kitchen scribble

April 22, 2014

CSA catch-up post, weeks 6 and 7

Filed under: CSA — kat @ 12:37 pm

We were out of town for the week 5 pickup, but we got back for weeks 6 and 7. I have to say, after eating out for a week, I was pretty happy to get to cook again.

Week 6: six apples (no idea what variety, but they were spectacularly delicious), green beans, Brussels sprouts, a head of romaine, potatoes, onions, kale, eggs, and bread (Great Harvest challah).

spring CSA, week 6

Week 7: multicolored Breezy Willow eggs for Easter, mushrooms, green beans, apples (not as good as last week’s, sadly), eggplant, cucumber, rainbow carrots, green leaf lettuce, red potatoes, and bread (Great Harvest parmesan sourdough).

spring CSA, week 7

The mushrooms and eggs went into Smitten Kitchen’s baked eggs with spinach and mushrooms dish, for Easter brunch. Green beans are disappearing quickly too, since apparently the kid likes having them (blanched, lightly seasoned) in his lunch thermos. When offered them at home, though, he refuses, saying “I eat at school.” Toddlers are weird.

March 31, 2014

spring CSA week 4, and awesome lamb pot roast

Filed under: CSA, weekend cooking — kat @ 3:21 pm

Last week’s pickup: potatoes, green beans, apples (six Stayman, six “Red”), three beets, three grapefruit, mushrooms, eggs, a bag of spinach, eggs, bread (Breadery sourdough), and a bonus item. I picked apple butter. The other choices were horseradish mustard, salsa, or applesauce.

spring CSA, week 4

In previous years, Breezy Willow offered a bonus item (usually preserves, honey, or cheese) once a month, in place of eggs. This year it’s along with eggs. I’m pretty happy about this, because we really got in the rhythm of a certain number of eggs per week, and the monthly egg interruption threw us off a little every time. Also, yay for a true “bonus” item.

Last night I threw a bunch of CSA root vegetables in a Dutch oven with a big hunk of lamb from Wagon Wheel Ranch (unfortunately I didn’t look at the label, so I’m not sure what cut it was), some Guinness, and lots of stock and flavorings. It turned out phenomenal, so much so that I burned my tongue going back for second tastings straight out of the oven. Great for cold-weather cooking. Hey, if it’s going to snow outside (at the end of March!), I’m going to turn on the oven.

Snowy Sunday Lamb Pot Roast

A good hunk of lamb, bone-in, I think it might have been leg?, 4-5 lbs
1 gigantic carrot, cut into chunks
2 small yellow onions, chopped
5 stalks celery, chopped
6 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
5 medium white or yellow potatoes, cut into chunks
1 1/2 cans of Guinness, about 28 oz
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup lamb stock, though beef or chicken would do fine
1 beef bouillon cube
generous pinch dried thyme
generous pinch dried rosemary
2 bay leaves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Pat the lamb dry with a paper towel, and season all available surfaces with salt and pepper. Sprinkle flour over entire chunk of lamb. Coat the bottom of a large Dutch oven with olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add the roast and sear each side for 4 to 5 minutes, or until nicely browned. Remove the roast to a large plate.

Add more olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery, and garlic, more salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until carrots are cooked but onions aren’t browned. Add the potatoes and Guinness and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, stock, bouillon cube, herbs, and bay leaves. Bring it back to a boil, put the roast back into the pot, and cover. Put the covered pot in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, turning the heat down to 250 F after about an hour, until the meat is nice and tender, with an internal temperature of over 140 degrees. (Mine was 200 degrees when I finally checked it, but it was almost meltingly tender.)

March 23, 2014

spring CSA, week 3

Filed under: CSA — kat @ 10:53 pm

I made the week 3 pickup on Thursday, which actually was the first day of spring! It certainly felt like spring; the weather was nice, the sun was out, and some of the other CSA members had brought their kids to help pack up the veggies. Everyone was smiling; I think we were all glad to say goodbye to winter this year.

