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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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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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CSA 2016: Week 1

Editor’s note: Yes, I’m behind with things (again). We had an unexpected trip come up last weekend, which means that by the time you read this, we’ll be just a few days away from receiving our third week of produce. Better late than never, right? 😛

Finally! I have been oh-so-patiently (ha!) waiting for this moment since last November.

This is our fifth season eating farm-fresh produce from Olden Produce (soon to be Olden Organics), and I think I enjoy this a little more each year. I thought I’d talk about why I like participating in a CSA, since I don’t know if I’ve ever said anything besides, “IT TASTES SO GOOD!”

  1. It’s good to know where your food comes from. I mean, I’m pretty sure that everyone knows that the grocery store shelves aren’t magically replenished by elves or something, but it’s still nice to remember how much work goes in to growing food.
  2. You’re supporting a local business, so more resources are going back into your community, which is always a good thing.
  3. It forces you to try something new. With a CSA, you get what you get, and it’s never the same. Each week is something different. Sometimes you get your favorite thing (Asparagus! Broccoli! Strawberries!), and sometimes, well, you get eggplant. Or fennel. Or kohlrabi. You have to make the best of it because no one likes to waste food. What can I say? I like a challenge.
  4. Finally (and, most importantly, in Andy’s mind): It really does taste SO good. There’s nothing like a fresh strawberry or tomato, and garden carrots have so much more flavor than their grocery-store counterparts. Honestly, once you have the real thing, you’re pretty much ruined for anything else. (Which is why I’m a sweet corn snob. Go ahead and thank my parents for that one.) 
CSA 2016 Week 1

See those extra two quarts of strawberries in the background? They’re from our awesome neighbors.

Besides, what’s not to love about this loot? Here’s the rundown for week 1:

  • 1 quart of strawberries
  • 1 pound of asparagus
  • 1 pound of popcorn
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 bundle of rhubarb
  • 1 head of Bib lettuce
  • 1 head of Romaine lettuce

So, what did we do with all of this? Well, the strawberries were gone right away. There’s nothing like fresh strawberries in June. The popcorn is waiting for a lazy Sunday evening. (Still not sure when we’ll get one of those, but that’s neither here nor there. Popcorn keeps well in the pantry.) I roasted some of the asparagus, and the rest of it ended up in this pasta dish. The kale is still hanging out in a produce saver bag, just waiting for inspiration to strike. The rhubarb is waiting for the perfect dessert opportunity. So many options, so little time.

As far as the lettuce goes, we are embracing the “loaded salad” concept this summer. I fill our plates with lettuce and then pile on the toppings, which helps us stay on top of the lettuce situation. Two heads of lettuce a week is a lot for two people! For a salad to be satisfying enough for dinner, I think it needs the following components:

  • Protein (hard-boiled eggs, grilled steak, grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, bacon)
  • Cheese (feta, Parm, cheddar, blue)
  • Something crunchy (croutons, slivered almonds)
  • Something sweet (sliced strawberries, dried cranberries, dried cherries)
  • Lots of veggies (peppers, onions, snap peas, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. This obviously changes based on what comes in our weekly share!)

So there you have it! Here’s to a summer full of delicious fruits and veggies.

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Spontaneous Success!

Let me start by admitting that I did not plan for this one. Aldi had a sale on mangoes last week, so I violated grocery shopping rule #1 (STICK TO THE LIST!) and put one in the cart. I had no idea what I’d do with it, but 69-cent mangoes are not to be passed up.

Not only did I go off-list at the grocery store, but I also slacked off on the meal planning for the week. I put the fun important things down (dinner with friends Monday night and tacos with friends on Friday night), but that left me with three dinner-less days, and man cannot (or should not) live on Christmas cookies alone. (Not that we aren’t giving it our best shot… 😉 )  And then Andy went on a last-minute work trip, which kind of killed the meal-planning motivation. I would just scrounge up something with what was in the house.

Hmm. One mango. Roughly half of a head of Napa cabbage from our last CSA share (Don’t be grossed out by that. I promise it was still good. Those produce saver bags are AMAZING.) Limes. Onions. Hmm.

Smitten Kitchen to the rescue again! This slaw was incredibly addicting. It was sweet (from the mango), sour (from the lime) and spicy (not sure if it was the red pepper flakes or my red onion) all at the same time. I subbed green pepper for the red pepper (because that’s what I had in the fridge). I didn’t have mint or cashews, so I toasted some almonds and chopped up some cilantro instead.

I was going to cook some shrimp to go with it, but, as I said before, my motivation was dwindling. Plus, I was kind of going to town on the slaw, so I decided to make a meal out of just that. And then I ate the rest for lunch the next day. Like I said, addicting. Good thing Andy was gone so I didn’t have to share. 😉

MangoSlaw

Cabbage & Mango Slaw

1 pound of Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
1-2 mangoes, thinly sliced (Deb’s recipe calls for 2 mangoes. I only had one on hand, but I would definitely go for 2. More mango is never a bad thing.) 
1/2 green pepper, thinly sliced
1/3 of a large red onion, thinly sliced
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Combine the cabbage, mangoes, green pepper and red onion in a large bowl.

