CSA share: Week 18

24 Aug

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In this week’s share:

  • Romaine lettuce (I’m determined to branch out and try fancier salads)
  • Green beans
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Basil (I have SO much basil and really need to get creative with how I use it)
  • Corn
  • Peaches

CSA share: Week 14 and 15

5 Aug

Lots of mini vacations have kept me away from my veggies, so I have some catching up to do in the kitchen.

  • Eggplant (Maybe I’m irrationally excited about this, but the eggplant I got is so cute. And I’ve never tried eggplant before, so I’m really looking forward to cooking it.)
  • Corn (This is becoming the new Swiss chard in that we’ve been getting it every single week. The one difference between corn and Swiss chard is I don’t despise corn.)
  • Swiss chard (sarcastic ‘hooray!’)
  • Basil
  • Spinach (really happy I get to make my favorite salad with blue cheese, walnuts and chicken again)
  • Peaches
  • Cherry tomatoes (may have to toss these in my salad)

The week before brought:

  • Cucumber
  • Pickling cucumbers (I need something new to try with my cucumbers this time around.)
  • Lettuce
  • Peaches (always delicious and exciting)
  • Cherry tomatoes

Pickling myself back up

19 Jul

Forgive me. Had to give this one a cheesy title.

I decided to attempt making dill pickles again after the epic pickle disaster I had a while ago. I didn’t get “dill” (aka anise) in my share this past week, but I did get pickling cucumbers. On the first go-round, I just used regular cucumbers since my Giant didn’t have pickling cucumbers. It wasn’t a big deal in the recipe, so I let it slide.

I also got to blog about this adventure for Patty Talorico’s “Second Helpings” blog.

After mentioning my desire to make pickles to some friends, Bethany Swanson came through with her Grandpa Art’s famous pickle recipe. Arthur O. DeBolt made pickles for his family since Bethany’s mom was a little girl. I like to know a bit about the originators of the recipes I use and Bethany tells me Grandpa Art served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 32 years.

“Not only was he respected and accomplished as a Marine aviator, but he was pretty much the best grandpa ever,” she told me when I asked about her grandfather, who fought in WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam. That’s enough for me to know I will love these pickles.

Grandpa Art’s pickles should turn out tart with a kick to them. Here’s the recipe:

Brine:
1/4 cups white vinegar (white with 5% acidity)
4 cups water
1/3 cup salt
1/8 tsp. turmeric

Boil for 2 to 3 minutes

In jar, place:
1 clove garlic
1/8 tsp mustard seed
1 head of dill or 1 tbsp of dill seed
1 grape leaf (for crispness)
Sliced cucumber or whole cucumber (if whole, use smaller pickling cucumbers and make sure the bloom or flower has been removed)

Use enough cucumbers to fill the jar, but all cucumbers should be soaked in brine.

Pour brine into jar, make sure all cucumbers are covered. Fill jar about 1/2 inch from top. Seal the jar tightly. Let them sit on the counter (no need to refrigerate) for 2-3 weeks. They will turn more green as they get ready to eat.

For my purposes, I sliced four pickling cucumbers and skipped the grape leaf (by the time I started the brine, I realized I forgot to locate one). I also swished the jar around every other day just to kick up the ingredients a bit.

Three weeks later, my pickles were ready for tasting! They’re wonderful. I think next time, I may taste at two weeks and then two and a half just to experiment. But I’m so happy Grandpa Art’s pickles were far better than my anise pickles.

CSA share: Week 12 and 13

14 Jul

I fell off the wagon toward the end of the spring/summer CSA. Between vacations and a busy work schedule, I lent out some veggies and some just went to waste. After debating whether to continue, my share buddy, Daniel Sato, and I decided to continue for the next round. The end of summer/beginning of fall veggies and fruits are too good to pass up.

Though I missed a couple weeks prior, here’s our final week of the summer share (Daniel took this photo):

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Week 12 brought us

  • Corn
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • Onion
  • More. Swiss. Chard. (What would our final week be without more chard!?)

And now for CSA Part 2 Week 1 aka Week 13:

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We were hoping for more fruits this week, but we did get an enormous cantaloupe.

  • Lettuce
  • Scallions (I’m starting to embrace them and find them less scary than full-blown onions)
  • Beets (I promise to not pickle them this time. I’ll make a fancy salad with them instead.)
  • Corn
  • Cucumber (time for a tea party with cucumber sandwiches!)
  • Basil (which smells incredible)
  • Tomatoes (never tried yellow tomatoes before)
  • Cantaloupe
  • Green beans (haven’t cooked these before, so I’m going to have fun making a favorite North Carolina dish)

CSA share: Week 9

21 Jun

BLUEBERRIES!

