Category: CSA Box

Ikea food

A couple months ago, Steve and I experienced Swedish meatballs in the Ikea food court for the first time, served with a heaping pile of mashed potatoes, gravy, and a side of lingonberry sauce. Delicious and cheap! We bought a bag of frozen meatballs, two packets of gravy, and a jar of lingonberry sauce to have later.

A couple nights ago, I finally broke open the bag of Ikea meatballs and baked them, made the gravy, and made mashed potatoes and green beans to go with the meal. We had happy tummies afterwards.

Ikea food

Slightly Garlicky Green Beans

  1. Chop a couple cloves of garlic coarsely.
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet.
  3. Add garlic and cook for a minute.
  4. Add green beans. Pour in a little bit of water to create some steam and cover.
  5. Cook until beans are tender but still bright green. Uncover if necessary to boil off the water.
  6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

The next night, I had some meatballs left over, most of a jar of lingonberry sauce, but no more mashed potatoes. I also had a fridge full of veggies from our CSA box. Having watched hours of Food Network while nursing Steven, I felt inspired to be creative and came up with what I’ve dubbed an “Ikea Salad,” complete with lingonberry vinaigrette. (I also made some nachos, which you can see in the background.)

Ikea salad and nachos

Ikea Salad with Lingonberry Vinaigrette

  1. Wash and mix together any combination of vegetables (and fruit) that you want. I used lettuce, arugula, carrots, strawberries and avocado. Toss in a bowl.
  2. For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, mix together two parts olive oil, one part apple cider vinegar, one part lingonberry sauce, and a small bit of salt and pepper until combined.
  3. Heat Ikea meatballs.
  4. Serve the veggie/fruit mixture with Ikea meatballs and lingonberry vinaigrette.

In my best Food Network chef imitation voice: “Doesn’t that look beautiful? All those colors! [Take a bite carefully. Chew. Swallow.] Mmmm. Perfect. The avocado is so creamy, and you’ve got that wonderful sweet-salty combination with the meatballs, strawberries, and lingonberry vinaigrette. Over the top!”

CSA box: Leeks, chard, arugula, and more.

In between making large amounts of food that can be frozen for later in preparation for the baby, we’ve been enjoying the fresh veggies and fruits from our CSA box.

Baked eggs with leeks, swiss chard with breadcrumbs

On the plate: Garlic bread, Swiss chard sauteed and covered with buttered toasted breadcrumbs, and baked eggs with creamy leeks. Consensus was that Swiss chard is much tastier with bacon than with breadcrumbs. But that’s probably true of most things.

The creamy leeks with egg was a new recipe as well that turned out surprisingly good. Steve doesn’t like runny eggs and was quite suspicious of the raw-looking egg, but I had cooked the egg to the point where it was nearly crispy on top, so he ate it all!

It’s a pretty easy dish to make…

Baked eggs over creamy leeks

Saute leeks

Slice leeks and rinse them very well, then drain. Heat a couple tablespoons of butter in a skillet and cook the leeks over medium heat until they are tender but not super-soft.

Add cream, nutmeg, salt.

Add about a 1/4 cup of heavy cream and sprinkle salt and nutmeg. Cook, stirring, until the cream is slightly reduced.

Bake egg and leeks.

Generously butter some ramekins or other oven-safe small bowls. Divide the leeks between the bowls (I had enough for two). Break an egg on top and sprinkle salt and pepper. If you want, you can add another tablespoon of cream on top (I ran out, unfortunately) before adding the salt and pepper. Place the ramekins in a baking pan with boiling water going up at least 1/3 of the way of the ramekins. Bake at 350 degrees for at least 8 minutes (egg will be runny) or until desired doneness (I think I baked mine for more like 15-20 minutes to get the egg cooked all the way through).

Baked eggs and creamy leeks.

Warning: This is a surprisingly filling dish!

Ravioli with sausage and arugula.

I’ve decided that I like arugula better cooked than raw — the slightly bitter, peppery taste is a bit too much for me when I have it raw in salads. Sauteeing the arugula mellows out the flavor, plus, it wilts down so that there’s not quite so much of it!

We got a generous bunch of arugula in our box this week, and I used half of it in a made-up combination of ravioli, sausage, and pesto. Delicious! The artichoke wasn’t in our box — I’ve been longing to eat artichokes and got some huge ones at the store.

