Posts Tagged ‘cauliflower’

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 18: September 23 – 29 (with a catalogue of apples)

September 25, 2008

In retrospect, it should have been a no-brainer that leaving black-eyed peas (still in their pods) in a plastic bag in the fridge would cause them to get slimy and moldy on the outside.  It took a week and a half before we had the right greens to use them with.  I had been hoping for collard greens but had to settle for turnip greens.  In the end, it worked out fine.  I washed the pods to get the mold off, and the black-eyed peas inside were almost all perfectly fine.  We boiled them for about 10 minutes in enough water to cover but not much more.  Then we seasoned them with cider vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, and rosemary.  The greens, all chopped up,  went in last, a bit at a time, because each pot-full had to wilt down and make space for the next pot-full.   Stems went in, too, and because they didn’t get over-cooked they had a delightful crunch.  We ate the beans and greens over brown rice for not just one delicious meal but two, because it ended up making four servings.  I think we started with about a pound of beans (before shelling), and one very large bunch of turnip greens. 

The turnip greens, with three small turnips attached, were in out CSA share this week, along with one bunch of carrots, one bunch of beets (with unimpressive and scant greens), two bunches of scallions, one bunch of tatsoi, two pints of tomatillos, two pounds of tomatoes, ten aneheim peppers, four bell peppers and one head of cauliflower

Most of this weeks tomatoes were so ripe already that I diced and stewed them along with last weeks four pounds of tomatoes.  They had all of a sudden gone from underripe to nearly-overripe that I had put them in the fridge.  Normally I’m a strict no-tomatoes-in-the-fridge type, but I figured these would end up in the freezer, so why not?  I ended up with nearly 8 cups of stewed diced tomatoes.  The whole pot spent a day in the fridge, and then I decanted it into two pint yogurt containers.  Because I’m likely to want the tomatoes only 2 cups at a time, I ladled each yogurt tub about half full, then put a big square of plastic wrap so that it rested on the tomatoes already in, but reached up and over the rim of the container on all sides.  Then I ladled more tomatoes on top of the plastic wrap to nearly fill the container, put the lid on (holding the plastic wrap still folded over the rim) and put the tub in the freezer.  With a contents-and-date label, of course. 

The tomatillos and anaheim peppers were, as always, inspiration to my husband to make salsa verde.  I’m guessing that 2 or 3 of the peppers will go into the salsa and the other 7 or 8 will get diced and frozen for things like chili this winter.  My husband made sure to get cilantro for the salsa when he went to the mid-week farmers market.  

His main concern at the farmers market was getting apples:  some to eat fresh, some to store.  We’re still having fun with our neighbor’s dehydrator, so there are rings from 7 apples drying in there even as I write.  We think the apples are McIntoshes, but the 10-pound bag wasn’t labeled.  At $7.50 for 10 pounds of local, IPM apples, who cares what kind they are?  If the apple rings don’t work, then the rest of the apples will become sauce. 

The $2.50 per pound fresh-eating apples that he brought home this week are Elstar apples.  They’re very flavorful, sweet, and crunchy.  I wonder how well they’ll last.  The Mutsu (also called Akane, I think) apples from last week were very crunchy, and likely to stay crunchy for a very long time in the refrigerator (one of the things I like about them) but they had very little flavor.  I remembered them being nicely tart, but not this year apparently.  One of the Ginger Gold apples from two weeks ago was still in our refrigerator, and when I cut it up today to throw in the dehydrator, I discovered it was still nice and crunchy, although not as crisp as when they were truly fresh.  Ginger gold apples are sweet and unusually crisp.  I already reported that the Zestar apples we got in week 13 were tart but unlikely to stay crunchy, and that the Gravenstein apples we got in week 14 were apple-pie flavorful and excellent for apple rings but not a good texture for eating fresh.  Our apple season started early, in week 8, with July Red apples whose main feature is that they’re early.  They’re also tart, but don’t have a good texture.  I’m looking forward to Macoun and Baldwin apples later in the season.  Every year we try different apples, and sometimes we’re really impressed and sometimes we’re really not, but we can’t usually remember from year to year which was which.  So this year I’m trying to write it down and keep track!