Monday, August 22, 2016

Week 13

CSA haul

4 ears of corn, a few radishes, some celery leaves, a small cantaloupe, 2 onions, 2 cucumbers, 1 green pepper, 3 red peppers, 4 massive red tomatoes, 2 green zebra tomatoes, 1 stripy tomato

It's all about using up the tomatoes this week!
  • This Greek tomato salad will also use some peppers and onions. I'll probably serve it with some simple lamb chops.
  • This creamy tomato gazpacho will use a couple of the monster tomatoes.
  • More of the tomatoes and an onion will go into lentils with tahini and cumin. I made pita and za'atar bread the other day and I'll probably make it again to go with it.
  • The celery, radishes, two of the corn, a cucumber (and any left over peppers) will get tossed together in a salad with mint, oregano, lemon, olive oil and maybe a little feta.
  • The kids will eat their corn plain (sigh) and might also be convinced to eat one of the cucumbers.
  • The melon will just be cut up, chilled and eaten plain. Maybe the kids will eat some or maybe they'll just dig their feet in and continue to reject most summer fruits...

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Week 12

From left to right: another mass of purple, yellow and green beans, 4 cucumbers, 3 onions, broccoli florets, hot peppers, 6 tomatoes, 3 zucchini, 4 ears of corn, bag of ground cherries, small bunch of basil

I made a lot of pesto last week and while I could freeze some of it, I'm not sick of it (yet). Since I'm also feeling a little lazy this week, my plans for excess veg that aren't needed for specific recipes consist of barely cooking the veg in question and then plopping on a little pesto. I think that treatment is in store for pretty much everything in the above photo except the cucumbers, onions and ground cherries. Pesto on corn on the cob is really pretty amazing.

Menu plan:
  • A big salad with tomatoes, cucumber, and blanched green beans topped with sautéed cumin chicken and tahini sauce/dressing (this tahini lemon sauce thinned a little with water so it is pourable). If it feels sane to turn on the oven I plan make homemade pita bread to go with it.
  • Basil and tomatoes and fresh mozzarella will go into a caprese salad served with flattened, sautéed chicken breasts, sautéed zucchini and onions (long slow cooking which caramelizes the squash and onions and makes them velvety) and a side of pasta. 
  • Zucchini corn feta fritters (this recipe with corn added), yogurt garlic sauce, cucumber tomato salad with sumac.
  • Burger night (boring, I know, but sometimes fast and boring is the way to go) with steamed green beans and corn.
  • Broccoli, beans and any tomatoes that are still around will get tossed into pasta with some pesto.
  • Ground cherries (relative of the tomatillo but that taste like a cross between a cherry tomato and a pineapple) are for snacking straight up.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Week 11

Week 11 of my CSA farm share:
Clockwise from lower left: 3 cucumbers, habanero peppers, green and purple beans, broccoli, beets and greens parsley, green pepper, romaine lettuce, watermelon, basil, assorted tomatoes, 2 onions, 2 heads of garlic

  • The purple beans look a little tough this week so they're going to get the slow-cook treatment along with the onions: I'm going to try this recipe for Turkish-Style Braised Green Beans topped with yogurt and mint. 
  • The green beans will be used in this recipe for Blistered Green Beans with Garlic and Miso.
  • Two cucumbers will go into this cucumber feta salad.
  • The basil and some garlic will go into a small batch of pesto that'll be tossed with pasta and blanched, chopped beet greens, blanched broccoli and toasted walnuts. The beetroot will accompany the pasta as a simple side salad with onion, walnut oil, some of the parsley and a little red wine vinegar.
  • The tomatoes, green pepper, third cucumber and rest of the parsley will be used in a quinoa tabouli. 
  • I'm going to see if there are some tomato seconds available at the farmer's market so I can make and can a batch of salsa with the habaneros (that's a lot of habaneros though...I might need to figure out something else to do with some of them. Ideas anyone?)
  • The kids will eat the watermelon and romaine lettuce (yay!)

