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Archive for November, 2008

The goods…

Delivery was a day early this week, but that worked out fine.

Here’s the standard bag (more or less).

11-25

  • 8 pretty apples (I’d already eaten 3 by the time I took this picture!)
  • kohlrabi
  • butternut squash
  • arugula
  • Swiss chard
  • sweet potatoes (There are more sweet potatoes hiding in the arugula, too!)

Here are the premium additions.

11-25p

  • Shitake mushrooms
  • loose leaf lettuce
  • beets
  • 1 dozen eggs

I also ordered another bag of oregano to dry in the oven at its lowest setting for no more than an hour this time.

The plan…

Since I’m posting so late this week, I can already tell you some things I’ve done. First, we’ve eaten a bunch of apples and lettuce. I think the lettuce is the best yet.

I cooked some pasta with half of the Swiss chard. This did not go over so well, I’m afraid. I’ve pushed my husband about as far as I’m willing to with the greens experiments. So I made dip with the rest of the chard and took it to Thanksgiving as an appetizer.

Unfortunately, some of the mushrooms were also in the ill-fated Swiss chard and pasta dish. And they looked like such nice mushrooms. I’m going to saute the rest in butter and onion or add them raw to salads. I want to do better by them somehow.

The arugula will be added to pasta. (This is fine with the hubby.) Or I may grind it up with Parmesan cheese and olive oil and make pesto. Then it is safe and can be added to pasta later.

I’m going to roast the beets, chill them, slice them up, and add them to salads. I’m pretty excited about that. Fresh, young beets are tasty.

If you’ve got arugula and beets, you might want to try this salad recipe with arugula, beets, goat cheese, and raisins.

I like butternut squash, too. I think part of this squash will join the recently repatriated acorn squash in a creamy blended soup. (The squash have been at my mom’s house all week as part of the Thanksgiving centerpiece.) But my favorite way to cook butternut squash is to bake it and then slice the end and bake the slices again with some brown sugar until they caramelize a little. I first had squash like this at Gabe’s, a restaurant in Villa Rica. We don’t eat out a lot (especially at nice places like Gabe’s), but when we do,  I always try to scan the menus for local produce to see what the chefs are doing with it. Even if you don’t end up ordering it, the menu descriptions or the servers’ descriptions can give you some good ideas to try at home.

I’m psyched to get all the eggs. We’ll scramble some and bake with some. It’s a good time of year to have lots of eggs.

The sweet potatoes and apples are always welcome. We’re getting through our 10lb bag of sweet potatoes. They’re always great baked. We bake the little ones as side dishes and the bigger ones as the main part of a meal. And the apples are so easy to snack on. I hope they keep coming for a while!

I’m a little worried about the kohlrabi. It looks like it needs to be eaten quickly, and I don’t have a good idea yet. The best I’ve come up with is fried rice with stir fried kohlrabi and onions. Maybe it would be a nice break from all the traditional food.

We didn’t end up with a lot of leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, so I’m going to roast a chicken with some of my leftover herbs from last week. Then I can use the chicken to make a bunch of different dishes.

  • pasta with wilted arugula, sauteed mushrooms, and roasted chicken.
  • chicken and herb roasted potatoes and steamed broccoli (both leftovers from last week)
  • pesto chicken flatbread pizza.

All of these will come with delicious salad, too. Pretty much all of our meals come with delicious salad.

We are happy campers.

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The recap…

Here’s what became of some of my stuff this week.

Everyone loved the salad (loose leaf lettuce, arugula, and radishes) at my father’s birthday party.

And my parents loved the Komatsuna greens.

We loved our spinach and shrimp alfredo. I blanched the spinach and then made a half recipe of the mock alfredo from this recipe. I added the mostly-frozen shrimp and the blanched-and-chopped spinach to the sauce about 3 minutes before serving. You can tell when the shrimp are ready because they turn pink.

My attempt to dry the oregano failed because I dried them in the oven too long and they lost all their flavor. I’m going to try again this week and dry them for just an hour.

We made lunch one day with arugula tossed in hot pasta with olive oil, garlic and parmesan. It was really good for a quick meal.

My guys made omelets with the eggs for a little brunch. I prefer scrambled eggs myself. So I prepare the fillings, and they’re in charge of the omelet process – which I find kind of stressful.

The darker honey does taste a little different. It’s got an almost liqueur finish to it. Still yummy though. Someone told me at Thanksgiving dinner that eating local honey helps with pollen allergies. I guess that makes sense. You eat and become accustomed to the pollen that the local bees are getting.

And I’ve enjoyed using the lavender soap myself this time. It’s lovely in the bath and makes the bathroom smell nice, too.

