kitchen scribble

July 7, 2015

summer CSA weeks 3 and 4, + cinnamon pickle

Filed under: CSA — kat @ 11:01 am

Week 3 of the CSA brought us another beautiful rainbow of produce (fitting because the SCOTUS decision was announced that week):

summer CSA, week 3

We have kale, green leaf lettuce, yellow zucchini, mushrooms, green beans, white potatoes, sweet cherries, blueberries, eggs, and bread (Great Harvest challah).

I like yellow zucchini much better than yellow squash, because squash that doesn’t change diameter as you go is just a lot easier to deal with on the cutting board. That way you don’t have to work too hard to cut everything the same size for even cooking. It’s the little things.

The little container off to the side is a cinnamon stick pickle from Farm Boy Pickles (available at Breezy Willow Farm):

cinnamon stick pickles!

It’s a sweet pickle with a bit of cinnamon kick – basically a bread and butter pickle with a little touch of spice. I was dubious at first about the concept, but when I tried a sample, I was hooked. I’ve been eating a couple of bites after dinner in place of dessert. I love it.

Every fourth week of the CSA brings a special bonus item, and for this week 4, we got to choose between Breezy Willow’s barbecue sauce and their horseradish mustard. I went for the mustard. The rest of the pickup consisted of corn, broccoli, green beans, red potatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, cucumbers, eggs, and bread (Great Harvest challah again; I know what I like).

summer CSA, week 4

It’s the beginning of what will likely be a giant corn avalanche this summer. We always get a ton of corn in this CSA. My family loves corn in all forms – boiled, grilled, cut off the cob and creamed – so it’s no hardship at all. Before the Little Prince was born, I used to blanch and freeze the corn for use in winter. Now, though, he eats it up as fast as I can prepare it.

June 18, 2015

summer CSA, week 2

Filed under: CSA — kat @ 1:09 pm

This is a chromatically pleasing pickup! Perfectly sweet blueberries; kale, green leaf lettuce, green beans, cucumber, and an extra bunch of parsley; a huge stack of yellow squash; red-skinned potatoes; orange (brown) eggs, and a loaf of soft golden challah.

summer CSA, week 2

Kale, lettuce, and green beans disappear fairly quickly in our house, but not so much the yellow squash. I’ve got my eye on smitten kitchen’s squash and potato torte recipe. It looks kind of fiddly* to prepare, what with all the slicing and arranging and so on, but I think I can find time this weekend. As a bonus, I can fold in some of the green onions and thyme that are going gangbusters in our container garden.

*as a salary mom with an infant and a preschooler, who can only really cook on evenings and weekends, I now evaluate recipes on the basis of “how easy is this to prepare while the kids are awake?” So anything that needs lots of fine knife work, or constant stirring on the stovetop, has to be tabled until after the kids go to bed. This torte, for instance, looks like a great contender for a prepare-the-night-before, bake-up-the-next-day type of approach.

June 11, 2015

summer/fall CSA, week 1

Filed under: CSA — kat @ 3:14 pm

The CSA is back! *throws confetti* I’ve managed to get by with the farmer’s markets, but there’s no substitute for picking up a week’s worth of vegetables that I, uh, had no say in selecting. (Well, technically I can select my beets from a pile of other beets. But I still can only get beets. Especially since there were nothing but beets at the trade table. Fellow CSA members, can you truly be soured on beets already?)

First week of the summer CSA brought us a ton of leafy greens to eat: green leaf lettuce, rainbow chard, spinach, and the greens from the aforementioned beets meant that it was a very leafy pickup. Also in the pickup: spring onions, mushrooms, zucchini, and the usual eggs and bread (Breadery 3-seed).

summer/fall CSA, 2015 week 1

I cut up and washed the green leaf lettuce right away. Lettuces don’t hold up well in the fridge. We had it alongside white rice and a frittata of kielbasa, spinach, and cheddar cheese. The Little Prince actually ate his entire serving of “egg pie”, much to my delight.

No fancy plans for the rest of the pickup; I might end up just sauteeing the beet greens together with the chard, let the thick-stemmed greens hang out together. Zucchini is fantastic tossed with a bit of olive oil and spice, and baked on a sheet pan or quickly sauteed on the stovetop. Spring onion greens might go in another frittata with the mushrooms (there are oh so many eggs in the house right now), and I’ll save the spring onion bulbs to throw on the grill next time it’s fired up (they turn sweet and smoky and fantastic; I highly recommend it). Beets, I’ll probably try some sort of pickle. Or puree into soup with a little garlic and cream.

