CSA: week 8

Salad mix, cucumber, swiss chard, zucchini, blueberries

What a gorgeous box, yet again.  That Swiss chard is so huge I barely know what to do with it!  I ended up chopping two leaves up to put in veggie soup, another might go into stir fry later this week… man that’s big stuff, though!

So when I sat down to do this week’s CSA box, I realized I really sucked at taking picture this week.  In fact, I only took one picture (well, technically two) of CSA-made food this week… so let’s do that first, then I’ll kind of throw convention to the wind and just show you other food I made, too.

So with last week’s fabulous zucchini, I made a batch of baked veggies, one of my favorites.  Added a twist this time, make-shift stuffing and egg noodles.  In retrospect I probably should have added one *or* the other to be more balanced, but it was so fabulous I just don’t care…

Potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, garlic, bread and noddles

I sliced up the heels of my beer bread into crouton-sized chunks and lined the bottom of the dish.  Then I added a thin layer of egg noddles.  Over that I chopped up garlic, onion, mushroom, potato and zucchini, lots of herbs and a bit of beer, and covered the whole thing with foil before baking for about an hour.

The other thing I made from last week’s cucumber and a melon I picked up at the Viva Farms produce stand:

Freezer pops!  Now technically this isn’t strictly accurate since *this* batch isn’t cucumber/melon, it’s apple/mint/lime.  But same idea, and I did make them at the same time so it works, right?

Peel and seed the melon and cucumber, put in a food processor and puree until very, very liquidy, then pour into molds for the freezer.  That’s it!  In this case it was add some fresh picked apples, a few mint leaves and just a hint of lime juice and then same process.  Very refreshing (and not just frozen sugar water!)

Now, that ends the CSA portion of the post so instead I’ll show you some other stuff I made today!

I’ve got an apple tree or three on my property and the yellow ones are well ripe, so last week I picked a whole box-full.  This weekend I had to do something with them before they started going bad so I sliced the bejeesus out of them and borrowed my parent’s crock pot so I could have two going together.  Then I pulled out some getting old peaches we had canned two years ago and made one batch of apple/peach butter and one batch of apple/peach sauce!  The only real difference is how thick it is, so let it cook long enough the sauce will turn into the butter, but I did make them a little different just for variety.

Apple/Peach Butter:

Lots and lots of apples, sliced and cored (but left the skin on)
Two quarts of canned peaches, sliced
1/4 cup of sugar for just a touch of added sweetness
a bit of lemon juice (maybe 1-2 tablespoons worth)
a bunch of cinnamon
a little less of nutmeg

Cook for about 14 hours on low.  If too wet, uncover and cook another hour or so on high.  Store in jars and refrigerate.  (unless you’re comfortable doing the canning thing.)

Apple/Peach Sauce

Lots of apples, sliced, cored and skinned
One quart of canned peaches, sliced
(second crock-pot was about half the size so the ingredients got halved as well)
Half cup of water with 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice
Half cup of honey
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
The last half hour (ish) add a drizzle of vanilla extract.

Cook on high for 8 hours.  Store in jars and refrigerate.  (unless you’re comfortable doing the canning thing.)

The other thing I made was granola bars!  So fabulously good, easy to make, and tasty to eat!

I made a double batch for snacks at work.  I also embellish the heck out of the recipe so I’ll give the original and then my re-work of it:

Original Granola Bar Recipe:

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup butter
3 cups oats

Combine peanut butter, honey and butter in a thick sauce pan on the stove.  Bring to a boil, then cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning the bottom.  Pour the liquid over the oats in a bowl and stir to thoroughly coat.  Then press into a wax-paper lined pan.  Cover with another sheet of wax paper and press firmly to compact as much as possible (I use a can and roll it down).  Chill for a few hours, then remove and cut into bars.

My modified recipe follows the same directions with the following ingredients

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup honey
1/2 cup butter
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 cups oats
1 cup puffed kamut wheat cereal
1 cup puffed millet cereal
1 cup whole grain flakes cereal
1/4 cup flax seed
1/4 cup sesame seed
3 tbsp cocoa powder
optional: exchange 1/2 cup of any of the above for dried fruit

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Mix peanut butter, honey and butter as above.  Add vanilla extract immediately after removing from heat and mix well, then pour over dry mixture and prepare as above.

Amazingly good, home made, and no weird unpronounceable ingredients!

Thanks for reading this week!  I promise, I’ll do better next week on getting more pictures.  🙂

For more great links to CSA boxes, recpies and ideas, see In Her Chuck’s link party: What’s in the Box? #38

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CSA: Weeks 6 & 7

So I completely missed last week’s CSA update due to home improvements, so I’ll catch up with both in this.