In the pickup: 3 lb potatoes, a head of cabbage, twelve apples (six Jonagold, six York), 1 lb spinach, bread (Great Harvest challah), 1 lb mushrooms, eggs, two large carrots, and three grapefruit.

spring CSA, week 3

I could have used the cabbage last week, but it’s all right, we’ll eat cabbage two weeks in a row. We ate out a lot this weekend (more on that later, maybe), so I didn’t get a lot cooked from the share; however, I did manage a scramble with the mushrooms and some broccoli and onion. I am drowning a bit in apples though. C cooked down hers in cinnamon and sugar; I’m thinking of giving that a try.

March 16, 2014

spring CSA, week 2

Filed under: CSA — kat @ 11:56 pm

Well, it felt like spring yesterday, but now it’s snowing (again!), so I’ll try not to get too excited. When I brought the CSA share home on Thursday, it was getting pretty cold outside, but we had gorgeous sunlight coming in through the kitchen window.

spring CSA, week 2

In the pickup: 3 pounds of potatoes, six York apples, six Red Delicious apples, a pound of green beans, a pound of kale, a pound of Brussels sprouts, 2 pounds of onions, a bunch of beets, eight oranges, a dozen eggs, and bread (Great Harvest sourdough).

Potatoes and kale! It’s like the CSA knew that I wanted to make colcannon for St Patrick’s Day. I mashed in the sweet potatoes that we got last week, too, so it’s extra healthy with all the sweet potato nutrients. The kid wasn’t a big fan of the kale, though. Pity. On the other hand, he put away a surprising amount of cabbage.

(Aside: at two years old, the kid is a letter-of-the-law kind of guy. I told him there would be cupcakes for dessert, but only if he ate the last two bites of his dinner. He promptly gobbled up a bite, chewed it for a bit, and then spat it back out onto his plate. “Uh-uh. You have to swallow,” I said. The look he gave me clearly stated that swallowing hadn’t been part of the deal.)

For St P’s this year I boiled corned beef according to the package directions and threw in chopped cabbage for the last fifteen minutes or so, just to get it cooked but not overcooked. I made colcannon as above, and (for a timely birthday party) smitten kitchen’s Guinness chocolate cake, as cupcakes, with a cream cheese frosting (some with a dash of Bailey’s, some without). Turned out well, except I bobbled a pan of the cupcakes coming out of the oven, and the poor things were still hot and fragile and kind of collapsed in on themselves. Oh well, I frosted them anyway. When it comes to moist, tasty chocolate cupcakes, no one is terribly picky, least of all a two-year-old.

Happy St Patrick’s Day, everyone!

March 10, 2014

spring CSA, week 1

Filed under: CSA — kat @ 12:03 am

Welcome to spring! There’s still a few piles of dirty snow in my yard, and it was so cold that the poor woman manning the CSA table at Miller Library was visibly shivering as she signed me in, but no matter: the spring CSA has returned, and with it this blog!

My daily commute doesn’t take me close to Breezy Willow Farm any more, which is sad; I really enjoyed driving up to the farm, walking past the llamas and chickens, and seeing all the familiar faces. I’d signed up at the farm originally, but when I told them I had to move, they transferred me to the Miller Library pickup site with no questions asked.

Although I can’t impulse-buy ice cream and yogurt at the farm store any more (you have to pre-order it to the remote pickup sites), I have to say the pickup experience was a lot faster. At the farm, they have several scales and you have to weigh anything that needs weighing; they’ll put up a sign that says “spinach – 1 pound” and there’s always a bit of a pileup behind the poor person adding and removing spinach from a plastic bag in order to get as close to a pound as possible. In the parking lot at Miller, though, there’s no place to plug in a scale, and so everything is pre-weighed and pre-bagged. Pickup was an absolute breeze.

