Week 9 – the tropical storm edition

Well, that was an exciting pickup week.

In anticipation of the incoming storm, our pick up time moved from 2:30 to 11, and the fruit share was canceled for the week. Ginger is going to send us a double share next week.

I love the hauls in the middle of summer. This is all stuff I love, and I’ve delegated almost everything.

Last night, we had Taco Tuesday. One of the bell peppers made it into the tacos. The others got blanched and frozen. The beans got blanched and frozen. Tonight, we’re having Garam Masala Chicken Stew, which includes the red skin potataoes and a couple of the onions. Tomorrow, we will do BLTs. I’ll make some traditional bacon, but I’m also going to make eggplant bacon. We’re also going to have beet-zucchini pakoras. Friday has been our takeout night during the pandemic, so we’ll do that on Friday. Saturday, we are going to have zucchini-rice casserole. If you’re keeping a tally on the summer squash, the remaining one went into zucchini bread that I made last night. I’ll do some sort of pasta on Sunday, and I’ll likely work the basil into that if I don’t use it sooner. We got cabbage, too, and I’m thinking I will do slow-cooker golombki on Monday. That leaves the swiss chard unaccounted for; I’m unsure if I’ll freeze it or cook with it this week.

CSA 2020: Week One – June 9

Last week was the first CSA pickup. I’ve had “blog” on my to-do list for a week, now, and I haven’t done it! Not an auspicious start to the season. I have, however, been cooking, so eventually, you’ll get to see all of that.

The first week or two of CSA is always light. Early June in this zone isn’t exactly the height of abundance, and this year that holds particularly true. We had a very cold, wet, drawn-out thaw this spring.

So here’s the first haul:

We had the makings for a good salad, though the lettuce got used elsewhere…

I made these amazing Vietnamese-style chicken patties that were served on lettuce leaves. The makings for the chicken patties came largely from Greengrocer Foodhub, including these amazing mini purplette onions that I’d never had before. I didn’t have scallions, so I subbed them in, and they were delicious.

  

  

I did not have any fish sauce, so I made a substitute – one part soy sauce, one part rice vinegar, and half a part worcestershire sauce.

  

The first pickup went smoothly. Little Chef insisted on helping, complete with a mask that he said makes him “look like a ninja.” I wore my usual first-day attire: my veggie dress. I also wore my honeybee face mask, because why not.

Dinner successes

Two nights in a row, Little Chef has informed me that I’ve cooked “the best dinner ever.” High praise from a preschooler!

Last night was nothing groundbreaking in terms of creativity, but I do have to agree that it was delicious. I sauteed chicken apple sausage with a bunch of leftover vegetables – a summer squash, a few tomatoes, garlic, spinach – and served it mixed up with bow tie pasta. The end result had a sweet-and-smoky thing going on, unsurprising because of both the apples in the sausage and the small sprinkle of maple sugar I added in during cooking. Adding sugar to this concoction seems so counter-intuitive, but I was thinking in terms of cutting the acidity of the tomatoes, the way you would when making marinara sauce.

Tonight, we had homemade vegan Sloppy Joes, with corn on the cob (from Farmer John) and cherry tomatoes (from Chelsa).

For the sandwiches, I sauteed onions in some grapeseed oil, cumin, and chili powder. I then added garlic and bell pepper. When they started to soften, I added a package of chorizo seitan. Meanwhile, I made the sauce.

Growing up, I definitely remember Mom making Sloppy Joes with pre-packaged sauce. It’s ridiculously easy to make your own sauce, though, and it honestly tastes better. I used 3/4 cup ketchup, to which I added a healthy glug of Worcestershire (you can adjust based on how smoky you like your food), dried mustard (I would have used dijon if I had it, but we’re out of mustard currently), a heavy-handed dash of pepper (again, optional) and some water to thin it out – about half a cup.

I added the sauce to the seitan and veggie mix, and I let it cook down until the sauce thickened. Somewhere along the way, I decided that I was concerned that it wouldn’t be enough food – because that’s what I do – so I added a can of kidney beans. It would have been exactly enough without the beans, but they tasted good! And now we have leftovers!

Vegetable Soup Base

You know how people talk about “life hacks?”

Yeah, it kind of makes my skin crawl, too. But if there were a CSA-equivalent of a life-hack this time of year, it’d be the vegetable soup base.

This week, we had carrots, celery, peppers, and onions. I had garlic in the house, and I had weeks worth of potatoes backed up… time to make some soup base.

I made some vegetable stock with some scraps that were sitting in the fridge while I prepped other parts of the share, and then I began sauteing the vegetables for the soup…

Pretty simple – I combined this melange with the vegetable stock, salt, and pepper, and let it simmer for a while before packaging it up and sticking it in the freezer. Over the winter, it will pair well with any combination of: egg noodles, orzo, meatballs, sausage, turkey, or chicken. Every year, prepping this base has been useful… and on a week where I’ve already got meals covered, it’s a relief to have a purpose for this much of the share.

Happy prepping!

Sausage Crustless Mini-quiches

Of course, when any of us hears “CSA,” the vegetables are the first thing that come to mind. I can’t speak for every CSA out there, but in the case of mine, there are also shares available in fruit, poultry, eggs, and individual orders of meats and one-off crops, like blueberries. I’m ambitious (and have ample freezer space), so I get a dozen eggs, a package of apple chicken sausage, 2 lb of ground turkey, and a whole broiler chicken on alternate weeks. Today’s breakfast (made last night) showcases this side of my share. I made muffin-tin chicken sausage crustless mini-quiches. That’s a mouthful.

First, the prep. I cut up some red onion and red potato into small pieces. What’s pictured ended up being way too much – the remainder of the onion went into last night’s salad, and the potatoes went into the freezer to be hash browns on some winter morning. I also chopped up the greens from the radishes we got this week, and a few cloves of German White garlic, still hanging around from the garlic festival.

I squeezed the sausage out of its casings into a hot pan with a turn of olive oil. As it browned, I crumbled up the pieces.

When the sausage was mostly done, but not quite, I added the onions and potatoes. I let that cook for a couple of minutes, then added the garlic. Again, a pause for a couple of minutes, and then the greens, which I allowed to wilt and then I turned off the heat. Along the way, I chose to add some smoked paprika, but you could really season it any way you prefer.

 

This mixture got equally divided among 12 muffin tins.

I scrambled some eggs with some milk and parmesan cheese. I estimated six eggs (what I usually use for a fritatta), but ended up needing to add a seventh. I poured the scrambled egg mixture into each of the cups, filling  each most of the way. Next time, I plan to scramble the eggs in my big glass measuring cup – pouring out of the bowl into the small targets was tougher than I expected.

I baked them at 375 for somewhere around half an hour. The trick is to keep an eye on them and test them when they start to brown on top. If you can stick a knife into the center of the center-most quiche and it comes out clean, then they’re done.

These were a delicious and filling breakfast this morning, along with some applesauce and toast. Even my toddler cleared his plate!