Whisk the lime juice, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt and oil together in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and add the cilantro to the bowl. Toss the salad a few times to make sure the dressing is well-distributed.

Just before serving, sprinkle with the toasted almonds.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Click here for a printable version.

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2015 in Side Dishes

 

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CSA 2015: Late Season Share – The Last Hurrah

Our CSA’s standard “season” is 18 weeks long, which gives us produce from sometime in June through sometime in October. Then we have a break for a few weeks (which gives me a chance to clear some space in the fridge) before the one-time, late-season share arrives. It’s larger than our weekly share, and it has some of my favorite veggies. 🙂

CSA 2015 Late Share

We received:

  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 giant stalk of Brussels sprouts
  • Beets
  • Onions
  • Shallots (SO excited about these. Just ask Andy.)
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 bag of mixed greens
  • Butternut squash
  • Celeriac
  • 1 jar of “Cowboy Candy” – sweet pickled jalapeno peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • 2 pounds of fresh cranberries (SO, SO, SO good. I love almost anything with cranberries. Including this pie.) 

I made coleslaw and our go-to cabbage and noodle dish with the cabbage, and we shared the Cowboy Candy with Arron and Karen, since he’s a fan of all things pickled. We had some beautiful salads with the greens. The cauliflower and half of the Brussels sprouts made their way into my own variation of this dish. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what all we’ve done with the onions, since I put them in ALL THE THINGS. 😀 We still have to eat the kale, and I plan on using the celeriac in soups/stews.

I finally found a use for the smaller, buttercup squash we received a few weeks ago: squash toasts with caramelized onions and ricotta. They were amazing, and, for once, I’m not exaggerating. Seriously. Andy rated them higher than vanilla bean ice cream, which is saying something since that’s pretty much the pinnacle of greatness in his mind. I think the only thing that would make them better is homemade ricotta. Next time.

In other produce news, Andy’s coworker shared some of the world’s biggest beets and carrots with us, so we are set with root vegetables for a while. (Seriously. These beets are the size of a baby’s head.) I’m thinking this might be a good time to try some of those carrot soup recipes I’ve been saving. I may try making beet chips again, since we have plenty of them.

And that brings us to the end of the fresh produce here in Wisconsin. We’ll enjoy our frozen and canned produce for the next few months, and I am already counting down the days until our garlic pokes up in the garden. 🙂

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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CSA 2015: Week 18

Sing it with me: “It’s the end of the world as we know it…”

OK, maybe “end of the world” is a little over dramatic. It is, however, the end of our regular season shares from Olden Produce. Sadness. The season always seems to go way too fast. (We do have a late season share coming next month, and I’m hoping for things like Brussels sprouts and broccoli.) 

CSA 2015 week 18

Here’s what week 18 brought us:

  • 2 green peppers
  • 3 onions
  • 3 eggplant
  • 1 bag of mixed greens
  • 1 bag of Asian greens
  • 1 bunch of pea shoots
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 3 radishes
  • 2 sunspot squash
  • 1 head of Chinese cabbage

The broccoli was gone almost instantly. (Roasted with salt, pepper, olive oil and garlic, and then doused with lemon juice. My favorite. I could seriously eat pans of the stuff.) It’s hard to say where exactly the onions went, since we use them in almost everything. (Seriously. Is there a better smell than onions sauteing in butter?) We had grilled chicken salads with the first bag of greens, and I cooked most of the Chinese cabbage in some bacon grease for a vegetable side dish last Friday night.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with the sunspot squash, or the eggplant (especially since I forgot about them in our crisper drawer until yesterday… whoops). I will probably saute the pea shoots with some garlic and serve them with dinner tomorrow night.

Speaking of dinner, let’s talk about what I’m making this week. We have a lot of fun things going on, and I am swamped at work, so I’m trying to make things as easy as possible:

Monday 10/26 – Pot roast with potatoes and carrots in the crockpot
Tuesday 10/27 – Salmon with stir-fried pea shoots and Asian greens and corn (Making this one up as I go along…) 
Wednesday 10/28 – Black bean ragout in the crockpot (I made this in my Dutch oven last winter, and we loved it. This time, I’m using the crockpot so Andy can make it to Bible study at church by 6:30.) 
Thursday 10/29 – Dinner out! We’re double-dating it with some of our favorite people and going to Oktoberfest at a local brewpub. Super pumped for this one. 😀
Friday 10/30 – Chili and caramel apple night with some more friends! I’ve been nominated to bring dessert…. currently leaning toward brownies and ice cream. You can’t go wrong with something like that, can you?

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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