Ravioli with sausage, arugula, and pesto

  1. Start boiling water for the ravioli (I used “fresh” store-bought).
  2. Meanwhile, cook italian sausage in a large skillet with some chopped onions.
  3. Cook the ravioli. Drain and add to the skillet after the sausage is fully cooked.
  4. Drop in several handfuls of washed arugula. Stir everything around until the arugula starts to wilt.
  5. Add some generous spoonfuls of pesto sauce and toss.
  6. Serve while warm.

Bok choy and steamed fish

Nothing in this photo is from our box, but it looked so good that I took a picture of it anyway! I tried steaming cod for the first time, laying out some slices of ginger over the fish before steaming it. I mixed together my brother-in-law’s secret sauce (okay, not so secret — a bit of veggie oil, soy sauce, and green onions) and poured it over the top after the fish was done. Awesome over rice; I added a side of basic stir-fried bok choy with a few tablespoons of oyster sauce thrown in at the end.

We still have a lot of stuff from our box:

  • Chard
  • More arugula
  • Red and green lettuce
  • Apple
  • Green garlic
  • Leeks
  • Asparagus!!
  • Carrots
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Spinach
  • Grapefruit
  • Fava beans

Neither Steve nor I like grapefruit, so that may be pawned off on a neighbor or friend (although since it’s in our box, maybe I’ll give it one more try). With the snap peas, carrots, and lettuce, I’m foreseeing some kind of delicious salad in our near future. I’ve never had fava beans, before, either, and am excited to try them!

CSA Box: More greens

I’ve used up all the greens from our CSA box, just in time for Wednesday’s delivery!

Salad

Our box had some young, soft lettuce (I’m not very well versed in types of lettuces, so I have no idea what kind of lettuce it was). I chopped up one of the Fuji apples that came with the box and made a sweet bacon vinaigrette.

Bacon Vinaigrette

This makes enough to dress 1 or 2 servings of salad.

  1. Cut up two slices of bacon into 1/2″ pieces. I usually use cooking scissors to do this straight into the pan.
  2. Cook the bacon over medium heat until it’s as crisp as you like. Scoop out the bacon and drain, but reserve about a tablespoon of bacon grease in the pan.
  3. If the pan is still pretty hot, turn off the stove and remove it from the heat. Add another tablespoon or two of olive oil and swirl around.
  4. Add about two teaspoons of sugar to the pan.
  5. Add a tablespoon of vinegar. I usually use balsamic vinegar, but you can use any kind you want. The vinegar may sizzle and spatter, but stir it in until everything is combined.
  6. Drizzle immediately over the salad and top with the bacon bits.

Shrimp scampi and braised leeks

Our box also had four beautiful leeks. I tried out a recipe from Perfect Vegetables for braised leeks, but I was also making spaghetti mizithra and shrimp scampi at the same time and ended up carmelizing the leeks by accident! They were still pretty tasty, however.

Spaghetti Mizithra

Spaghetti mizithra is a super-easy dish to make, especially if you pre-grate the mizithra cheese and store it in the freezer, ready to go. You can find mizithra cheese in your deli section, usually in plastic-wrapped wedges.

  1. Grate mizithra cheese using the finest grater that you have. Some people like to combine it with parmesan and romano cheese as well in equal quantities, but by the time I’m done grating the mizithra the last thing I want to do is grate more cheese! You can do this step ahead of time and store in the fridge or freezer.
  2. Boil water and cook spaghetti according to package instructions.
  3. While the water is boiling, brown butter in a small skillet. You’ll want about 4 tablespoons of butter per serving, although having extra is always a good thing! To brown butter, melt the butter over medium-low heat and let it keep cooking until the melted butter turns brown. You can skim off the brown foam if you want, then pour the butter into a small serving dish.
  4. To serve spaghetti mizithra, give each person a serving of pasta. Put the cheese and butter in separate serving bowls with spoons. Each person can sprinkle as much cheese as they want on the pasta, then spoon the browned butter over the pasta and cheese, then mix it all together!

Sausage with blanched greens

I’m still trying to find a way to make kale and similar tougher greens in a way that Steve likes. I tried another recipe from Perfect Vegetables which involved blanching the greens (I used kale and mixed stir fry greens from our box), cooking sausage (the recipe called for kielbasa but I used andouille sausage instead), and mixing the greens and sausage with other seasonings. I served a generous helping of this mixture over couscous. Steve liked the sausage but still wasn’t enthused with the greens, so I’ll have to keep trying other recipes!

Tri-tip, chard with bacon, artichoke

I somehow found myself buying giant artichokes and added it to my dinner menu along with leftover couscous, pan-fried tri tip steak with a Worcestershire-mustard-parsley-wine sauce, and Swiss chard cooked with red onion and bacon — again, another recipe from Perfect Vegetables. As Swiss chard is a more tender green, Steve loved it (especially with the bacon!). The addition of the artichoke made this way too much food for us and we had leftovers for a few days!

