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Sunday
Jul192009

Week 9: Salads

Yikes! I missed a week. Got my veggies but didn’t have the time to pay a lot of attention to cooking or writing about them.

I think we made up for it this weekend, though. Spent some time at the beach with my mother, niece, and sister. My sister is a CSA maven. I brought the bag of veggies, she dug in and planned how we’d use them—well, most of them—this weekend.

We really didn’t get anything new this week. So here’s what we did - salad, salad, salad.

  • Roasted Beet Salad - roasted the beets in parchment and then foil at 350 degrees for 45 minutes until fork tender. Then chilled them, cut them up and ate them with some herbs and a light vinaigrette.
  • Green Salads - We had a salad every day for lunch with fresh greens, radicchio, cucumber, raw peas, and some of her fresh, homemade goat feta. 
  • Fresh Bean Salad - yellow and green beans and basil. Also, some artichokes and veggies which were not from the garden. Again, a light vinaigrette.

I’ve got some summer squash, fennel, and half a head of cabbage left. Tomorrow night I think I’ll make ratatouille. Have got to come up with something new for cabbage because I’ve got about a head and a half in the fridge.

For the fennel—I’m thinking carmelizing, like onions. I’m not sure yet what to serve with it but will come up with something. The fennel we get from the Garden are small. They are flat not the typical large bulb you see in the grocery store.

Tuesday will be here again in no time so I’ve got some cooking to do!

Wednesday
Jul012009

Week 7: Radicchio and Sugar Snap Peas

It was my turn to pick up the veggies yesterday. I live about an hour from the farm, which interestingly, is only ten minutes from my childhood home and about the same distance from the woman who grooms our two little Border Terriers. So, I made a day of it. Dropped the dogs off at 9 a.m., visited with Mom, went to the farm to pick up the veggies and back home to deliver the booty (four of us split two shares).

The day seemed very promising weatherwise—sunny and warm. We’ve had a lot of rain in the Northeast this spring so the few sunny, summery days we’ve had have been cherished. I sat on my Mother’s deck and took in view—fields and mountains and not another house in sight. It was serene and the heat from the sun was delicious.

The sun was still shining when I traveled country roads to the farm. I enjoy entering the little barn to measure out my 1 pound of this, a few of these, another few pounds of that. I’m there with other women all gathering  the bounty they’ll cook sometime later that day or week for their families. You can feel that we share a similar, almost instinctive, intent. I’m certain if coffee, tea, or ice cold lemonade were served we’d stop to visit awhile before moving on to the rest of the day.

Next was “pick your own”—my favorite time. There were the last of the strawberries and just ripened sugar snap peas in the fields. I like the fields and the evidence of skill and caring obvious in the orderly rows of strawberry plants and tall, staked and tied snap pea vines. The vines were at least six feet tall and there was just enough room to walk between two rows. When I got 10 or 12 feet deep I was surrounded by green and the sky was visible between curling vines and leaves.

I’d seen the sky was beginning to cloud up and standing in the field could feel the storm making its way toward the farm. The wind picked up a bit and there was a cool damp breeze. I was done for the day and on my way back to my Mother’s the storm kicked up an amazing wind. I almost felt like I was in Kansas, Dorothy! It was pouring buckets by the time I got to her house so I waited out the storm there.

All in all it was a perfect day!

Oh yeah, you probably want to know what I got at the farm—the requisite lettuces, a cucumber, snow peas, broccoli and fava beans. Another cabbage, the radicchio, baby turnips, carrots, and garlic scapes. And, the strawberries and sugar snap peas.

Tonight I made Chicken Teriyaki using onions, snow peas, broccoli, carrots, garlic scapes, and radicchio. I sauteed a smashed garlic clove and chopped garlic scapes in grapeseed oil. Added the sliced and quartered onion until wilted. Then broccoli, snow peas, and carrots, tossing a few times, and sprinkled with San-J Gluten Free Teriyaki Sauce and Marinade. Covered for a few minutes. Finally, made a well in the veggies, added a little more oil and the chicken tossing until cooked through. Added the chopped radicchio and covered until wilted. Topped with a little more Teriyaki and tada. Fresh, crispy and wonderful.

