Tuesday, September 30, 2008

CSA Meals - Week 18

It's sinking in more and more that the CSA is ending soon, and I'm doing my best to savor the last few weeks.

On Tuesday night we had a simple meal of sherry cherry tomatoes and bread, the mixed greens sauteed with olive oil, garlic and lemon juice, and Zamorano cheese from River City Cellars. The cheese was deliciously tangy, and the store described it as similar to Manchego with hints of cheddar, which I found to be accurate. It's amazing what you can put together with not many ingredients around.

Wednesday (and Thursday and Friday) I enjoyed one of the crisp apples in the morning and leftover tomato, greens, and white bean soup from last week. In the afternoon I ate a sliced sweet peppers with chickpea dip, also from last week.

We went back to the old frittata standby Thursday evening for lack of other ideas. I also didn't want to waste the farm eggs, and they were as tasty as ever with arugula, tomatoes and two cheeses - grated Zamorano and mozzarella.

Lentil soup from the freezer and more chickpea dip with peppers made for a nice makeshift dinner on Friday.

After an overnight camping trip from Saturday to Sunday, Davy and I pretended we were still functioning in the great outdoors for dinner. We made hot dogs and zucchini on the grill. I roasted the last of the week's tomatoes, and combined them with a little Romaine lettuce and shaved Zamorano for a warm fall salad.

I finally put some of the butternut squash to good use with pasta with green beans (pictured above). Ditalini noodles, or little tubes, were a good vehicle for the crunchy green beans, sweet roasted squash, and savory Parmesan cheese. The dish had a subtle kick from half of one of the hot peppers from a few weeks ago.

There are about five cups of diced squash set aside for a soup recipe I've been meaning to try for about a year. We'll see if I get around to it next week...

Sweet Potatoes!

This week's produce includes:

- sweet potatoes

- apples

- arugula

- mixed greens (two types of kale and broccoletti)

- green beans

- tomatoes

- sweet peppers

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

CSA Meals - Week 17

While I was looking back over the food Davy and I ate this week, I realized that making use of our produce has gotten to be less of a hassle. We ate a few meals out (Mom's Siam, Kitchen 64, Popeye's, and Comfort) and still managed to eat a lot of the week's share. The only items remaining are some cherry tomatoes, which took awhile to ripen, and the beautiful butternut squash, which can keep for a month or longer.

The apples were just as good this week as last week. I ate them for my morning snack on Wednesday and Thursday. It's hard for me to get sick of apples, but eventually I might try an apple crisp or something with them.

On Wednesday night I roasted eggplants and tomatoes and mixed them into brown rice with a poached egg. It was a simple and hearty meal, and satisfying because it seemed so healthy.

Sometimes I crave something in particular or want to try a recipe, but whatever the food is doesn't necessarily fit into the meat-starch-vegetable dinner format. Thursday night, Davy and I knew that we wanted some sort of dip and shrimp but we didn't know exactly how to prepare them. We ended up making a chickpea dip and shrimp fra diavolo. We ate the dip with the delicious, sweet peppers from our share, cucumber sticks, and pita chips. The shrimp fra diavolo, pictured below, was easy to make and was especially tasty with tomatoes from the farm.

Friday started out well, with an apple for my morning snack, leftover shrimp and chickpea dip for lunch. After that, takeout and eating at Kitchen 64 won out over the soup I made Friday evening. Soup gets better with time anyway, so I didn't feel too bad waiting until Saturday to have the tomato, white beans, and greens soup for dinner. The greens - two types of kale and broccoletti - were the right amount of spicy to cut through the creamy beans and tangy tomato.

Sunday's brunch mimicked the poached egg and brown rice combination from earlier in the week, but I mixed leftover red wine shallot sauce with it instead of eggplant and tomato. The half cantaloupe I ate with the meal was sweeter and more interesting than last week's melon.

The same can be said for the white watermelon we got, which I ate Monday and Tuesday mornings before lunch. We had another round of soup Monday night with a nice baguette from Can Can.

I'm going to try to find a good use for my ripe cherry tomatoes in the next couple days, with thoughts of butternut squash still swirling around in my head.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


That's right...I came home to a lovely, large butternut squash! We also got the following today:

- eggs

- garlic

- more apples

- cherry tomatoes and a few larger tomatoes

- a couple sweet peppers

- a small eggplant

- white watermelon

- cantaloupe

- a large bunch of mixed greens

Happy Autumn!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

CSA Meals - Week 16

One of the big differences this week was the arrival of fruit in our share. Apples, watermelon, and cantaloupe marked the shift in seasons and were a welcome change of pace. The white watermelon was sweet and more flavorful than the last one we got. Unfortunately the cantaloupe was very small, and only a few bites of its flesh were edible. The ones I did get were fresh and delicious, but it's the apples that really made my week.

Virginia continually lets me down with the quality of its apples (compared to Pennsylvania), but the two I ate from the farm were wonderful. I tasted some variation in the flavors - one was more tart - but both had smooth skins and a crisp texture. I tried the fruit by itself and then with peanut butter for my afternoon snack on Wednesday and Thursday.

I had to take advantage of the spinach on Tuesday since it's one of my favorite items and doesn't keep as well as some of the other vegetables. We sauteed it with garlic and homegrown Thai peppers, and ate it with grilled mahi mahi and rice.