The leftovers

This crazy time of year I didn’t get around to using everything this week. Here’s what I’ve got left.

  • potatoes (chop and roast with herbs)
  • herbs (chop and roast with potatoes and with a chicken, too)
  • broccoli (eat raw as snacks and steam for a side dish)
  • arugula (I may make what’s left into a pesto with olive oil and lots of parmesan. Then I can freeze it and add it to pasta later.)

I’ve also got Thanksgiving leftovers in the fridge. So we’re going to have our work cut out for us this weekend!

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This week’s bag

Here is the standard subscription stuff.

11-19s

  • Komatsuna greens
  • butterhead lettuce
  • arugula
  • loose leaf lettuce
  • apples
  • broccoli

Here are the premium add-ons.

11-19p

  • pretty little radishes (These might have been standard items.)
  • potatoes
  • eggs
  • lavender goat’s milk soap
  • parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme!

And here’s the honey and oregano I ordered from the online store.

11-19os

This week’s plan

I was excited to get all this lettuce because I’m in charge of salad for my father’s birthday party this Saturday. I’m also going to take the Komatsuna to my parents. We’ve started liking greens now, but they love them. And I’m going to take my two acorn squashes, too, to offer them to my mother for her Thanksgiving centerpiece. Then next Thursday, I’ll bring them home again and cook them. I’ve read that you can store acorn squashes for five weeks or more. Plus, we’ve been keeping our house pretty cool, so I think they’ll still be fine eating after Thanksgiving.

So the lettuce and radishes will become salads (duh!). (I already used the radish greens in my last pasta and greens experiment.)

I’m going to use some of the arugula in salads and some to wilt in pasta. Parmesan tastes really good with arugula in salad, so I bet it will be great with pasta.

For lunch Saturday, I plan on baking the potatoes and steaming the broccoli and making some kind of cheese sauce or Hollandaise to put on top.

The apples are already gone. These were some of the best yet. They were really crisp.

The oregano I bought to dry and store. I realized I was out of dried oregano and almost bought a little bottle at the grocery store. Hah! Now I’m going to dry local oregano. Washing may be a bear, though.

My Simon & Garfunkel herb bundle makes me think of roast chicken. I think I’ve got a chicken in the freezer. I’ll pull it out and make a chicken for next week. Then we can have lots of yummy chicken leftovers like pesto chicken pizza. In the meantime, for my lunch the other day, I made some pasta with olive oil, Parmesan and fresh herbs. It was very nice.

I’ve still got some spinach from last week to use up. I’m planning on making spinach Alfredo this weekend. Depending what’s at the grocery store, I may add some chicken or shrimp. (Boy, do we eat a lot of pasta!)

The honey is cool and dark looking. I guess one of the cool things about local honey is it changes depending on what was blooming. I haven’t tried it yet. I wonder if I’ll be able to detect a difference in taste. I think I go through honey too fast, though. I enjoy it in my tea, but I think I’m going to try to cut back a little.

In the past I’ve enjoyed giving my goat milk soaps away as gifts. But I think I’m going to keep this one and give it a try. I’m not a fragrance kind of giry, but I bathe at night, so the lavender should be nice and calming before bed.

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Maybe greens aren’t so bad after all.

I made three attempts to use greens with pasta. The first one I just added some kale to pasta with pine nuts. It wasn’t a lot of kale, and it wasn’t bad. I tore it in to pieces and blanched it for about 30 seconds. Then tossed it in with the pasta.

The second try was really good. I separated out the mustard greens, blanched and chopped them. Then I heated some butter and olive with pine nuts, minced garlic and lemon zest. When the butter was sizzling, but not yet brown I added some slightly thawed frozen shrimp, the chopped greens, some Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper. I sauteed everything for about three minutes until the shrimp was cooked and served it over pasta. Supper was enjoyed by everyone!

The third try was less yummy. I tried the same thing with the rest of my mixed greens and without the shrimp. It didn’t work so well. The greens clumped up with the Parmesan and got kind of crispy. Next time I’ll add some water.

Overall, though, I think are family is making peace with greens. We’re pretty proud of ourselves.

Turnips, anyone?

Turnips, on the other hand, are still giving me fits. The Asian turnips are nice, but I can’t seem to find a good use for the regular ones. Lately, I’ve been trying different versions of roasted root vegetable recipes. But roasted turnips still taste like turnips. I’ve also tried passing them off as a substitute for mashed potatoes. That went over like a ton of bricks. So I’m on the look out for other turnip ideas.

Pizza!

