Greengrocer Foodhub

Today was the Grand Opening of Greengrocer Foodhub’s storefront in Bloomfield! I missed the ribbon cutting this morning, since the baby was sleeping, but both kids and I made it over there mid-afternoon. We got “a beet the size of your head,” zucchini, cucumber, raspberries, apples, broccoli, snap peas, cider, and sausage…. most of which were things picked out by my 5 year-old. I hung back  to the side of the store when we were done, and I let him bring the basket up to check out, as well as my credit card. It was so sweet to see him get to take care of the whole process, and he was really proud of himself.

Check it out if you’re local! 27 Cartaret St. Bloomfield. They’re open 9-7 Saturday and 10-5 Sunday.

What did I do with my delightful haul? I finally made beet & zucchini pakoras! I shredded (most of) the giant beet, 2 zucchini, and a large carrot. To that, I added a batter made of flour (the original recipe called for chickpea, but I used all-purpose), cumin, garam masala, and salt. Then, I fried them in oil. They’re basically middle-eastern beet latkes. I got the recipe out of a “Farmers Market” cooking magazine that I bought this summer.

If that glass of “wine” looks strange to you, it’s because it’s actually honeycrisp apple cider. I felt like being fancy.

They’re supposed to be served with mint yogurt, but we used sour cream. They were delicious.

The other elements of the meal: broccoli & snap peas with hummus, and chicken salad for the grownups (made with a Wrong Direction Farm chicken that I roasted this morning) and tuna fish for Little Chef, who was opposed to the red onion in the chicken salad.

Spiralizer!

I did it. I got a spiralizer. I always half-figured on getting a spiralizer attachment for my stand mixer, but they were really expensive in comparison to stand-alone models, so I compared some reviews and ended up with the Briefton’s spiralizer.

I used it for the first time last night, and it was really cool. Little Chef was fascinated, watching the ribbons come out of it. The first thing (and only thing so far) that I spiralized was some beets. I put them through raw, then I cooked them in boiling water for 4 or 5 minutes. I then used this beet “pasta” to make a cold pesto pasta salad. I used chickpeas and kale pesto.

All told, it was good but not terribly interesting. It needed more salt, probably a good shot of lemon juice, some red onion, and  maybe some bell pepper. I’ll try it again with the tweaks.

We also had the first field tomatoes of the season, thanks to our Greengrocer CSA box! We had sandwiches, corn, and the beet salad for dinner.

I’ve wanted to experiment more with cooking recently, but we’ve had a terribly hot week. We ended up going out to dinner on Friday night and ordering in (sushi) for dinner on Saturday night. There’s a thunderstorm upon us now, so hopefully this week will  be cooler, and I can be more adventurous.

Tuesday’s share – Week 6

Whew! What a day we had yesterday. Swelteringly hot. I had a “set-up shift” for CSA, which meant that I had to show up early and help load the bins onto the tables, bag shares for people who couldn’t pick up in time, etc. I also desperately needed to go to the grocery store (my Mother in Law brought pizza over, and we rather effortlessly fit the two boxes into my fridge, which is a testement to how empty it was), and I was performing in a community band concert in the evening. As the last line suggests, my awesome Mother in Law came over to help and handled dinner (as well as the mountain of dishes in my sink, whew). We had a lovely evening. The concert was actually the first for the West Orange Community Band, which just formed this winter. I’m glad I’ve been juggling the rehearsals with the rest of my life – it was SO MUCH FUN. Our next concert is August 21st.

I digress.

The share yesterday was bountiful, plus a friend offered me her beets – anyone who knows me knows I won’t turn down more beets. Pictured is the contents of my vegetable share, eggs, and fruit. I got my usual chicken and ground turkey in addition to this, and I ordered some stuff to have on hand for grilling.

Pictured: Eggs, peaches, apples, sugar plums, romaine lettuce, cherokee lettuce, swiss chard, kale, cilantro, 3 cucumbers, 3 summer squash, 2 eggplants, 1 bunch of red torpedo onions, 2 bunches of beets (share size was 1), a half pound of green beans, Kohlrabi, and tomatillos (which were an “extra,” but I like salsa verde.)

