Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Week 8: Very Veggie

The produce is starting to build up in the old refrigerator.  We feel like we eat a lot of vegetables, we want to eat a lot of vegetables, but I am guessing that we really don't eat enough vegetables.  Having a lot of fresh, organic produce is not something I am really complaining about.  There are certainly more than enough American families who struggle to get enough fresh veggies on their plates.  I do not take this for granted.  It is a real blessing to be in an area that provides so much wonderful food.

This week we got a few of the now familiar veggies, and a couple of new arrivals.  There was Green Leaf and Red Leaf Lettuce, Carrots, Yellow Summer Squash, Napa Cabbage and Zucchini.  There was also Fresh Fennel Bulb with gorgeous fronds, and Spring Onions...well I call them Spring onions.  I guess in July they are supposed to be called "fresh onions," but I think of Spring when I see onions with great green tops on them.
The lettuce has been building up and I thought I would share how we deal with it so it stays nice and fresh as long as possible. 
We rinse, spin, wrap, and roll. Like this:

Wrap the clean lettuce in a nice clean dish towel, or (eek) paper towels.  (Make sure you use a clean laundry soap like this one.)

 Viola!  You have a nice supply of fresh Lettuce at the ready.  I take one of the rolls to work for the week and we eat one at home.

The abundance of vegetation we are receiving is really a gift.  We are thankful and inspired, and we have no reason to do anything but enjoy the fresh flavors, the nutrition, and the opportunity to eat foods fresh from the farm.  

Eat well and remember to buy local.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Week 7: Zebra Zucchini

Wow! the week really got away from me this time. I can't even blame it on a family vacation. The produce came, and we worked hard to get it prepared and safely tucked away in the chill chest. We got some nice photos and even cranked out a couple of great recipes (see one below). I can't even blame it on my teenager.  She wrote her piece last week.  I just need to get busy and get it going.

The Produce this week included:
Red Lettuce   Carrots  Chioggia Beets  Bok Choi  and Yellow, Green & Zebra Striped
Summer Squash -- aka Zucchini

The new addition to the mix was a big head of Napa Cabbage.
Cabbage is a wonderful vegetable.  I realize it is a Love / Hate food for some people.  Both of Maddi's Grandpas are of Austro-Germanic-Franco decent.  They love them some cabbages.  My Dad would eat it boiled in soups, fried in a bad Eastern Idaho version of Beef Sukiyaki, and in sauerkraut any way you serve it.  I inherited this love of all things cruciferous as did my girl Maddi.  Not so her Mom.  Maddi and I have to have our cabbage nights when Mom has someplace else to be.  We both like pork with cabbage. I make a stir fry with sliced pork loin, shredded cabbage, green onions and Hoisin sauce. The sweet sauce really compliments the cabbage.

Mom does join us when we enjoy sauerkraut:  Really Robust Reubens, Brats with kraut, and she even loves my old pizza specialty from my Me n Ed's pizza days, the ground beef with sauerkraut. We all love Cole Slaw and its various cousins, but cooked cabbages are only really enjoyed by me and the girl.

So make this easy crock pot (or slow cooker of your choice) recipe for the cabbage lovers in your life.

2 Pounds Pork Shoulder Roast
(also called Boston Butt, and you could use Country Style Ribs which are from the same cut)
1 Onion Sliced
2 Bay Leaves
1 Cinnamon Stick
2 Star Anise
2 tsp Mustard Seed
2 tsp Black Peppercorns
2 TBS Rice Vinegar
4 TBS Hoisin Sauce

Place Pork into slow cooker and surround with other ingredients.  Cook on High for 3 to 4 hours.
1 head of Napa Cabbage cut into 2" slices
to top of Cooker, and continue to cook for 1 hour, or until pork is tender.
Serve chunks/slices/shreds of pork with cabbage and the delicious broth over mounds of brown rice.

Even if your culinary descendants were not from cabbage loving stock, you should try cooking some cabbage.  It will warm your heart and feed your soul.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Week 6: Rainbows of Chard

This week we got a lot of good vegetables in our produce bag.  Some of these were veggies we had seen before in the bag and some of them were new.

The repeat vegetables we got were:

  • Romaine and Red Leaf Lettuce
  • Bok Choy
  • Beets
  • Chinese Cabbage Lettuce

The new items included:

  • Fennel Bulb
  • Snow Peas
  • Rainbow Swiss Chard, and
  • Zucchini

 Maddi here! I'm going to tell you about the new veggies we got. Snow peas are a really great snack to just eat raw (they looked so good we had to eat some right out of the bag). Chard is full of vitamins and minerals, so it's a good vegetable to serve on the side of any meal. When I was little, I hated any sort of greens, but my dad made me eat them, and it's a good thing, because they are really healthy. Last night for dinner we wanted to use the fennel and zucchini, so we sliced them up and cooked them on the grill.
It's pretty simple, we brushed them with a mixture of olive oil and garlic, then we just let them cook until each side had some nice grill marks.
We served these with some grilled chicken and pork, and some mushrooms, but you can grill lots of different things!
Grilling is a good way to get more veggies into your diet and it gives food a nice flavor. I encourage everyone to try this if you haven't already! Enjoy!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Week 4: 14 Carrot Gold

We are posting late this week because we are on vacation in  Boise, Idaho.  The produce last week was bursting with great colors and interesting flavors.

The Produce this week included:

  • Chioggia Beets --the stripe-y ones
  • Kohlrabi
  • Carrots
  • Romaine Lettuce, 
  • and
  • Dark Burgundy Red Lettuce (don't know the variety) 

It was so great that Carrots entered the scene this week.  Sweet, tender carrots, so fresh and tasty that even thinking about cooking them is a crime.  We ate several straight out of the bag and saved a couple for the recipe of the week below.

The beets are even sweeter than last week's batch.  The chioggia variety has those beautiful stripes in concentric circles.  They can be sliced or grated fresh into a salad, juiced, or roasted and served on top of greens, or as a side dish.

The dark red lettuce makes a dramatic addition to a tossed salad.  Mixed with the other salad greens we have received it stands out in stark contrast.  I couldn't say whether the taste is so very different from the  other "greens," but it seems like it is sweeter and more intense.  Look for this at your farmers market or get some seeds and grow your own.

Recipe of the Week:
Kohlrabi/Carrot Slaw

3 bulbs Kohlrabi, julienned
3 Carrots, julienned
2 TB Mayonaise
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp Sirrachi sauce
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
salt & pepper to taste

Mix wet ingredients to make a dressing
Toss vegetables with the dressing
Chill for 30 minutes
Serve with grilled Fish, Veggies, or Meat.

We are out of town this week so we will not receive a produce delivery.  We will be back next week with a post about our produce and the many fun things we can make with it.  See you then.  Remember to visit a Farmer's Market.  The fruits and veggies are coming in strong now.  Buy local and eat well.