Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Bountiful Week

- 6 large brown eggs

- assorted sizes and colors of tomatoes

- small white potatoes

- an eggplant

- zucchini

- yellow squash

- green beans

- four sweet peppers

- three different kinds of cucumbers

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

CSA Meals - Week 8

Most of the weeks that we've gotten our CSA package have conformed to two patterns, one in which we are in town through the weekend. The other involves a weekend trip of some sort, usually beginning on Thursday or Friday, and cutting out several days of potential produce consumption.

Week 8 fell into the second category, so I tried to get as much eaten before we left on Friday morning. On Tuesday we had grilled squash and zucchini, marinated venison steaks, and tomato and mozzarella salad with basil
and olive oil.

I made the standard cucumber and tomato salad with balsamic vinegar and basil as a snack for Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. The tomatoes are wonderful right now, and the farm does a nice job giving us some that aren't as ripe so that they last throughout the week.

Sunday we had steamed green beans with lemon juice and sesame seeds to accompany delicious sandwiches from Ellwood Thompson's. I had a turkey, cucumber, spinach and hummus wrap and it was tasty as always - I don't know what it is about their turkey, but it surprises me every time because it's so good.

Monday morning Davy and I shared the watermelon, which was sweet and had a familiar flavor despite its orange color. Once again I ate cucumber and tomato salad as an afternoon snack, and for dinner we made stuffed eggplant and zucchini, slightly modifying this stuffed eggplant recipe from the Food Network. For a side dish, we sauteed the red noodle beans (cut into two inch pieces) with butter, olive oil, garlic, and Thai chili peppers. I was much happier with the way the beans turned out with this preparation; they were crunchier and more appealing overall.

Everything was still fresh tasting and far better than grocery store produce, and the only items left were potatoes and a small portion of green beans. I'm going to use them at some point during Week 9 and teach myself how to freeze beans so they'll be available in the winter.

Another Melon

Produce this week:

- a small watermelon (which has an orange color inside)

- sweet peppers

- Chinese red noodle beans

- green beans

- assorted slicing and cherry tomatoes

- white potatoes

- cucumbers

- yellow squash

- zucchini

- a "stuffing squash" or spherical zucchini

- garlic

- eggplant

Thursday, July 17, 2008

CSA Meals - Week 7

The full bag of produce this week made me realize that summer is in full effect. I was, of course, excited about the eggs, but the copious amounts of vegetables allowed for many cooking options.

On Tuesday night we made a quinoa salad from 101
Cookbooks to accompany grilled boneless pork chops. We grilled squash and zucchini, which were deliciously sweet, and prepared the eggs according to the recipe's directions. The hard-boiled eggs were some of the best I've ever had because of how plump they were. I added a seeded jalapeno from the share to the creamy avocado and yogurt dressing, though I think I would have liked it to be spicier to offset the richness of the dressing, pine nuts and goat cheese.

I steamed the Chinese red noodle beans and mixed them with chopped tomato and pesto. Their purple color (which reminded me of eggplant) was intriguing, as was the taste, which was similar to regular green beans. In addition, the red noodle beans had an almost chalky aftertaste, and I think next time I'll try them in a stir fry.

On Wednesday and Thursday I ate the leftover quinoa salad for lunch. It got better over the next couple days, and I liked having it at room temperature or a little cold. I didn't add the last third of the dressing like the recipe suggested; I think that would have overwhelmed the other ingredients and it was still creamy two days later. As usual, I made a cucumber and tomato salad to accompany my lunch on Wednesday. Davy finished it that night with our homemade egg mcmuffins.

Over the weekend I was in Harrisburg helping my parents prepare for their annual summer cookout. My dad got up at 5 am on Saturday to start smoking a pork shoulder, and I had the honor of pulling it that night. It was my favorite out of the meats, which also included a whole chicken, wild turkey, and brisket with two homemade sauces. There were several other highlights to dinner that night, including smoked red potatoes, delicious yellow beans with black sesame seeds, two wonderful pies (peach and blueberry, still warm and served with ice cream), and a famous banana pudding.

On Monday night Davy and I ate some of the leftover chicken and brisket, along with potatoes from our share and green beans. I steamed the green beans and mixed in balsamic vinegar, chopped tomato, and a little feta. The potatoes were roasted with olive oil and rosemary.

I'm looking forward to having the green pepper this afternoon with white bean dip. Despite being away for a few days, the only items remaining from the share are a small head of a garlic, two sweet peppers and a jalapeno. Something tells me they won't be uneaten for long.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I love summer squash

This week's offering:

- Eggs!

- Cherry tomatoes

- Slicing tomatoes

- Rote Erstling new potatoes

- Green Beans

- Chinese red noodle beans (also called asparagus beans or yard beans - they're normally 18" long and are deep purple in color - shown above)

- Cucumbers

- Mixed zucchini and squash

- Assorted peppers: a green bell pepper, two sweet peppers, two jalapenos

- Eggplant

- Garlic

Sunday, July 13, 2008

CSA Meals - Week 6

Do you ever come to sudden realizations about your food tastes?

Although I've been turning the idea over in my mind for the past six months, this week's share confirmed that I am not really a melon person. I love watermelon in the summer, and I've been known to eat good cantaloupe, but honeydew and any other varieties will always be left on my plate or picked out of fruit salad.

