Beka To Basics

Real Food Cooking

Archive for the category “CSA”

The Gleaning

It feels rather ominous to use that word.  I can’t describe it any better than that, ominous.  Also ominous?

The Reaping

Maybe that’s what it’s making me think of.  But why would farming terms make me feel like something bad is going to happen?  Why are they used in horror movies?  Really, reaping and gleaning HAVE to come after sowing.  And ALL of it has to come before eating.

Enough of light philosophical thinking. 🙂

My CSA ended and I’ve had a week to think about it.  I really enjoyed it, but not at first.  You have to change the way you think about eating and deciding what to eat.  I have always thought about what I want, made a list, gone to the store and cooked what I bought.  It backwards.  You can’t tell what veggies to be ripe when you want them to be.  You can’t will it to be spring, with it’s strawberries and salad greens.  You have to work with what’s ready.

I was really resistant to that at first.  In fact, I hated it.  I thought every week – now I have to figure out how to fit all of this freaking food into my already made plan.  Wrong.  Try again.

Embrace it.  Realize that what you have actually makes it’s own plan.  There are SOME things you have to think about.  Like a bitter melon, or a quince, but there’s a reason so many eggplant recipes also have tomatoes.  They are ready at the same time.  Think about how we used to eat, before we had easy access to anything we wanted at any time we wanted.  We had to eat what we could find, when it was ready to eat.

Once I got over planning meals and then getting food and switched my thinking to getting the food and then making something with it, I really started to enjoy it.  It started to come really naturally.  Once a week, I would get an email telling me what was coming the next day and I already had a plan for the upcoming week.  Almost without having to think about it.  I’m telling you, it was liberating.  If food can be liberating, I suppose.  Maybe I’m blowing my experience out of proportion, but I figured I would share.

Now, back to THE GLEANING

After the CSA ended, my farmer (yes, I refer to him as my farmer 🙂 ), invited the share holders out to his farm. To glean.  So, to glean I went.  I got some extra veggies and two dozen eggs and enough garlic to last through the winter. That is if I don’t just roast it up and eat it like popcorn in one sitting.  Have you ever seen garlic on it’s stalk, drying out?  Yeah, I brought a bunch home. 😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured in the Food Festival: Fat Tuesday.

Advertisements

Lazy Potato Leek Corn Soup

I need to confess, I ordered pizza this weekend instead of making it. (Oh, the horror, the horror)

I want to see if anyone else does what I do when I order pizza.  Instant regret.  It comes, I eat it.  Then, I start to think about how much I paid for dough, sauce, cheese and toppings.  I have everything I need to make a pizza in my cupboards and fridge and it would have been a lot cheaper.  But making it would have involved work, so it’s a trade off.  Still, every time, I go through the same thing.

And what do you think I did AFTER I ate the pizza?  Yeah, you’re right.  I cooked.  Kind of ironic, huh?  Or maybe not.
Anyways, this soup didn’t take long at all and it fed right into my laziness since I put corn on the cob right into the soup to cook. instead of cooking it and then de-kernelling it (have we determined the correct word for that yet?).

Lazy Potato Leek Corn Soup

  • 2 leeks, chopped and washed well
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 4 small potatoes
  • 3 ears of corn, shucked and broken into pieces
  • 3 pints of stock – veggie stock makes this a wonderful vegetarian soup!
  • salt and pepper

Melt the butter and cook the leeks and onion for a few minutes.  While this is cooking, I cut the potatoes and shucked the corn.  By the time I was finished, the leeks and onions were soft so I added the flour to make yet another roux.  I’ve been in love with this method the past few weeks, can you tell?  I added the stock and let it come to a simmer, then added the potatoes and corn and let it all cook for about 20 minutes.

The worst part of this soup?  Just how good it smells, and I’m not hungry anymore!

The best part?  The PURPLE POTATOES!!! Did you know they came in all purple? And all red? And there are so many other types of potatoes besides the few that I knew about.  They aren’t typically in the grocery store, although I have seen the purple ones recently.  I was so silly excited when I picked up these purples from my farmer that he gave me a mini potato lesson.  I’m totally on a search for all types of potatoes now.

This is why my soup has a purplish hue! 🙂

Vegan Eggplant

From time to time you have to try something different, like cooking something vegan. (Do you capitalize Vegan?)

I fully enjoy eating meat and dairy products (just wait until tomorrow, you’ll see just how much I enjoy them!), but sometimes it’s good to have some veggies and why not let them star in their own show?

Remember my plea for help to use all the eggplants I’ll be getting? Well, I found this one and it gave me an idea for this vegan fest.