Oh right, this week’s haul:

spring CSA, week 1

That’s a dozen apples, half a pound of mushrooms, a pound of green beans, a pound of spinach, bread (Breadery 3 seed, very seedy), 3 pounds of potatoes, two grapefruits, a dozen eggs in pretty pastel shades, and three carrots.

So far the mushrooms have gone into salads and K’s stuffed peppers, the green beans were served alongside lasagna, the bread is half gone, and the spinach is destined to be made into spinach scrambled eggs with some of the eggs. We’re making good progress.

November 13, 2013

summer/fall CSA catchup post: weeks 19 to 23

Filed under: CSA — kat @ 9:42 am

I’m going to pick up the final CSA share of the season tonight. It’s incredibly bittersweet. Visiting the farm after the daylight savings shift means that I roll in after sunset, and the CSA building is lit up against the night like a beacon of warmth. I’ll really miss doing the weekly pickup and seeing everyone.

This is what’s been happening in the last few weeks. (Lots of apples; lots of roasting and braising. It’s been perfect weather to have the oven on for hours on end.)

week 23: “Tango” celery, cauliflower, carrots, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, onions, Ida Red and Golden Delicious apples, eggs, and bread (Great Harvest Italian herb focaccia).

summer/fall CSA, week 23

In case you don’t get a good idea of just how massive this bush of celery was, let me hold it up for you:

tango celery

week 22: carrots, kale, eggplant, broccoli, red potatoes, eggplant, Liberty and Fuji apples, eggs, and bread (Great Harvest sourdough).

summer/fall CSA, week 22

week 21 (half share): broccoli, spinach, red leaf lettuce, mushrooms, bean sprouts, onions, Fuji and some unknown kind of apples (more Ida Reds?), eggs, and bread (Breadery sourdough).

summer/fall CSA, week 21

This half share is actually more along the lines of what my family of three tries to eat on a weekly basis. (Except for the apples; apparently we got extra apples this week because another CSA member was overwhelmed and giving theirs away.) We split the full share with another couple. They were awesome and did the pickup because we were busy that evening.

summer/fall CSA, week 20

week 20: red cabbage, romaine cabbage, green beans, sweet potatoes, kale, Jonathan and Red Delicious apples, eggs, bread (I don’t remember what kind), and there was a half-gallon of cider that didn’t make it into the picture.

summer/fall CSA, week 19

week 19: spinach, eggplant, potatoes, turnips, eggplant, mushrooms, spaghetti squash, Golden Delicious and Empire apples, eggs, and bread (Great Harvest challah).

I also love the CSA because I’m an easy victim of decision paralysis whenever I go to the grocery store. It’s like writer’s block. Sit me down in front of a blank page and my mind goes blank; give me any kind of writing prompt, however, and I will leap into action. The weekly CSA pickup is that prompt. Without it, I have way too many options.

October 4, 2013

Touché Touchet Cookiepalooza; summer CSA week 18

Filed under: CSA, local — kat @ 3:24 pm

I stopped by Touché Touchet this morning to pick up something for breakfast, and found out that it was the beginning of Cookiepalooza! Sample three bites of brand-new cookie? Don’t mind if I do…


It’s an annual event in which they choose their next case cookie by popular vote. This year’s choices are caramel apple, white chocolate cranberry, and gluten-free peanut butter chocolate chip. I loved the caramel apple, which tasted like fall; the white chocolate cranberry was fruity and sweet, and the gluten-free cookie was unbelievably moist and delicious. They were all incredible. It was unfair to have to make a choice. Stop by and try the free samples of the cookies, and vote for your favorite.

In honor of the cookie event, all of their normal case cookies are on sale too, $1 each (not bad for a cookie half a foot in diameter; I’m not even exaggerating). Don’t worry about them running out of cookies; they’re baking up a storm.

