Posts Tagged ‘arugula’

Traveling and Coming Home

September 10, 2009

I think I’ve been away more than usual this summer.  I like traveling, and I was away doing things that I enjoyed or at least valued.  The food from a week at a camp and a week at a conference center, however, left me feeling lousy.  Dairy and eggs left this vegetarian craving beans.  Processed starches left me wanting whole grains.  And I acutely missed the abundance of fresh, local, delicious vegetables and fruits that I would have had at home.

At the end of the summer, I had the opposite travel experience.  We visited friends in Seattle and enjoyed plums and blackberries that grow on their property.  Then we went to a farmers market that was about 5 times the size of the larger of my local markets.  The variety of produce, cheeses, baked goods, and meat was overwhelming, in a good way.  The prices of fruits were much lower than what I’m used to paying.  I’ll admit a bit of climate envy.

At home, food this week has been about combinations.  A ratatouille included tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, green pepper, and fresh garlic along with garbanzos, dried oregano, salt, and of course lots of  olive oil.  It would have included fresh basil, too,  if we’d had energy to pick some from out back.

A stir-fry included green beans, broccoli, turnips, turnip greens, radishes, radish greens, and some cilantro.  As has become usual, we firmed up the tofu by heating it without oil in a single layer on a nonstick skillet, flipping it when the first side browned.  To work with the cilantro’s sweetness, the sauce used a generous amount of jarred hoisin sauce along with rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil.

We brought back a salad we particularly enjoyed last fall:  arugula with cheddar and apples, with a balsamic vinaigrette.  We’ve started to get apples from our CSA, and the rainy summer means this should be a particularly good apple season.  Flashback: last year I posted a catalogue of apples.  So far, we’ve gotten Ginger Gold.

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Week 33: January 5 – 12

January 13, 2009

Kale used to be on the (short) list of vegetables I don’t like.  Brussels sprouts are still there.  This is not to be confused with onions, which are on the short list of vegetables that don’t like me.  We kept getting kale in our CSA, and didn’t want to always be giving it away (especially because we only had one friend who wanted it).  Plus, it’s really, really, really good for you.  So we kept trying different things, hoping to find some way that kale was palatable.

After a few tries, I came up with a kale-lentil-lemon soup seasoned with Garam Masala that I like a whole lot, and my husband likes, too. (The recipe is in week 5.)   For a couple of years, any time we got kale, I made the soup.  Sometimes we ate it fresh, sometimes it went into the freezer.  Soup takes up a lot of space in the freezer, so then I learned to blanch and freeze the kale to be made into soup later.

Then a funny thing happened.  We got used to the taste of kale, and started eating it prepared in other ways.  I learned that I like kale with Indian sorts of seasonings, like curry, turmeric, and cumin.  The spiced potatoes and kale I made in week 31 is a good example of that. We’ve reached the point that we’ll use kale in any leafy green recipe, if kale is what we happen to have. Especially if it’s winter and any leafy greens are a treat. (That’s the locavore in me talking.) Our use of kale in the Green Cafe-inspired usually-collards recipe in week 30 was a good example of that. Of course, that recipe still has strong, spicy flavors like cumin and cayenne.  So maybe it’s still all about the seasonings.

This week we got kale again.  (Notice a theme?)  I paired it with lentils and Indian seasoinings.  Some of the soup idea, some of the seasonings idea.  The lentils had to simmer for about 45 minutes before they were ready to be added to chopped kale in a skillet with oil, garlic, salt, and the whole spice rack:  a lot of curry powder and turmeric, about half as much cinnamon, coriander, cumin, and ginger, and a bit of cayenne.  The whole mess went over rice.  It was easy and tasty, so I’d definitely make it again.

Kale was just one of the things we got from our CSA this week.  Due to some sort of a distribution problem, they ran out of large shares before we got to the pick up, so they gave us two small shares instead.  That made sharing with the other couple very easy!  We got what has become a typical share: apples, carrots,  a bag of arugula, and  one onion from Massachusetts; potatoes, sweet potatoes, and the aforementioned kale from North Carolina;  and oranges and a green bell pepper from Florida.

