Friday, July 30, 2010

Farm share week 9

In this week's box:
  • Cucumbers: 1.5 lbs
  • Corn: 1.5 lbs
  • Green beans: 0.5 lb
  • Yellow squash: 0.75 lb
  • Pattypan squash: 1 lb
  • Beets: 1.75 lbs
  • Lettuce: 1 lb
  • Kale: 0.75 lb
  • Wheat berries: 1.25 lbs
  • Basil: 0.5 lb
Excited to get fresh basil this week -- bought some tomatoes and fresh mozzarella to go with it! And it seems like every week we get a different variety of kale -- this week's has smaller leaves that are very thick, not at all like the big floppy leaves we've been getting lately. I loooove kale and never complain about getting it every week, unlike some things (I'm looking at you, lettuce).

This week's newsletter (PDF) included information on what to do with the wheat berries. (I've never had them before.) It sounds like they can be cooked the same way as any grain, and used in either sweet or savory dishes.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Kale chips

I had heard about kale chips before (basically, a healthier version of potato chips), but hadn't gotten around to trying them before now. They couldn't be easier, and it's a great way to use up a bunch of kale.

To start, preheat the oven to 350. Tear up the kale leaves into large-ish bite-size pieces, keeping in mind that they'll shrink in the oven. Be sure to separate the stems and the central "rib" of each leaf and discard.  Rinse leaves well and completely dry.

Kale: Before

Put a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. (Depending on how much kale you have, you might need two sheets.)  Arrange the kale leaves on the parchment, avoiding overlap as much as possible. Brush leaves with olive oil and sprinkle with desired seasonings. I did one batch with seasoned salt and grated parmesan cheese, and another batch with sea salt and rice vinegar. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes, until leaves are crisp -- they should be browned but not burned.

Kale: After
Eat and enjoy!  I definitely made these waaay too salty, so I would advise going easy on the salt...  They also need to be eaten right away, as they don't seem to maintain their crispness after a while.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Farm share week 8

In this week's box:
  • Corn: 2.5 lbs
  • Taters: 1.5 lbs
  • Zukes: 1.25 lbs
  • Cukes (green): 1.75 lbs
  • Lemon cucumbers: 1.75 lbs
  • Kale: 0.75 lb
  • Yellow squash: 1.5 lbs
  • Lettuce: 0.75 lb
  • Parsley: 0.25 lb
  • Blueberries: 1 pint
I've had to start tuning out the quantity of potatoes we've been getting every week, because at least I know they'll last for a while. (I keep them in the fridge after an earlier failure with dry storage in the pantry as recommended.) More urgent is the matter of the cucumbers and zucchini we've been getting lately. I'm not sure how much more zucchini bread this world can take from me... As for cucumbers, I made tzatziki last week, and this week made a cucumber salad (chop up cucumbers and marinate in mixture of rice vinegar, toasted sesame seeds, and superfine sugar; chill and serve).  But the lemon cucumbers we got this week are a new variation -- I'd heard of them but never seen them before. Not exactly the kind of thing you find in the supermarket. One of them was actually damaged in shipping, so I cut off the bad part and ate the rest of it right away -- it still had the cucumbery taste, but was milder. (They just LOOK like lemons, they don't TASTE like them.) In the photo above, they're the pale yellow things directly behind the green cucumbers.

This week's farm newsletter (PDF) didn't indicate that there would be any berries included, so I decided to buy blueberries at Whole Foods. Of course when I picked up the farm share later the same day, it included some unannounced blueberries.  So, we did a taste test. The farm blueberries taste almost floral, while the WF bluebs are meatier in texture and blander in flavor. Both varieties are tasty in their different ways, and in fact, Carl couldn't distinguish which were from the farm share in a blind test. (We get up to such hijinks here, I know.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Souvlaki with roasted potatoes and tzatziki

The Greek restaurant in our area closed unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago (like, 2 days after we last ate there... we had no idea it was coming). Since Carl and I got married in Greece last fall, I've developed a fondness for Greek food but had never tried preparing it myself. We're starting to have a bit of a cucumber situation in the fridge, and short of pickling them all, I thought I'd try making tzatziki (Greek yogurt with chopped cucumbers and herbs, drizzled with olive oil). I make my own yogurt anyways, and it's super easy to "Greek" it by letting it strain through a coffee filter or cheesecloth overnight.  I used the recipe for tzatziki in The Joy of Cooking, which was simple.

Once I had the tzatziki, then I had no choice but to build a Greek menu around it. :) I made chicken souvlaki (kebabs) on our George Foreman grill, marinating the chicken first and using farm share zucchini and non-farm onion. I also roasted some farm share potatoes in the toaster oven (it's way too hot to have the big oven on). Delicious! I only wished I had had some olives to go with it...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Farm share week 7

In this week's box:
  • Corn: 4.5 lbs (!)
  • Cabbage: 2.25 lbs
  • Taters: 1.5 lbs
  • Kale: 1.25 lbs
  • Cuke: 0.75 lb
  • Zuke: 1 lb
  • Arugula: 0.75 lb.
  • Raspberries: 1 pint
Hey look, I remembered to weigh the stuff before I put it away! Actually what made me think of it was how HEAVY the box was this week compared to the past few weeks. According to this tally, the shipment this week is 12+ pounds. I think that's the heaviest yet! I can't believe how much bigger the ears of corn are compared to last week's runty specimens. Also, the kale leaves are ENORMOUS. I think this is called dinosaur kale (understandably). It looks a little prehistoric...

