Monday, July 18, 2011

CSA Report - Pickups 4/3,4

Whew! The season is rolling along! And it's a good one! Each week I am so psyched to see what I'm going to get! What I'm loving about this season is that I get different things from the 2 farms that I have joined, Stillman's and the Newton Community Farm.....which brings me to weeks 3 and 4 from Stillman's; here's what I brought home: lettuce, zucchini, summer squash, fennel, curly kale, Kirby cucumbers, Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, snap peas, spinach, Chioggia beets, blueberries, raspberries, and arugula....Week 4 from Newton gave me basil, lemon balm, rainbow chard, green onions, parsley, cucumbers and carrots.

Well, the blueberries stood NO chance of making it home alive, and I ate the half pint before I even got home...thankfully I bought another pint while picking up my share. With that pint, I made Spelt Maple Blueberry muffins. I followed a recipe from an Eating Well cookbook and made a couple of changes to it. Here is the recipe adapted from Eating Well Comfort Foods Made Healthy, with my changes:
1/3 cup ground flaxseeds
1 cup spelt flour (original recipe called for whole wheat)
3/4 cup plus 2 TBS white whole wheat flour (original recipe called for AP flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup pure maple syrup - I used Grade B
1 cup nonfat buttermilk - I used buttermilk powder w.water, a good alternative if you don't have buttermilk in the house
1/4 cup avocado oil (original recipe called for canola oil)
2 tsp grated orange zest
1 TBS orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup blueberries
1 TBS sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 and coat 12 muffin cups spray.
2. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl; whisk eggs and buttermilk together in a medium bowl, then add zest, OJ and vanilla and mix well.
3. Make a well in dry ingredients and add wet, mixing until just combined. Add blues in and gently fold in.

4. Scoop batter into muffin cups and sprinkle sugar over the top of the muffins.
5. Bake until golden brown, 15-25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes in tin, then remove.
The muffins were just slightly sweet, and were nicely moist. I might use a bit more sweetener next time??? They weren't mapley enough for my liking....they were very yummy with a schmear of Earth Balance vegan buttery spread....
I was inspired to make a pasta primavera with all the great veggies I picked up so when I got home from picking up my share, I made a beautiful primavera with the summer squash, green beans (from prior week's pick up), green onions, snap peas, arugula, fennel, kale (including kale from my garden) and Sun Golds...and quinoa pasta...I also threw in some of the remaining pesto that I had made. It was fulfilling and so fresh tasting!
Look at these green onions - aren't they insane?!?!?
Beautiful Sun Golds
I was inspired to use the raspberries for Raspberry Lime Rickeys, a drink I was determined to "sharonize" into a healthier drink. I blogged about it on my raw foods blog here: Rawk Out!
The drink was outstanding!!! Fresh raspberry puree with fresh squeezed lime juice, sweetened with agave syrup and home made seltzer...couldn't be any more satisfying on these hot days.

I've been using the produce to make some really great green day I made the juice using the rainbow chard, green apple, pear, zucchini, carrot, spinach, kale, lemon balm and was delicious!!!!!!! The lemon balm gave it an interesting taste which I really enjoyed.

The Rainbow chard was also utilized as a wrap for falafel from the amazing Rami's in Brookline, an amazing falafel joint...I layered the chard with hummus, falafel, cukes, tomatoes, green onions and spicy pickles...Yum!
Inspired by the falafel and hummus, I made some tabouleh with bulgur, Sun Golds, cukes, kale, parsley, green onion, lemon zest, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and S+P. I ate it all week! Again, Yum!
So, what's left? Well, w. the basil, I made another batch of pesto to have around. I made a number of great salads with all the lettuce as well as kale, chard, and Sun Golds. I picked some kale from my garden which I used to make some kale chips.
Last but not least I made borscht, or beet soup, with the Chioggia beets (as well as the carrots). The result was a luscious, soft pink soup that I garnished with green onions and dill. Very satisfying. I grilled some pork chops from Stillman's that I got from the meat CSA to accompany the borscht (for the meat eaters in the house); the chps were marinated in green onions, garlic and extra virgin olive oil.
Have a great week or 2 of eating...hope you're getting in your fruits and veggies!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

