The weather here is still all over the map but my mini-greenhouses are doing pretty well. I had to cover everything recently for a flash flood-type of thunderstorm that, in reality, only lasted a few minutes, but would have devastated my tender little plants if they had been exposed. The overnight temperatures haven’t been too bad. However, it does flirt with the freezing mark on a regular basis despite hitting near 90 the other day. I live in a crazy dry … and very wide ranging little climate zone.
So, every little success must be celebrated. Today, we celebrated GREENS. Mmmmmm. There were just enough greens for me and the Fresh Hubs to each have a big, green salad for lunch today. Lucky us.
What’s in the box this week?
(all organic from Lattin Farms unless noted otherwise)
- Cha-Cha Kabocha Squash
- MIzuna and Mustard Greens
- Islander Peppers
- Garlic Chives from Mewaldt Organics
- Potatoes from Holley Farms
- Yellow Onions from Peri & Sons
- Cauliflower from Peri & Sons
What the Cha-Cha? Now, I’m not a rookie to the squash scene at this point but I don’t remember ever seeing a Cha-Cha Kabocha Squash on the menu before now. Have you ever had one?
To me, it looks like a big speckled green pumpkin or, maybe, a flatter watermelon But, I was surprised when I picked it up because it was significantly lighter than expected. According to the instructions/newsletter, it is the best-eating of the mid-size kabocha squashes. “It has a bright yellow flesh that cooks up dry, flaky, sweet and delicious.” I’m thinking it will be a lot like a butternut squash … I guess we will find out soon enough, won’t we?
In case you didn’t already know, the pick-up spot for my CSA is at the local Whole Foods store. Most of the time, I don’t even go inside unless I need some random other item because, after all, I am going home with a huge box of veggies every week. This week, though, was different. I was stopped dead in my tracks because I found my holy grail item of fall. The Honey Crisp Apple. Oooooh, yaaaaa. It’s on like Donkey Kong, my friends.
I bought a whole bag of these beauties and, after I eat myself sick on just plain old apples, I’m going to make a recipe suggested by Rachel’s Table, Seasonal Sangria. Check her out, she knows how to get it done …
Can you believe we started this adventure in April and the 2012 season is already done? Time flies when you are having fun!
The last veggie box is here and I am ready for Thanksgiving. And, I am thankful for this year’s CSA. I had no idea what it would be like and I have enjoyed every bit. I am especially thankful for the awesome little farm that makes this happen, Lattin Farms. They rule! I added some links below to the other farms on the veggie list. Please take the time to give them a click. Fallon and Yerington, Nevada, don’t look like much on the map but the farms out there seriously know what they are doing.
So, what’s in the veggie box?
- Butternut Squash
- Speckled Hound Squash
- Bull’s Blood Beet Greens
- Tango Lettuce
- Gourmet Lettuce
- Popcorn on the Cob
- Ornamental Gourds
- Sunchokes from Mewaldt Organics
- Onions from Peri & Sons
- Potatoes from Carroll Farms
HOLY, ORVILLE REDENBACHER! We have real popcorn! This going to be so much fun for movie night! (I have tried 10,000 ways to rotate this photo and failed. Then, I decided it was just as cute sideways. Oh, well. We are silly that way.)
And, what would the veggie box be without a mystery vegetable?? This final box did not disappoint. At first, I thought these mysterous tubers were part of a seriously generous bag of fresh ginger. But, whoa, that would be A LOT of ginger! I was quickly informed that these are sunchokes or Jerusalem artichokes. I will be Googling ideas for what to do with them. Any suggestions?
I don’t always point it out on the veggie list but almost everything is completely organic, especially the Lattin Farms produce. That’s a big deal. The official certification process to call your food “organic” is pretty complicated and Lattin Farms is the real thing. Here’s some more info and a link if you would like to check it out:
“What is organic food? Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled ‘organic,’ a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.”
Consumer Brochure, USDA National Organic Program, http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/Consumers/brochure.html
The best resource for Nevada grown produce and everything related is: http://nevadagrown.com/ They have some links on the site for other states but this has quickly become my go-to spot for local goodies. I hope you can find one like it for where you live.
After all of the Thanksgiving festivities, I will post the season highlights/lowlights with cost information for the CSA. I have enjoyed this experience and it has made me interested in being a better localvore. I think there are some good resources in the Reno area to make this happen so … stay tuned. I’ll still be posting my adventures throughout the winter. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
About a week ago, I asked the blogosphere for help with ideas for pears. Man, oh, man. In Her Chucks delivered. This girl knows what I like and suggested that I try one of her standby favorites from Whole Foods. It’s actually called Baked Chicken with Spinach, Pears and Bleu Cheese. The original recipe can be found HERE.
As always, there was a reason for me to not follow the recipe. I had a bag of frozen, skinless chicken breasts from Costco. They don’t recommend that you thaw them out before cooking and that wasn’t the way the recipe called for chicken to be cooked. I did a pan sear as instructed in the recipe and then let them cook covered in the skillet on the stove. I just wanted to make sure the chicken was cooked all the way through because I wasn’t sure about baking. Otherwise, I’m pretty close on the recipe. I don’t know why I can’t just follow instructions. Ask my friends and family, this is how I am all of the time.