On the night we got the share, when it was freshest, we made an arugula salad with diced apple and cheddar cheese (Cabot, of course).  The apple wasn’t as crunch as I would have liked, but it was crunch enough and the flavors complemented each other beautifully under a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

Another apple or two were diced into oatmeal (cut oats, not rolled) and allowed to stew down partway to applesauce.  There was also cinnamon involved, and some cloves and ginger.  We poured maple syrup onto our bowls to sweeten it.

Two of the dozen butternut squash around our kitchen were showing signs of rot, so I figured I’d better make a meal around their salvageable parts.  Turns out it’s easy to cut out the rotten part of a squash and still have good parts that really are good.  Between the two part-rotten squashes, what I got was equivalent to a bit more than one squash.  I cubed it, boiled it until a fork went in easily, then drained the cubes and mixed in butter, lots of sage (dried, because that’s what we have), salt, and pepper.  It made enough to top one pound of penne pasta, and worked out to be four servings.

We dipped into the freezer this week, too.  One supper was a stir-fry of pan-browned tofu, Asian eggplant from the freezer, and organic soba noodles (because we’re lucky enough to have a local Asian grocer who carries such things).  I mixed a sauce from jarred ginger, minced garlic, bottled Hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, and soy sauce.  What makes this meal stand out for me was that the eggplant came out with a good texture.  I’d been very worried that blanching and freezing it would soften it too much.  Apparently I got the blanching time right, because it was still nicely chewy.

The fresh pepper and a half dozen carrots went into a tabbouleh, along with parsley frozen this summer.  The texture on the parsley isn’t very good, of course, but it’s still quite edible.  I also put chickpeas into my tabbouleh to make it a very complete meal.  The discovery that I can put any raw vegetables (finely chopped) into tabbouleh was very liberating.  There are too many other things to do with tomatoes.  My favorite tabbouleh is with cucumbers.  As long as there’s bulghur dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and spices (usually parsley, mint, and garlic), it’s tabbouleh and a good lunch.

In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle author Barbara Kingsolver asks “What do you eat in January?” and answers “everything!”  This week we ate fresh, stored, and frozen vegetables.  I don’t know what to make for dinner tonight because there are too many options.  All through harvest season we eat whatever will spoil soonest.  Now we don’t have anything threatenting to spoil imminently.  What a luxury!

Week 29: December 8 – 14

December 16, 2008

We haven’t been cooking very much.

We made enchilada verde casserole again.  It didn’t work as well as last time. I think we didn’t use enough cheese, salsa, or salt.  The casserole is easy to make.  It’s layered, like lasagne:  first corn tortillas, then a layer of mashed beans with some cheese and spices, then another layer of tortillas, then homemade tomatillo salsa and shredded cheddar cheese.  The tortillas are Cinco de Mayo, from Chelsea, MA.  The cheese is Cabot, from Cabot, VT.  The salsa verde came out of our freezer.  It was made with tomatillos, garlic, cilantro, and hot peppers.  We started with dried beans, which use much less energy to transport than canned beans, and soaked and simmered them in lots of water, which is from the Quabbin Reservoir, MA.  We baked sweet potatoes to eat with the casserole. 

I made a big pot of split pea soup, with big chunks of turnips, potatoes, and carrots.  I should have used some of the fresh thyme, but I forgot about it until too late. 

I used some frozen kale in a quick supper because I was too lazy to prep the fresh.  The meal itself was uninspiring, but the ease of getting just a bit of kale was notable.  We had frozen it as flat as possible in a gallon zip-lock bag.  That made it easy to break off a corner, since I was only heating up food for myself. 

The biggest meal of the week was with the friends we’re sharing our winter CSA share with.  They invited us to stay for dinner after we brought over the week’s vegetables.  The entree they made was a delicious casserole of six layered root vegetables under a bechamel sauce.  Our share for the new week included one bunch of arugula, one cucumber, one pepper, and a box of grape tomatoes.  Rather than try to divvy that up, we made a salad that we all ate together.   The arugula was from a Massachusetts greenhouse.  The cucumber, pepper, and tomatoes were from Florida.  I’m having some trouble with this whole-coast CSA idea.