The weather yesterday was beautiful and I was absolutely loving being at the farm. It was nice to see the llamas again, too. Hi, llamas!

llamas say hi

May 28, 2015

spring CSA, final week

Filed under: CSA, local — kat @ 2:42 pm

For the final week of this year’s spring CSA, we had: beets, apples, asparagus, Vidalia onions, cucumbers, green leaf lettuce, kale, green beans, eggs, and bread (Breadery sourdough).

spring CSA, week 11

Saying goodbye to the spring CSA is nowhere near as bittersweet as saying goodbye to the summer/fall CSA. The spring CSA ends at a great time; the farmer’s markets are just starting up, strawberry picking is beginning in the fields, my little container garden is providing herbs for our meals, and I can already see the beginnings of baby hot peppers on our plants. And the summer/fall CSA starts up in just two weeks, so it’s hardly a period of privation.

Yesterday afternoon I went to the farmer’s market at Miller Library, just to stock up on eggs. The guy at the TLV tree farm promptly talked me into buying more. Like he said, they’ll be fine for weeks in the fridge… and at under $4/dozen if you buy three, these fresh brown eggs from cage-free hens are comparable to supermarket prices. He also talked me into buying twice the strawberries I came for (picked that very morning). Dude is smooth.

farmer's market haul

While I was there, I also picked up a bag of mixed greens from Love Dove, challah from The Breadery, and zucchini from the stand next to the Stone House Bakery.

The strawberries came in handy right away; I used them to bribe the Little Prince into finishing his salad greens. The kid will do anything for strawberries. They were juicy, sweet, and perfect. I’m already itching to make strawberry jam.

strawberries!

I’ve said this before, but: I really love spring in Maryland.

May 14, 2015

spring CSA, week 10

Filed under: CSA — kat @ 2:33 pm

The haul: 5 Stayman apples, 8 Fuji apples, rainbow carrots, asparagus, radishes (though the overhead shot really shows more radish green than radish root), a pound of spinach, a head of (really sandy) romaine lettuce, Brussels sprouts, eggs, and bread (Breadery honey whole wheat).

spring CSA, week 10

We ate the asparagus immediately; it was so fresh that some of the ends didn’t even snap. I love asparagus for its ease of preparation: snap the ends, rinse the spears, tumble them into a pan with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast them until they start to look a little shriveled. Done! They get all tender and delicious. Even the Little Prince loves them.

The apples are really piling up; we are drowning a bit in apples here. Since the Little Princess is just starting solid foods (she seemed to like her puree of CSA spinach last night), I think I’ll be making applesauce this weekend. And apple cobbler for us older folks, too.

I also dropped by the Miller Library farmer’s market yesterday. It was great to see all the farm stands again! Not much in the way of fresh produce yet but if you want to stock up on little baby herb and tomato plants, now is the time. I picked up two little cherry tomato plugs from Love Dove Farm; really looking forward to fresh-off-the-vine tomatoes this summer, assuming I can get to them before all the back yard wildlife.

Breezy Willow’s spring CSA runs for just one more week, and then it’s a two-week break until the summer one starts up. I’m looking forward to doing a lot of farmer’s market shopping over the hiatus.

May 11, 2015

spring CSA, week 9

Filed under: CSA — kat @ 4:21 pm

Week 9 of the CSA: red potatoes, Vidalia onions, apples (Fuji, definitely looking a little past their prime as we near the end of cold season storage), spinach, cucumbers, romaine lettuce, mushrooms, asparagus, eggs, and bread (Breadery sourdough).

spring CSA, week 9

Progress report: So far we’ve already eaten the mushrooms (sauteed in butter, served alongside steak), asparagus (seasoned and broiled, served alongside stir-fried beef and eggplant), spinach (wilted, seasoned, and served as a side, with some pureed for the Little Princess), and cucumbers (refrigerator-pickled).

The romaine lettuce is going to get brushed with a vinagrette and thrown on the grill. I sliced up onions last night after the kids went to bed, and they (the onions, not the kids) are going to get sauteed up with some sliced peppers tonight (busy mom tip: prep as much as possible the night before). Potatoes will be quartered, folded into a foil packet with some oil and herbs, and left on the grill to roast in the carryover heat; ditto the beets from last week. So happy that grilling season is back again!

Our patio garden is also coming back to life with some thyme, basil and habanero peppers (from the Thursday farmer’s market at East Columbia library) as well as parsley, rosemary, poblano, and ghost peppers (from the Sunday market at Oakland Mills). Looking forward to adding some tomato plants too, and probably more peppers. Someday we’ll graduate to a proper plot of land in our backyard, but for now, the patio container garden is about all I can handle.

The guy at the TLV Tree Farm stand said that his strawberries were looking good, and would be available in a couple more weeks. I’m really looking forward to taking the Little Prince berry picking again this year.

