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Archive for June, 2009

Whew! Glad it’s a little cooler today.

We’ve been enjoying frozen berries during the heat wave. (I don’t like fresh berries because of the gushy texture. But freezing removes the gushiness.) We had little bowls of strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries for dessert one night last week.

fruit

This weekend, we made yummy blueberry pancakes. The three grain pancake mix is really good! Better than plain old Bisquick. There’s still one pancake in the fridge that’s been calling my name all day today. Maybe I’ll have an afternoon snack later.

I broke down and bought some lettuce at Kroger. I wasn’t sure what else to do with carrots, radishes, and cucumber but make a salad! The salad was fine, but it was a good reminder of how much tastier fresh lettuce is.

Last night’s supper was tilapia with fines herbes, roasted purple potatoes, stir-fried squash, and sautéed French green beans. Everything turned out good this time.

CIMG1542

The tilapia recipe was very easy: sprinkle fish with herbs, salt, and pepper. I dusted them with a little cornmeal mix, but most of it fell off. Then I sautéed them in a good bit of olive oil for two minutes a side. They finished before the vegetables but kept well in a 200 degree toaster oven. Butter melted on low with garlic, fines herbes, and lemon juice made a nice sauce.

My next stop is a stir-fry to use up some left over cabbage as well as some chard, radishes, and possibly the last squash.

And I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in tomorrow’s delivery!

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Welcome back to Summer CSA 2009!

6-24

  • three grain pancake mix
  • green beans
  • blueberries
  • chard
  • cucumbers
  • blackberries
  • eggs
  • chives, chervil, tarragon, and parsley
  • radishes
  • carrots
  • chocolate raspberry muffins
  • lettuce (not pictured because we ate it all Wednesday night!)

Hmmm… Blueberries and pancake mix… blueberries and pancake mix. Ideas, anyone? Ha! Talk about a no-brainer. Saturday morning we’re having blueberry pancakes!

The green beans are my favorite skinny kind. I’ll blanch and then sauté some of these in garlic and olive oil. All of the herbs will go well with sautéed green beans, so I’ll play around with them, too.

The chard’s really pretty. I’m thinking about trying it with raisins and pine nuts like in this recipe. And some of it may end up in the week’s fried rice along with a couple of radishes and some squash from the farmers’ market. One of us is seriously anti-carrot, so I don’t put carrots in fried rice. But that’s okay because the other two of us love to snack on raw carrots.

To be frank, it’s hard to get excited about blackberries when you’ve got 2 pints of fresh blueberries lying around. (I ordered an extra from the online store.) So I just froze the blackberries for later. They’ll have their moment – probably as blackberry crumble or just yummy frozen fruit bites.

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Here are a bunch of leftovers from the past couple of weeks.

Cheese toast!

The Leiden cheese makes good cheese toast or good cheese and crackers for an afternoon snack. The best part about the cheese toast is the cheese is the same shape as a piece of bread.

(more…)

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Last week while the CSA program was on vacation, I went to the Powder Springs Farmers’ Market. Here’s what I got.

CIMG1529

  • raspberries $5
  • garlic $1
  • green tomatoes $4
  • yellow squash $4
  • purple potatoes $4
  • tamales $5

(more…)

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The CSA program is on vacation this week, so my neighbor and I are trying out the Powder Springs Farmers’ Market tomorrow. It’s in downtown Powder Springs every Thursday from  4 to 8 pm through September. Can’t wait to see what they have.

Click here for a list of other Atlanta area farmers’ markets where you can get your local food fix this week.

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Getting fennel, leeks, and Savoy cabbage this week sent me running to my copy of How to Cook Everything.

htce

Cabbage

How to Cook Everything calls Savoy cabbage the best of cabbages.

6-10 savoy

I’ve still got that whole head of Napa cabbage in the fridge. Logic says to use the older cabbage first, but that’s not always the best plan. The difference between the Napa now and in a few days will be minimal. However, I have a chance to use the Savoy super-fresh, so I’ll probably use it tomorrow either sautéed or quickly boiled and buttered.

The Napa cabbage will be split between fried rice and a side dish of cabbage sautéed with ginger and soy sauce. Other items going in to this week’s fried rice are celery leaves, peas, onions, and all the beet greens and stems. I’m tired of shrimp, so I’ll either use some chopped pork loin or just go with eggs.

Fennel

I had to do some research on fennel. It seems you cook the white bulb at the bottom and save the fronds and stalk for garnish.

6-10 fennel

The one fennel recipe in How to Cook Everything sounds like a good place to start. You chop up the bulb, cover it with chicken stock, a little olive oil, and salt and pepper. Then top it with bread crumbs and Parmesan and put it in a 375 degree oven for 45-50 minutes.

I read somewhere that you can steam fish on a bed of fennel fronds. I’m not good at cooking fish, though. It’s on my list of things to get better at.

Leeks

Once again, How to Cook Everything comes through – with Crisp Sautéed Leeks. You wash and julienne the leeks and crisp them in a little oil with garlic. The trick seems to be limiting the number of leek sticks in the skillet at a time. If you put too many in, the collective moisture ends up steaming them rather than crisping them. After they’re crisped and are draining on paper towels, you sprinkle them with spices.

My plan is to crisp the leeks and then serve them over salad with crumbled goat cheese, sliced roasted beets, and maybe some more raspberry vinaigrette. However, this salad may have to wait until later in the week. Last week, I learned that leaf lettuce (as delicious as it is) doesn’t stand up to goat cheese and pecans. I’m not sure how leafy this week’s lettuce is, but I plan on trying it as a simpler salad before dumping sautéed leeks on it. If it’s leafy, we’ll eat it first as simple salads and on sandwiches before turning to the romaine from our garden for the leeks.

