Sunday, June 20, 2010

CSA Week 6

This week, our family share consisted of
  • Choice of two items, Cabbage or Fennel
  • Choice of two items, Kale or Collards
  • Six heads of lettuce, green, red, or deer's tongue lettuce
  • 1/2 lb arugula 
  • 12 (!) crowns of broccoli 
  • 4 heads and stalks of green garlic
I also picked up our first New Jersey blueberries of the season at the farmer's market. What will be done with this all is still an open question ...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Where do your pine nuts come from?

Pesto -- frozen into ice cube trays and socked away in the freezer -- is one of my key strategies for preserving basil, arugula, mint, dandelion greens, and pretty much any other flavorful green. But while I can get all of those greens (and cheese) locally, the nuts and olive oil that are indispensable in pesto are harder to find from known sources.

Therefore, the growth of "pine nut mouth," wherein pine nuts cause a bitter metallic taste in the mouth starting 1-3 days after consumption, and lasting up to a week. I experienced such a condition myself several weeks ago, and while it dissapated after several days, it not only took much of the joy out of eating and drinking anything, but has made me anxious about making dishes featuring pine nuts in the future.

What to do? Well, much of this phenomenon seems to be associated with nuts from China. The latest batch of nuts I bought from Trader Joe's says the nuts are a product of "Korea, Russia, or Vietnam," so perhaps I will fare better this time around. Also, for pesto at least there are other nut options, such as the Arugula-Walnut pesto I recently made  with excess arugula from the farm. Almonds and cashews also work reasonably well as pine nut replacement options, in my experience.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Zucchini Bread

As promised in the last post, my zucchini bread recipe follows after the jump

CSA, Week 5 (but the second post)

We're starting to get more summer vegetables at the farm this week, I was also able to pickup some asparagus and rhubarb at our local farmer's market to enjoy the last of the spring vegetables. This week, our family share included
  • Lettuce (6 heads, choice of red leaf and green leaf)
  • Choice of kale or collards (2 items)
  • Choice of fennel and radicchio (4 items)
  • 1 lb of swiss chard 
  • 4 heads of broccoli 
  • 4 summer squash (choice of patty pan or Cousa, aka Lebanese zucchini)
  • Green garlic 
  • 1 qt pick your own peas (snap or snow, mix and match)
  • Herbs
I supplemented that with a few purchases from the farmer's market, including
What I did / will be doing with this bounty is after the jump 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

CSA begins ... and with it an onslaught of produce

It's been a long time since our last post. Our CSA has been providing us produce for over a month now, and while it started slow the first couple of weeks, the four of us have now been trying to figure out how to use all of the vegetables and fruit -- and especially the lettuce -- so as not to produce more food waste. So to inaugurate what I expect will be the first of many similar posts,  we run down what our family share received over the last couple of weeks, and what we did with it. 

Saturday, May 29.
  • 8 heads of lettuce (choice of deer’s tounge, romaine, and/or bibb)
  • 2 lbs spinach
  • ½ lb arugula
  • 1 qt strawberries
  • Choice of 4 items: kale, collards, red radishes, and/or bok choi
Saturday, June 5
  • Choice of 2 items: kale and/orcollards
  • Choice 2 items: scallions and/or french breakfast radishes
  • 1 lb swiss chard
  • ½ lb arugula
  • (Spinach was already out)
  • 4 heads of lettuce (choice of green and/or red)
  • 1 qt PYO peas
  • 1 pt PYO strawberries
And as a bonus, on Monday May 31 and again on Friday June 4, we were able to pick strawberries at the Chesterfield location of our farm (we are members at the Pennington location) for an extra 24 quarts of berries.

So what did we do?  See the details below the break.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Breakfast Quinoa

As Mark Bittman has pointed out, whole grains for breakfast doesn’t just mean oatmeal.  One of my favorites is two parts steel cut oatmeal to one part bulgur wheat, sweetened with maple syrup and topped with dried fruit and nuts.  But to try new whole grains for breakfast, I tried making breakfast quinoa. Quinoa is a whole grain that’s not technically a grain – it’s a seed, and better yet, one of the few vegetable sources of complete protein with lots of other vitamins to boot. So if you’re vegetarian, quinoa’s your friend.  While it’s typically used in savory application, this past week I found it to be delicious on the sweet side as well. It’s tastes like a filling hot breakfast cereal, but has as much protein as an egg (or more, especially with almonds or other nuts as in this recipe).

  • 2 cups dried quinoa
  • Salt
  • Honey (about 1/3 of a cup, but I don’t actually measure)
  • 1/3 cup nuts (Almonds work well)
  • 2/3 cup dried fruit (chopped apricots and/or cranberries)

Put quinoa in 4 quart pot and cover with water by about two inches. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 20-30 minutes, until quinoa seeds have opened up and are tender. If necessary, more water can be added.  Drain out any excess water using fine mesh strainer.  Stir in honey, and top with fruit and nuts. This can be made ahead, portioned into Gladware-like containers, and reheated in the microwave for a quick breakfast. It lasts about a week in the refrigerator. Makes 4-5 servings.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year's Food Resolutions

As we have turned the page to a new calendar year, a variety of cooking and food websites have asked of their readers, or suggested to them, their resolutions for personal growth in the kitchen and at the table. In the spirit of this blog, I have my come up with my own conscientous cooking goals -- along with strategies to acocmplish them -- for 2010. The full list is after the jump.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Food for thought

What's your food philosophy? How do you connect your personal values the practical question of what to make for dinner?

Others have asked this question and come to a variety of answers. For one example, in his recent mini-book "Food Rules," journalist Michael Pollan outlines a series of quippy pieces of advice about what (and mostly, what not) to eat that expands upon his earlier advice to“Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much." Similarly, New York Times columnist Mark Bittman’s Food Matters , offers recipes and menus (perhaps more useful than sloganeering) to achieve similar ends. But these authors have already taken a first, more fundamental step most of us have not: considering how food choices we make are connected to the various social, moral, economic, and cultural values and goals we hold more generally. No matter what values you hold, it is this first step that is most essential.

To that end, I propose this broader food philosophy: Think before you eat.

What does this mean? (More after the jump)