I was curious about the half of an Asian melon that came with our produce this week, but I only managed to eat four or five bites before I had to push it away. The color was a pretty light green, except it was crunchy like under ripe cantaloupe, but the taste resembled overripe honeydew (according to Shannon and Davy, since I don't eat honeydew). It was disappointing, but not overly so.

Another minor setback with this week's share was the cucumber and tomato salad (shown above) I made on Tuesday night. Davy and I both had bites that were extremely bitter, and then we realized that the cucumber skin was to blame. Luckily it was easy to fix, and when I cut off the skin it tasted normal and delicious.

Wednesday we steamed the green beans and mixed them with tomatoes, feta, basil and lemon juice. They were the standout in a meal of mediocre leftovers from the weekend cookout.

Six days of rain last week yielded several basil and parsley leaves, so I was able to make pesto on Friday night with a combination of herbs from the farm and my own plants. I sauteed the onion, zucchini, squash, and tomato from the share in olive oil with chicken, white wine and basil. We ate it with boiled new potatoes garnished with parsley and a little butter. The onion was very fragrant and melted down nicely to flavor the other ingredients. I was able to get a snack and a lunch out of the leftovers.

A large portion of the pesto I made went into a pasta salad with yellow, red, and green tomatoes and feta. The only items left from the share are a small spring onion, some of a head of garlic, and part of a large tomato. I'm looking forward to Tuesday and more fresh eggs.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Time to Make Pesto

This week's share:

- tomatoes (various colors and sizes)

- red new potatoes

- a large bunch of basil

- green beans

- small yellow squash

- zucchini

- a head of garlic

- spring onion

- a yellow potato onion (more like what you buy in the grocery store)

- an Asian melon

- cucumber

- lemon cucumber

Monday, July 07, 2008

CSA Meals - Week 5

With Evan visiting and the 4th of July falling right in the middle of the share week, it wasn't difficult to consume everything we received last Tuesday.

For a quick meal on kickball night, I combined some leftover rice with the dark green kale leaves. I sauteed garlic, a couple spring onions, the rice, chopped kale, and salsa. When all of it was warm I topped it with a fried egg and ate everything mixed in together. The rest of the rice was the perfect amount for lunch with another egg later in the week.

Wednesday night we had a delicious meal at Mamma Zu (including the elusive white pizza for the first time, which was amazing) and on Thursday ate grilled yellow squash and zucchini, mahi and roasted potatoes. Some of the potatoes were the size of a marble, so I chopped all of them to about that size - 1/2-3/4 of an inch - and tossed them with salt, pepper and olive oil. The mahi was prepared to be grilled in a foil pack with onion, leeks and sweet pepper. All of the sweetness from the vegetables sauteed in white wine balanced the meatiness of the fish. A pat of butter in each foil pack brought everything together with a hint of rich flavor.

Lately I've been craving feta a lot, so I decided to make pasta salad with chickpeas, feta, tomatoes, cucumber, lemon juice and basil for our cookout. The two different kinds of cucumbers, a standard variety and the lemon cucumber, which is spherical, contributed different degrees of crunchiness. I added more lemon juice and olive oil later when I ate the pasta salad for lunch with chicken the next day, and all of the flavors and textures held up until we ate the last of it on Monday.

Brunch on Sunday was a delicious zucchini frittata (pictured) with the remaining three eggs, garlic, spring onions, Canadian bacon and basil. I wish we could get eggs every week.

For dinner on Monday, we incorporated the rest of the basil with my homegrown basil into a baked penne dish with meat sauce. More of the tomatoes went into a warm salad with steamed green beans and feta. There is one beautifully ripe tomato sitting on the counter, and I am going to wait to see what we get this week before I decide what to do with it. I have a feeling we're going to be seeing more everything in the next few weeks - I hope I can keep up!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Time for Tomatoes

Yesterday we picked up:

- a dozen eggs

- a large bunch of basil

- a pound of tomatoes (various colors and sizes)

- new potatoes

- Tuscan kale

- two cucumbers

- zucchini

- several yellow squash

- garlic

- baby leeks

- two sweet peppers

- a small heirloom melon

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

CSA Meals - Week 4

Another Tuesday, another chance to assess the manifestation of the week's produce. The vegetables were incorporated into a few larger dishes to ensure the presence of leftovers while I was out of town.

Taking a tip from the farm, we managed to put together a Zucchini Crusted Pizza. Unfortunately Davy and I both read and forgot the step for drying out the zucchini, and our pizza was more like a lasagna with zucchini noodles. It was still very tasty, with yellow squash and zucchini from the share and basil from the front porch. I hope to try it again soon and will be much more careful about following directions.

The cute little new potatoes, garlic and kale wen
t into Kale and Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes. We ate them with hot Italian sausage from the Belmont Butchery, and what seemed more like a cold weather meal hit the spot on Wednesday night after kickball.

Monday night I was lucky enough to be served lamb chops (gu
ess where they were from), rice, cucumber and tomato salad, and turnips. The honey, cinnamon and nutmeg on the turnips made them taste like dessert. Neither of us are sure turnips are our new favorite vegetable, but it is fun experimenting with them. I was particularly excited about the cucumber and tomato salad with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and fresh basil, because it's one of my favorite summer dishes.

All of last week's share is gone except for th
e spring onions, which are holding up well, and today
get eggs with our produce!