Even if beets don’t get to go on the salad, I’ll still serve them sliced and topped with crumbled goat cheese, chopped dill, and chives. I’ve been dreaming about this dish since I stumbled into it a couple of weeks ago.

Raspberry vinaigrette

My mom taught me a great trick for making up a fruity vinaigrette – use whatever jam you have in the fridge. You mix up some vinegar, water, salt and pepper, and any jam. Then add some olive or canola oil to thicken it and shake it some more. Just keep tasting it as you go to get the proportions right. For two people, I use about two tablespoons of vinegar, a teaspoon or two of water, pinches of salt and pepper, a tablespoon of jam, and only about a tablespoon of oil. We like our dressings pretty vinegary. You could use fresh or thawed strawberries instead of jam, but you might need to add a little sugar.

Too many “sides”

With all the fresh produce, I often find myself with too many side dishes and no meaty ideas.

Exhibit 1: last Tuesday’s lunch

  • sweet potatoes with butter
  • steamed peapods with goat cheese
  • carrot sticks
  • some vinegar-based coleslaw

Was that really a crazy meal? Or have I become accustomed to thinking that a meal’s not a meal unless there’s a main (and meaty) dish?

As the summer goes on, I know I’ll make more of these all side-dish meals, so I’m going to revisit Diet for a Small Planet to make sure we’re getting what we need.

Here are some ideas I’m considering to complement our occasional stretches of spontaneous vegetarianism.

  • make cornbread: Cornbread’s yummy, and I bet it’s even better with a fresh egg and whole grain corn meal. Also makes great breakfast. (Cornbread, honey, and goat’s milk for breakfast. Mmmm….)
  • use the whole grains from my member pack: I was so excited to get them, but since then they’ve settled in at the back of my fridge. It’s time to pull them out and see what those babies can do.
  • order a loaf of whole wheat or 5-grain bread from the online store: Boy, would my husband love this one.
  • make scrambled eggs: Boy, would I love this one. I could look into other eggy dish options, but scrambled fresh eggs are so darned good, I’m not sure why I’d do that!

In the meantime…

I’m defrosting some turkey drumsticks. I’m going to bake them like this recipe for chicken drumsticks from simplyrecipes.com. (I hadn’t been to simplyrecipes.com in a while. Silly me! All the latest recipes look wonderful. Like Jamaican Jerk Burgers, Noodles with Mushrooms and Lemon Ginger Dressing, Gingersnap Cookies, and Chocolate Ganache Torte.)

Since turkey legs are bigger than chicken legs, I’ll expect to leave them in at least 45 minutes. I’ll cook all three legs (What kind of crazy turkey was that?!) and expect to have some leftover. In any case, it will be good to have something to put in the oven along with the beets that need roasting.

Maybe the best part of living with a CSA subscription is that vegetables naturally become the focus of meal planning and meat the afterthought.

How to Cook Everything

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Ever notice the change in color between May and June? Sometime in May, spring ends and summer begins. The change comes in color as much as temperature. The landscape shifts from playful spring green, colorful blossoms, and budding oak trees to the serious-business green of summer.

6-10That intense summer green is what my box of produce makes me think of. (Maybe it shouldn’t because almost everything here is a spring crop. But it does.)

  • leeks
  • peas
  • eggs
  • celery!
  • lettuce
  • cucumbers
  • fennel
  • Savoy cabbage
  • chocolate-raspberry-pecan muffins
  • stevia
  • mint of some variety
  • Leiden cheese

Before I put everything away again, I turned the plastic bags inside out. The bags were wet on the inside, so it seemed like a good idea.

Beets

In addition to my regular subscription, I also ordered a pound of beets from the online store. Aren’t they beautiful?

6-10beets

Celery

I love celery! What a nice surprise! I don’t think of celery as a Georgia plant.

6-10 celery

This celery has really nice leaves on it. Celery leaves are great to chop and put in tomato sauce, soups, and salads. I use them instead of chopped celery in recipes that need the celery flavor but don’t require any crunch. And, of course, celery sticks make great snack food.

Garlic scapes

Check out the chaos that is garlic scapes.

6-10 scapesI’m going to look for something other than pesto to make with garlic scapes. Pesto will be the fall back if nothing pans out.

Herbs

Although I couldn’t read what my herb mix was this week, the smell and taste made it very clear. One of the herbs is a very nice mint although I’m not sure which kind.

6-10 mint

The other herb I didn’t recognize until  I took a tiny nibble. It was incredibly sweet and unmistakably stevia.

6-10 stevia

In fact, stevia’s so sweet that the taste reminds me more of Sweet N Low than sugar or honey. I could sweeten my tea with it for sure, but I’ve got enough mint syrup to keep me going for a while. I found a recipe for making an extract from dried stevia leaves. I always have a problem air-drying herbs. Nowhere in my kitchen is ever really a cool, dry place. So I’m thinking about hanging these in my bedroom closer to an air conditioning vent. If my stevia leaves dry right, I’ll keep you posted on the extracting.

Muffins

We’re always happy to get more chocolate-raspberry-pecan muffins.

Yep, they're as good as they look!

Yep, they're as good as they look!

I’ll be back with ideas for fennel, cabbage, and more tomorrow!

Celery

Celery! I love celery. What a surprise! I don’t think of celery as a Georgia plant. This celery has really nice leaves on it. Celery leaves are great stuff to chop up and put in tomato sauce, soups, and salads. And, of course, celery sticks make great snack food.

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