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Week 10

Farm Share, Week 10

Beets with copious greens, two heads of red leaf lettuce, pint of mixed tomatoes, two cucumbers, two onions, small bag of broccoli florets, copious quantities of purple, green and yellow beans

  • I ended up not saving enough beans to pickle any last week; despite my good intentions, my greed got the better of me and I kept steaming a handful at a time and topping them with Maldon sea salt, black pepper and Irish butter (best snack in the world!). This week there are even more beans available so I'll try to follow through and pickle a quart. Some others will also go to Green beans and Zucchini with Sauce Vert (which is terrific with salmon) and the rest will probably be demolished by my snacking.
  • I picked up some fresh mozzarella and have some basil growing on the deck so some of the tomatoes will get the classic Caprese salad treatment.
  • The beets will get boiled (or roasted if I have another reason to turn on the oven) and added to the lettuce, some tomatoes and cucumber for a big salad. 
  • I'm going to try and reproduce the beet green goat cheese pasta sauce that I made two weeks ago and see if I can come up with something reproducible, rather than just chucking things in on the fly. One of the onions will probably go in there.
  • The other onion and the little bag of broccoli will get tossed into some sort of weekly stir fry.
  • Still hot, still muggy, still good weather to use some cucumber for more Pimm's Cups!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Week 9

varied tomatoes, kale, green and yellow beans, head of red leaf lettuce, three different cucumbers, two green peppers, small bag of tatsoi, head of butter lettuce

Produce plans:

  • Yay it's bean season! I love fresh picked beans. The green and yellow beans will get dived up between green beans and tofu w/nuoc cham (one of my favorite hot weather salads) and a jar of refrigerator pickle dilly beans which are a terrific accompaniment for too-damn-hot-to-cook nights with a plate of cheese, salami, crackers and a cold beer (Fat Tire Amber from New Belgium is my go-to beer this summer.)
  • The two lettuces, tomatoes and one cucumber will go into a massive chicken Greek salad. I still have the mini beets from last week to add to this. (I ended up adding the beet greens to a goat cheese pasta sauce and they were excellent).
  • The cucumbers will be slotted into happy hour consumption: I'm completely hooked on making Pimm's cups during these hot days of summer (recipe below) and a good chunk of cucumber goes in each drink. The rest will be used for my favorite summer beer snack.
  • Brian has claimed the green peppers for use in some sort of jambalaya-ish combination with rice, andouille sausage, onion and whatever else he feels inspired to throw in. 
  • The kale is enough for another kale Caesar salad. This time I'll add some cooked red quinoa and hard cooked egg to it to make it more substantial so it can stand on its own for lunch.
  • The tatsoi will probably get chucked into some end-of-the-week, use-up-stuff-in-the-fridge stir-fry which is an undignified end for such nice organic produce. Or maybe I'll eat it for lunch mid-week with some tofu, scallions and kimchi. 

Pimm's Cup
makes 2 drinks

1 bottle Reed's extra strong ginger beer
Pimm's No 1
1/2 a lemon, cut in two pieces
1/2 a lime, cut in two pieces
2 inches of cucumber (preferably with skin on--scrub off the wax if it isn't an organic, uncoated cuke), cut in four pieces

In the bottom of each of two pint glasses put one piece of lemon, one piece of lime and two pieces of cucumber. Take a muddler (or in my case, the handle-end of a wooden spoon) and mash the hell out of them to release the juice from the citrus and create delicious little bits of cucumber to float around in the finished drinks. Put some ice in the glass, add about 1/4 of the ginger beer to each glass, then add the Pimm's to taste (I put in about 2 oz--a good glug), stir it up with your wooden spoon handle, then top with the rest of the ginger beer and stir again. Go find a chair on a deck with a breeze and enjoy.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Week 8 (and a little 6 and 7)

We went out of town and missed parts of two weeks of our CSA--my parents got the bounty of those two weeks but there were a few carryovers.

First off, here's a photo of Week 6 that I took before we went out of town:
two bunches of baby beets w/greens some green and yellow zucchini, small broccoli head, bulb of green (uncured) garlic two heads of lettuce, scallions and a bag of snap peas. I sautéed up some of the zucchini, broccoli and peas and dumped them over a bowl of pasta the night before we left, but the rest went to my parents' fridge (except the garlic which I popped into ours to wait for our return.)