As you can see in this week's farm newsletter (PDF), more and more of each week's shipment is coming directly from Enterprise Farm, and almost everything is local (except for the potatoes this week). I have to say, this is one of the most interesting aspects of having a farm share -- knowing what's ripe and ready to pick each week in my local growing area.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Potatoes with collard greens

Potatoes seem to have replaced lettuce here as the vegetable we have too much of. Fortunately, they generally last longer than lettuce does; nevertheless, another week of potatoes in the shipment and we'll need to dig a root cellar.

Fried potatoes (aka home fries) are a quick and filling dinner, which can be combined with a variety of different ingredients to produce a relatively healthy meal (I use olive oil, and it's really more of a saute than any kind of deep-fry). First I cooked the potatoes in some water to soften them up (right in the skillet, about an inch of boiling water + potatoes, cover and simmer on medium for about 10 minutes). This is about 4 medium potatoes, by the way.  Then I threw in about a pound of collard greens, rinsed and shredded (don't put the stems in). Cover again  for a couple of minutes to wilt the greens. Then, I drained the potatoes and greens in a colander and let them sit there while I sauted some chopped-up onion in olive oil. Once the onion was soft, I threw the potatoes and greens back into the skillet, added some more olive oil (1-2 Tbsp), and fried it all up. Keep the heat on medium or the greens will disintegrate.  I also added some sliced up veggie sausage (Field Roast, the best you will ever taste!). Seasoned with cumin, paprika, chili powder, salt/pepper, and some fresh parsley.

As you can see from the photo, I threw some corn in a pot of boiling water while all this happened. Meal prep totaled about 20 minutes.

P.S.: After the corn water cooled, I used it to water some of my outdoor plants.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Farm share week 6

In this week's box:
  • Cucumbers (3)
  • Corn on the cob (4, smallish)
  • Zucchini (1)
  • Yukon Gold taters (7)
  • Callaloo
  • Raspberries (1 pint)
Last week a friend said he was impressed that I always knew what the leafy greens were in each week's shipment. Generally I'm pretty good at distinguishing kale from chard, etc., but this week I was completely stumped by the bunch of greens we got. I referred back to the weekly newsletter from the farm (PDF), and discovered that it was callaloo. I only knew Callaloo as a literary journal of the African diaspora -- I guess I assumed it was named after some sort of gourd. But no, it's a green. (Interestingly, the Wikipedia entry maintains that callaloo is the dish, rather than the green itself, while the farm calls the green callaloo.)

The corn seems kind of runty -- I got some more robust corn earlier in the week from the supermarket (I know, I know... but it was "local corn" and sometimes you just crave something, you know?).  Will have to see how it compares taste-wise.

No lettuce this week, for the first time (yippity).  The newsletter alludes to the recent hot weather we've been having as not being good for the lettuce crops, which I suppose should make me sad, but, um, just happy to have a respite from salad.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Farm share weeks 4 and 5

Special double post this week! I was out of town last week, so Carl picked up the box at City Feed. When I came home on Sunday night, I got the veggies out of the fridge and took a photo, but catching up on life/work took a little longer than planned and so I didn't get a chance to actually post about the share until now.

So, here's week 4:

In the box:
  • Red leaf lettuce
  • Collard greens
  • Parsley
  • Red potatoes
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Popcorn!
  • Strawberries (not pictured due to their having been mostly eaten by the time I got home)
Sorry, no weights given this week... I forgot to weigh everything. Carl did report that the box seemed lighter than 10 pounds, so that's the second week in a row.

It's been really nice to have this fresh parsley -- usually I just get dried parsley from the bulk herbs and spices bins at Harvest Co-op. But fresh has so much more flavor! This week I used it in an omelet and with some fried potatoes and turnips. The Enterprise Farm newsletter highlighted it, as well (PDF).

The strawberries were tasty, and I was disappointed to not get more of them this week. I resorted to buying supermarket strawberries in order to make strawberry popsicles* in my new popsicle molds (thank you, Freecycle).

* Note on recipe: I used soy milk instead of cow's milk, and agave nectar instead of refined sugar. They taste great! But I would probably strain the seeds out next time.


Week 5:

In the box:
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Kale
  • Red cabbage
  • Zucchini (4)
  • Cucumber (giant)
  • Yukon Gold potatoes (5)
  • Beets (3)
Sorry, I forgot to weigh the things again. But this box definitely felt closer to 10 pounds. (The leafy greens in previous weeks filled up the box, so maybe they should really tell us that they calculate a week's share by volume rather than weight. Obviously potatoes and beets will weigh more than parsley.)

No berries this week, sad.  And upon reading the weekly farm newsletter (PDF), I was super-excited to get garlic scapes in this week's box. But they must have only gone in the larger shares, so disappointing! I've been reading a lot recently about garlic scapes and was looking forward to having them in that omelet I mentioned above.

I think it's time for another update on how well we're managing to consume the food each week, and how long it lasts in the fridge. We are definitely not coming close to eating everything we get each week. But I have to say, this stuff lasts a lot longer than I expected, even the lettuce. I'm thinking it's because it's coming straight from the farm to us, whereas lettuce and whatnot that's bought in the store has generally gone from the farm to a distributor to the store to me. In other words, the produce we're getting is a lot fresher, so it lasts longer once we get it. So far I've only had to toss half a cucumber and some individual leaves of lettuce that were a bit past it. With greens that are going to be cooked (like kale), it's okay if it gets a little wilted. With the lettuce, I generally can get away with trimming the edges off leaves and using the rest.