May 4, 2015

spring CSA, weeks 7 and 8

Filed under: CSA — kat @ 3:54 pm

Week 7 of the CSA: spinach (top left) is covering the green beans; there’s also romaine lettuce, mushrooms, apples (Fuji, I think), cucumbers, Vidalia onions, red potatoes, eggs, and bread (Breadery Kid’s Delight).

spring CSA, week 7

And here’s the bounty from week 8: green beans, spinach, rainbow carrots, beets with luxuriant greens, more romaine lettuce, eggplant, apples, radishes, eggs, bread (Breadery ciabatta), and a bonus item of cheese (I picked cheddar).

spring CSA, week 8

I thought the radishes at the farm were particularly beautiful last week:

radishes on display

I love eating radish greens. The first time I tried them I was a bit taken aback by the sharp, peppery flavor, but now I absolutely love them, especially sauteed in butter.

It’s also the first week of May, which means that the Howard County Farmers Markets are starting back up. I’m so excited. I love my CSA share, but I also like shopping for myself too.

April 20, 2015

spring CSA, week 6

Filed under: CSA — kat @ 4:15 pm

This week in the CSA: spinach, oranges, red potatoes, apples, mushrooms, brussels sprouts, rainbow carrots, beets, eggs, and bread (Great Harvest challah, again).

spring CSA, week 6

The plan, already half-implemented: oranges and apples eaten as is; spinach and mushrooms sauteed and incorporated with eggs into frittata; brussels sprouts roasted with garlic; beet greens wilted and baked into something involving pasta and cheese; beets boiled and pureed into soup; potatoes diced into hash; carrots sliced into split pea soup, to be served with grilled cheese sandwiches featuring the challah.

We don’t eat fancy in our house, but we do eat well. The NYT has an article out titled Simple Rules for Healthy Eating, which basically calls for eating more foods prepared from scratch, being conscious of your caloric intake, and eating with other people whenever you can.

As a full-time working mom in a dual-income household, my free time is precious, and I do sink a lot of said precious “free” time into the rituals of food preparation: washing, storing, chopping, cooking, and the endless dishes that follow. And after all that, it’s often disheartening to watch the Little Prince refuse vegetables that I’ve painstakingly prepared for him (though I’ve recently had a lot of success burying greens in pasta and cheese).

That said, though, I find it personally rewarding to be able to take a mixed bag of vegetables every week, and using nothing more than a knife and some pots and pans, turn it into meals. It’s like magic. And it’s very satisfying.

April 9, 2015

spring CSA, week 5

Filed under: CSA — kat @ 2:50 pm

I love that Breezy Willow’s spring CSA co-op reaches all the way down to Florida; these ruby red grapefruits are amazing.

This week in the CSA: kale, romaine lettuce, green beans, Granny Smith apples, yellow onions, ruby red grapefruit, gold potatoes, mushrooms, eggs, and bread (Great Harvest challah, again).

spring CSA, week 5

I think tonight will be a good night for one of my favorite simple dinner salads: crisp romaine lettuce, with shredded cheese and a fried egg. I like cooking the egg just over easy, so that the yolk flows out and dresses the salad leaves.

The Little Prince is a big fan of over easy eggs as well, often demanding plenty of “egg sauce”. He loves shredded cheese, too. If only he would accept the salad part of the meal with equal enthusiasm.

April 7, 2015

spring CSA, week 4

Filed under: CSA — kat @ 1:45 pm

Every four weeks, along with the delicious vegetables, fruits, eggs, and bread, Breezy Willow throws in a locally-sourced “bonus” item. This week, it was Wild Pea hummous.

The full share: kale, beets, red potatoes, rainbow carrots, Brussels sprouts, apples (7 Fuji, 5 York), Minneolas, eggs, and bread (I picked Great Harvest challah).

spring CSA, week 4

And, of course, the hummous. I may have held up the line for a teensy bit while I dithered over which hummous to take home. (For the record, the choices were curry, “vampire slayer” garlic, Old Bay, or “Asian fire” chili. I eventually decided to go local and went with the Old Bay.)

hummous spread

I also had to get another shot of all those gorgeous rainbow carrots.

rainbow carrots

I think the rainbow carrots are always so pretty – not just the colors, but the unique shapes. I read an article recently (NPR: Think Nobody Wants to Buy Ugly Fruits and Veggies? Think Again) about how “ugly” produce is saved from waste bins, and when I looked at the pictures of the ugly produce, I was shocked. They looked perfectly good!

Then I remembered that whenever I go back to produce-shopping in the winter, after the CSA has ended and the farmer’s market has closed, I’m always a little put off by the shiny perfection of the vegetables. All the carrots are straight, all the apples are round and shiny, the greenery gleams with freshly-sprayed water droplets; if something is bruised, crooked, or dirty, it looks out of place. It’s like shopping out of a catalog: unreal, almost plastic.

Poor lumpy, dirty vegetables; in that context, I can understand why stores wouldn’t stock them. But they’re just as tasty, and I really do feel closer to the source of my food when I peel a crooked carrot, or flick a little green worm off the tip of my corn cob. It’s good to know where your food comes from, and all the different shapes in which it can present itself. And imperfections can actually be good indicators of quality. My dad used to say, whenever I found an apple with a hole pecked out of it: good choice; the birds know which apples are the tastiest.

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