Then when we got home my parents left us some of the Week 7 haul: two zucchini, some spring onions (bigger bulb than scallions), parsley and a pint of red new potatoes waiting in the fridge for us. We sautéed up the zucchini, onions and parsley which tasted great after a lack of green veg while traveling. And the potatoes are bing folded into this week's plan:

Here's what I picked up for Week 8:
small head of lettuce, yellow and green zucchini, cabbage, bag of snap peas, bag of green kidney beans and a bunch of beets (a few large, the rest baby) with their greens.
  • The zucchini and last week's potatoes will be combined into one of my favorite summer dishes: a goat cheese basil potato squash gratin (recipe below).
  • The lettuce will be mixed with some of the shelled peas, sliced cucumber, mint leaves and sliced radishes and served with feta dressing. If I can track down some ground lamb then I'll serve lamb burgers stuffed into pita with this salad.
  • I've never had green kidney beans, but according to the letter that came w/this week's share I should just cook them like regular green beans. They look a bit sturdier, so I might try a slow braise like Greek-style green beans stewed with tomato, onion and a little cinnamon.
  • I'm looking for a good beet-green recipe. I'm hoping I can find something more interesting than the standard sautéed w/garlic. Thus far my history with beet greens has been tolerance rather than celebration as they rank as my least favorite green (despite my ardent love of beetroot.) Maybe that'll change if I find the right recipe.
  • I'm thinking some kind of slaw with the cabbage. It's a small head so might require buying another cabbage to supplement it, but I'm thinking maybe this sweet and sour coconut coleslaw with mint and dates?

Zucchini potato goat cheese gratin
adapted from this recipe

about 3 medium or 4 small zucchini or summer squash (or a mix)
about 1 lb new red potatoes (not the teeny ones because they'll be a pain to slice)
4 oz goat cheese
1/4 c slivered basil
1/3 C whole milk
1/3 C grated parmesan
glug of olive oil
salt and pepper
  • Preheat your oven to 375 and grease a 2 quart casserole dish w/non stick spray
  • Get out your mandoline (and kevlar glove) or your sharp knife and slice all those potatoes and zucchini thin. Chuck them in a bowl and toss with a glug of olive oil, and some salt and pepper.
  • Put half the potato zucchini mixture in the casserole dish, sprinkle with 1/2 the basil, dot with half the goat chese and add a little more salt and pepper. Add the rest of the potato zucchini mixture, top with basil, goat cheese and parmesan. Pour milk over the top and top the dish with aluminum foil (if your casserole dish is shallow, then spray some non-stick spray on the foil or else the cheese will stick when you remove it and you don't want to lose your crusty delicious cheese). 
  • Pop it in the oven for half an hour then remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the top starts to brown (and if it resist browning, feel free to run it under the broiler for a minute.)
  • Top it with some more fresh slivered basil, if you have any on hand.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Week 5

Clockwise from left: quart of strawberries, assorted zucchini, bag of tatsoi, bag of sugar snap peas, radishes, three heads of lettuce, bunch of mixed kale and swiss chard, parsley, little broccoli head

Lovely selection this week and here are some of the plans for it:

  • We're celebrating father's day one week later than everyone else did since Brian was out of town so tonight we'll have a dinner of grilled flank steak, sautéed sugar snap peas with fresh mint, and a salad that will use the radishes and head of iceberg lettuce (it's the lettuce in the foreground.) I know it sounds wacky to get iceberg in a farm share box but the local organic stuff is miles away from the bowling balls in the grocery store. (Not that I don't enjoy the bowling balls--they have their place. We refer to that kind of iceberg as "gateway lettuce" since it was the first lettuce my kids would eat and convinced them not to freak out when romaine then spinach and now--occasionally--arugula appears on their plates.) This head of iceberg will get the royal treatment when served with a homemade blue cheese dressing that is spiked with the parsley and some basil and then sprinkled the sliced radishes and crumbled bacon.
  • I ate half of the quart of strawberries immediately--they were so good I couldn't stop--so what's left will become father's day desert: sliced, tossed with a little honey and a teaspoon of orange flower water and spooned over vanilla ice cream. It's supposed to hit 90 degrees today so we're going to do without the shortcakes.
  • The greens, broccoli and tatsoi will go into a stir fry with garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and seeds and a little honey to be served with kimchi and pressed tofu. The tofu is super basic but becoming a recent family favorite for when we are all sick of chicken: just slice firm tofu into slabs, press between two cutting boards with a cast iron skillet on top for a few hours to get the water out (put a dishcloth underneath the bottom cutting board to soak up the water), then roll each slab in cornstarch, salt and pepper and sauté in some canola oil until it gets crispy and brown. It's about as basic and versatile as a chicken cutlet.
  • That leaves the rest of the lettuce and the zucchini to be used for salads and grilled zucchini with basil and balsamic to accompany some grilled burgers later in the week.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Week 4

