Friday, June 27, 2014

Cucumber salad

Cucumber, radish, and parsley salad with Drew's Rosemary Balsamic Viniagrette (plus some salt & pepper).

Cucumbers and parsley were delicious! However, I have confirmed that I still do not care for radishes.

Napa Cabbage with Tofu

Sometimes cooking goes smoothly. Other times, you drop a big hunk of tofu on the floor, and the rice boils over. I miss having a gas stove, where turning down the heat means it turns down instantly, not 10 minutes later.

I tried to find a recipe that would bring together multiple CSA items (and didn't require the purchase of a bunch of other items), but besides a salad, came up short. So I went with a slightly modified version of "Tofu and Steamed Cabbage with Rice and Peanut Sauce" from Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I opted for the variation mentioned in the margin of the page, which uses her "Sesame Sauce or Marinade" in place of the peanut sauce. I also chose to marinade and bake the tofu rather than steaming it, to give it more flavor and make it a little crispy.

Here's the cabbage steaming:

It nearly filled the pot when I started, but it decreased considerably in volume after steaming.

And here it is plated with some white rice:

Verdict: Quite tasty! And I've determined that I prefer Napa cabbage to Bok choy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Week 3: The Goods

This week's produce:

Head of lettuce (appeared to be some type of green leaf lettuce)
Kohlrabi (will add a pic of these later)
Napa Cabbage
White onions

We never got around to using the kohlrabi last time we did the CSA. Its unique visage just stared back at us from the fridge. This time, we'll use it...somehow.

We never used the radishes last time either. Tomorrow, I envision a lunch salad of lettuce, cucumbers, and radishes. And later some salads of just radish and cucumbers. And then just cucumbers, because we got a lot of cucumbers!

Cabbage will likely go in a stir-fry, along with broccoli and onions

Beets: Roasting and then doing something with them

Collards: I think I cooked something involving polenta with them last time, so maybe that again?

Parsley goes in lots of things.

A Colorful Soup

Monday night, I was scrambling to find a way to use some remaining items. Did I want to try making veggie pancakes with the squash (from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)? Then I happened upon a recipe that would use three of the remaining items: beets, scallions, and spinach. And we actually had most of the other ingredients on hand!

Beet Soup with Three Legumes
from my old standby Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

I made it a little simpler by used canned kidney beans. We were out of chickpeas, so I skipped them, but upped the lentils a bit (wanted to use the last of a bag). We didn't have any parsley, so I skipped it. We also did not have any plain yogurt: also skipped. I did add some Penzey's Mural of Flavor because it seemed like it needed something.

It was my first time working with beets--my only memory of them was eating the jarred pickled kind as a child. So I wasn't sure how this would taste. It was certainly...colorful!

And it tasted good, too! Success! And it held up well for a couple of lunches. Next time we get beets, I'd like to try roasting them, as I've heard it's a good way to bring out their flavor and sweetness. They're on the crops list for this week, so we'll see...

Week 2

I'm playing a bit of catchup here since I didn't think to start the blog sooner. The Week 2 (6/18) bounty was:
  • Broccoli
  • Beets
  • Spinach 
  • Summer squash
  • Cucumber
  • Scallions
  • Arugula
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Salanova Baby Lettuce
  • Swiss Chard or Kale: I went with Swiss Chard
We took the easy route the first night and made pasta with Swiss chard, onions, and red bell pepper. During our previous summer with the CSA, we discovered that Swiss chard can basically sub for spinach in most anything.

So we used our basic pasta with veggies recipe, with olive oil and some Penzey's Italian Herb seasoning. Start by cooking onion and red pepper in a bit of oil. Parboil the chard for a few minutes in water to make it tender, then add it in with the peppers and onions. Cook the pasta separately, then toss it together. Add some fresh-squeezed lemon and parmesan at the end.

The next day, for lunch, I had leftovers and added some arugula on top. I just put raw, rinsed arugula on top of the leftovers, added a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, then heated it in the microwave.  The arugula wilted nicely!

We went easy on Thursday, too, making mac & cheese (Annie's) from a box and steaming some fresh broccoli to put on top.

The next day, for lunch, I cut the bottom off the Salanova baby lettuce, washed it, and drizzled it with some Drew's Rosemary Balsamic Viniagrette. (In retrospect, I should have added cucumbers!)

We ate out much of the weekend. Monday's experiment will go in a separate entry!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Why I'm Starting CSA Creations

Hi! I created this blog to post the recipes I make with produce from the Gorman Farm Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in Maryland. This program gives us a variety of local produce each week for about half the year, while helping to support small family farms.

We tried the CSA a couple years ago but ended up throwing out many of the items due to poor planning (we'll cook with this tomorrow!) or having no idea what to do with some of the items (I'm looking at you, kohlrabi). We decided to try again this year, pledging to actually use (or freeze) most of what we get.

I thought this blog would be a good way to keep myself honest and also hopefully promote CSAs and buying local. Your feedback is welcome. Enjoy!