We also got kale, cabbage, and apples from Massachusetts; garlic, carrots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes from North Carolina; and oranges and corn from Florida.  (There was also a squash and some onions from Massachusetts, but we left all of those with our friends.)   Next week we anticipate some holiday extras:  cranberries and pecans. 

It’s time to make applesauce again, but I used the big pot for split-pea soup.  On days that we haven’t had oranges, we’ve had homemade McIntosh apple rings with lunch.  They are delicious!

Week 19: September 30 – October 6 (Part III)

October 5, 2008

We went to the farmers market yesterday in search of something to make for a pot-luck later this week.  It has to be something with available ingredients that will travel and wait well.  I wanted to make more of the arugula-apple-cheddar salad that was so incredibly delicious, but although there were plenty of apples there was no arugula to be had. We could have done Tunisian vegetables again, but I’m getting a little bored with that.  We could have done a corn and pepper salad, which was my mother’s suggestion, but I’m a little bored with that, too.  My husband asked for me to make my “famous” potato salad (recipe in week 10), and I told him we couldn’t because there wasn’t any dill.  Potatoes, yes, but not dill. 

Then we found dill!  I thought it was too late in the season for it, but there it was.  It was grown at Drumlin Farm, run by the Massachusetts Audubon Society in Lincoln, MA, less than 15 miles away.  We bought the dill, and also their yellow potatoes and tongue-of-fire shell beans.  Two pounds of beans in their pods yielded 3/4 pound of beans our of their pods. 

In case you’re wondering, out CSA is based in Lunenburg, MA, about 40 miles away.  The drop-off is on my husband’s way home from work, by bicycle.)

We bought six ears of corn to freeze Nicewicz Farm in Bolton, MA, a little more than 30 miles away.  We also bought from them two pears to eat right away.  It was nice to have fruit that wasn’t an apple, for a change.  The pears were nice and crisp.  I never know how to pick a pear.  Some varieties are crisp, some are juciy, or maybe it’s the same variety at different times in the season?  I know my apples very well by now, but not my pears.  My grandmother used to have a pear tree in her yard in New Haven of all places.  Maybe she’ll know. 

Edible Boston magazine was being given away for free at the market, so we took a copy.  I like the articles about local food producers.  It’s also the rare publication where I really look at the advertisements, especially this month, because they tell me what local foods are for sale and where. 

Because it’s Eat Local Challenge month and because they were there, we also bought some herbal tea from the Herb Lyceum in Groton, MA, a bit more than 30 miles away, and some chocolate from Taza in Somerville, MA, less than 5 miles away.  There was a vendor who sells mostly meat but also some eggs, but he said he usually sells out within the first half hour – even at $7 a dozen!  We heard a few other people go over and ask him the same thing after we did.  It’s really hard to find local eggs

We continued our local food search later in the day.  It takes only one car trip to go to the grocery store, so if I’m going to a lot of little vendors I do my best to not drive, so as not to pollute more because I’m buying local.  (We always walk to the farmers market, except when we bicycle.) 

Our first local food detour was to Reliable Market in Somerville, where we found Chang Shing tofu in silken, soft, fried, and puff varieties, but none of our usual firm.  We bought some soft and fried to try. 

We bicycled over to Christina’s spice shop in Cambridge, where the store is local, even though I’m sure the spices come from all over the world.  Spices are like that.  Of course, we popped next door to Christina’s ice cream.  One of their current seasonal flavors is Calmyrna Fig, and it’s incredible – rich, creamy, and tasting very much of fresh figs. 

Then we biked the little bit more to Harvest Co-Op, also in Cambridge.  I was thrilled to find a big bulk section with all the grains I would normally get at Whole Foods:  organic brown rice, organic whole wheat couscous, organic bulgur, organic grits, organic popcorn, and on and on.  The prices were competitive, and it’s nice to support a local non-profit instead of a national for-profit chain.  I also like that for many of the foods they list the grower on the label.  Our new brown rice comes from Arizona, as opposed to our previous rice which was from California.  That doesn’t make it any more local, I know, but it’s nice to know. 