Beautiful CSA box this week! From top right: summer squash and zucchini, strawberries, garlic scapes, a big bag of shelling peas, three heads of lettuce (their Boston lettuce is amazing), small bag of baby spinach, head of green cabbage.


  • half the cabbage will go into my favorite coleslaw ever 
  • the rest of the cabbage and the garlic scapes will go into a ground pork stir fry made with lots of ginger, thai basil, cilantro and lime juice.
  • the strawberries and peas are going to be eat straight and raw at a performance of Shakespeare in the Arb tonight
  • the summer squash and zucchini will probably just get tossed with olive oil and red onion chunks in a basket on the grill and finished with basil and balsamic vinegar
  • I think I'm getting a little sick of yogurt based dressing so will go back to my standard vinaigrette for the lettuce (chopped shallot, dijon mustard, a dab of anchovy paste, salt, pepper, a little maple syrup, sherry vinegar and a mix of olive and toasted walnut oil).

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Week 3

This week's share is a bit better than last week's skimpy offerings: (from left: small head of lettuce, some kale, garlic scapes, spring mix, lemon balm, butter lettuce, asparagus, thyme


  • garlic scape pesto. Thankfully I have a whole bag of garlic scapes that my mom gave me to supplement the farm-share ones. Some will be consumed with pasta and the asparagus, the rest frozen in ice cube trays to be enjoyed in the depths of winter.
  • Just enough kale to make the kids some kale chips.
  • I'll make some iced tea with lemon balm; since it's going to get into the 90s today that'll be a nice way to stay hydrated.
  • I'm still enjoying the homemade yogurt salad dressing I posted last week so this week's version will have the thyme chucked in. I'll get two, maybe three salads out of the farm share lettuce if I supplement it with lots of extra vegetables.

Saturday, June 04, 2016


The contents of this week's farm share are not very impressive:

Two very nice heads of lettuce, a wee bunch of kale, some rhubarb and (not pictured) a few wilting sprigs of parsley that I stuck in water in an attempt to revive them.

My thoughts:
  • What? No asparagus? It's all over the place at the farmer's market.
  • I know that it's early and not a lot is growing yet, but this feels skimpy. I sure hope that later in the season the box is full and makes up for sparse spring produce.
  • I'll make 2 good sized salads from the lettuce. The yogurt dressing I made last week was better the day after I made it. The flavors deepened and it was a really good complement to the really tasty lettuce (and yes, the lettuce really is significantly more tasty than anything you buy in a supermarket, even organic supermarket lettuce.)  This week's dressing variation: 1 C whole milk yogurt, 1 small garlic clove, 1 t dijon, 1/4 C toasted walnut oil, parsley, basil and chives, 2 T sherry vinegar, black pepper.  And I'll make it a day ahead this time.
  • I think I'm going to freeze the rhubarb so I can use it in another pie when Michigan strawberries ripen in a few weeks. Last week I used the farm share rhubarb to make a strawberry rhubarb pie and used a quart of organic supermarket strawberries. The pie was good but not the kind of mind-blowing-good you can get when the strawberries are really ripe.
  • The kale? It's such a wee bunch that it'll only work as a side dish for one person so I'll probably just have it for lunch one day this week when I'm home. Or I'll pick up more kale at the farmer's market to supplement it. 
Meh. Feeling a little let down this's hoping to more generous and more interesting future shares.