poor scientist. will blog 4 food.

the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie


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Back on the CSA Wagon!

When we moved in October, we put the CSA on hold for what we thought would be a short hiatus… which turned into a 5 month break from locally grown veggie boxes. I’ve got a litany of excuses, but mostly we were just lazy. Actually, one decent excuse we had was that we spent a bit of time looking around at other CSAs. As much as we loved Eatwell’s practices and farm events, we weren’t always 100% happy with what we got in terms of variety and quality. So, after much searching, we decided on Full Belly Farm. One thing that convinced me to go with them is a quick survey of their farm using Google satellite maps. (Don’t you just love technology??) Much like Eatwell, you can actually SEE the diversity of the Full Belly Farm just by the variety of colors and different width rows of vegetation. Also, we’ve heard lots of good things about Full Belly’s produce. Finally, the price is right! We are paying only $16 a box with Full Belly, compared to Eatwell’s $27. We get a bit less food as well, but that’s not always a bad thing, especially in the winter when we used to get bags and bags of greens. Don’t get me wrong — I love greens, just not 2-3 servings per meal.

We’ve gotten 3 boxes from Full Belly so far, and we’ve been quite happy with the produce. Our boxes have included navel oranges, butternut squash, leeks, beets, kale, lettuce, the cutest little cabbages I’ve ever seen, broccoli, fennel, celery root, potatoes, lettuce, spinach, arugula, and even popcorn! Full Belly also sells walnuts at a very reasonable price, so we’ll probably be adding those to our next box.

Without further ado, here are the pictures from the last 4 weeks of CSA goodness!

Our first CSA box from Full Belly Farms!

Our first CSA box from Full Belly Farms!

potato and leek soup

Rustic potato and leek soup from The New Best Recipes cookbook. We added bacon = YUM.

Butternut squash veggie soup.

Butternut squash veggie soup. It was a bit bland at first, but I doctored it up with some spices and it got better. TC, the lactose tolerant, added cream, which he thought was really good.

Cabbage and chickpea soup from the Post Punk Kitchen. Really nice.

Cabbage and chickpea soup from the Post Punk Kitchen. Really nice.

Roasted squash (also from the PPK) with a side of cous cous.

Roasted squash (also from the PPK) with a side of cous cous.

Spicy cole slaw from the Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook. Awesome stuff!

Spicy cole slaw from the Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook. Awesome and really quick and easy!

We added the spicy slaw to cod filets and buns from Trader Joe's. We loved these sandwiches so much we made then twice in 2 weeks!

We added the spicy slaw to cod filets and half -baked buns from Trader Joe’s. We loved these sandwiches so much we made then twice in 2 weeks!

 


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CSA Update 9/30/12 + Highlights from Eat Real 2012

Here’s what we got last week in our Eatwell Farm CSA box:

strawberries
basil
heirloom cherry tomatoes
shady lady tomatoes
heirloom tomatoes
Middle Eastern cucumbers
poblano peppers
bell peppers
onions
sweet potatoes
collard greens
zucchini

In my last post, Tammy mentioned she had never seen a Middle Eastern cucumber before, so I made a point of taking a photo before I ate them. I think they are the same as Persian cucumbers, but I might be wrong. Any cucumber experts out there?

Some of the veggies from our box last week: tomatoes, sweet potatoes, Middle Eastern cucumber, and onions.

We decided to roast the sweet potatoes (~1 hour at 400F). Since the oven was already on, we baked chicken thighs with garlic and onions. To complete the meal, we cooked the collards in the cast iron with some of the chicken juice.

Since we had plenty of tomatoes and cucumbers, I made an impromptu salad featuring those two veggies in homemade balsamic vinaigrette. It was easy and delicious.

quick and easy cucumber tomato salad

This was the last box of our CSA subscription. I know that last time I mentioned that we would be renewing our subscription, and we still are planning on it, but we decided to hold off for now. That’s the bad news. The good news is that TC and I are moving in together in mid-October! So, between packing, moving, and unpacking, neither of us wanted to stress about cooking CSA produce. Honestly, I think the break will be good. This series of posts has gotten a little stagnant, in my opinion. Hopefully, when it returns, it will be full of new and exciting things!

p.s. Can’t get enough of CSA goodies? Check out this week’s link party over at In Her Chucks to check out CSA boxes from all over the country!

***

Rather than writing a separate post on Eat Real, which I’ve blogged about in previous years (2009, 2010, 2011), I thought I’d show you some of the pictures from last weekend’s eat fest.

I had made plans to go to Eat Real on Sunday with LF, but TC and I couldn’t resist the siren call of the hand-made spicy beef corndog from Tante’s. So, we braved the crazy crowds on Saturday to get our hands on them. Unlike last year, we knew better than to try to share this deep-fried perfection. It was totally worth it.

I know, this corndog looks sorta weird, but trust me: it was awesome.

On Sunday, LF and I were sensible enough to make it down to the festival around 11:30, when it was much less crowded. Here’s a sampling of what we ate:

Deep fried daikon cake and beef pho rolls. Both very good, though pricey at $5 each.

A little bowl of shoyu ramen. Broth was too salty, noodles were so-so. LF’s miso ramen was bland.

“Is that a corndog in your purse, or are you just happy to see me?” We were stuffed, so LF got the corndog to go.

We also had Eritrean/Irish food which was very good in both taste and value. For drinks, we enjoyed watermelon basil agua fresca that was delicious and refreshing, as well as a beer each. There was a not-very-serious attempt to wait in the chowder mobile line; we waited for about 10 minutes and jumped ship after realizing the line was not moving. Just as the festival was getting crowded, we grabbed one last corndog for LF, retrieved our bikes from the bike valet, and headed home. Another fantastic experience at Eat Real!


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CSA Update: 9/14/12

Here’s what we got last week in our Eatwell Farm CSA box:

strawberries
basil
heirloom cherry tomatoes
early girl tomatoes
heirloom tomatoes
Middle Eastern cucumbers
grapes
gypsy and poblano peppers
eggplants
zucchini
shallots

Who loves shallots? I love shallots! Good thing too, because we got a bag full of them, about 10-15! I like that they are less pungent than red onions with a hint of sweetness like garlic. Since TC and I had just did our quarterly shopping trip at the Marin Sun Farms butcher counter in Rockridge, we had some ground pork on hand to make stir fry. We combined the pork, zucchini, eggplants, shallots, tomato, and peppers to make a five spice stir fry extravaganza!

Stir fry over jasmine rice. Easy and delicious weeknight meal.

One combination I really like is eggs with tomatoes. So we made a veggie scramble with eggs, tomatoes, basil, and peppers, topped with avocado. Yummers!

A fabulous way to start the morning.

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I have my go-to dishes for finishing up the CSA produce. One of them is pasta with veggies. The pasta this week was fusilli, and the veggies were basil, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and garlic. I added some Trader Joe’s jalapeno chicken sausages to make it more hearty. The great thing about this dish was that one pot lasted me the whole week!

An oldie but a goodie.

We got an email the other day informing us that our 13 week CSA subscription is almost finished. That means almost 26 weeks have passed – one half of a year! How fast time flies. TC and I discussed briefly whether to continue on this CSA journey. We agreed that while we could’ve put more produce in our bellies and less in the compost bin, we’ve done a pretty good job overall. I like that it’s made me notice what’s seasonal and to plan my meals accordingly. And of course, we love Eatwell and want to continue to support their mission. What this means for you is continued CSA posts for the foreseeable future. Woohoo!

p.s. Can’t get enough of CSA goodies? Check out this week’s link party over at In Her Chucks to check out CSA boxes from all over the country!

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