summer CSA, week 4 Monday, Jun 30 2014 

Last week on the CSA front: spinach, romaine lettuce, beets, cucumbers, yellow squash, mushrooms, blueberries, eggs, and bread (Great Harvest challah). It was also a “bonus” fourth week, so we got cheese; I picked Muenster (my favorite sandwich cheese). We were supposed to get spring onions as well, but I got to the pickup site late, and they’d run out; I got an extra box of blueberries instead.

summer CSA, week 4

See how the blueberry level is lower in one of the boxes? The kid got to them first. I don’t blame him; they were ripe and perfect and very sweet. I may have tasted a couple myself.

I’m pretty proud of how we managed to use up most of the pickup already:

Spinach, mushrooms, some eggs: cooked into (another) frittata
Beet greens: sauteed and mixed into a pasta bake with penne, sausage, cheeses, and tomato sauce
Yellow squash: sliced and grilled
Blueberries: eaten. Really, they’re just gone. I pondered making cobbler, but I turned around and there were only a handful left, so we just ate them all. I don’t think we even got around to washing them.

Still outstanding: beets and cucumbers. I plan to refrigerator-pickle the cucumbers tonight according to my mom’s recipe. The beets were roasted in a foil packet on the grill yesterday, so now they can be peeled, sliced, and served up in basically any way. We picked up some soft sheep’s cheese from the Ellicott City Saturday market that I think would go with them beautifully.

We also took advantage of the beautiful weather this weekend to stop by Larriland farm for some summer berry picking.

Ripe and unripe raspberries at Larriland

The red raspberries were abundant and beautiful. We sent the kid and his grandparents off to the blueberry bushes, where he stuffed himself, while we harvested two generous flats of raspberries. We picked some blueberries, too, but by that point we were starting to get tired and overheated, so there might not be enough for jam; I think I’ll just freeze whatever we don’t eat.

Anyway, I’ve bookmarked a recipe for a simple raspberry jam. I’ll let you know how it goes. I canned my first strawberry jam last week (also from harvested Larriland berries), and it was divine, so I’m pretty excited about canning at the moment. Now we just need space to store all these preserves.

summer CSA, week 3; also, kohlrabi and primaries Tuesday, Jun 24 2014 

The third week of the summer CSA: two kinds of lettuce (green leaf and “Eric the” red), a bag of spinach, a bag of green beans, three crispy cucumbers, a bag of red potatoes, four “color me” yellow squash, a generous pint of blueberries, a dozen eggs, and bread (Breadery sourdough).

summer CSA, week 3

The picture doesn’t include the blueberries, because they were hiding in the fridge, away from hungry toddlers. The eggs were in the fridge as well.

I also dropped by the East Columbia Farmer’s Market last week, for strawberries from Orchard County Produce. All the sun made the strawberries nice and sweet (they were bland last time due to all the rain). While I was picking up strawberries, they also let me take a picture of their very expressive kohlrabi.

kohlrabi faces

Gotta have fun with that split kohlrabi.

In other news, primary voting is today! I did some extra driving around because I showed up to the wrong location, where they directed me to another wrong location, but I eventually made my way to the proper polling place and cast my vote like a good citizen. I have to say, I was dying for an iced coffee the entire time. I think that doing our civic duty would be a lot more comfortable and inviting if they had a nice refreshments area. Kudos to the people outside gamely waving their campaign signs, who sadly outnumbered the people voting inside. I hope they brought cold drinks today. Dude, if I were a kid on summer break right now, I’d totally set up a lemonade stand just outside a polling place.

I heard someone on the radio saying that the turnout was going to be really low. That makes me sad; voting is one of the most important rights that we have as citizens, and in a country that values and protects free speech, why would you muzzle yourself?

If you need to read up on the races, here’s the official list of candidates, the Baltimore Sun’s incredibly helpful voter guide, and a roundup of candidates on social media at our very own Hocoblogs’ Elections page. I like to eat local because it makes me feel close to the land and the people around me, but eating local is only one of many ways to be a real part of the community.

summer CSA, week 2 Wednesday, Jun 18 2014 

Week 2 of the Breezy Willow summer CSA: kale (good grief, if you combine this with the end of the spring CSA, this made the third or fourth week straight of kale), zucchini, spring onions, blueberries! delicious blueberries!, bean sprouts, green leaf lettuce, kohlrabi, turnips, eggs, and bread (Breadery ciabatta).

summer CSA, week 2

The zucchini was sliced and sauteed right away to go into lunches. The blueberries, of course, disappeared rapidly, and they would probably have been completely eaten on the very first evening if I hadn’t hidden the rest of the box from the kid. For the kale, I used Cook’s Illustrated recipe for “Blanched Assertive Greens with Bacon and Onion”, which is a constant favorite in our household. The spring onions got chopped up with spring scallions and spring garlic (thank you, East Columbia farmer’s market, for selling me items I didn’t even know existed!), and were sauteed with radish greens and mushrooms (both from last week’s share) in a lovely frittata.

spring mushroom frittata

At least I hope it’s lovely. The filling tasted good, anyway, before I poured eggs and gruyere cheese all over it. The picture looked boring, so to create some contrast, I flipped one slice of it upside-down. “Looks like Pac-Man,” was K’s verdict.

Anyway, frittatas are one of my go-to recipes for using up CSA stuff. Just saute everything, bind it all together with egg and cheese, cook it on the stovetop until the bottom is firm, stick it in the oven until the top is firm. Use a nonstick pan so that it’ll come sliding out easily; serve over rice or with bread. Easy dinner. Or lunch, in this case.

As for the bean sprouts, kohlrabi, and turnips… they’re still in the fridge. I was pondering making latkes with the kohlrabi and turnips, but it hasn’t panned out yet. Alas, the sprouts may not be doing well after all this time. And we’re getting more vegetables this afternoon. At least there isn’t supposed to be any more kale.

CSA endings and beginnings Tuesday, Jun 10 2014 

A twofer this week — the last week of the spring CSA (ok, that was almost a month ago, sorry about that), and the first week of the summer CSA! Presented in reverse order.

To start off the summer, this is what we got in our pickup: mushrooms, kale, green leaf lettuce, radishes, beets, apples, asparagus, white potatoes, eggs, and bread (Great Harvest challah).

summer CSA, week 1

We ate the lettuce as salad greens pretty much immediately; salad greens are always the first to wilt in the fridge. We had the asparagus already, too, sauteed simply with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Almost everything else is still sitting in the fridge, though, because we ate out a lot this past weekend. (And whenever you go to the Stanford Grill, not only are you awesomely fed, but you can make two more meals out of your leftovers. More than that if you’re a kid.)

Nevertheless! The beet and radish greens should still be mostly okay, because the first thing I did when putting away the vegetables was to separate the greens from their root vegetables; otherwise, the beets and radishes will suck the life out of the greens. I’ll check the radish greens out tonight; if they’re still okay, I’m going to make some radish green pesto.

To finish off last spring, this was the farewell basket from Breezy Willow:

Grapefruit, romaine lettuce, beets, potatoes, apples, mushrooms, kale, eggs, bread (Great Harvest sourdough), and a bonus item. I picked the pickle relish (over the apple bbq sauce and the horseradish mustard). Oh, and there was a bunch of asparagus, too, but I forgot it. Alas.

spring CSA, week 11

We did manage to make it completely through this pile, but we had two extra weeks in which to do it. Well, except for the pickle relish. Still looking forward to that one. May have to get some burgers on the grill.