Today we went to the Kickass Dairy Bar in Somerville and bought eggs from Jaffrey, NH, about 75 miles away, and firm tofu made by 21st Century Foods in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston, less than 10 miles away. The eggs were $3.19 a dozen, compare to the $7  a dozen at the farmers market.  We’ll have to see if they’re truly good eggs, with a thick shell and a bright yellow yolk that stands up in the pan instead of flattening out.  I’m convinced that stronger eggs have higher nutritional value. 

I’ve also identified a couple more local or local-ish brands: Uncle Sam cereals are from a company with local headquarters, less than 20 miles away, and Bar Harbor chowders are made in Whiting, Maine, about 340 miles away. Not local in the strict sense, but compare that to Campbell’s.

For truly local food, here’s my new favorite resource:  Local Food Guide to Metro Boston

Week 19: September 30 – October 6 (Part II)

October 3, 2008

It’s day 3 of the Eat Local Challenge, and we’re going to have our first all-local meal.  The dinner plan for tonight is a salad of arugula, apples, and cheddar cheese, with a homemade vinaigrette, accompanied by roasted red-skinned potatoes.  The arugula and potatoes are grown by our CSA farmer.  The apples we have at the moment are were brought to us with our CSA share, but are from an orchard down the road from the farm.  The cheese is from Cabot, from Vermont, and came from the grocery store. 

Yesterday, day 2, we had what I imagine to be a vaguely southern-style meal of baked sweet potatoes, fried green tomatoes (and hushpuppies), and black beans.  Unfortunately, of the six green tomatoes we got from our CSA, two had turned bad and one wasn’t truly green but was pink inside.  The pink part turns mushy and unpleasant when fried.  I had never made fried green tomatoes before, but it was easy enough.  I handed my husband Joy of Cooking already open to the recipe, and he mixed the cornmeal-and-spices coating and dredged the slices through milk and batter.  When all the tomato slices were done, he mixed the milk and cornmeal and added a beaten egg, and I fried spoonfuls to make delicious hushpuppies – something else I can’t recall ever cooking before.  The sweet potatoes were from the farmers market.  The green tomatoes were from our CSA.  The black beans said “product of Canada” on the can. 

On day 1 of the challenge, supper was leftovers, rather a non-event.

Lunch each day has been a sandwich and an apple.  The sandwiches have either been peanut butter and jelly or hommus.  The peanut butter is Teddie made in Everett, MA, the jelly is Trappist Preserves made in Spencer, MA, and the hommus is Cedar’s made in Lawrence, MA.  We have a bread machine, and our usual bread is half King Arthur white bread flour, processed in Vermont, and half store brand organic whole wheat flour from Whole Foods.  King Arthur makes organic whole wheat flour, but my local grocery store doesn’t carry it, and at Whole Foods its much more expensive than the store brand. 

Apparently the Eat Local Challenge is good for getting people to seek out sources of local food that they otherwise would know nothing about.  I think I might be getting there with breakfast cereal.  It goes back to the problem that grains simply aren’t grown in New England.  That means grains have to be on my exceptions list.  That means breakfast cereals fall under the exception, too.  Breakfast cereals (mostly Cheerios) are the only highly processed food I buy regularly.  I don’t like paying so much for a colorful box (because the value of the cereal inside is a fraction of the price) and I don’t like supporting big agribusiness.  I’m open to alternatives.  I just don’t know that any alternatives exist near Boston.

Week 19: September 30 – October 6

October 1, 2008

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Eat Local Challenge.  What it boils down to is that there’s barely anything I can change that I haven’t changed already.  I can give up orange juice.  I can replace sugar with maple syrup or honey.  I might be able to buy local eggs.  I’m simply not going to be able to buy enough shell beans to replace all the canned and dried beans we use.  And I’m not going to pollute extra, driving around to specialty shops for specific foods.  So I guess I’m back where I started, which is that I may as well add my name to it because it doesn’t take any extra effort.  (For snack this evening, I had bread made from Vermont-processed flour and Massachusetts-processed butter.  I thought about having herbal tea from Groton, MA with honey from Peabody, MA, but I decided it was too warm.)

