Archive | June, 2010

Vegetable Guilt

30 Jun

Today is farm share pick-up day. I just looked in my fridge to do a little inventory of what we still have from last week. Sadly, I discovered some broccoli, bok choy, and kale that was past it’s prime. I think it was from the week before last. It got shoved way in the back of the fridge and was quickly forgotten as we tried with all our might to get through all the lettuce, zucchini, and snap peas. This year we are splitting a share. I can’t imagine if we had a full share! It’s a good reminder that even though all these beautiful, fresh, and luscious vegetables are available, it doesn’t mean we need to take everything that is available to us. When I started this blog part of my reasoning was that I wanted a place to be held accountable, with the hope that if I put it all out there for you to see, dear readers,  I would make wiser choices, be less wasteful and more creative with our food. It’s all about eating with intention. And that includes selecting our food with intention and not being gluttonous when I’m standing there overwhelmed and delighted by the huge table of veggies in the farm shop.

Today at the farm, I will try to quiet the voice that says surely I could come up with something innovative to do with chinese cabbage, and instead will try to be a bit more realistic about what we can and will eat.

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Roasted Vegetables with Arugula Pesto

18 Jun

This time of year, as anyone with a local CSA  share knows, greens are plentiful. We’ve got multiple kinds of  lettuce, mizuna, tatsoi, swiss chard, and bok choy coming out of our ears! I never know what to do with most of these greens other than make a salad or, if they are heartier, throw them in a stir-fry. This recipe puts arugula to good use by making a zesty pesto out of it. I adapted this recipe from one recently published in Eating Well magazine. The arugula I used came from our CSA (I also threw in a little bit of tatsoi) and the asparagus came from a local farm stand. Normally when I roast vegetables I just toss everything with olive oil and stick it in the oven. The method used here makes more dirty dishes and requires more attention, but it does get great results. All the vegetables are done just right – unlike my lazy method where some vegetables are inevitably overcooked or undercooked.


Roasted Vegetables

  • 4 cups baby or new potatoes, 1 to 2 inches in diameter, halved or quartered depending on size
  • 5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups peeled baby carrots
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup baby arugula for garnish

Arugula Pesto

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 5 cups baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Asiago cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (I substituted almonds)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation

  1. To prepare vegetables: Position rack in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 425°F.
  2. Toss potatoes with 2 teaspoons oil in a large bowl and spread on a large baking sheet. Roast in the lower third of the oven for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, toss carrots with 2 teaspoons oil in the bowl and spread on another large baking sheet. After the potatoes have roasted for 5 minutes, place the carrots in the upper third of the oven and roast potatoes and carrots for 15 minutes.
  4. Toss asparagus with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in the bowl. Add to the pan with the potatoes, toss to combine and return to the oven. Continue roasting until all the vegetables are tender and starting to brown, 8 to 10 minutes more.
  5. To prepare pesto: Meanwhile, drop garlic through the feed tube of food processor with the motor running; process until minced. Stop the machine and add arugula, cheese, pine nuts, 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pulse and then process, scraping down the sides as necessary, until the mixture is a smooth paste.
  6. Toss the roasted vegetables with 1/3 cup pesto and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the large bowl (reserve the remaining pesto for another use: refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze). Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with arugula, if desired.

Strawberries with My Son

16 Jun

This morning my 19 -month-old son Toby and I went to the farm. So far, I think it has rained every time we’ve gone and we haven’t been able to take advantage of the u-pick fruits and veggies. Normally we go in the afternoon to pick up our share at the shop but after hearing the weather forecast calling for rain yet again, I decided we needed to seize the moment and go pick some strawberries.

I wasn’t sure what Toby would think – if he would get bored, if he would stomp all over the strawberries.  At first he was very hesitant, watching me carefully as I a picked some berries and put them in the basket. Then he cautiously brushed his hands through the leaves and berries himself.  At first I don’t think Toby  made the connection. But then, I popped one in his mouth. The look of wonder on his face was priceless. It moved me so much I almost could have cried. He got really excited then and kept asking for more. I gave him his own basket with some berries in it. He promptly sat down between the rows of strawberries and gobbled them all. Eventually he got brave enough to pick some himself and even copied me, plucking the green stems off before eating them. After Toby ate probably double what we were allotted in our share this week, I thought it best to call it quits before he gave himself a stomachache. Leaving the strawberry field was tricky. How do you explain to a toddler that the strawberries are “all done” when he is standing in an enormous field abundant with perfect, ripe, lusciously red berries? I tried to get him excited about going to pick peas. He was only somewhat convinced. When we got over to the rows of sugar snap peas I picked a big fat one and handed it to Toby. He took a tentative nibble off the end and then threw the rest in the dirt. Trying another tactic, I split one of the shells open and showed Toby the row of peas inside. There was that look of wonder again!

