Posts Tagged ‘dandelion’

Weeks 44-45: March 25 to April 7

April 10, 2009

These weeks featured one fully local meal:  a breakfast of fried eggs and potatoes.  My husband has perfected the art of microwaving the cubes of potato for about 5 minutes so they cook inside, and he can then get the outsides crispy and spiced in a skillet.

We took our last winter CSA delivery.  We’ll get by for the next month and a half on what we have in storage.  We started April with 4 butternut squash and 1 pumpkin still stored on a kitchen shelf  from the November end of our summer CSA season!  We have bags and tubs of frozen summer vegetables,  a crisper drawer quite full of root vegetables, and lots of sweet potatoes in a cold cupboard.

One of the vegetables we got from our CSA was dandelion greens, which are sturdy enough to survive shipping from Florida.  Thank goodness for Greens, Glorious Greens (more info at References and Resources).  It said that the best way to deal with the bitter taste is in a tomato sauce, preferably with cheese.  I think of dandelion greens as being for raw salads, not cooking with, but it cooked into pasta sauce like spinach, only with more texture.

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Week 23: October 27 – November 2

October 30, 2008

As the Eat Local Challenge month comes to a close, I’ve been thinking about how my food patterns have and have not changed, and which changes will become permanent.

We had already made the biggest change in our commitment to eschew supermarket vegetables for the year.  Just a few weeks in, supermarket fruit got added to that list.  (My cranberries do come from the supermarket, but I’m able to get local ones there and not at the farmers market.) 

That has made me more conscious of the sources of my other foods.  I’ve been choosing local for at the grocery store for quite a while: local milk, cheese, bread flour, hommus, tortillas, peanut butter…  But some local foods aren’t available at the grocery store.  Spurred by the Eat Local Challenge, I found shops where I can buy local tofu and local eggs. 

The Eat Local Challenge pushed me to go a step farther, and simply go without those foods that are not locally available.  Orange juice is my best example.  We’ve switched to drinking local apple cider (bought at either a farmers market or the grocery store).  When cider is no longer available, I don’t know what we’ll do.  Maybe we’ll drink milk and water. 

I have also realized just how many foods are no longer grown in New England.  Local grains just don’t exist.  Local legumes are few and far between.  My honey and maple syrup are local, but I still sometimes need sugar.  Local herbal tea is nice, but there’s no substitute for Earl Grey or English Breakfast.  I could do the Eat Local Challenge all year and say I have one exclusion:  dry goods. 

That won’t work, because I need oils and vinegars, lemon juice and soy sauce. 

And then there’s the challenge of Halloween.  We love our neighborhood, and want to be good neighbors, so we have to give out treats on Halloween.  It did occur to me that now, after two years in our house, we know the neighborhood kids and their parents well enough that we could probably get away with baking some sort of treats.  The parents would trust that we’re not poisoning their kids.  But the kids would be disappointed, and understandably so.  We broke down and big-corporation, corn-syrup-laden, over-packaged candies have entered our home.  And our stomachs.  It’s only fair to the children, of course, that we make sure the candies are yummy enough.

A grocery shopping trip this week brought the season’s first cranberries (along with Halloween candy).  I like to eat cranberries raw.  Once you learn to expect just how sour they are, they’re a refreshing fruit that’s fun to eat.  A whole berry is very firm in the mouth.  Then the first bite makes a satisfying pop.  Then comes the pucker, as you enjoy a fresh berry taste for the first time in months. 

If you buy a bag and discover that you don’t like eating them raw, put the rest into applesauce.  One bag of cranberries into about ten pounds of apples is a nice ratio.  We like to use a different group of spices when we do that, but I can’t remember what they are.  I’ll write down the recipe when we make applesauce again.  Right now we just don’t have space for it in our freezer.

Although our CSA is over, we’re not lacking in vegetables.  We’re overflowing with squash and pumpkins.  We have plenty of potatoes.  We still have greens from last week’s farmers market.  But I couldn’t resist buying more lettuce this week, and also a bunch of dandelion greens to try.  We also have apples everywhere, but they’re McIntosh, Cortland, and Northern Spy, so I couldn’t resist buying more Baldwins. 

Dandelion greens are nutritionally packed when eaten raw.  By volume, they were much less expensive than the other salad greens.  The sign on them said they’re bitter, so I bought them to treat like arugula, and make a salad with apples and cheddar, under a balsamic vinaigrette.

The farmer that had the lettuce and dandelion greens is planning to start offering a winter CSA this year.   It’s tempting, because I love having CSA vegetables coming to us weekly.  But when I look around my kitchen, I know that we’ve done a good job of storing up for the winter ahead.  We’ll be thoroughly tired of squash by the time the first arugula gets me wildly excited in the spring.  That’s a sensation I never had before joining a CSA turned me into a seasonal eater.  I can’t imagine going back.