Friday, July 27, 2012

the csa experiment: week 1

I have to say, things went much better this week that I expected. I was thinking that it would take some time to get used to having so much fresh produce around at once and that we'd have to throw out a few things, but that didn't happen. And did I mention that it's an organic CSA? So cheap and so healthy. I love it.

To recap, we had lettuce, cucumber, beets, squash, yellow wax beans, red cabbage, broccoli, turnip greens and swiss chard. 

The first thing I did was make a big salad. Andrew had duty and I didn't feel like cooking a big meal, so I just roasted the beets, hard-boiled some eggs, cooked some bacon and tossed it all together with some lettuce, cucumber, avocado and a tiny amount of ranch dressing. That was a good decision.

Last Friday night, it was rainy and chilly and the perfect soup weather. One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to toss whatever veggies I have on hand into a pot and call it chili. It never disappoints.

Hodge Podge Vegetable Chili

+ One pound of hamburger
+ One onion, diced
+ One squash, diced
+ Two tomatoes, diced
+ Half a bag of Trader Joe's frozen roasted corn. (We use this in a LOT of soups. So much flavor!)
+ The leafy greens from the beets, chopped. (Is that called borscht?)
+ Garlic powder
+ Chili powder
+ Oregano
+ One bottle of a dark lager beer

Brown the hamburger while sauteing the onion and squash. Combine when the meat is cooked through. Add tomato, corn and beer. Season with garlic powder, chili powder, oregano (salt + pepper, if you want) taste. Simmer until heated through. I decided to add the beet greens at the last minute and it added some nice flavor - and nutrition! It just simmered on the stove until Andrew got home and we served it up with some cheddar cheese, sour cream and toasted french bread.

Next up was meatloaf with roasted potatoes, sauteed swish chard, baked zucchini fries and whole wheat biscuits.

The meatloaf recipe is from Southern Living and is the one my mom always uses. It's this recipe, with the sauce, but without the green peppers.

The potatoes are something I'll definitely be doing again. Recipe found here.

And the whole wheat biscuit recipe is from the 100 Days of Real Food blog. My friend, Cori, passed it along to me and while I still need biscuit-making practice, I was happy with how they turned out.

I just sauteed the swiss chard in salt and garlic. I still need to perfect those, because they were a bit bitter. Any tips?

However, the star of the show was definitely those zucchini fries. OMG.

Baked Zucchini Fries with Dipping Sauce

+ Cut zucchini (and squash!) into strips or bites - we've done both this week and I think the bites are my preference.
+ Add two eggs and 1/4 cup of milk to a gallon ziplock bag. Toss the veggies in and squish (yes, squish) around to coat.
+ Bread the veggies in a breadcrumb and parmesan cheese mixture. About 2 cups of breadcrumbs to 3/4 cup of cheese.
+ Put on a baking sheet and bake at 425 until brown (8-10 minutes)

For the sauce, I just mixed 1/2 cup of mayo, 1/4 cup of plain yogurt, worchestire sauce, lemon juice and a bit of chili powder. Y'all. I WANT TO EAT THIS EVERY DAY.

We cooked some squash up the same way the next night, but with grilled chicken, those yellow beans, cabbage and sauteed turnip greens. I cooked the chicken in a skillet and about half way through, added a cup of chicken broth, the beans and chopped cabbage. Cooking it together gave the veggies a nice flavor and it was all really tender. Who knew cabbage could be that good?

I'm happy to report that we made it through the week with very little left over by the time the next CSA batch was ready for pick-up. We didn't get a chance to eat the broccoli, so that got steamed and turned into baby food. Also a hit with the little one?

Beets. I wasn't kidding when I said he'll eat anything.

This week's pick-up included more squash and zucchini, beets, swiss chard and cucumber, in addition to tomatoes, purple carrots (purple?) and potatoes.

Also, I spent a total of $15 on groceries this week, just on the staples.

I win.

3 friends said...:

  1. I am jealous. I have been searching for a good CSA here in Charleston, but I have having no luck. Those look like fabulous veggies and meals! So glad you liked the biscuits. YUM!

  2. Wow! I learned something today. I had never heard of the CSA thing. Being born here in SE Georgia, gardening is something everyone seems to do. I love the idea of CSA. Way to go, Mom! Heathly food for your family is very important!

  3. My favorite way to cook any kind of greens, including swiss chard:

    Sautee a diced onion and one grated Gala or Pink Lady apple in some olive oil. Add chopped-up greens and sautee until wilted. Then pour in some low-sodium chicken brother and simmer for 15 minutes or so. Delicious!


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