I’ve been proselytizing, but the quiet way.  I brought a bunch of scallions and a small bag of dried apple rings over to the neighbor whose dehydrator we’re borrowing as a thank-you.  The only problem with the dehydrator is its capacity.  It’s only good for about two pounds of apples at a time, and we’ve been buying apples in 10-lb bags.   In contrast, my stock pot lets me turn all 10 pounds of apples into sauce at once.

Another bit of proselytizing was with relatives.  We shared a meal with family on Monday and I volunteered to cook, so that I could serve them fresh, local, nearly-organic peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes in Tunisian vegetables, with whole wheat couscous that I bought in bulk in a paper bag that later got filled with vegetable trimmings and put in our composter.  To prepare a generous quantity for six people I used 8 green bell peppers (including the two heirloom St. Nick peppers we had sitting around), 4 small eggplants, and 3 tomatoes.  It’s been especially good pepper weather, but we’ve gotten good about freezing them, so I had to buy 2 more bell peppers at the weekend farmers market to have enough.  I also bought 2 sweet potatoes because we never get those from our CSA. 

This week our CSA share was one bunch of  arugula, one bunch of mizuna, one bunch of carrots, one bunch of parsley, one head of cauliflower, five baby eggplants, six aneheim peppers, ten cubanelle peppers, two sugar pumpkins, twenty apples (about six pounds, unspecified variety) and one pound of green tomatoes.

Since it wasn’t October yet, I made a soup in which mizuna was the only local ingredient.  It had Japanese udon noodles, shitake mushrooms (dried), hijiki (a sea vegetable, also dried), and tofu, and was seasoned with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil.  We ate with chopsticks and deep Chinese soup spoons.  It was delicious. 

My husband made and froze another batch of salsa verde, about three cups this time.  It used last week’s two pints of tomatillos along with some of the cilantro from the farmers market and a few of the sixteen anaheim peppers we had accumulated between last week and this. He chopped and froze the rest of the hot peppers.  He also chopped the rest of the cilantro and froze it in an ice cube tray, with some water, so we’ll have herb cubes to use as needed.   We might do the same with the parsley

Last week, one of the anaheim peppers went into a variant of dal makhni, and Indian lentil stew.  I used red lentils, which break down completely and make a smooth, thick broth for the vegetables.  In last week’s stew I used one anaheim pepper, diced small, two green bell peppers, a couple of carrots, and all of the head of cauliflower.  We ate it over brown rice, which was a good combination.  Lentils and rice aren’t local, but at least they’re dried before they’re shipped, and they’re both things I buy in bulk in paper bags.  I have no idea where the lentils are from, but I know my rice is from California.  Just knowing counts for something, doesn’t it?

Week 17: September 15 – 22

September 18, 2008

I’m kind of looking forward to winter, when I won’t have to wash or chop any vegetables for months. Our freezer is getting very full of yummy things. During the spring and summer, I keep it running efficiently by filling empty space with containers of ice, because keeping ice frozen takes less energy than keeping air that cold. It’s another kitchen chemistry thing, having to do with phase changes and specific temperatures. As we fill the freezer with vegetables, the tubs of ice come out to make space. Almost all of them have come out of the freezer by now.

Our CSA share this week was one bag of mixed baby lettuce, one bunch of arugula, one bunch of mustard greens, one bunch of chard, one bunch of large orange carrots, one bunch of scallions, six green bell peppers, four tiny eggplants, one pound of green beans, four pounds of tomatoes, and one pint of cherry tomatoes.   For fruit this week we got Mutsu and Shamrock apples from the mid-week farmers market. 