Saturday
Jun272009

Week 6: Garlic Scapes & Fava Beans

Just got off the phone with my sister. She’s my personal CSA encyclopedia! We both belong to the Genesis Farms community supported garden. She’s been doing this much longer than I have so she’s my “go to” person when I don’t know what the heck that vegetable is that came in the weekly great big bag of goodies.

This week I’ve been introduced to garlic scapes—a pigtail-like green stalk that’s a gourmet favorite. A quick scan of the internet tells me they can be made into pesto, steamed or roasted like asparagus or used in a stir fry. So, there’s some culinary experimentation in my near future.

And, the long awaited fava beans that my sister raves about every year. She sautés them with a little garlic and oil, adds some mint and serves over pasta. That’s a bit different. Worth a try.

There are more greens destined for salad, a zucchini to be grilled, some broccoli, another cabbage, and snow peas. I’ll be sure to update with some more details about how I used these wonderful veggies.

June 29

Last night we had NJ BBQ Ribs with my version of Bubble and Squeak (using smashed red potatoes, carmelized onions, and shredded sauted cabbage plus some herbs). And, then, tonight I made Escarole & Pasta - sauted escarole, tomatoes, chicken broth over gluten-free pasta and topped with Tiny Turkey Meatballs. Perfect! Recipes to come.

Tuesday
Jun232009

Week 5: Squash

Wow, it’s Tuesday and I’m going to get my Week 6 veggies later today. I am really behind in cooking and writing about the CSA this week. I did use the mini-squash I got for dinner last night. I made Ratatouille. It’s really so simple. My version: saute a few smashed garlic cloves in olive oil. Add diced onions. Keep stirring while you’re dicing eggplant, zucchini, and a few plum tomatoes. Add them to the pan and saute until just soft. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and basil. You can add some tomato sauce if you like it saucier. Heat through and serve as a side or, like I did, over oven baked risotto with green beans and peas. It was a somewhat indulgent dinner because of the amount of carbs and lack of protein. But the abundance of fresh veggies made up for it.

I have a nice escarole, half a head of cabbage, and some broccoli in the fridge (not to mention those beets!) that are waiting to be called into service. One of them will have to step forward for tonight’s dinner. Thinking the cabbage could make a great slaw to go with the flounder I’m making. Gotta do a little research on that but it sounds like a plan.

June 24

Made Pretty Chopped Slaw with the cabbage last night. Definitely a keeper.

Saturday
Jun132009

Week 4: Beets

Although I got my bag full of veggies as usual on Tuesday I haven’t been able to use any of them yet! And, it’s Saturday. Just one of those weeks where life has been really busy and I haven’t had a chance to cook as much as I normally do.

I noticed we got beets this week and last. I’ve never cooked fresh beets so I posted a question on Twitter about how people like to prepare their beets. Got some interesting suggestions and this coming week I will be trying one. But, which one?

@artchair I wrap them in foil along w/a head of garlic. Cook at 425 until soft. Then peel, cut & eat over spinach w/a drizzle of oil.

@jo_jo_ba Raw grated into salad w carrots + cuke, or baked into chocolate cake ;-)

@KandTglutenfree Last week, I cut in chunks then roasted. Cooled. Then mixed with fresh mint and goat cheese. Yummy! Roasting is the key!

@Cyetter My mother bakes them in the oven wrapped in tinfoil? Smells good.

@othergretchen Roasted beets! Beet soup! If they are sweet and tender, raw in salads with goat/sheep cheese and walnuts!

@sarahfelicity Borscht. Or in a cold beet salad with goat chevre.

Lots of great suggestions from my beet loving friends! Thanks.

June 14, 2009

My sister shared an interesting recipe with me that sounded wonderful—Watermelon Feta Salad. I made it tonight and I will definitely be making again because it was quick and delicious. First, I tossed baby greens from the Garden with a lime vinaigrette dressing (lime juice, white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper). Topped it with watermelon, sliced in 1/4 inch thick bite-sized pieces, sheep’s milk feta, thinly sliced red onion and drizzled with more of the lime vinaigrette. The sweet taste of the watermelon, creaminess of the feta, and tang of the citrus makes for a really refreshing summer salad. (And, apparently a very popular combo because if you Google it you will find many variations on the theme!)