I haven’t done anything yet except wash & tear the romaine for a salad later. Some thoughts before I head over to work on the pile (Little Chef is at camp, Littler Chef is napping, and I am in an air conditioned house, thank God. I went out to get some sun before, and I lasted about 10 minutes.): Salsa verde, possibly the plum torte, even though it calls for purple plums. Maybe I’ll experiment and find some new plum recipes. I’d happily eat them all straight, but I’d like to branch out. For the kohlrabi, I think I’ll try mashed – I have an article from a magazine about new ideas for mashing (other than potatoes and cauliflower), and that looks interesting. The kale is likely going to be chopped and frozen. The chard might be frozen; I’m not sure yet. The beet greens look good, so I may freeze the chard and use them as my dark green. I do have a “chard stalk hummus” recipe that I may try instead of just relegating the stalks to a stock pot. The eggplants are the long, narrow type. I may do something funky like eggplant fries or eggplant bacon with them. The cilantro will really have to end up in whatever we do tonight, because it’s wilty with the heat.

No matter what I decide to do, there will be photos. I’ll post here when I can, and if you want more immediate gratification, find me on Instagram! @omgcsa

Weekend meals

I find I’m really pleased with the balance of the CSA memberships I have. On Tuesdays, I get the traditional, farmer-dictated pickup from Bloomfield-Montclair, and on Fridays or Saturdays, I get my subscription box from Greengrocer Foodhub, the order for which has to be in by Wednesday night. Because of this timing, I can use my subscription box to fill in things that weren’t in my traditional share, and I can count on a weekend of good cooking.

This week, we had a great series of summertime dinners. One night, we grilled chicken burgers and had steamed zucchini (not original, I know, but I love it), as well as “Cauliflowers Patties” which turned out to basically be cauliflower latkes. The only thing I would change in the linked recipe is that I might drain the cauliflower shreds a bit – they gave off quite a bit of water, which made the patties a little less apt to stay together.

We also had a movie night this weekend. Anyone who knows us knows that means a “picnic in the living room.” I made crudites out of a bunch of veggies I had on hand, with hummus for dipping, and we had cheese and crackers. Plus, I made summer rolls. It took me a little while to get the hang of making them look decent – but they sure tasted good.

Sunday night was a delightful mashup. I made “Beet Tartare,” which I’ve mentioned in previous posts. It’s basically a shredded beet salad that you can eat on toasts or crackers. I got corn in my subscription box, so that made an appearance. I also set out to make Thug Kitchen’s lentil and red bean meatballs, but I had a kitchen issue…. namely, I wasn’t paying attention and put way too many lentils into the bowl. It wasn’t coming out the right consistency (well, duh), so I decided to wing it. I added more breadcrumbs and some spices, and I made them into mini “meatloaves” in a muffin tin. They got served with the marinara I’d made for the meatballs. Delicious. Last (but not least), I made a grilled sweet potato and scallion salad. YUM.

It’s Tuesday again, so I’ll be posting about my share later.

What to do with all of that extra…?

Little Chef and  I juiced today for the first time this season! Littlest Chef has been sick the past couple of days, and Little Chef was sick at the beginning of the week, so I haven’t done much of anything fancy with our vegetables. We’ve had some rockin’ salads, and we had the kohlrabi hash. Last night, my in-laws came over, and I made a salad with half of the remaining spinach, the arugula, and the radishes. I’m crossing my fingers that my cilantro makes it to tomorrow and Tuesday, so that I can do an an Asian-inspired meal and tacos, respectively.  I found myself with apples from Chelsa’s share, and a whole bunch of beets that I had also gotten from Chelsa.

Little Chef is not a fan of beets, so he made himself (!!! He’s growing up, oh man.) apple-cucumber juice. I made myself beet-apple-spinach juice. Having a tasty drink like this feels decadent, but it’s also a nice way to sneak in some extra vitamins with my lunch. It’s a bonus that it helps me finish off some veggies in the fridge.

What are your favorite juicing combinations? I’m looking forward to experimenting this year.

