Thursday, October 16, 2008

CSA Meals - Week 20 and beyond

This post is long overdue, but I'm glad that I've had a little time to reflect on the CSA and try to finish all of the produce from the final weeks. There's still a cute butternut squash and a few delicious sweet potatoes in my kitchen that I'm holding onto until I'm inspired by a recipe (or until Davy's not opposed to sweet orange food anymore).

Some of the meals we had with the remaining vegetables were: pasta with turkey sausage, broccoli rabe, roasted tomatoes, and pesto; grilled mahi mahi, peppers and onions (on the new grill pan!), rice and salsa; tacos with the leftover mahi and peppers; baked sweet potatoes with arugula and roasted chicken from Ellwood Thompson's; Tuscan bean and barley soup; arugula sauteed with roasted tomatoes and white beans eaten with brown rice and a poached egg; baked winter squash filled with cheesy orzo, boiled kale with garlic, onion and bacon.

I guess it's no secret that I'm happy I decided to participate in a CSA. Learning about different vegetables and experimenting with different preparations has certainly had an impact on my cooking and the way I think about buying produce. As disappointed as I was that our share was ending, I'm inspired to continue using ingredients I wouldn't have before and checking out what's locally grown at Ellwood Thompson's.

Whole Foods came to Richmond a few months ago, and I avoided it for several weeks until I found an online coupon for $5 off a $25 or more bill at the store. It was the perfect excuse to walk up and down every aisle and buy things I "needed" for upcoming meals - fresh pasta, a whole chicken, and specialty canned soup to name a few. For a venue that's not gigantic, Whole Foods has a wide variety of produce, prepared foods, and pretty much everything else. It's nice to know that the option is there if I want it, and Ellwood Thompson's is expanding to compete with the chain. Hopefully the bigger version of the natural grocery store will tide me over - at least until the next CSA.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Last One

Despite the fact that this is the twentieth week of our CSA, and that someone stole one of the farm eggs out of my refrigerator, I'm still excited about this week's share:

- sweet peppers

- mixed spicy greens

- broccoli rabe

- winter squash

- assorted cherry and slicing tomatoes

- sweet potatoes

- honey from the farm!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

CSA Meals - Week 19

Yesterday I harvested around fifty little Thai peppers from the plant on our front porch. There are several more that haven't turned red yet, and it's very comforting to know that we'll have access to spicy peppers for the next several months. Squash has been an important part of my meals for the past few weeks, and I like pairing it with hot peppers or sauce to complement its sweetness.

I got two more meals out of the butternut squash and green bean pasta - once for dinner on Tuesday paired with sauteed arugula, and again for dinner Saturday night mixed with some restaurant leftovers.

Thursday was my birthday, and I was fortunate enough to have several birthday meals and celebrations. Davy and I had a fantastic dinner at Zeus Gallery Cafe, and I incorporated the other half of my meal into the squash and green bean pasta for dinner on Saturday night. My meal at Zeus Gallery was a delectable combination of orecchiette pasta, broccoletti, escarole, chicken, and fava beans.

Davy prepared the mustard greens with garlic and ginger on Wednesday night. They accompanied white rice and a delicious pork tenderloin rubbed with lemon zest and salt. Both the pork and greens had strong flavors, but they worked well together, especially with the plain rice.

I took the rest of the butternut squash in a different direction and made a smooth soup with it. The recipe also included potatoes, which I had from the share, and leeks. It was fairly simple to make with my new immersion blender. We toasted some slices of bread (baguette from Can Can) with the last of the Zamorano cheese grated on top, and served the soup with the toast at the bottom of the bowl on Sunday evening. In addition, we had arugula from Victory Farms (sold at Ellwood Thompson's) tossed with toasted pine nuts, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. It was a very comforting fall meal and was just as satisfying Monday night, with cheddar and Parmesan on the toast instead of Zamorano.

Tuesday afternoon I had one of the sweet peppers sliced as a snack. I'm sad to say that the green tomatoes have started ripening and turning red, so they're no longer going to qualify for fried green tomatoes. Hopefully we'll get a couple more with the next round of produce, and I should have more time to attempt frying them next week.

No apples this week...

...but we do have green tomatoes. I can't remember ever making fried green tomatoes before, and I only remember trying them once. I might have to experiment this week. We also got:

- eggs

- regular slicing tomatoes

- sweet peppers

- arugula

- sweet potatoes

- a butternut squash

- mustard greens