We’ve been eating last week’s arugula on sandwiches, and carefully worked our way through this week’s lettuce as quickly as we could.  Baby lettuce is always a race against sliminess.  While arugula is good raw, it can also be just another sharp Italian green good over pasta (wilted with garlic, parmesan, olive oil, and red pepper, of course).  Chard I like so much that we ate it right away, steamed and dressed lightly with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. 

My husband cooked up delicious homefries with four huge red-skinned potatoes and two bell peppers.  He microwaved the potato chunks for 5 minutes before putting them in the frying pan with garlic, smoked paprika, oregano, basil, and salt (and oil, of course). 

We’ve been getting more cherry tomatoes than I really care to eat fresh.  (The first pint is irresistable, but we’ve reached overload, especially because my husband doesn’t eat them at all.)  It had been frustrating me that cherry tomatoes were, like lettuce, not able to be “put by.”  Then, at the farmers market last weekend, a friend told us that she had dealt with a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes by dehydraing them.  Another friend, a neighbor, had offered us the use of her dehydrator, so when we got cherry tomatoes again this week, I took her up on the offer.  Halved and dehydrated overnight, cherry tomatoes become incredble little bite-sized “sundried” tomatoes.  They’re now under olive oil tucked away in a cabinet.

As long as we were running the dehydrator, I cored and sliced (but didn’t peel) the remaining two Gravenstein apples, and dehydrated them, too.  Apparently, in their heydey, a lot of Gravensteins turned into dried apples because they are good for that.  The dried rings have a sweet, strong apple flavor.

Other vegetables we preserved, as usual, by freezing.  I froze the pound of green beans, the bunch of mustard greens, and three of the bell peppers.  The green beans and mustard greens get blanched and shocked first, the bell peppers don’t.  Greens start off at such a volume that I have to blanch one bunch in two batches, while the entire pound of green beans fits easily in one batch.  When the tomatoes are ripe enough, I’ll stew and freeze them, too.

Week 16: September 8 – 14

September 11, 2008

This week’s CSA share was one bag of baby lettuce, one bunch of arugula, one bunch of large carrots, one bunch of mizuna, one bunch of parsley, one pint of tomatillos,  two pints of cherry tomatoes, four pounds of tomatoes, four eggplants, and eight green peppers of various sorts:  four bell peppers, two Cubanelle, two Aneheim (hot peppers) and two St. Nick heirloom peppers.

Lettuce and arugula are for salads and sandwiches.  Cherry tomatoes are for eating raw, either atop lettuce or as a pop-it-in-your-mouth finger food.  The regular tomatoes will become yet more cooked diced tomatoes (to go in the freezer) when they get truly ripe.  They were a bit green when we got them, so they’re ripening in a bowl on our kitchen table. 

I’ve been so busy being back to school (as a teacher) that my husband has done most of the cooking this week.  He made and froze five cups a delicious salsa verde from this week’s and last week’s total of three pints of tomatillos, this week’s two Anaheim peppers, garlic, lemon juice, and seasonings.  I’m looking forward to bean enchiladas smothered in cheddar cheese and this delicious green sauce. 

We made a ratatouille with two if this week’s eggplants, the two bell peppers left from last week, the one ripest tomato, canellini beans, garlic, olive oil, and spices (basil, thyme, salt, and pepper). 

My husband got lucky at the mid-week farmers market.  In addition to buying a dozen Ginger Gold apples for eating fresh at $2.50/lb, he came home with a 10 lb bag of Macintosh apples for making applesauce at $7.50 for the entire bag (translates to $0.75/lb).  He also bought two ears of corn to eat with supper that night, which otherwise was one of the quarts of lentil-kale-potato soup that I’d frozen less than a week earlier (in week 15).  Convenience foods are convenience foods regardless of season.  The kale retained its texture, but unfortunately the potatoes lost theirs.

Does anyone know recipes that will show off what’s special about Cubanelle or St. Nick peppers?

Week 15: September 1 – 7

September 9, 2008

In week 15, our CSA share consisted of two bunches of kale, one bunch of arugula and one bunch of broccoli rabe, six green bell peppers, two pints of tomatillos, one pound of green beans, four pounds of tomatoes, and one bag of mixed baby lettuce.