Red Chili

Last week, I got beets in both of my CSA shares. I love beets, but I’ve been feeling a little off lately, and didn’t want any of my usual beet options. So, I made Beet Chili to freeze for this winter!

The recipe comes from Light & Healthy Cooking, a Good Housekeeping cookbook that I got on a bargain rack at PathMark years ago. A very well-spent $7, as many of my favorite recipes come from this book.

I normally hesitate to post pages of published cookbooks, but this recipe is readily available online here: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/a9756/valentine-red-chili-recipe/

I had to change a few things, none of which impacted the quality of the chili. I had green peppers, not red (thoroughly an aesthetic change), and I discovered partway through assembly that I did not have a can of tomatoes. However, I did have several fresh tomatoes, so I diced them up, along with some cherry tomatoes.

Before the long simmer:

And after:

As I implied above, this recipe freezes really well. If you’ve got a lot of beets and are running out of ways to use them, I highly recommend this recipe.

Sweet and Sour Beets and Meatballs

I had beets hanging around in my fridge – I got them both in last week’s and this week’s Coeur et Sol share. (Things overlapped a little, since I picked up on Thursday last week, but got my share on Monday this week.) I broke out Skinny Slow Cooker and made a recipe I’d tried once before, and I was not disappointed.

Sweet and Sour Beets and Meatballs with Wheat Berries

Now, of course, I tell you this and then have to explain all of the things I did differently. First, I substituted farro for the wheat berries, since that’s what I had in my pantry. It worked perfectly well. Both are grains that hold up to long cooking times, and both get a chewy, dense texture when cooked down. Second, I omitted the apricots, because I just don’t care for them. Thirdly, I ignored their instructions for the meatballs and made my own turkey meatballs, using garlic chives from my share, parsley from my yard, and a ton of garlic.

The colors are not as vivid in my finished product as in the cookbook. Partly, of course, that’s because the cookbook picture is staged and lit, but a couple of things worked against the coloring of my dinner: half of the beets were golden beets, not red, and the red onions I used were very pale once you got past the first layer, so there was little distribution of the deep red color.

It doesn’t matter. It was still delicious. My picky preschooler even ate an entire serving!

BEETS.

I have an almost comical love of beets. Chelsa included some baby beets in the share this week, and here’s how I enjoyed my first beet fix of the season.

I used the greens as part of my breakfast this morning. I did a simple sautee of the beet greens with some EVOO, garlic, and black pepper. I topped this mess of greens with one of the nasturtium flowers that also came in my share.

That is a breakfast fit for finals week. The toast is topped with strawberry-cranberry jam, which is homemade. The egg is topped with chervil from my share.

(My day job is as a private tutor. All of my students have finals this week. This partly explains why I haven’t yet begun obsessively blogging.)

I then steamed the beets in a bamboo steamer until they were tender, shredded them, and made “beet tartare.” The dressing for the beets is mayonaise, mustard, lemon juice, and pepper.

I ate the beet tartare on toast triangles, along with a salad topped with pan-fried tempeh.

Today is the first pickup for the Bloomfield-Montclair CSA, so I anticipate having more to share later.

Celery Root and Beets

Celery root. Every year, it shows up near the end of the season, and every year, I wish I knew more to do with it than to make a soup or a mashed-potato-like side. This year, I did the leg work and came up with some new choices, and we tried one of them last night.

Celery Root Puree with Balsamic Roasted Beets and Pearl Onions

Now, I am not a fancy person. This should be obvious from my entire approach to this blog, down to the clearly-not-professional pictures. However, this is a recipe that looks and sounds fancy while being practical, easy, and delicious. I didn’t have any coconut milk, so I substituted almond milk, and it worked fine. We served it with flax tempeh that was marinated in garlic-ginger maple syrup and then roasted, as well as a loaf of sea salt foccacia, and it was a deeply satisfying chilly-night dinner.

The amazing maple syrup concoction came from Get Juiced, by the way. We visited them at the Pocono Garlic Festival, though they have a storefront in Sussex if you are local and an online store if that’s a haul for you.