CSA Box: Catching up

Now to catch up on CSA Box food photos!

Tokyo turnips braised in soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and water; bok choy with soy sauce and garlic; teriyaki salmon.

This meal used up two items from my box: tokyo turnips and bok choy. I tried a turnip recipe where you braise the turnip in soy sauce, mirin (a sweet Japanese wine), sugar, and water, but totally overcooked them so they were really mushy. White rice and teriyaki salmon completed the meal.

Teriyaki sauce is actually quite easy to make, once you compile the ingredients. You will need a bottle of sake, a bottle of mirin, soy sauce, and sugar. The sake and mirin can be purchased in the alcohol section or Asian food section of most grocery stores, or you can find a specialty Asian food shop that carries them. Here’s what I do for making teriyaki salmon:

Teriyaki Salmon

  1. Blend 2 tablespoons of sake and 4 teaspoons of soy sauce in a shallow dish. Marinate the salmon in this mixture for 10 minutes (fleshy side down).
  2. Blend 1/4 cup of mirin, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a small bowl. This is what will make the actual teriyaki sauce.
  3. Heat some oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Blot the fish fillets dry with a paper towel, then add to the oil  and cook 5 minutes skin-side down.
  4. Turn the fillets and cook for one more minute, then transfer to a plate and peel off the skin.
  5. Wipe away the grease from the pan with a paper towel, then add the teriyaki sauce. It may spatter a little bit. Over medium-high heat, let the mixture boil, then turn it down to medium and simmer for another minute.
  6. You can pour the sauce over the fish, or for extra flavor, put the fish in the pan and finish cooking it for another minute while spooning the sauce over the fish.

Salad with cilantro dressing

One of the CSA newsletters included a recipe for cilantro dressing, which was a nice way to use up some of the large bunch of cilantro that came in the box. I put together a salad with lettuce, a free-range egg, a Pink Lady apple, and the cilantro dressing to use up more items from the box.

Red cabbage with bacon and vinegar, pasta, and chicken

I wasn’t sure what to do with a small head of red cabbage until I looked through Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food cookbook. She had a recipe for red cabbage braised with bacon and vinegar. The meal plan included this dish with breaded pork cutlets; I didn’t have pork on hand but I had some chicken breasts in the freezer, so I filleted the chicken breasts, dipped them in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs, and fried them up, serving them with a generous dollop of dijon mustard. I also made a small side of pasta with store-bought pesto sauce mixed with sour cream for a creamy texture.

Salmon, daikon radish, and spinach

More salmon, this time baked and glazed with hoisin sauce. I tried making a quick pickle of daikon radish, but they were still way too spicy-strong for us! I’ll have to try slicing them thinner and possibly trying a different pickling recipe. Sauteed spinach rounded out our meal.

Pasta with arugula and creamy pesto sauce

Arugula is probably the most challenging item for me to use. I can only take the slightly spicy/bitter leaves in small quantities, so using a whole bunch in a salad is out for me. This time, I boiled the pasta and tossed it with chopped arugula until the arugula wilted, then added my shortcut creamy pesto sauce (pesto and sour cream). Delicious!

Pasta with sausage, tomatoes, and veggies

The America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook has a wonderful recipe for “skillet penne with sausage and spinach” which involves sausage, sun dried tomatoes, wilted spinach, chicken broth, and a cup of milk. The sauce is more watery than creamy, but I love the flavor and can eat a whole batch of this all by myself over several days! I decided to modify the recipe with what I had on hand — a can of diced tomatoes instead of sun-dried tomatoes, and a bag of stir-fry greens from the box (looked like some kale, chard, and I’m not sure what else). I forgot to reduce the liquid to account for the canned tomatoes so the sauce turned out REALLY watery, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying my meal!

Asparagus salad with goat cheese

Another recipe from Everyday Food involved breaded goat cheese which looked yummy, so I made up my own salad of lettuce, the Farmer’s Market first batch of tender asparagus, and a sliced-and-fried potato in order to try out the goat cheese medallions. Those involved slicing the goat cheese log into discs (most of which fell apart and had to be molded back together) and dipping the cheese into egg, then breadcrumbs. Drizzle olive oil on top and bake until brown, then add to the salad along with a basic vinaigrette. I added some chopped Fuji apple from our box as well to add some sweetness to the salad.

