CSA 2016: Weeks 11 & 12

Hey there! Andy and I are back from our off-grid adventures, so I figured I’d take a few minutes to catch up with things here. For those who wondered where we went, we spent 10 days in Glacier National Park and managed to hike more than 95 miles (if my math is right), which is a personal best for us on a trip! It was an incredible trip, and pictures won’t do the place justice.

Of course, the downside to late summer travel is that it makes using our CSA produce and garden veggies a little more challenging. I picked up week 11’s share right before we left.

CSA 2016 week 11

We received:

  • 4 ears of corn
  • 1 banana pepper
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
  • several slicing / eating tomatoes
  • red and yellow onions
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 summer squash
  • 1 pound of green and yellow beans

I put the eggplant, beets and pepper in the fridge in my magic produce-saver bags, hoping that they would still look OK when we came home. (And they did. Yay for modern technology!) I knew the onions would keep, so they stayed home as well. Everything else was loaded into the cooler (or the food bin, in the case of the tomatoes – I never refrigerate a fresh tomato) for the trip. I pan-fried the zucchini and summer squash in some butter with a little bit of oregano one day after hiking, and we ate lots of steamed green beans throughout the trip.

Here’s what happened to the sweet corn and cherry tomatoes:

CSA while camping

Just because we’re camping doesn’t mean we have to subsist on hot dogs and instant soup. I roasted the cherry tomatoes in a foil packet with butter, salt, pepper and oregano. Andy really enjoyed them this way – more so than eating them plain. I soaked the corn in water before we put it on the fire, and it turned out really well too.

I don’t have a picture of the week 12 share, as my friend Bethany picked it up, but it looks like it was a good week for her! According to our newsletter, she received:

  • Kale
  • Sweet corn
  • Snap beans
  • Leeks
  • Slicing tomatoes
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Golden beets
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumbers

Bethany did put a cucumber and a zucchini in our fridge for us, along with the beets. I haven’t convinced her that they’re delicious. Yet. 😉

Steak & Veggies, Campfire Style

As I mentioned last week, Andy and I spent the first two weeks of September living out of our car/tent. If you know us (or have been reading for a little while), you know that we have some favorites that always go camping with us. Things like s’mores, rice krispie squares, chex mix and pie iron pizzas.

Allow me to introduce you to another one of our camping staples: Lemon Beef Kabobs. It’s easy to mix up, and it seems to travel well in the cooler. It also helps use up the peppers and squash that seem to overwhelm our kitchen each summer.

I meant to cook this dinner during our time at Indian Peaks Wilderness, but the weather didn’t cooperate. Turns out that rain nearly every evening isn’t conducive to cooking over a fire. Thankfully, we were able to outrun the rain and enjoy ourkabobs over the fire at Wind Cave National Park a few days later. Somehow, dinner always tastes better when it’s flame-grilled. Yum.

A couple notes about camping prep versus home prep: For camping, I like to combine the meat and marinade in one of my Pyrex bowls, and then freeze it so it keeps longer in the cooler. To save time (and work) at the campsite, I also chop my peppers, onions and squash at home and transport them in a ziploc bag in the cooler. At home, I mix up the marinade in the morning and let it hang out in the fridge with the meat while I’m at work. Then, I chop the veggies and make the skewers when I get home from work. Either way, it’s easy AND tasty.

LemonBeefKabobs(A big thanks to Dan and Kim for making this dinner possible! We forgot to pack our skewers, and they found this handy contraption for us to use.) 

Lemon Beef Kabobs

1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lb. sirloin steak, cut into 1″ cubes
1 large onion, cut into chunks
1-2 green peppers, cut into chunks
1 small summer squash, cut into 1″ slices

Combine the lemon juice, oil, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, chopped onion, bay leaf and spices in a non-reactive bowl. Add the steak chunks and stir to coat. (Alternatively, you could put them in a large ziploc bag and toss to coat.) Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Remove steak from marinade and place on skewers with vegetables. (If you’re using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water before using them.) 

Grill skewers over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until beef is done to your liking. Turn the skewers occasionally to prevent burning.

Slightly adapted from Cooking for Two, Summer 2008

Click here for a printable version.