I wanted to make pita crisps with this week’s herbs, so I planned to by pita bread at the store. But I came home with flat bread instead. So we made white pizza instead with olive oil, garlic, fresh Italian herbs, and Parmesan.

flatpizza2 flatpizza2-1

Later in the week, I pulled some pesto out of the fridge and chopped up some leftover chicken breast and made pesto chicken pizza. That was really good.

We’re making progress on our bag of sweet potatoes. We still aren’t tired of fresh lettuce and baked sweet potatoes for lunch. And an apple for dessert. Mmmm… fall.

Oh yeah, and we made French toast for Saturday breakfast with our eggs!

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It’s really fall now…

No more straggling tomatoes or peppers or green beans. But lots of great stuff!

Here’s this week’s standard bag.
11-12s

  • 5 apples
  • 2 heads of butterhead lettuce
  • mixed greens
  • spinach
  • loose leaf lettuce (There was more, but we had some for supper.)
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • a bag of turnips, rutabagas, and mixed carrots
  • an acorn squash

And the premium extras…

11-12p

  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • 6 eggs
  • a bundle of thyme, oregano, parsley and chives
  • 4 heads of garlic

This week’s plan

I’m very happy with this bag and have lots of ideas.

First, we’ll have some great salads. We’ve still got some Asian turnips to slice up and add. Recently, I’ve been preferring my broccoli raw, so the broccoli may wind up in the salads. We’ll eat the loose leaf lettuce first, then the butterhead, and then the spinach. I may mix them up some, but I want to make sure to eat all the loose leaf lettuce first while it’s nice and fresh.

I’ve gotten some good recipes to try with the greens. (Thanks, Mom and Allison!) The bag of greens is a very mixed bag. There’s some kale, some mustard greens, and some others I can’t identify. I’m going to try the kale and mustard greens in two different pasta dishes. The rest will get blanched and chopped for dip. I’ll be sure to report on our family’s next step in developing a taste for greens.

I plan on roasting the bag of root veggies with a head of garlic and some of the fresh herbs. I’ll add the little sweet potatoes from my bag of uglies, too. And I might add some browned stew beef and make it more of a pot roast.

The herbs look really nice, and I hope to make some pita crisps for a light lunch or afternoon snack.

I was really happy to see the garlic. We seem to blow through it at my house. Someday, I’ll have to go back to that stuff in a jar. But, thanks to this batch, we’re safe for a while.

We could make another pound cake with these eggs. But developing a pound-cake-a-week habit is probably not a good idea. Scrambled eggs are good with salads. Scrambled cheese eggs and salad and baked sweet potatoes and salad are both excellent last minute meals. French toast is good, too, especially since the weekend mornings are getting colder.

And my acorn squash from last week now has a friend! After they’ve had a chance to bond, I’ll make them into soup or something.

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Fried Green Tomatoes!

We fried the tomatoes, and it worked really well. I dipped them in buttermilk and then cornmeal with some salt, pepper and paprika.

fgt1 fgt2

The sweet potatoes were so delicious that they got eaten all the way down to the skin. Here’s the proof.

sweetpotatoyum

I stir-fried the Komatsuna greens with onions, ginger, garlic and chicken. It was pretty good. You couldn’t taste the greens in all the sauce. That’s good and bad, I suppose.

The green beans were frozen, and the potatoes were baked. The eggs went into a magically delicious pound cake that my husband made this week. (I love my husband.)

The acorn squash is still adding charm to the kitchen for now.

We’ve been eating the Asian turnips sliced in salad as suggested. It’s pretty tasty. They are very mild.

I’m feeling braver about greens. This coming week, I may even try a recipe that isn’t designed to hide the taste of the greens!

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So I caved and bought a 10# bag of ugly sweet potatoes. I’ve been so pleased with the CSA sweet potatoes; they’re like what grocery store sweet potatoes wish they could be. Here are my uglies.

11-5sp

Here’s my regular subscription stuff…11-5b

  • Green tomatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Chard
  • Apples
  • Komatsuma greens
  • Acorn squash

Here’s what I think was the premium stuff. I’m not sure, though; the eggs could have been regular.

  • 11-5ppotatoes
  • green beans
  • eggs
  • basil

This week’s plan

The basil’s already pesto and safely ensconced in the freezer.

I’m going to take the plunge and fry the green tomatoes. My husband said something about buttermilk wash being important, so I’ll look around and see what recipes I can find.

One of the apples has already been cut up and eaten, the second soon to follow.

The two sweet potatoes will probably be lunch today along with a salad. The little ugly sweet potatoes will get roasted and eaten this weekend. The bigger ones we’ll just store and eat later.

