Farmer’s Market Finds, Week 2

Happy almost-July, everyone! It’s a sizzling hot weekend around here, but we got up early to beat the heat (and some of the crowds) for our fresh produce.

We started the day out at Cuff Farms for one last round of strawberry picking. It was the best picking we’ve seen all season, so we each filled a flat and came home with about 27 pounds of berries. The only question is what to bake first! 😉 StrawberryPicking2018

We stopped at the farmer’s market on our way home, and I snagged a lot of tasty veggies. This week, I brought home:

  • 1 bunch of beets
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • nearly 2 pounds of sugar snap peas
  • 3 zucchini

2018-FarmersMarketFindsWeek2

So, what are my plans for this pile of goodies? I’m super excited to make this pasta dish again, and, if I’m being honest, that’s about as far as I’ve gotten. I might do a stir-fry or some rice bowls with some of the other veggies. Our lettuce is going strong in our garden, so I’m working lots of salads into our menu as well.  The cucumbers in our garden are coming along nicely, so it won’t be long before we’re enjoying some pickles along with all of our meals.

Have a great 4th of July!

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Farmer’s Market Finds, Week 1

It’s finally farmer’s market season around here! We stopped by Olden Organic’s stand to pick up our punch card, and I decided to do a little shopping at the same time.

2018-FarmersMarketFindsWeek1

I picked up a head of lettuce, and more than a pound of sugar snap peas. I also learned that we’ll need to get to the stand before 9:30 AM to have a chance at getting asparagus or garlic scapes.

The lettuce is destined for a bunch of salads, and we’ve been snacking on the peas already. More of the peas will end up in a stir-fry later on this week.

Speaking of scapes, they’re just starting to appear on our garlic. Garlic scape pesto, here we come! Strawberry season has started here as well, so we’re planning to go picking sometime soon. Yay for summer produce!

Hello, June!

Oh look at that… I let May go right by without writing ANYTHING. Whoops. I’d like to promise that it won’t happen again, but let’s be honest… we’ve been here before. (Plus, I’d hate to lie to all five of the people still reading this blog. Ha.) 

I might not be writing, but I am still cooking. I’ve acquired a new cookbook (thanks to Karen!), and the more I read it, the more I’m convinced that I could be friends with Bridget and Julia. (That’s not weird, right? I’m just cooking their recipes; not camping out at ATK in Boston.) 😀

Cookbooks

I’m also monopolizing the library’s copy of The Perfect Cake, which is counteracting all of my summer exercise. So far, I’ve tried one of the mug cakes, the chocolate sheet cake,  the icebox Margarita cheesecake, the strawberry dream cake, and the Boston cream pie. I’m hoping to make at least a couple more cakes before I hit the renewal limit in a couple weeks. 🙂

We also planted our garden! We’ve added a raised bed, so things are a little less crowded (in theory… somehow we still ran out of room), and our lettuce just started to poke up through the ground yesterday.  Grow, baby, grow! Our rhubarb is up and thriving, so I’m going to start filling the freezer and make a few desserts along the way.

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For the first time in five years, we aren’t participating in a CSA. Our CSA farm isn’t offering a CSA share this season, so we’re going to try their market share instead. I have mixed feelings about it, but I am excited for the season to start! (I’ll definitely miss the “grab bag” aspect of a CSA, since it forces me out of my comfort zone, but it will be nice to get to the farmer’s market regularly. And I won’t miss trying to find ways to use the kohlrabi.) 

That pretty much brings us up to the present. I do have an ice cream recipe to share soon, so hopefully June isn’t as quiet here as May was!

What We’re Eating: 4/23 – 4/27

It’s time for a weekly menu! I haven’t done a great job of sticking to a menu lately, so I’m putting this out there so I have a little bit of accountability. 😉

Monday 4/23 – Meatless Monday this week with Zucchini fritters!
Tuesday 4/24 – I’m leaving Andy to fend for himself while I get tacos with some girlfriends. Hopefully there are still leftovers by the time we get to Tuesday night. 😉
Wednesday 4/25 – Skillet Lasagna. This is one of my favorite things from Cook it in Cast Iron. I’m pretty pumped for dinner on Wednesday.
Thursday 4/26 – Brats with TBD sides. I have almost no inspiration right now, so we’ll see what sounds good when Thursday actually rolls around.
Friday 4/27 – Pizza! I think we’ll order out this time. Glass Nickel sounds like a good way to start the weekend.

What We’re Eating: 2/11 – 2/16

So, that weekly menu. I’ve been fairly consistent about it for the last month or so, which means it’s probably about time for me to fall off the meal-planning wagon. In an attempt to stay organized, here’s what I’m making next week.