It is times like these I am so grateful for where we live and that I have the ability to give my son this opportunity to learn exactly where his food comes from first hand.  Even at this young age, I know he is getting something out of this experience. The look of curiosity and wonderment when he was eating food right off the vine today is proof to me.

I think too often I put a lot of pressure on myself to do better or do more. I hold myself to impossibly high standards and make promises to myself that I have a hard time keeping. Spending some time at the farm this morning with Toby was a much needed reminder of how we are living according to our values and it feels really good. This is something I know I am doing right!

Salmon Salad Lettuce Wraps

8 Jun

Eager to make use of the fresh veggies we got at our first visit to the farm as well as some leftover salmon, we created this recipe for dinner. Fresh, easy, and perfect for a warm summer evening. Plus pretty enough for company.

2 cups cooked salmon, flaked

mayo

lemon juice

a BIG handful of fresh dill, finely chopped

whole leaves of butter/boston lettuce, washed and dried

one large radish, cut in half or thirds then sliced

Combine salmon with mayo, lemon juice, and dill to taste until you get the flavor and consistency you like. (For an extra lemony flavor throw in a little zest from the lemon too.) Fill the bowl the of lettuce leaf with a hearty scoop of the salmon salad. Top with sliced radishes. Wrap it up and dig in!

The lettuce, dill, and radishes were fresh from the farm as was the steamed broccoli we had on the side. From farm to table in a matter of hours. This is what I love about summer!

Making the most of your CSA

6 Jun

My friend Cathy (again!) shared this link with me and I liked it so wanted to share it more broadly: The Crisper Whisperer: 10 Secrets for Making the Most of your CSA

Good tips with a sense of humor. I especially appreciated the line about “dying a slow death under the weight of silent veggie guilt.” Anyone who has had  to contend with an overabundance of farm share veggies and the disappointment of finding your once lush lettuce converted into smelly slime can relate. Hopefully these suggestions will help us find ways to use our weekly bounty.

Nice to meet you, Mountain View!

2 Jun

This is it – the day we’ve been waiting for all spring – it’s FARM DAY!!!

Today marks the first day of farm share season at our new CSA. As you know from reading previous posts, Mountain View Farm has some big shoes to fill. After being members for the past five years at Brookfield Farm, one of the first and most well-established CSAs in the country, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a new place. It kind of felt like a blind date with Mountain View after just going through an amicable break-up with Brookfield. We still love each other but know now is not he right time for us to be together. Time to meet someone new and test out another relationship. But will they be able to measure up to my ex? Will they be able to fulfill my needs and desires? I have to say Mountain View made a pretty good first impression. People were friendly, things seemed well-organized, and the setting was outstanding. Mountain View is nestled at the base of Mt. Tom and the landscape is gorgeous. It was also reassuring to realize Mountain View and I share some mutual friends. I saw lots of familiar faces at the farm today.

Today we picked up green leaf and red leaf lettuce, bok choy, broccoli, kale and beautiful little red, white, and purple radishes. The strawberries weren’t quite ready but we strolled around, took in our new surroundings, and helped ourselves to a little cilantro and dill out in the u-pick field.

I’m pleased to say we made dinner using four ingredients from what we picked up in our share today! (Stay tuned for that recipe in an upcoming post!) We’re off to a good start and it’s only going to get better.

Mountain View, I think you and I are going to get along just fine.

Rhubarb Soda

1 Jun

It’s peak time for rhubarb in these here parts. I love the unique flavor of rhubarb but often don’t know what to do with it beyond putting it in a pie or tart. That’s why when my friend Cathy mentioned this recipe I immediately went in search of some native rhubarb and within hours was attempting it myself. Cathy found this recipe on the Culinate website.

1 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups water

Sparkling water and ice

Combine rhubarb, sugar, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down and let simmer for 15 minutes. The syrup should turn pinkish as the rhubarb cooks. I used a potato masher to squish the rhubarb and help it break down a bit to really infuse the syrup. Once it’s done cooking for a while, let it cool, then strain it into an airtight container. Store the syrup in the refrigerator. (Don’t throw away the pulpy rhubarb after you strain the liquid out of it. You can save it to put in yogurt or over ice cream!) To make soda, mix 1/4 cup of the syrup into a glass of sparkling water and add ice. It’s also been rumored to make a mean cosmopolitan!

I bought WAY too much rhubarb and ended up tripling the recipe. I also just blindly followed the recipe and didn’t taste it as I went along. Regretfully, I think the proportions are a little off. My syrup turned out too sweet and ended up entirely masking the tartness of the rhubarb. Next time I would use less sugar and taste as I go.