On a healthier note, here is week 18 of Breezy Willow’s summer/fall CSA. We got lettuce, Red Delicious and Golden Delicious apples, red potatoes, onions, green beans, beets, broccoli, eggs, and bread (Breadery sourdough).

summer/fall CSA, week 18

Red potatoes are perfect for stew. This hot spell isn’t going to last forever; I look forward to turning on the oven and making long-cooking stews and braises in the Dutch oven, and lots of sweet baked goods with apples and pears. Store-bought cookies are great and all, but whenever October rolls around, I start feeling like the girl in this comic.

September 30, 2013

summer/fall CSA, week 17

Filed under: CSA — kat @ 1:15 pm

I’m sure that somewhere out there there are working moms1 who have everything under control; they bring the toddler home from daycare and have dinner piping-hot and on the table in under 30 minutes, all of it homemade and all-natural2.

I am not such a mom.3 It requires lots of planning to be that kind of mom. Sure, in theory it’s easy; from the quiet comfort of my cubicle, I can think “yep, I’ll get the kid home, I’ll put a pot of water on to boil, stick some meatballs in the toaster oven, put pasta sauce on to heat, wash some veggies, cook pasta, blanch the veggies in the pasta water, dinner on the table in under 30 minutes.” In practice, you’re hauling in a fussy toddler who’s tired from running around all day and just wants to be held by his mommy, and who cries and clutches at your legs if you refuse to pick him up, and before you know it you’ve just served him dry cereal again for dinner because he’s too hungry to wait for pasta to cook, and you haven’t even managed to get the veggies washed yet. Assuming you even got the water on to boil in the first place.

Anyway, I haven’t done much cooking this week. But we’ve eaten very well regardless, because House of India does great carryout, and the kid likes rice and naan. We also ate at the Lebanese Taverna in Rockville, so I dined on leftover lamb shawarma and hummus for lunch today. I did manage to throw together this spiced applesauce cake for a brunch at my brother’s place, which was well-received even though I initially underbaked the cake, broke it in half trying to get it out of the pan, and tried to spread buttercream frosting on it when it was too hot, thus resulting in a bumpy-looking cake with what I optimistically called a “buttercream glaze.” It was still incredibly tasty; my brother called it “addictive.” Smitten Kitchen makes foolproof recipes, I tell you.

The point is, when you look at this beautiful picture of produce picked up last Wednesday, of CSA week 174, know that we’ve consumed only some of the eggs and almost all of the apples (the kid loves apples), but practically nothing else. I’m going to throw romaine lettuce in ramen noodle soup tonight. It’s not K’s favorite, but soft soupy romaine is actually one of my vices, and as dinner-preparer in the family, I get to make executive decisions. If the kid goes to bed early and I have energy left over, we may snack on kale chips tonight.5

So. Week 17: eggs, kale, romaine lettuce, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, tomatoes, golden delicious and Cortland apples, bread (Great Harvest parmesan sourdough), and a single enormous head of broccoli.

summer/fall CSA, week 17

And here’s a bonus picture, blurry because I’m reacting to the sight of an opportunistic hand reaching up to grab himself an apple out of the arrangement:

I can totally get this apple

Oh, the squash in the corner? That’s from last week’s share. Yes, it sat on the kitchen table for an entire week. Maybe I’ll do something with it in the coming days.

  1. I really like Dinosaur Mom‘s coining of the phrase “salary mom”, because you don’t then imply that SAHM’s don’t “work”, a false impression if ever there was one. 

  2. I can’t help but think we’ve regressed from technology re: processed foods. So many other advances in technology have made life much simpler for the housewife: laundry machines, vacuum cleaners, incredibly absorbent paper towels, the microwave… and here I am refusing easy-prep foods, choosing instead to cook from scratch (that is, if I get around to cooking at all), out of some Luddite suspicion of chemicals. I generally embrace technology, but this is a glaring exception. 

  3. Why this is the mom’s task is a separate question. I don’t know how my household degenerated into traditional gender roles, being as we are two egalitarian wage-earners with roughly similar attitudes towards gender roles in the home, but although K is an excellent cook, I have for some reason become the one who makes dinner and cleans up after, even though he gets hungry first. We’re working to resolve the situation more equitably. 