I get most excited about the fruits each week and blueberries were an unexpected surprise.

The beets we got this week are more orange than I’d seen before, so I didn’t even think they were beets. And when I saw the pickling cucumbers, I knew it was a sign I can try pickles again…I’ll combine these two with the two I got in a past share.

Also in this week’s share:

  • Purslane (It’s pretty, but what on earth do I do with it? Wikipedia calls it a weed, but says I can eat it like a leafy vegetable.)
  • Cabbage (Totally trying cole slaw)
  • Bok choy (SO glad we got this again since my last bok choy got bad before I used it.)
  • Peas
  • Spring onions (I still haven’t found a use for these week after week…I think it’s because I’m still not fond of onions in general.)
  • Mint (Yay for more mojitos!)
  • Spinach (Yay for another salad!)

Fava bean happiness and farmer’s market joy

13 Jun

I had never seen a fava bean before receiving them in our CSA share this week.

Brief change of topic…

I spent the weekend visiting friends in Brooklyn and we went to a great farmer’s market in Prospect Park (I believe the area is called the Grand Army Plaza). This is a good reminder that while I’m spoiled by my weekly CSA share, I should also go to farmer’s markets in Delaware. After all, I’ve always wanted to meet Norman the pig, who is somewhat of a mascot at Marini Produce. In August 2010, The News Journal posted a video of Norman after he reached 900 friends:

Today, he is nearing 2,500 friends. As soon as I edited the video, I friended Norman and have yet to meet him in person.

The reason I bring this up is because the Prospect Park market had fava beans and I was excited to correctly identify them. I also saw garlic in its original form and had no idea it has chutes coming out of the top. At first look, I thought they were spring onions.

After scouring the pages of my cookbooks for fava bean recipes, I was disappointed to find none. Time to Google. This link turned up with a bunch of great recipes. I also found this recipe for sautéeing fava beans, which is really similar to my recipe for satutéed mushrooms. I decided to go with that for my first fava bean experience.

So here’s my recipe for steak with sautéed mushrooms and fava beans…single girl serving size (keep in mind I eat enough mushrooms for an entire family, though):

Ingredients

  • Steak of your choice
  • McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • White mushrooms
  • Fava beans
  • 1 tbsp butter (I used I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Lite)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Water
  • Ice
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to broil at 500 degrees. This is for your steak…again, I’m not the master at multi-tasking while cooking, so when the oven is ready, start your steak while working with your fava beans and mushrooms. I cover my steak in the McCormick seasoning before broiling and it’s so good I don’t even need A1 sauce.
  2. Shell fava beans from their pods. It’s easiest to slice them open along with seam with a knife. It was a small joy in life to feel how soft the inside of the shells are. God really put a lot of thought into the details of fava beans.
  3. Bring a small pot of water to boil – add enough salt to taste. Pour in the fava beans and let them cook for about three minutes. While they’re cooking, prepare a small bowl with ice water.
  4. Remove the fava beans from their boiling water and immediately drop them in the ice water. Once cool, peel them out of their skin.

  1. Heat a large pan on medium and add butter, EVOO and diced garlic. When that melts, add chopped mushrooms and shelled fava beans. Add a bit of salt and pepper.
  2. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms and fava beans are tender.
  3. Serve with steak!

It’s truly turning a new leaf for me to be eating steak with any kind of side dish, but it was a pretty great life decision.

Mojitos…and more mojitos

13 Jun

Keep the mint coming! We’ve gotten mint in our CSA shares three times and I’m not complaining. That just means more mojitos for me. (I find that drinking mojitos while watching “The Bachelorette” is an especially good idea.)

I had my first mojito back in September when I spent an evening learning how to be a bartender for my column, Anything Once. By the end of the night, I knew that the mojito was my favorite drink to make (leagues better than the oyster shooters I had to make for a group of guys non-stop that night. Blech).

Ingredients

  • 4  mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp simple syrup
  • 1 lime
  • 2 fl. oz. white rum
  • ice cubes
  • soda water (I use Canada Dry club soda)

Directions

Simple syrup should be made ahead of time so it is completely cooled by the time you make your drinks. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1.5 cups of water and stir constantly until the sugar’s dissolved completely. Remove from the stove and let it cool and thicken.

  1. Put mint leaves, simple syrup and lime juice in a glass. Muddle until the sugars are dissolved and oils from the mint are released.
  2. In a second glass, poor the rum over ice cubes and mix well until rum is cold.
  3. Pour the mix into the glass of rum and shake.
  4. Top off with a bit of soda water.

And I’m open to suggestions for other ways to use mint. Not that I’ll ever get tired of mojitos.