Either way, this recipe is bomb-diggity good. As in, we will be having it again in a couple of days while I still have fresh pears. Wowzers! The combination of sweet pears with salty bleu cheese is superb. I like spinach quite a bit and the chicken flavor from the pan dripping is perfect to cook them. The chicken was moist and tender. It was dinner done right.
I added a pre-made chicken flavored rice for the side dish. It is one of those packaged things but complimented the meal nicely for a good starch. (Insert whatever side dish works for you … this was just a quickie item.)
The CSA box this week provided the pears and this lovely parsley. The red onion is from the regular store.
This picture was supposed to show how pretty the spinach was in the pan. And, it was right before I managed to fling rice all over the kitchen. Chaos ensued. There was a small rice fire. Not. Exaggerating.
I am still infatuated with grill marks. I don’t think that is going to change anytime soon.
And, the final plate. It took every bit of willpower for me to take this picture because all I wanted to do was eat. My husband thinks I’m nuts for photographing every single thing in the kitchen. I tell him that he should be happy that the expensive DSLR gets so much use.
I fell off the motivation wagon over the weekend and didn’t do any CSA-focused meal planning. That translates to lots of salads this week. I am OK with that, how about you?
Have you ever noticed how much work it is to prep for a decent salad? Clean, chop, store … Geesh.
Oh, but it is sooooo worth it. Isn’t it? Mmmmmmmm. Green goodness.
I opted to mix a little bit of kale and spinach in with my tango lettuce. Yum! (Just don’t tell my hubby … He thinks kale is gross. What he doesn’t know is good for him!)
What was in your lunch box today?
Last week, I had a spinach salad for lunch almost every day. Sooooo, this week, I had to find some variety before I lost it.
When I made the meal plan, I thought I was going to make a spinach and rice casserole with chicken on one night and a spinach and sausage tart on a different night. Well, so much for those plans! And, as it turns out, it was a good thing.
Neither of the recipes went as planned. It is a really good thing that I am not much of a stickler for following a recipe and know how to wing it.
I was going to post full recipes for these but … well … I don’t exactly remember all of the measurements or changes. Ooops.
In essence, the spinach and rice casserole is based on the standard recipe but has green garlic sauteed in butter added and a little bit of cream to help it bind. I also sprayed the pan with Pam to keep it from sticking.
The tart is so far away from the start that I might just make up a new recipe. I started with those pre-made pie crusts. (I find this so much less stressful. It is a short cut that I always take.) Cook one pie crust but not all the way. Sauteed green garlic in butter, italian sausage (cooked and crumbled), chopped spinach lightly sauteed with everything else at the last minute. Take off heat, let cool. Then, mix in about a cup of feta with a beaten egg. Pour mixture into pie crust. Sprinkle with parmesan. Brown in the oven.
Hindsight being what it is, I am thinking that some fresh tomatoes would have been just right to balance the salty of this ‘tart.’ Keep that in mind. I also used a liberal grind of fresh cracked pepper. I like pepper.
Here’s a little extra food porn to round this post out:
I know that was a lot of cheese and butter … I did get some greens in there, though.
Ever have a near disaster turn out this good?
This week’s goodies include:
organic spinach, organic tango lettuce, organic gourmet lettuce, organic red chard or mizuna, organic breading mixed greens, organic green garlic, organic green onions, organic carrots, organic asparagus, parsley and organic lacinato kale.
Yum. I wonder what green creations I will make this week!
When I am in the right mood (and have tons of energy), Sunday is the day that I prep as much food for the rest of the week as I can manage. What I try to do is pack the fridge with easy dinners for the week and lunch ideas to keep us from eating out or having junk food. I was on it today. ON IT. I managed to try three new recipes, clean and prep a ton of veggies and we actually had homemade breakfast, lunch and dinner. I am SUPER CHEF! (taaa–daaaa!)
These were the recipes that I wanted to try:
My new blog friend over at http://inherchucks.com/ suggested the beef and chard recipes. Great tips and a very friendly blog.
And, here are a few shots of how the kitchen chaos went down for the day:
Maybe it’s just me, but this week’s box seems bigger. There are a couple of new additions but the portion sizes are a little bit larger. Yay! I have been pretty happy so far in my CSA experience. This just keeps getting better.
I’m pretty excited to see those carrots. I might not share them this time.
The full list is spinach, braising mix, lettuce, carrots, green onions, arugula, asparagus, beets, turnips, chard and garlic chives. Any good recipe suggestions?
The weekly newsletter gave some nice tips for keeping the veggies fresh and preparing them. Good thing … I would hate to waste this green goodness.
I might try this recipe from my main CSA Farm, Lattin Farms from Fallon, Nevada:
Lattin Farms Cream of Spinach Soup
1/2 cup chopped onion, sauteed in butter until tender
1 bag of spinach, shredded into thin pieces
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups half and half
Add onion, garlic to spinach and cook just until spinach is slightly tender. Don’t overcook. At this time, you can puree half of the mixture if like a chunky soup or puree all of it. Melt butter in a pan. Whisk in flour until smooth. Add half and half and stir until smooth. Add cream mixture to spinach and heat just until warm. Do not boil. Stir constantly. Enjoy!