We’ve renewed our subscription for another 13 every-other-week deliveries, upping our egg allotment to a dozen and a half as we were going through them so quickly. So the CSA box goodness continues!

CSA Box: Many meals

I’m giving up on the day-by-day post idea, but still intend to post photos and formal and informal “recipes” or meal descriptions as I work through our CSA box contents.

Salmon, sweet potato, and potato leek soup.

Using up the remaining items from our first CSA box, I made potato-leek soup using a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook with Farmer’s Market potatoes and all the CSA box leeks from last time’s box and this box. This is one of my favorite soups, especially when made with with homemade chicken broth. The recipe instructions have you “sweating” the leeks (cooking for a longish time) before adding the diced potatoes, broth, and thyme.

I had two sweet potatoes left, so I baked both and made a brown sugar-butter glaze to go with them. Unfortunately I don’t think I baked the potatoes long enough so they were a little bit firm, but they were still tasty. I made a mustard-brown sugar-cider vinegar spread for the salmon and baked it in the toaster oven to complete our meal.

Carrots, pink lady apples, and grilled cheese sandwich

I recently rediscovered the sweetness and flavor of “real” carrot sticks after years of munching on bland baby carrots (which I think I used to like when they first came out), so I was really excited that our second box came with a bunch of carrots. For lunch, I made a grilled cheese sandwich and shared a carrot and Pink Lady apple with Steve. Delicious!

Spinach, garlic bread, and shrimp scampi

We got to experience crocodile spinach, a different variety, which is supposedly harder to wash but well worth the effort. I found that this bunch of spinach was actually a lot cleaner than the last bunch, so it didn’t seem like it took as long to clean although I did still check each leaf individually to make sure there was no more dirt. We had a deliciously yummy meal of shrimp scampi, garlic bread, and spinach over rice. With the exception of the rice, everything else had garlic and butter in it! I used a basic shrimp scampi recipe from The Best Recipe, but here are my favorite ways of cooking spinach and making garlic bread…

Garlic Bread

  1. Cut a loaf of French or sourdough bread in half, lengthwise. (I use one french sandwich roll for two of us.)
  2. Put a chunk of butter in a small bowl. If necessary, soften just slightly in the microwave. For the french sandwich roll, I use about 3 tablespoons of butter, microwaved at 10 seconds.
  3. Mince two cloves of garlic or run them through a garlic press. Stir into the butter.
  4. Spread the bread generously with the garlic butter.
  5. Turn on broiler (I use the toaster oven) and toast, watching carefully, until the bread is your ideal shade of brown.

Spinach with garlic and butter

  1. Wash a bunch of spinach well, separating leaves from stem base. Clean stem bases well if you like to eat those as well.
  2. Melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter in non-stick skillet.
  3. Add 1-2 cloves of minced garlic and the stem bases (if using). Cook, stirring occasionally, to start softening the stems.
  4. Add all the spinach leaves. Cook, tossing and stirring, until the greens have wilted down and the stems are tender. Add more butter if you think it looks a bit dry (depending on how large your bunch of spinach is).
  5. Serve immediately.

Superbowl Sunday salad

We went to my in-law’s house to watch the Superbowl. I made a whatever-we-have-in-the-fridge salad with romaine lettuce (all that was in our box), green leaf lettuce (from the store), sliced carrots, the one watermelon radish in our box, canned mandarin oranges, and hard-boiled eggs from our box. At first, I was going to make a basic vinaigrette, but after tasting one of the spicy pieces of radish, I decided to look for a creamy, sweet dressing in one of my standby cookbooks, Lettuce in Your Kitchen. I modified one of the recipes and put together a mayonnaise, ketchup, sugar, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar dressing with a tiny smidgen of prepared horseradish.

I love the box subscription thing because probably never in my life would I have thought to look for or purchase watermelon radish! These baseball-sized radishes have a white-green exterior and a surprisingly red-pink-purplish interior. Very fun.

Rice bowl

Finally, I tried out a rice bowl recipe from In My Box, using wild rice, kale, onions, garlic, and a bit of dried serrano pepper flavored lightly with a yummy dressing and topped with a poached egg and toasted sesame seeds. (I didn’t have nori on hand; the recipe has you top it with toasted nori bits as well.) I don’t think I’ve had a comparable dish with this mix of flavors and found it quite tasty! I ended up with a lot of leftovers; unfortunately Steve doesn’t like crunchy rice, so I’ll be working through the rest of the rice over the next few days!