Week 6: fennel, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, radishes, cherries

Week 7: kale, carrots, zucchini, cucumber, blueberries, not pictured: cauliflower

I am very happy to have an end to the peas, at least for the moment.  I got cauliflower in the last box, but I gave it to my mother, who absolutely *loves* cauliflower, as part of my thank-you for helping get my house in shape for the appraiser.   I didn’t think to snap a picture of it before I handed it over, but that’s alright, I’m sure you all know what cauliflower looks like, and it was a fine looking head of it.

Overjoyed at all the berries I’m getting, though.  I *love* berries but because they’re so pricy in the store I rarely let myself indulge in them, so this has been a real treat!

Now I believe I promised last week two weeks ago that I’d make crepes (recipe below), and make crepes I did!  This is a fabulous recipe for them, very light, no sugar, only 315 calories for the *whole batch* (so I always make a pig of myself and eat them all).  Shown here, the stack of 6 with blueberries and cherries and a dollop of fresh whipped cream.  And, of course, who says you can’t drink a glass of sparkly wine with cherries to go along with your crepes?   Even with the extras, still a very health-conscious meal.

crepes with blueberries and cherries; wine with cherries

Now on the other end of the spectrum, I also absolutely adore fried spuds, especially with onions, so spring onions and spuds got fried up in a pan, then add two eggs, some carrot sticks, and a mini ice cream (yes, even being lactose intolerant sometimes I just have to indulge just a bit) and I’ve got a very unbalanced but so tasty dinner!   Hey, we have to do it once in a while…

fried potatoes and onions; eggs with taco sauce; carrots; coffee ice cream

Then we swing back to uber-healthy with the “it’s too hot outside to cook” dinner of a salad with slices of spring onion and sprinkled with flax seeds and a light garlic dressing, with carrot sticks, and radishes:

lettuce with spring onions, carrots, radishes

The last of the veggie soup from the fridge with a salad of fennel and lettuce, toast, cherries and blueberries, and a glass of wine.

vegetable soup; lettuce with fennel; blueberries and cherries; toast; wine

Another great use for the fennel: salmon salad!  I use 1 can of salmon, 2 oz. veganaise, a spoonful of mustard, and a bunch of chopped fennel, with a bit of fresh pepper.  Half went with me to lunch, the other half stayed home and became a light lunch, paired with beer bread toast, some almond cheese, and a glass of almond milk (at least I’m sure to get enough calcium!)

salmon salad with fennel on toast, topped with almond cheese; almond milk

Yesterday was another ‘too hot to cook’ but also ‘too hot to eat hot food’ day, so I made a kale, cucumber and fennel salad with a touch of lemon juice and fresh ground pepper for dressing, with some blueberries and almond milk.

Fennel, cucumber and kale salad; blueberries; almond milk

And of course, who can resist putting berries in cereal!  I hardly ever eat cereal but it was the quickest thing to make and very light and cool for the heat.

Cereal with blueberries

 

I know this entry is rather dry but for the pictures.  Too hot and too tired to think of much witty banter.  So instead I shall wax poetic on the greatness of my scale.  No, not my bathroom scale, my kitchen food scale!

Most useful scale I own

This is the best little device I know for helping me with my weight loss.   It lives on my counter where it is used for almost every meal and ingredient, from weighing pasta to veganaise, flour to broccoli, and most things in between.  It’s fabulous for knowing exactly how much you’re eating, but also for ensuring that you don’t over-do the flour in your recipe.  Since I started weighing it out, my baking has improved quite a bit. 🙂

Some people say it’s such a trouble to get it out, clean it off and weigh stuff, which is why I never put it away.  I keep a bowl sitting on it for quick weighing of veggies as I go, and it’s simple to put the can of salmon on the scale and then weigh out in negative oz. how much I’ve removed.  There’s plenty of little tricks to make it easier, but mostly if you just make a point to use it it’ll be second nature in no time and takes hardly any time at all!

 

Thank you Viva Farms, Growing Washington and Skagit Valley Food Co-op!

Don’t forget to check out inherchucks’ What’s In The Box CSA link party!

 

Crepes:

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup of unsweetened almond milk

Gently spoon flour into measuring cup and level with the back of a knife. Put flour and salt in a medium bowl and stir with a hand whisk. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add egg. Whisk egg and flour while pouring milk into bowl, stirring well to combine.
The batter should be free of lumps. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Spray an 8-inch nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat skillet on medium high. Add a 1/4 cup of batter to hot skillet and swirl around the pan to cover as much of the bottom of the skillet as possible. As the edges cook, use a spatula to lift the edges of the crepe. After about 1 minute, flip the crepe over and cook for a further 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate and start over until the batter is done. This should yield about 6 crepes, so probably serves 2 or 3.

  • Servings Per Recipe: 6
  • Calories per serving: 52.4
  • Total Fat: 1.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 40.9 mg
  • Sodium: 128.8 mg
  • Total Carbs: 7.2 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.3 g
  • Protein: 2.8 g

CSA: Week 5

Technical difficulties resolved!  Now, on to the food:
This week was brought to me by Viva Farms, the color paisley, and the number Pi.

