Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Winter Co-Op Week 3

I had to do a little research, but I found out what a stewing chicken is so that I could order one this week. It's a 10-18 month old hen that is best when prepared by braising or stewing. We'll see how it goes. I also got:

- a pound of fresh oyster mushrooms

- a large seedless cucumber

- a head of hydroponic bibb lettuce

- a pound of purple French fingerling potatoes

Bad Apples = Good Applesauce

In a couple days I'll order my fourth round of farm products from the Edible Garden co-op. I'm really enjoying the flexibility of picking exactly what and how much I get, although it does require some foresight.

The first set of produce wasn't the best ever, but it is the middle of winter so I still consider myself lucky for being able to get tomatoes and cucumbers. The hydroponic tomatoes were a bright, cheery red, with an inviting, summery tomato smell, but the insides were fairly bland in color and flavor. Luckily the cucumber was fresh and crispy, and it pulled its weight as well as the tomato's in a salad. I ended up mixing some good canned tuna from Whole Foods into the salad, and eating it with pita chips for lunch a couple times.

I made a cous cous dish with the other tomato that worked well because the tomato was cooked, and it also featured green onions, garbanzo beans, edamame and feta. The elephant garlic, which is larger and milder than the garlic I'm used to, scented various meals throughout the first and second weeks.

When I ordered the pound of Winesap apples I had a feeling they might be small, or inedible, but it was still a disappointment when I tried biting into two of them. I'm grateful that they were a little too sweet and mealy because they gave me the opportunity to make applesauce for the first time, and it turned out well. The rosy pink applesauce (I left the apple skins on) complimented a roast pork shoulder with a spice rub, applesauce, and the collard greens. I steamed the greens with water, olive oil, and garlic, and they retained a bit of their sharpness but were not overpoweringly bitter.

The second week was less co-op focused. I got a bone-in lamb shoulder that went into the freezer for a day that offers hours of free time to cook it slowly. Davy and I made breakfast sandwiches with a few of the eggs Saturday morning, and we'll probably repeat the meal for a weekday dinner, but I'm still waiting to think of something to do with the others.

My only repeated item the second week was a small seedless cucumber, and I used it in a couple salads with the head of hydroponic bibb lettuce that also came from a farm. The lettuce was soft and slightly crunchy, and it felt like a bonus since lettuce that fresh is usually only available during traditional growing months.

I'm sure I'll get sick of the half hour drive to Edible Garden, but for now it feels like a treat to receive a box of locally raised or grown food every week. I have a feeling that the fruit, vegetables, and meat to come will outshine the mediocre tomatoes.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Winter Co-Op Week 2

I couldn't resist getting another cucumber this week. I also ordered:

- a bone-in lamb shoulder

- a head of bibb lettuce

- a dozen eggs

Monday, January 12, 2009

Winter Co-Op

On Saturday I put in my order with Edible Garden for this week's co-op offering. We are getting:

-hydroponic tomatoes and cucumbers

-Winesap apples

-collard greens


-acorn squash

I pick it up Thursday and am excited to have some variety in my winter produce routine.