Vegan Eggplant Patties and Squash Noodle Spaghetti

Eggplant Patties

  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1 cup of Breadcrumbs
  • 1 or 2 cloves of Garlic
  • Italian Seasoning

Tomato Sauce

  • Onion
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 1 or 2 cloves of Garlic
  • Basil – I used fresh

Squash Noodles

  • 1 Squash
  • Olive Oil

I started with the sauce.  Just dice the onion and saute in olive oil until they are softened a bit and season with salt and pepper.  Add the garlic and saute.  Rough chop the tomatoes and add then to the onion and garlic mixture.  They will start to break down and make a sauce as the heat through. You can help them along by mashing them with a potato masher.  Let it simmer while you make everything else.

To make the patties, start by roasting the eggplant until its soft and mushy.  Pull out all the insides and mix them together with the breadcrumbs, garlic and Italian seasoning.  It is a really wet mixture, but if it won’t hold together at all, just add a few more breadcrumbs until it does.  Form the mixture into patties and fry in a bit of olive oil until they are browned a bit on both sides.  It’s already cooked, so really its just to make the outside crunchy and delicious.

Use a potato peeler to make “noodles” out of the squash.  Once the patties are done, add some more olive oil to the pan and saute the squash strips until they are cooked throuh.  It will only take a few minutes since the slices are so thin.  Add the noodles to the sauce and serve with an eggplant pattie (or two).  I might try to make the patties into “meatballs” next time so it looks like real spaghetti and meatballs. 🙂

This is one eggplant preparation that I actually like. I still have many other recipes to try and make more eggplants coming my way in the next few weeks, so I’m glad to have at least this one to fall back on in case the others don’t work for me.

Come see me and some other great recipes at Real Food Wednesday and What’s in the Box link party

 

 

 

Stuffed Squash

I’ve never made these before, so I was guessing the whole time I was coming up with the recipe.  Sometimes this guessing method works, sometimes its disastrous.  Happily, tonight was one of those sometimes. 😀

I admit, I had some help.  The sage pork sausage is from Mt Vernon Farms and it is absolutely wonderful. It’s sausagey, but not TOO sausagey (I think it’s because they found a good balance between fennel seed and sage).  I had it in my freezer from when I made sausage gravy and biscuits which only needed 1/2 lb of sausage.  Anyways, the filling was quite tasty, but I’m sure you could sub any ground meat or beans and it would still be good – Just know that there is something heavenly about buttery squash and rich sage pork combined (just sayin).

Pork Stuffed Squash

  • Squash
  • 1/2 Green Pepper. diced
  • 1/2 Onion, diced
  • Garlic, diced
  • Butter/Olive Oil
  • 1/2 lb cooked Pork Sausage (homemade or bought)
  • Cheese (I used Havarti)
  • Salt and Pepper

Cut the Squash in half, lengthwise.  Drizzle them with a bit of olive oil and roast, cut side down, in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes until they are tender, but still hold together.  While the squash is roasting, make the filling.  I sauteed the Green Pepper and Onion for a few minutes in a butter and olive oil mix, seasoning them with some salt and pepper.  When they were tender, I added the Pork and heated it through.

Take the squash out of the oven and when they have cooled a little, cut a little off the back so they will sit flat when you turn them over to stuff them.  On the cut side of the squash, use a fork to pull some of the squash insides out, so it looks like a little canoe.  I mixed the squash insides back into my filling cause I didn’t want to throw them away.  Fill the canoe with the pork filling, top with a bit of cheese and bake until the cheese is melty.

Come see many other recipes and tips at Fat Tuesday!

Food Art

This is my kitchen bar counter.  A lot of the vegetables I get need to be stored at room temperature, or slightly below.  The fridge is too cold, so they spoil quickly if I put them in there.  The squash should probably be somewhere like a root cellar, but the counter will have to do.  They seem to keep just fine as long as I use them in a few days.

I’ve started to call the bar area of my kitchen, my still life counter.  On Fridays, after I pick up new veggies and arrange them on my counter, I feel like I should get an easel and paintbrush out and get to work. 😉

It’ really satisfying to use them up one by one and see my still life painting be depleted of all its subjects, and then refilled the next week with different ones. This week I plan to make, Lamb over potatoes with a basil balsamic sauce, Squash stuffed with sage pork ragu (is it still a ragu without the pasta?), Pork BBQ hash and Potato Leek Soup (yes, I know it’s July).  I’ll try to post recipes, the problem is remembering to write down what I do as I’m doing it.

Now, where are my oil paints?