Lettuce, kale, broccoli, spring onions, peas and blueberries!

So let me break it down, lettuce, blueberries: YAY!  Kale, broccoli, spring onions: DOUBLE YAY! OMG.  Peas… /sigh/

But again, they’re good… for peas.  They’re just… peas.

Okay enough about that.

What did I make?  It’s starting to become a blur.  I’m pretty sure food happened at some point during the last 7 (now 8) days, but if it weren’t for photographic evidence I’m sure I would be skeptical.

Breakfasts consisted of, among other things, 3-berry oatmeal, made with blueberries, cherries and sliced strawberries, hard boiled eggs,

and a decadent 3-egg omelet with sauteed mushrooms, spring onions, garlic and rosemary.  (Don’t ask me why I took the picture in the pan and not on my plate, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t braining that day too well.)

But at least it *tasted* good so I’m not complaining!

Much snacking was had with guacamole, made from avocado, spring onion, garlic, tomato, jalapeno, and lime juice:


And dinners contained one of my favorite home-cooked substitutions: pita pizza!  Crispy crust, creamy fillings, cheesy toppings… so good I burn my mouth every time because I just can’t wait for it to cool!

This one was my garden pita pizza, which is a pita with 1/4 cup of pasta sauce (in this case a low fat vodka sauce), then piled with nummy veggies like onions, baby spinach,  crimini mushrooms, pretty sure I put fennel in this one, … y’know, I’ve actually forgotten what I put in this, I should write it down at the time.  Oh, tomato chunks!  Then covered with shredded cheese and baked until everything is melty!

Made a salmon-melt pita pizza also, which… you can’t really tell the difference from this picture, but trust me, it’s different from the one above:

This one had a base layer of diced tomatoes, then sprinkled with salmon, onion and mushrooms, then a bit of shredded spinach, and topped off with cheese, and again bake until melty.  With a side of broccoli, peas, onions, garlic and mushrooms stir-fried.  I’m out of sake so I used beer instead.  Can’t say I’ll necessarily repeat that, but it wasn’t awful.  It still improved the peas 😉

And then another pasta and stir-fried veggies, with broccoli, peas, onion, garlic and kale this time.  Very good all around.   I cheated a bit on dinner here, though.  You see that glass of milk?  Yeah, that’s dessert, it’s actually white hot chocolate mocha …something.  Very delicious.

This was a hectic week.  I didn’t get a lot of what I wanted accomplished, but I got some other stuff that I hadn’t expected to accomplish done, so it kind of balanced out.  I didn’t make crepes which I dearly wanted to do for the blueberries, I will probably do that by Wednesday for next week’s update.  I also didn’t make blueberry/cherry cake.   That will likely be next weekend.

So look forward next week for some delicious breakfast and dessert recipes!
As always, thank you so much to Viva Farms, Growing Washington and the Skagit Valley Food Co-op for making such fine refrigerator stuffers!

Also: I feel so bad, I keep forgetting to add this to my posts but I’m editing it in now: inherchucks has a CSA link party, so if you CSA, stop by and check her out, leave a link to your blog and see what other CSAers are doing with their stuff!

Non-recipes:

Pita Pizza:
1 slice of whole wheat arabic pita bread
1/4 cup of your favorite pasta sauce
whatever veggies you love, added liberally
pre-cooked meat if you like of any variety
lots of shreddy cheese on top

bake in an oven or toaster oven for about 10 minutes on about 400 until the cheese is melty and the edges of the pita haven’t burned yet.  Try to let it cool before you burn your mouth biting into it, remembering that it’s going to be very, very hot inside.

Enjoy!

Cucumber Water

While having a discussion with inherchucks about the deliciousness of cucumber water but the whole ‘not wanting to waste the cucumber’ part of that, I decided to come up with a list of ways you can use the cucumber so as to not throw it out or feel as if it was wasted.

Here is my non-exhaustive list:

1 Eat the cucumber slices as you drink the water.

2 Puree the cucumber before putting it in the water. Mix well before pouring.

3 After making cucumber water, take out the cucumber and add to a blender with honeydew melon and mint leaves, puree into a smoothie consistency and put in popcicle molds.

4 After making cucumber water, take out the cucumber and blend with watermelon, fennel and crushed ice for a light summer slushie.

5 Puree cucumber and add to mojito mix.

6 Drain cucumber and make tzaziki sauce.

7 Drain cucumber.  Slice avocado and cheese.  Stack avocado, cucumber, and cheese on a cracker.

8 Make a facial or skin toner.

9 Any combination, substitution, revision, or addition to the above.

Enjoy!

P.S.: Remember, cucumber is actually a fruit.