CSA Report - Pickups 3/2

I am LOVING my CSAs this season!!!!! I am totally inspired by what I bring home and these past 2 pickups didn't disappoint...from Newton I got Swiss chard, lettuce, basil, oregano, fresh garlic, green onions, snap peas, radishes and turnips.....from Stillman's I got strawberries (last of the season) :( , fennel, zucchini, curly green kale, Forono beets, Rainbow chard, snap peas and lettuce....I also picked up the first tomatoes of the season (Green Zebras and some beautiful cherry tomatoes)....
So....what was cooking with all of this yummy produce??? I used the cherry tomatoes and chard with quinoa and avocado and a basic vinaigrette to make a satisfying lunch.
I was going to add the golden beets from last week's pickup, and so I grated them up, and stuck them in the fridge. When I went back to use them, they had oxidized and turned a yucky black color :( They tasted fine, but were really hard to look at and so I didn't use them....
When I first grated them, they were a vibrant, golden yellow it's not unlike the oxidation of an apple turning brown. If I had grated them and put them in water w.a bit of acid, like lemon juice, they probably would have stayed yellow. (Note to self!!! :))
I roasted off the Forono beets (long, oval, dark red beets), fennel and turnips and used them to top off salad w.the various lettuces that I got.
Before roasting:
After roasting:

A note about turnips and radishes, when you roast them, they mellow out and caramelize a bit, becoming much sweeter and less sharp.
The beet greens, rainbow chard and green curly kale were cooked with Vaquero beans from Rancho Gordo, an amazing store/farm/bean preservation project out of Napa that specializes in heirloom beans. Vaquero beans are a variety of bean that are speckled, black and white and look like the coloring of cows, thus vaquero (which means cowboy or cattle driver in Spanish). When cooked, they keep their pattern, but turn an almost purple color and get very creamy. I cooked them in my pressure cooker with the greens, garlic and lemon.....very hearty. I cooked some burgers with ground beef from the meat portion of Stillman's CSA as well to have with the beans and greens.
The fresh garlic from NCF is outstanding, mellow and sweet. I used it along with the basil to make another batch of pesto.
Look at how white and beautiful the cloves are:
I used the pesto w.pasta but also made some Caprese crostini as an app over the weekend.
Caprese is a classic Italian salad which consists of fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil....
I used the remaining garlic as a part of a marinade for pork cutlets from Stillman's, along with lemon juice, green onions, cumin, coriander and extra virgin olive oil. I grilled the cutlets off and used them for pork tacos.
To go with the pork tacos, I grilled the green onions; I first tasted grilled onions about 6 years ago in San Francisco at a little hole in the wall Mexican food joint. They were delectable! The same theory applies to the green onions as the radishes/turnips, that when you add heat, the onion caramelizes and gets sweet.
The remaining radishes and turnips, along with some zucchini, red cabbage, cilantro, and lime juice became a slaw to top the tacos with.

For the July 4th holiday, I used up the lettuces, cherry tomatoes and Green Zebras to make a salad to bring to a BBQ.
Because I was feeling patriotic and had some beautiful strawberries left, I made some vegan shortcakes to go w.some vegan non-dairy topping and mixed berries. For the shortcakes I used Earth Balance shortening and Earth Balance vegan butter sticks as well as almond milk; they were delicious.
Because I knew I wasn't going to use the oregano that I got from the Newton farm, I actually stuck it in the dehydrator and dehydrated it. It is so fragrant! I'll use it when tomatoes are in full swing to make sauce :)
After ~12 hours in the dehydrator:
Lastly, I used the fronds from the fennel, along with the remaining Swiss chard and zucchini (as well as pear, apple, carrot, celery, cucumber and lemon) to make some awesome green juice :)

Have a good week and eat your veggies!!! :)