettuce
  • One head of Bib lettuce
  • Two heads of broccoli

CSA 2016 Week 3

Week 3 introduced us to something we hadn’t tried before: pea shoots. I used some of them in a quinoa salad with dried cherries and feta cheese, and some of the shoots ended up in a stir-fry. (I used this recipe for the sauce and went with chicken instead of shrimp, just because it was in the freezer, and an assortment of veggies from the fridge.)

Week 3 included:

  • One small bunch of rhubarb (the last of the season) 
  • One bunch of pea shoots
  • One pound of sugar snap peas
  • One head of broccoli
  • One head of Romaine lettuce
  • One head of head lettuce
  • One zucchini
  • One bunch of Swiss chard
  • One bunch of garlic scapes

CSA 2016 Week 4

Which brings us up to the present: Week 4. Here’s this week’s loot:

  • 1 1/4 pounds of peas
  • One head of lettuce
  • One bunch of beets with greens
  • One kohlrabi
  • One zucchini
  • One summer squash
  • One bunch of kale
  • One bunch of garlic scapes

I’m sure you’re wondering what we’re doing with all of these veggies. Besides eating salads, that is. Well, the sugar snap peas are gone before you can blink. It’s like we have es-cape-peas! Hahaha…

The broccoli is making its way into salads and stir fries. Some of the garlic scapes made their way into stir fries as well, and the rest of them are destined for pesto. The zucchini and summer squash will be fritterized by Thursday evening because, yes, we are that predictable.

The kohlrabi… um… yeah. It’s still in the fridge, waiting for inspiration. We don’t hate it, but I haven’t found a way to love it yet. I’m not sure what we’ll do with the kale either. I tossed the first bunch with some pasta, sauteed garlic scapes and Parmesan cheese, which wasn’t bad, but we both thought it was missing something. Bacon, perhaps?

As for the Swiss chard, I’m hoping to use it in an orzo pasta salad that my friend Bethany makes. It has basil, feta, pine nuts and dried cherries, and it’s the only pasta salad that Andy truly likes. It typically calls for arugula, but I think I can sub in the Swiss chard with no problem. I plan to serve that with some salmon (and a salad, of course).

So there you have it.Three weeks of summer-time goodness. Like I said before, it really is a wonderful time of year.

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Neighborly Love

As soon as Andy and I bought our house, we knew we’d won the neighbor lottery. We closed on the house on a June afternoon, and, like any newly-minted homeowners, went right over to see our new place. Duane and Joyce came over to introduce themselves and gave us a quart of fresh-picked strawberries from their garden. Welcome to the neighborhood, indeed.

Since then, they’ve shared lots of fresh produce with us – everything from tomatoes and zucchini to butternut squash and the world’s largest cabbage. They spend lots of time cultivating their garden, and it shows. The veggies are in neat rows, without a weed in sight. The tomato plants are twice the size of ours. The lettuce plants don’t even have dirt on their leaves! (They put a ground cover over the dirt next to the lettuce, so the rain doesn’t splash mud on the plants. So smart.) It’s as close to perfect as a garden can get. Maybe someday ours will look half as good.

One day early on, Joyce asked us if we liked rhubarb. I told her that I thought we did, and she gave us a plate of rhubarb squares to try. If we liked them, she said we could have some rhubarb from their flourishing rhubarb plant. We ate the squares in record time, so I made sure to get the recipe along with some rhubarb from Joyce.

We now have our own rhubarb plants (which have started to take over the entire garden), and this is the first rhubarb dish I make each spring. You use the same mixture for both the crumb topping and the bottom crust, which saves time AND dishes. It’s a flexible recipe too, letting you swap rhubarb for strawberries or apples (or a combination if you choose), but, nine times out of 10, I’ll make the rhubarb version. And every time we eat it, I’m so glad we live where we do.🙂

rhubarb squares

Rhubarb Squares

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, oatmeal and brown sugar. Pour the melted butter over the top of the flour mixture and mix until combined. (It will be crumblier and looser than a batter – more like a pie dough.)  Reserve one cup of the mixture for the topping.

Press the remaining mixture in the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ baking pan. Set aside while you prepare the filling.

Whisk the sugar, water and cornstarch together in a medium saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until mixture thickens and becomes clear. Stir in vanilla and then add chopped rhubarb. Pour filling over the crust in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over the top of the filling.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until filling is bubbling and the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool before slicing.

From my neighbor, Joyce

Click here for a printable version.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2016 in Dessert

 

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