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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Bread Stuffing Sans Turkey

Ooh, look, a timely recipe for Thanksgiving!

I know I can’t be the only one in the world who prefers dry stuffing (a.k.a. NOT soggy bread from being stuffed inside a bird for hours and hours). So, as a public service, I thought I’d post this simple recipe that I adapted from EF, whose family got it from the Betty Crocker Cookbook.

I’ve made this a few times, and I will tell you that the bread matters. A lot. I used a loaf of Semifreddi’s sour rustic bread this time, but any high-quality bread will do. It’s also better if the bread is stale, so that it’s dry and can take up more flavor. If you can, get the bread the night before, tear it up into bite-sized pieces, and let it sit out overnight. If you’re short on time, cut the bread into 1 inch slices and bake at 225 degrees F for 30-40 minutes, being careful not to toast or brown it. After drying it out at low temperature, take the bread out of the oven and tear it up into bite-sized pieces.

EF noted when she gave me this recipe: “This is a LOT of margarine but you have to just trust it.” She also said not to make it with all butter, as it turns out kinda greasy.

Bread Stuffing Sans Turkey (adapted from EF, from Betty Crocker)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup minced onion
  • 1.5 cups chopped celery (stalks and leaves)
  • 1 cup margarine, OR 1/2 cup margarine + 1/2 cup butter (I used Earth Balance, which worked just fine)
  • 1/2 cup broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 loaf stale bread (1 lb), cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1.5 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400F.
  2. In a large skillet, melt margarine/butter. Add 1/4 cup of the broth to the margarine. Add onions and celery and cook until onion is tender and translucent.
  3. Turn off heat. Add 1/3 of the bread cubes into the skillet and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add mixture to the remaining ingredients in a large, deep bowl and toss thoroughly.
  5. Transfer to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Drizzle remaining broth over the stuffing.
  6. Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Take off the foil and brown for another 15 minutes.

Enjoy! And I hope everyone has a happy and delicious Thanksgiving!

 


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CSA Update: 7/15/12

This will be the last CSA update for almost a month, as I’m leaving tomorrow for a 3 week trip to Taiwan! Not sure how much I’ll be blogging while I’m away… so if, for some reason, you go into willblog4food withdraw, you can always read (or re-read) my Taiwan posts from previous trips. Enjoy!

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

strawberries
basil
cherry tomatoes (!)
Roma, shady lady, or early girl tomatoes
Middle Eastern cucumbers
mixed lettuce
plums
Italian flat leaf parsley
zucchini
Wakefield cabbage
white spring onions
Colorado rose potatoes? (the ones we got were definitely not red-skinned as advertised)

Not sure if you could tell by my exclamation point above, but I was super excited about the tomatoes, and the cherry tomatoes in particular. Our first tomatoes of the season! We made Creamy Orecchiette with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil, and Garlic, a recipe included with the CSA box. It was very easy and tasty!

Mmmm, creamy pasta with sweet cherry tomatoes and loads of basil.

We also made a salad with the mixed lettuce, cucumber, and strawberries, adding some nut for crunch.

colorful summer salad

As much as we love stir-frying zucchini, I opted to make zucchini bread this time. It was good, but I’m not sure this was the best recipe. I felt like it had a little too much spice and not enough zucchini. Once I find the perfect recipe, I’ll be sure to share it with y’all. These loaves sure did look and smell great coming out of the oven, I have to say.

Zucchini bread, fresh from the oven.

I’ve been wanting to make potato salad for a while, and the red potatoes were a perfect candidate. Except that the ones we got weren’t really red… so it’s possible there was a mix up? In any case, we decided to make potato salad (American style = sweet relish, red onion, celery, mayo, and hard-boiled egg) for a BBQ Saturday with TC’s family and my sister’s family. The potato salad was just OK — we left the skins on, but I think for this variety of potato, we probably should have skinned them. We also made a green salad with walnuts, dried cranberries, apple, and homemade vinaigrette. TC’s family provided macaroni salad, grilled chicken, baked beans, corn, a dreamy chocolate pudding dessert concoction, and lemon bars. That’s what I call a BBQ!

The BBQ spread, top left going down: potato salad, green salad, baked beans, macaroni salad, corn, and chicken (on upper right).

Oh, and somewhere in the last week, we made homemade salsa with the other tomatoes and spring onion to put on top of breakfast burritos. We’ve also been dipping cucumbers slices in hummus. Delish!

p.s. Can’t get enough of CSA goodies? Check out this link party over at In Her Chucks!