I’ll probably roast the turnips, too. My neighbor Lucy has suggested this briami recipe. Maybe I’ll try it with the turnips and little sweet potatoes. I want to save the white potatoes for eating baked because we just love them that way.

Then again, our weekly CSA flyer suggests slicing these milder turnips into salads. So I’ll try that. Maybe we’ll come to enjoy the turnips as much as the radishes.

The smaller chard and komatsuma greens will be added to last week’s lettuce to stretch the salads.

I’m not sure what to do yet with the rest of the greens. As I’ve said before, we not a big greens family. But, when looking at the Komatsuma, even I can tell them’s some purty greens. So I’m a little hesitant to condemn them to obscurity in creamy alfredo or dip. They taste kind of like cabbage to me – maybe I’ll try a little stir-fry.  Hmm.

And the little acorn squash – too cute to cook? 11-5sqProbably not, in the end. But it should last for a while. So we’ll enjoy its outsides now and its insides later.

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Here’s what I have to report from this week.

Charlie is no more. But he had a good long life (for a squash-o-lantern) and will be missed.

Radish greens work in “spinach” dip.

My step-son said the other night, “You know, I think I kind of like radishes.” I agree. Our salads will seem sad without radishes this week.

Oven drying peppers works! You have to keep the oven on low for a long time, so it’s better for fall.

Sweet potatoes are near the top of my list of reasons to keep subscribing. I’ve always liked sweet potatoes, but sometimes you buy them in the store, and you take a couple of bites, and then you get a stringy bite. I hate that bite. Somehow that stringy texture makes me gag and not want any more sweet potato. That never happens with these sweet potatoes. I eat them all the way to the skin, and the texture’s perfect to the last bite. It’s like everything you’ve always imagined a sweet potato could be.

The sugar cane was interesting. I think it would be fun to take on a hiking trip.

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“Spinach” artichoke dip

This is a very rich recipe to be eaten in small doses or on cold days after lots of exertion. It’s also a great way to use up random greens if you’re like my family and not too into greens in general. I’ve used spinach, kale, mustard greens, and radish greens so far and all with good results. In fact, one kale recipe seemed especially good. Eating the greens makes up for the artichokes, butter, and cream cheese, right?

All these measurements are approximate. You can vary them depending on what you have.

A clove of garlic, minced

2 tbsps of butter (You could probably go with less or use olive oil here.)

8 oz cream cheese (I use Neufchatel to cut down on at least some of the fat. You could also try sour cream or yogurt cheese.)

1 can of artichokes, chopped fine

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 cup cooked and chopped greens (I’ve used spinach, kale, mustard greens, and radish greens so far. Here are some instructions for blanching greens. They cook way down so you can start with a bunch.)

1. Melt the butter with the garlic in a large microwave safe dish. Put the cream cheese in to get it softer, too.

2. Chop up the artichokes. I do this in the blender. They don’t seem to chop well by hand even with a decent knife.

3. Mix the artichokes, greens, and cheese in with the cream cheese mixture. Heat everything again in the microwave for 60 seconds.

4. Serve on toasted bread, chips, pita bread, or a spoon.

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Dried pepper success!

Oven drying peppers works!

This time I had a bunch of hot peppers I dried them in the oven, and it worked great. I dried them in the oven at 150 degrees – my lowest oven setting. It took a couple of days. I’d turn the oven off at night but leave it on most of the day. With the cold snap, it even kept the kitchen a little warmer.  I read that 150 is the maximum for drying peppers. 100 -135 degrees is best. 150 is the lowest my oven will go, so every once in a while I’d prop the door open to lower the temperature a little bit.

I don’t know if I’d want to do this in the heat of the summer. But I tried drying peppers in a window and on a screen this summer. Both times almost all of them got moldy before they could dry.

Here’s what I did more specifically.

Wearing gloves, I halved the peppers and put them on a baking sheet. I didn’t seed the peppers, but you could do that if you wanted a milder result. Then I put the peppers in the 150 degree oven. Every few hours I’d turn them with tongs and prop the oven door open for a while. You can feel with the tongs when all the moisture’s gone and the skins have no give anywhere. Be careful what else you use the tongs for while drying the peppers; they will pass on some hotness. I used mine to retrieve some steamed broccoli and we could taste the hot pepper although it wasn’t bad. Some peppers were done before others. I took them out as they finished drying and left them on a plate to cool.

Now I’m saving these peppers in a air tight container. When I want one for chili or something, I’ll toast it just a little in the toaster oven until it darkens and then crush it and add it to the recipe.

I did this with a pot of chili and my one successfully dried pepper of the summer. It was sooo good. The chili taste was deep and rich and complex. Who knew chili could be complex?

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