For lunch on Wednesday, I had the leftover fish in a salad with tomatoes and sunflower seeds. We grilled again that night: chicken, peppers and onions. The other half of the rice served as our starch, and we nibbled on the greens after they had been boiled for a few minutes, sauteed with garlic and olive oil, and sprinkled with lemon juice.

Salad was a common feature in my meals last week. I utilized the leftover chicken in a salad with tomatoes and sunflower seeds once again on Thursday at lunchtime. Before I went to dinner at 3 Monkeys, I scarfed down the rest of the greens from the night before.

After the past week, the only produce remaining is a handful of cherry tomatoes. I've been reading a lot about roasting tomatoes, so I might try that in the next few days. Otherwise, I'm ready for more apples!

It's definitely fall, and I'm excited because...

...we got apples in our share this week! There are two varieties, one more tart than the other, and both have mixed red and green skin. We also got:

- the last of the potatoes

- the last of the melons (a white watermelon and small cantaloupe)

- a few sweet peppers

- cherry tomatoes

- Malabar spinach

- mixed greens: two types of kale and broccoli rabe

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

CSA Meals - Week 15

As fall creeps in, I'm starting to worry that the abundance of produce from the CSA will give way to a much lower vegetable intake when it's over. I'm really going to have to make an effort to find fresh vegetables, which will probably mean more trips to Ellwood Thompson's. Luckily there are still a few weeks left to savor the offerings from the farm, and I managed to do pretty well this week.

On Tuesday I ate a poached egg over brown rice, and mixed in spinach sauteed with garlic, tomato, and basil. The nutty, sweet, and earthy flavors came together with the richness of the egg to make a hearty and simple meal.

I made a cucumber and tomato salad to enjoy Wednesday afternoon, and that night Davy and I grilled burgers, peppers and onions. Since we had eggplant around, I made another attempt at eggplant fries. They were tasty but still not crispy enough to really be a substitute for french fries.

Cucumber and tomato salad made its second appearance Thursday afternoon, as did the grilled peppers and onions for dinner. Some of them were spicy, so they were a great addition to our chicken tacos.

Saturday morning I ate a fried egg with some of the brown rice from Tuesday night. Davy and I ate delicious leftovers from Tarrant's (pizza and a chicken caesar wrap) with steamed green beans on Saturday evening.

After we ran a 5k race on Sunday morning, we made bagel sandwiches with eggs and cheese. I made use of the eggplant fries that had been sitting in the fridge from earlier in the week by mixing them into a baked pasta dish with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. The homemade pesto I made that afternoon with basil from the share emphasized all of the other Italian flavors in the pasta. For nutritional purposes, we also had a salad with romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and sunflower seeds. The baked pasta and salad hit the spot Sunday night, as well as Monday and Tuesday for lunch.

Since we experienced both rain and heat this past week, I'm wondering how our produce package will be affected by the weather. Check back soon to find out!

Return of the Eggplant

This week's share:

- eggs

- three eggplants

- garlic

- peppers in various colors, shapes, and degrees of heat

- spinach

- slicing tomatoes

- red and yellow cherry tomatoes

- green beans

- a generous bunch of basil

- cucumber

Thursday, September 04, 2008

CSA Meals - Week 14

It was nice to have some variety with last week's share. I experimented with broccoli rabe for the first time on Wednesday night and it turned out pretty well (although it's no Edo's or Mamma Zu broccoletti). We boiled the greens for a few minutes until they were tender, and then sauteed them with a little butter and garlic. The side dish went well with some gifted leftovers from Maggiano's - veal parmesan and penne with sausage.

Almost everything we've received lately has been crisp and flavorful. On both Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, I had sliced cucumbers and peppers with hummus. One of the eggs was delicious in Pad Thai for dinner on Thursday, and steamed green beans balanced the rich flavors of the main dish.

We postponed grilling on Friday because of the rain, but homemade macaroni and cheese (which used another egg) really hit the spot. Sauteed spinach, tomatoes and garlic made a delicious and healthy accompaniment.

The culinary highlight of the week was probably
the one egg frittata (pictured above) Davy made for me with the leftover spinach and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese. Malabar spinach, which is what has been in our share, is darker and a little heartier than the baby spinach I'm used to in the grocery store. It's perfect for sauteeing because it's not as watery and doesn't wilt down as much.

I probably should have fried the okra that we got, because I'm not very familiar with it and have only eaten it a few times, but I wanted to be adventurous. I sauteed it with zucchini, squash, and onion for dinner on Sunday. While seasoning the vegetables with cumin helped their taste, the okra definitely made everything a little slimy.

On Monday afternoon I toughed it out and ate the leftover okra and squash, and was rewarded with a wonderful end of summer meal: grilled ribs, peppers and onions, and roasted potatoes. The grilled peppers and onions made a much better afternoon snack than the okra. Unfortunately we didn't get any okra for the upcoming week, but I'm hoping that wasn't the last of it; I'm having too much fun conquering new vegetables.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Broccoli Rabe

We've had a lot of rain lately, so the potatoes and tomatoes didn't do as well this week. However, greens like rain, and we got both broccoli rabe and spinach! We also received:

- okra 

- assorted tomatoes

- green beans

- several sweet peppers

- Asian melons

- yellow squash

- an eight ball zucchini

- cucumber

- white watermelon