The broccoli rabe we had with pasta.  We didn’t have parmesan but we did have a hard, sharp provalone so we grated that to use instead.  We didn’t have veggie Italian sausage, so we put in cubes of tempeh.  We had tomatoes, so one of those went in, too.  As always, lots of garlic and olive oil was involved, and maybe some lemon juice, and hot pepper.  It was okay, not as good as the parmesan-and-sausage recipes I described in week 5

With so many bell peppers, I looked through my cookbooks for inspiration.  I found it in the form of “Tunisian Vegetable Stew” in Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home.  Of course, I modified it greatly to fit our tastes and ingredients.  This came out so well that we made it twice:

  1. In a large skillet, soften 2 or 3 green bell peppers (in bite-size pieces) in olive oil (generous quantity, we didn’t measure) and either garlic (one heaping teaspoon) or onion (could probably use more, the flavor would work better, I just can’t eat onion). 
  2. Add seasonings:  1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 teaspoons coriander, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, and some salt. 
  3. Add 1/4 cup currants (raisins can also work), 2 cups (one can) of chickpeas, 1 chopped tomato, and 1/2 pound of green beans (cut to bite-sized).
  4. Cook until the tomatoes break down and the green beans brighten and soften to taste. 
  5. Serve over couscous.

When Saturday was cold and rainy, it was a good day to make soup.  I used one of the fresh bunches of kale to make the lentil-kale soup whose recipe I gave in week 5, and added in four large red potatoes (week 12).  I cubed the potatoes and added them about ten minutes before the kale. Here’s a photo of it:

We got a lot of freezing done this week.  After we had eaten kale soup, there were still 2 quarts of it left, so I froze them to be easy meals later.  The tomatoes kept being underripe until they were overripe, so of the 12 or 13 in the four pounds, 3 were cooked with (broccoli rabe with pasta, Tunisian vegetables) and 2 were eaten raw.  The rest I diced, simmered about 10 minutes, and froze in 2-cup tubs, so they’re perfect subsitutes for 16 oz cans of diced tomatoes.  My husband blanched and froze the bunch of kale that did not go into soup (yet – it probably will in January).  He also sliced, blanched, and froze about 4 cups of carrots, which he estimated to be half the volume of carrots in our crisper drawer.  They’ll be very good in split pea soup this winter, and I’m sure we’ll find other uses for them, too.  Our freezer is starting to fill up, which feels very good!

Week 12: August 10 – 17, CSA

August 19, 2008

While we were away, my parents picked up our CSA share. We received one bunch of arugula, one bunch of onions (that looked more like scallions to me), one bunch of radishes (with nice greens), three green bell peppers, three tomatoes, two Asian eggplants, twelve ears of corn, four pounds of red potatoes, and one pound Kentucky Wonder green beans

My parents helped to prevent waste by eating the arugula, most of the corn, some of the green beans, one of the tomatoes, and one of the peppers. 

I made a ratatouille with one and a half tomatoes (the other half had to get tossed), both Asian eggplants (they’re fairly small), one bell pepper, and a can of chickpeas.  Another tomato would have made it even better, but the ratio was just about right.  I diced the veggies and put them all in a saucepan along with minced garlic, salt, basil, oregano, olive oil, and red wine vinegar.  I served it over polenta for an easy, attractive, and tasty supper.  It made four eating-healthier-after-vacation servings, which I think translates to three more normal servings. 

I made tabbouleh with radishes and cucumbers that had been to Lake Placid and back.  I had to toss the two smallest pickling cucumbers – they were getting soft and slimy.  Because pickling cucumbers are less sweet and more bitter than regular cucumbers, I changed the process a bit.  While the bulghur and spices (garlic powder, parsley, and mint) were soaking, I salted the vegetables in a separate bowl.  I used more salt than usual, and stirred it into the quartered-and-sliced cucumbers and the thinly sliced radishes.  After letting osmosis happen for an hour or two, I mixed everything into one bowl and added olive oil and lemon juice.    

I need to find ways to save more vegetables for winter.