Sunday 2/11 – Baked Butternut Squash Pasta and roasted Brussels sprouts
Monday 2/12 – Couscous pilaf with roasted carrots, chicken and feta (new recipe from Southern Living)
Tuesday 2/13 – Salmon of some sort, corn, and roasted beets
Wednesday 2/14 – Pork chops, roasted potatoes, salad, and since it’s Valentine’s Day, chocolate pots de creme from Cooking at Home with Bridget & Julia (I might be using Valentine’s Day as a way to justify fancy desserts on a Wednesday.) 
Thursday 2/15 – Grilled cheese or leftovers, since we’re going to a lecture about the battle of Midway.
Friday 2/16 – Indoor pulled chicken, a vegetable of some sort, and biscuits. I’m pretty excited to try this recipe from the latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated.

There you have it! We’ll see how well I stick to the plan this week.

CSA 2017: The Rest of The Story

Eating locally is something that I’ve been excited about for the last several years. (If you’ve been here for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that.) It’s why I pick local restaurants and gravitate toward the “made in Wisconsin” label on my cheese, wine and beer. It’s also why I’ve opted to get my veggies through a CSA from a local farm each summer.

I typically share a recap of our produce share each week, but this season just got away from me. (And I became the world’s laziest blogger, which I’m working on fixing.) So, here’s a year-end photo round up of 16 of the 19 weeks of home-grown goodness from Olden Organics. (Yes, I only blogged through week 3. MAJOR FAIL.) And technically, we’re missing photos of two weeks because we spent a couple weeks in Washington state this August.

Since I obviously don’t remember what I made with each vegetable, I’ll give you  the run-down of  what does stick out in my mind from this summer.

Corn on the cob. We eat it as-is 99.9% of the time because nothing says summertime like fresh corn.

Cucumbers. In addition to our CSA, our cucumber plants went crazy this summer. I made quick pickles, and I tried a new-to-me orzo pasta salad with cucumbers, mint, feta and red onion. Yum yum yum.

Fennel. It’s still not my favorite CSA vegetable, but I’ve figured out how to make the best of it. This root vegetable gratin is my go-to, but if I don’t have the other vegetables on hand, I discovered that caramelized onions and fennel is an excellent pizza topping. I actually froze a big container of this mixture before our vacation this summer, and it’s just waiting for the next pizza night.

Garlic scapes. I’m a garlic junkie, and scapes are just one more way for me to get my fix. I turn most of them into pesto. My favorite “fast dinner” is pasta with garlic scape pesto sauce and a bit of Parmesan cheese.

Thai basil. I just discovered this variety of my favorite herb, and I cannot get enough of it. We had two plants in our garden this summer, and I loved it. It adds a little extra oomph to dishes, and I liked putting it in stir fries.

Golden beets. They’re similar to regular beets in flavor, but they are so pretty. If you’re someone who eats with your eyes, these are the beets for you.

Carrots. Our late season share had some beautiful rainbow-colored carrots. I tried a new recipe for glazed carrots with dried cherries and orange zest, and it was as beautiful as it was delicious.

Cranberries. We received a big bag in our late season share (and I also stocked up on more at the grocery store). I’ve made cranberry bars and cranberry sauce, and I can’t wait to try a pan of these breakfast buns.

That’s the whirlwind tour of our produce for the year. I can’t wait to see what 2018 holds!

Cookie Time! 

Look at my latest library find!

THePerfectCooki

Unfortunately, it was a short loan, so I had to give it back after only two weeks, but it was fun to look through! There were lots of recipes that caught my eye, but I only had a chance to try three  – butterscotch meringue bars, s’mores blossom cookies, lemon sour cream cookies and salted peanut butter pretzel chocolate chip cookies. Out of those four, the peanut butter pretzel cookies were my favorite, and I got to make them with two of my nieces over Thanksgiving. (I brought the book back to Ohio, and they picked out the recipe I wanted to try most. They have excellent taste!) 

I snapped pictures of a few more recipes that look intriguing, and I’ll probably try those out over the next few weeks. It’s cookie season, after all!

Speaking of cookies, would you believe that I didn’t make a single Christmas cookie this year? Food blogger fail. Things just got away from me this year. I won’t have time before Christmas to bake anything now, but Andy pointed out that I could make a batch the day afte Christmas. It’s supposed to be crazy cold, so spending some time with the oven wouldn’t be the worst thing. 🙂

Merry Christmas, everyone!