Eggplant

And Squash, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Tomatillos, Onion, Garlic Scapes

This is what came in my CSA box last week.  While we’re on that note, I am wondering if other people actually get boxes with food in it when they join a CSA?  I need to take pictures of mine because there aren’t any boxes.

He gave everyone a tote bag and when we arrive on the day we said we would pick up veggies, he’s there, in his van full o good stuff.  He pulls crates of various veggies out of said van and puts them in a row on the ground.  Then he looks at what he has and takes out his chalk board and writes the name and number of veggies you get depending on how many shares you signed up for.  He offers 1, 2 and 4 person shares. We fill our tote bags with however many veggies our share gets that week.  I have to admit, it was what I was expecting at all.  I kept hearing about boxes and shares and I imagined meeting him each week and getting a box all neatly packed and putting it in my car and taking home to open it like it’s a Christmas present.

Ok, so we’ve taken care of that – The veggies have been amazing. I forgot how DIRTY veggies straight from the ground are.  Believe me, I slapped myself in the head when I realized I was thinking that, so no one else has to. Of course they’re dirty, they were living there until a few hours ago.  I had to pick caterpillars out of my cauliflower. I’m probably not making this CSA thing sound very good, but I have to tell you I’ve been loving it.  I’m going to guess that if you knew me, you might not pick me out as someone who enjoys getting dirty and picking caterpillars off veggies.  Well, Surprise!

Back to veggies.  I made a really good onion and squash saute to be a side for the BLTs we had for dinner.  We also had some pretty tasty tomatillo salsa that I put on eggs and hot dogs (separate times, of course).  I heard it would be good on fish.  I’ll have to try that next time. I also made these broccoli cheese bites that were really really amazing.

There were many successes – and one massive failure. Eggplant. What do you do with eggplant that makes it good? It was soo bad, I tried to eat it fried, sauteed, with other veggies, alone, in eggs (gross). I am probably going to get at least one eggplant per week for the next few months, so someone, please help me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come check me any many others out at What’s in the Box? Link Party 🙂

After lots of searching, I finally figured out what to do with all the stuff from my CSA.  Most of it goes in salads, except for the kale, mustard greens and the bok choi.  Kale is good in soup, of course its HOT outside, so I don’t want soup.  The mustard greens are the same, so I’m still trying to decide what exactly to make with them. I’m just glad they can last for a while in the fridge 🙂

My favorite was the Kohlrabi, just cause it’s fun to say.  But the Bok Choi is also a fun on to figure out.  This really helped: http://steamykitchen.com/2112-bok-choy-stir-fry-recipe.html

Serve with teriyaki onion hamburger on homemade buns.

Apparently my CSA started this week.. SURPRISE!

I got an email yesterday about coming to the farm to pick up my first share of the season, the real season doesn’t actually start for another few weeks.  I don’t know if this is how all CSAs work, but I’ve been really pleased with this one.  Leigh (the owner) has invited me and the other members out to his house almost weekly to pick up eggs, asparagus, herbs, and just to walk around and talk.  That being said…

I had NO idea what I was in for.  This week’s share consisted of mostly greens and one last week of free eggs. Oh, that’s normal, you might think.  Well, let me tell you about my greens -I got swiss chard, kale, two kinds of mustard greens, pak choi AND kohlrabi, mizuna, tatsoi, and tokyo bekana (uh, what!?)

So this week I learned that I will be continuing to learn about what the hell to do with vegetables I didn’t know existed.  I also learned that when you join a CSA, you fridge goes from having these neatly labeled, easy to organize bags, jars, and cans of food to a crazy beast that’s filled with unlabeled grocery bags (I knew there was a reason I was saving those) full of greens that you have NO idea what to do with.  For your reference, a picture of my fridge:

Putting All Your Eggs In One Basket?

Yep. That’s what I did.

And some more in an egg carton.

And even more in another egg carton.

And don’t forget about the ones that were already in my fridge…

You might ask, what to do with all those eggs?

I’ll tell you. Invite people over and feed them eggs. Or Invite them over and give them eggs when they leave. Or make sweet potato whole wheat buns and put an egg in them. Or (this is a novel idea) eat them. Because eggs are delicious.

My eggs come from the CSA that I signed up for this year.  I haven’t gotten any veggies yet (cause it’s still March), but I have gotten to go out to the farm and walk around and see all the little baby veggies that one day I will get to eat. AND I get an email about once a week basically begging all the CSA members to please come to the farm and pick up some free eggs.  AND I get to meet the chickens that lay my eggs. AND the farmer who takes care of them.

Post Navigation