The Season is Over (No, Really Now.)

Yesterday was the “Stock up share” pickup for CSA. This is the true end to the season – one last push  through a mountain of veggies. I made the slightly ambitious decision to plow forward and get a second share this year – several people had expressed interest to me but were worried that it was going to be too much produce for them. So, I divided up the second share and will be playing vegetable Santa over the next 24 hours or so. That still leaves me with 1 full share and odds and ends from the second. I also got 2 boxes of mixed apples from the orchard that supplies our fruit share.

This is what my kitchen looked like at about 5 pm yesterday:

I tweeted the photo with the caption, “I have a self-control problem.”

Today was the preschool bake sale (I made gingerbread cookies with Owen), and I’m hosting Thanksgiving on Thursday… and Friendsgiving on Sunday… so my days have been full of prep tasks. With all of this in mind, dinner needed to be fast, simple, and filling last night. I wasn’t in the mood to do a lot of scrubbing last night, so instead of using fresh carrots, I used some I’d blanched and frozen a few weeks ago. That, along with broccoli, corn, napa cabbage (from the share last night), and tempeh marinated in garlic ginger maple syrup all went into the wok together for a stir-fry.

Rainbow Carrots are so pretty, aren’t they?

Even better, I had leftover rice from making Leek Rice Cakes the other night. (More on THAT later. Yum.)

Better STILL, my husband and I (Owen was not as adventurous) decided to top our stir-fry with the pickled daikon radishes I made the other night. (Again, more on that later!)

Fast, filling, interesting, accidentally vegan… and drastically different from the way we’ll be eating at the end of the week. Success.

Corn Chowder

This week, temperatures have been in the 90s. For Northern New Jersey at the end of September, this is unusual… and incredibly disappointing. I’m eagerly awaiting fall, which appears to finally be willing to creep in sometime later this week, according to my weather app.

Despite this, and thanks to living in the age of central air conditioning, I made chicken corn chowder this evening, and it was delicious. I meant to get a good picture of it in my bowl, but I totally forgot, so the pot will have to suffice.

The basic recipe I followed was from Simple and Delicious and can be found here. I’ve been trying to ease up on dairy in the past few months, so I substituted almond milk for the half and half. To compensate for that adding thinness, I added some flour to the cooking onions, to do a half-roux at the beginning of the soup.

I skipped the final step of mixing flour and more cream to thicken the soup, as well, and it came out just fine. I also added some leftover chopped cooked chicken, and served the soup with a nice loaf of Italian bread from the little meat market around the corner from my house. Easy, hearty, pretty healthy, and quick. I’ll be making it again… and I’ll take better pictures when I do.

Odds and Ends Pasta

Sometimes, CSA cooking doesn’t look fancy or experimental. Sometimes, you find yourself making “Oh crap, throw the remaining vegetables in” pasta.

Half a large onion, a couple of significantly-sized cloves of garlic (German White, for you garlic afficionados. We went to the Pocono Garlic Festival earlier this month, and I’m still working through my delicious stash…), two zucchini, and two red bell peppers.

Added a jar of tomato sauce (in this case, Classico Cabernet Marinara) and some chopped up basil from my garden.

Let it simmer for a while…

Then served it over tri-color penne.

It was the kind of easy, satisfying, and veggie-packed meal I needed after my afternoon of stock canning. But that is an article for another time. The takeaway here should be – when in doubt, throw the extra veggies over pasta. You are unlikely to regret it.