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie…

There’s nothing quite like a good pizza. Everyone has their favorite combination of sauce and toppings, which is one of the things that makes pizza great. What I love (pepperoni and banana peppers) Andy you might not. And that’s OK.

So how -do you make sure that you have four happy campers when it comes to pizza in the campfire? Personalized pie-iron pizzas! We spent the weekend camping with some friends, and decided that we would have pizza for dinner every evening. (And this is one of the perks of being a grown-up. You can eat pizza for dinner every night. And then more pizza for breakfast. Or perhaps a pie.) And everyone was happy. (Mostly, anyway. Sorry about forgetting mushrooms, Mark!) 

So here are my tips for pie-iron pizzas:

First, use cast-iron pie irons. I’ve decided that ours have been seasoning for the last few years, and I think the pizzas taste better every time we use them. Second, use salted butter for your pies. I’m a big fan of unsalted for baking, but save it for your buttercream. This is also the time to relive your childhood and break out the WonderBread. As much as I enjoy a slice of honey wheat on a sandwich (or with homemade jam), it just doesn’t work as well in a pie iron.

Finally, bring all of your favorite toppings (and make a list so none get forgotten)! This year, we brought these goodies:

Basil pesto
Marinara sauce
Mini pepperoni
Chopped onion
Pickled banana peppers
Chopped green peppers
Chopped Swiss chard
Fresh basil
Mozzarella cheese
Fresh garlic
Chopped cherry tomatoes

(I realize this isn’t technically a recipe, and that there’s no picture to go with it, but it is what we’ve been eating lately!) 

What We’re Eating: Camping Edition

As soon as the days get longer and the weather warms up, I get the camping bug. Lazy afternoons in a hammock, smores and pie iron pizzas around the fire, walks through the woods, sunsets by the lake… these are a few of my favorite things.

Thankfully, Andy loves camping even more than I do, which means it doesn’t take much convincing to get him to pack up the car and drive to the park. (In fact, he loves it enough to go camping/backpacking when it’s snowing and the temperature hovers near zero. Crazy! But that’s another story, for another day…) And since we’ve had beautiful weather here since March, I have been itching to get outside for the weekend.

As much as I love getting outside and roughing it (Yes, I willingly stay at rustic campground with pit toilets and no showers. I said I like camping, not that I look or smell good doing it!), there’s one thing I’m not willing to compromise on: the food. If we’re going camping, we’re going to eat well. No hot dogs and re-hydrated instant food, thank you very much. Good food doesn’t take that much more effort, and let’s face it: If I’m hiking 14 miles,  I’m going to do it on a full stomach.

For camping menus, I break things down into specific meals, and I try to make ingredients perform double duty. For instance, if we’re having kabobs, we’ll also have pizza pies and use the peppers, onions and pineapple for both. I also do as much prep work at home, so 90% of the chopping and marinating is done, which makes dinner at the campsite so much easier. I’ve also started packing any meat that’s marinating in my Pyrex bowls, which has eliminated a lot of leaky Ziplocs in the cooler!

Our assembly line for pie iron pizzas! I love my tiny little jar of spices – it’s perfect for camping! It has curry, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, garlic salt and paprika.

For this trip, we have two dinners, two lunches and two breakfasts, along with the must-haves snacks and desserts.

Dinner #1: Pork chops, roasted carrots, onion and potatoes (Pork gets cooked over the fire, and the veggies get roasted in a foil packet in the coals. Virtually no clean-up. Great for that first night, because we’re all but guaranteed to be eating in the dark.)
Dinner #2: Pie Iron Pizzas, topped with pepperoni, pineapple, peppers and onions (My all-time favorite camping meal. It’s even better if you can find the mini pepperonis for the pizzas… unfortunately, my store was sold out of them when I went shopping. 😦 Boo.) 

Breakfast #1: Muffins, fruit, sausage
Breakfast #2: Cereal, fruit, muffins (We try to keep breakfasts simple on the day we’re packing things up.) 

Lunch #1: Sandwiches, raw veggies, fruit (Easy to put together and very portable. After all, you might not even be at the campsite at lunchtime!) 
Lunch #2: Sandwiches, raw veggies, fruit

Snacks/Desserts: Smores (a must-have!), Ranch Chex Mix and Pie Iron Pies (with raspberry filling this time!)