Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Fridge Runneth Over - With Vegetables

Now that my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program is up and running I find myself with the pleasant dilemma of having way too many vegetables in my fridge every Monday evening. It is made even more pleasant by the fact that my share in the CSA is free this year. I am part of a trio of individuals running the CSA and the farm has kindly comped me a share. Now I just have to figure out how to use it all!

I hate food waste so it is essential to cook/prepare the vegetables in a timely, organized fashion. These organic veggies cannot stay in the fridge indefinitely. You would think after three years of this, I would have gotten the hang of it but there are still challenges and I like to try new things. I keep adding recipes to my CSA notebook, and every year it does get a little easier since I start with a larger repertoire of cooking options.

New to the roster this year is baby food. This is really simple. I take the veggie (peas, squash, carrot) and either boil or steam it. Then I puree in the blender and portion into little containers for my baby. She seems to love sweet potato and banana. After some struggles she is starting to accept peas. However she staunchly refuses the summer squash. I have no idea why. I tasted it and it is really sweet (I do not add sugar, it is naturally sweet). The faces Little One gives me are hilarious. She makes this incredulous look and begins to pretend gag and wave her arm threateningly at me, as if to say "do not try this mommy, it will not go well for us". I still try one or two spoons, which she gleefully spits back at me. I am told babies need to try things several times before they accept them. Hopefully she realizes how yummy squash is soon.

Here is a list of this weeks vegetables:
Bright Lights Swiss Chard-1 bunch
Red Leaf Lettuce-1 head
Napa  Cabbage-1 head
Scallions-1 bunch
Baby Red Ace Beets with Greens-1 bunch
Summer Squash-2 pounds
Red Lake Currants-1 basket
Parsley-1 bunch
Okra take what you like

I actually ended up with slightly more of some items thanks to a member not showing up. Open my fridge and leaves pop out at you. 

Here's the plan of attack:
On Night 1 I was pretty tired, so not much took place. The Parsley was preserved in labelled freezer bags for use during the year as needed. Fresh parsley is often called for in recipes and it is so expensive. This way I have a (free) stock on hand. The lettuce is going to be used in salads throughout the week with leftovers used on the weekend.

On Night 2 (Tuesday) the beets were boiled, peeled and sliced for lunch the next day. I love beets! My husband does not share my feelings of beet adoration, so they are all mine. 

Next we tackled one of the leafier items, the Swiss chard. I used a recipe for Swiss Chard, chick pea and tamarind stew from chef Yotam Ottolenghi. This will be dinner tomorrow, so photos and full recipe will appear at that point. However for those scared off by the word tamarind, you can substitute a little prune butter and lemon juice.

The currants were boiled with a little water and passed through a sieve to harvest juices. Juices were then further reduced over a low simmer to make a thick currant sauce that can be placed over items like ice cream, waffles or cookies for an extra tangy touch. 

On Night 3 (tonight!) the scallions will be used to make sesame noodles, the cabbage is going into a Spicy Stir Fry and possibly some homemade coleslaw and the squash is going to be tackled. I have a ton of squash so three recipes will be attempted (if I have time): chocolate zucchini bread,  vegetarian enchilladas and creamy squash soup.

On Night 4 the remainder of the squash will be used to make cheesy squash patties and the okra stewed in tomato sauce.

It's work, but it provides healthy, wholesome meals for my family that are cost effective and made with locally grown produce. Plus cooking together is a much healthier activity than all sitting around watching TV or something of that sort. I've even started a little veggie patch at in my in-laws back yard. The tomato and squash crops are starting to come in (see photo!).


BB said...

I want to see video of this adorable baby feeding scene!

Harleth said...

You would not believe the reaction she has to the video or any camera. She knows we are taking video and promptly closes her yes or ducks behind something...

Nate M. said...

I don't know if we have a CSA in our area, but I am going to look now. How wonderful! It's a great idea and probably saves a ton of money.

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