  4. I’ll do a catch-up post of missing CSA pickups some other time. 

  5. I should have made kale chips for our watching of the Breaking Bad finale, but I was too tired. (A recurring theme in my life.)  

August 13, 2013

summer CSA, week 10

Filed under: CSA — kat @ 9:24 am

Man, looking back at the picture of the pickup, I miss the watermelon. Between me and the kid, our half of the watermelon was gone within days. I need to get out to the farmer’s markets and see if I can find more.

Week 10 of Breezy Willow’s summer CSA: zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, Summer Gold apples, an eggplant, a sugar baby watermelon, six ears of corn, nectarines, eggs, and bread (Breadery plain white).

summer CSA, week 10

I love that the sugar baby watermelon had seeds in it. I used to get seeded watermelon all the time as a kid, but it feels like I hardly see them in grocery stores anymore. Now it’s all seedless. I’ve always found seedless watermelons bland and depressingly monotonous compared to seeded ones. Sure, they’re more convenient to prepare, but on the other hand, the best and sweetest flesh is always next to the seeds, and you also get the pleasure of spitting the seeds out into growing piles.

I presented the kid with some cut-up watermelon, and he vacuumed it up and demanded more. He’s definitely a watermelon fan. The tricky part is getting him to hold still afterwards so we can swab down his sticky hands. (We’re still working on utensil technique.)

Anyway, I saw the eggplant, zucchini, and tomato, and I just had to make ratatouille.

ratatouille in the pot

Apparently my favorite time to cook is now Friday nights. After the kid goes down for the night, I still feel like I can stay up, chopping and stirring and simmering, and not have to worry about getting stuff done for the next day. I made this beautiful colorful mess of vegetables on Friday night, using Melissa d’Arabian’s recipe. I spread it out to cool in a pan, then poured it into a plastic container to chill in the fridge. Easy vegetable reheating for the rest of the week! It’s chunky, too, so it can be finger food. Hopefully the kid will take to it as well.

August 5, 2013

CSA week 9 and Buy Local, Buy Maryland

Filed under: CSA, local — kat @ 12:03 pm

It’s gorgeous in Maryland right now. July slammed us with heat, humidity, and tons of rain (I feel like the lawn just keeps getting taller no matter how often it’s mowed). It seemed like summer was going to be nasty, but so far August has been quite gentle with us. I hope the mild weather continues.

Week 9 at the CSA: onions, green beans, cantaloupe, green peppers, nectarines, peaches, tomatoes, corn, eggs, and bread (Great Harvest challah).

summer CSA, week 9

The cantaloupe felt ripe, smelled sweet, and was terrifically juicy when I cut into it. However, the flavor was just bland. It was disappointing because I had the same problem with another CSA cantaloupe from an earlier week. I think the rainy season has plumped up the cantaloupes but left them a little lacking in the flavor aspect. Or maybe I’ve just been unlucky with cantaloupes. I love a good fresh cantaloupe, but if they keep going like this I’ll have to consider making them into agua frescas or something. If we hadn’t just bought a third of a cow (more on that later), I’d think about making cantaloupe popsicles.

In other news, I was excited to see this stack of cards when I dropped by Touché Touchet:

Buy Local Buy Maryland cards by the register

I’m all for buying local! Apparently this card gets you discounts at local vendors (10% off your Touché Touchet purchase, for starters). However, when I visited the website, I was disappointed that there were only two Howard County “Food and Dining” participants, namely Touché Touchet and Chen Hibachi. Come on, Howard County, you’re crammed with food and dining options; get with the program.

Also, the website is annoying and clunky to navigate; you can view participating vendors by category, but can’t search by location. It gets difficult to “buy local” when you can’t even define your locality. I think this little card I picked up is going to be pretty useless to me until a) more Howard County vendors participate, and b) the website gets a facelift.

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