Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Great CSA Experiment, Weeks 10-12

Week 10:

  • a pint of cherry tomatoes went in Steve's lunches
  • a bunch of rainbow carrots were eaten raw by both of us. I'd seen purple carrots before, but never white (or maybe very pale yellow) carrots. 
  • a bag of "mixed specialty squash"--I recognized pipian and yellow straightneck--was julienned and sauteed in olive oil with salt, black pepper, and lemon juice. Johanna ate these too; once she got over her initial texture aversions, she really is interested in trying new things, for which I am grateful.
  • 4 more zucchini were shredded and frozen
  • 4 of crispest, freshest green bell peppers I've ever seen were stuffed with my "Greek hash" (ground turkey, onion, cooked rice, pine nuts, cinnamon, black pepper, salt, and a dash of nutmeg) and a can of diced tomatoes and cooked in the slow cooker. Yum!
  • a bag of green beans was steamed and then tossed with sauteed garlic slices, toasted almonds, and a little lemon juice as a side to a crock pot-cooked rosemary cornish game hen
  • more red potatoes were roasted and accompanied the cornish hen. I still have some left.
  • three sweet onions went in various dishes throughout the week. I can always use more onions.
Week 11:

  • a bag of green beans became a batch of creamy green bean soup, minus the cream because it was destined for the freezer. Dairy products don't survive the thawing process very well. with the exception of some cheeses in casseroles, so we'll add it when we eat it. I've never made this soup before, and am having some difficulty imagining green beans as the main ingredient of a pureed soup, but I didn't have enough space to blanch and freeze the beans on trays before bagging, so soup it was. The recipe has three whole shallots, so it will probably be good. 
  • a bag of yellow patty pan squash. I had big ideas for this: I originally planned on making squash a la grecque, a marinated dish served cold, but realized that in order to use all the squash in the bag, I would need to quadruple the recipe. I didn't feel like pouring four cups of good wine into this effort, so instead I sauteed them and served them with parmesan cheese and oregano from the garden.
  • 6 ears of sweet corn were eaten on the cob. We like them as an accompaniment to SLTs: smoked salmon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches with onion and chive cream cheese instead of mayo.
  • a bag of big orange carrots was eaten raw with lunches
  • I swapped the lima beans--the only vegetable we both dislike more than beets--for a bag of hot Hungarian wax peppers that I chopped in my food processor and then froze in single tablespoon portions for use as needed. Yield was 13 tablespoons, so we should be good for a while.
  • this week's challenge item was globe artichokes. I've had artichoke hearts in things, but I've never cooked or eaten a whole one before. I went the "simple" route and cooked them for half an hour, pulled off the leaves, and served them and the hearts with some balsamic mayonnaise. They were tasty, but I'm not sure it was worth the effort.
Week 12:
  • more cherry tomatoes were eaten raw for lunch
  • a bag of Roma tomatoes: one was chopped for Hungarian paprika gravy, two more were quartered for the okra curry (see below), and the rest were chopped to be combined with the next week's (3-bag) haul for freezer spaghetti sauce
  • one bunch of malabar spinach was substituted for regular spinach in our favorite Japanese-style wilted spinach salad (from Jack Bishop's fantastic "A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen" cookbook), but sadly, this didn't work very well because malabar spinach has a very strong taste. We preferred the tatsoi from earlier weeks.
  • a bag of okra was curried with onions and tomatoes to minimize slime. I have decided that okra just isn't growing on me, slime or no slime. If there's a next time, I'll try roasting them.
  • 2 beautiful Japanese eggplant got the Mark Bittman treatment and were stir-fried with basil and some of last week's hot chiles. Probably our new favorite eggplant recipe--and we love eggplant!
  • 5 Cubanelle (sweet, light green) peppers. One went into the paprika gravy, and the rest were cut into strips and frozen. Some will go into the spaghetti sauce, and some may go into a Basque chicken dish later on. Johanna liked them raw!
  • 3 huge zucchini made 11 more freezer portions
We ate some of the freezer pickles from week 9 on burgers today, and they were really good--this coming from a person who doesn't normally like sweet pickles. The freezer is filling up nicely with soups, sauces, and side dishes. Now, if we can just get through the summer without a multi-day power outage, we'll be well set for the winter. And we still have another 13 weeks of produce to go!

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