CSA Box 2 arrives

We picked up our second CSA produce box on Wednesday night. I put everything away and didn’t take a picture, but here’s a list of what we got:

  • 3 Pink Lady apples
  • 3 navel oranges
  • small bunch of romaine lettuce
  • bunch of crocodile spinach
  • bunch of red kale (less than last week but still generous)
  • baby bok choy
  • small head of Wakefield cabbage, which is a pointy oblong/oval shape instead of round
  • four leeks
  • bag of Satsuma mandarin oranges
  • bunch of big carrots
  • Tokyo turnips
  • Watermelon radish

I went through some root-confusion when we first went through the box. We got a round red root which looks suspiciously like one of the red turnips we got last week (just a little smaller than a baseball), a greenish-white root about the same size which I think may be a watermelon radish, and a bunch of smaller white roots which may be the Tokyo turnips based on pictures I looked at online. I’m thinking the red root is a red turnip that accidentally made its way into our box, but I’ll find out when I cut everything open!

I do have a few things left over from last week’s box, what with our mini-vacation and then being invited over to friends’ homes for dinner a couple nights:

  • two sweet potatoes
  • two smallish leeks
  • dried serrano peppers

In general, I’m quite happy that nothing — except for wilted turnip greens — got thrown out from our first box! We had some Farmer’s Market casualties, unfortunately — the big 5 lb. bag of oranges I bought aren’t getting eaten fast enough so a couple have gone moldy.

Some initial brainstorming for what to do with our produce…

  • Fellow Eatwellian In My Box has a yummy-looking rice bowl recipe that will use kale, eggs, serrano peppers, and orange juice. I’ll probably make a smaller amount because Steve isn’t fond of nutty/crunchy rice.
  • Our next meal will involve baked sweet potatoes with a brown sugar glaze, baked salmon, and some kind of veggie — maybe carmelized leeks from this week’s Eatwell newsletter recipes.
  • I’m in a phase where I love raw carrot sticks — the real stuff, not shaved-down baby carrots.
  • Found a recipe for using Tokyo turnips in a miso soup.
  • May use some of the leeks to make potato-leek soup. If anyone has any other good leek recipes, please let me know!

CSA Days 12 and 14: Turnip bisque, salad, and sausage-potato-kale soup

We went on a mini-vacation and when I got back, I started using up the rest of our CSA produce box.

Turnip bisque, salad

First up on Sunday night: Turnip bisque, which was an easy soup of simmered sweet potato, turnip, and leek, all pureed together with crispy shaved-and-baked turnip strips on top from the Eatwell Farm newsletter. I made a quick salad of sauteed mushrooms, oranges, and lettuce from the Farmer’s Market with some chopped arugula sprinkled in.

Sausage, potato, and kale soup

I still had a lovely bunch of kale as yet unused, so I found a recipe online for sausage, potato, and kale soup. I didn’t add chicken, used chopped fresh potatoes, and used only 1/2 lb. of mild Italian sausage. The result was a slightly spicy, savory soup that I brought to our church small group potluck.

CSA Day 8: Broccoli “taco”

Broccoli taco

Yesterday was one of those “eat everything we have in the fridge before leaving for the weekend” days. In the fridge: Half a cup of leftover steamed broccoli from our produce box. Also, fixings for salad, but I wasn’t in a salad mood. I scrounged a soft corn tortilla leftover from our Tuesday church small group potluck, spread some cream cheese on top, warmed it in the toaster oven, and dumped the rest of the broccoli on top. I suppose it’s sort of like a veggie wrap, but the tortilla was too small to wrap up so I ate it more like a taco!

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m ridiculously proud of myself when I think up ways to combine leftovers. I give myself extra mental points when it’s an easy, uncomplicated solution as well.

CSA Days 4 – 7: Salad, broccoli, pasta, and baby bok choy

Day 4: Sunday

Grilled cheese sandwich and salad

For lunch, I made another quick salad with produce box lettuce and mushrooms and oranges from the Farmer’s Market and some pieces of leftover steak. I made a basic vinaigrette with olive oil, sugar, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and a dash of dried oregano. Then I made grilled cheese sandwiches with bread from a local bakery… although I did use Kraft processed American cheese singles. I must admit a fond weakness for processed cheese singles!

My favorite way to make grilled cheese:

  1. Butter two slices of bread.
  2. Slice real cheese OR unwrap a cheese single.
  3. Heat small skillet on medium heat until a little warm.
  4. Put one slice of bread, buttered side down, on the skillet. Immediately put cheese on the unbuttered side and top with the other slice of bread, buttered side up.
  5. Gently cook until the bottom side is toasty brown, then flip with a spatula.
  6. Finish cooking the other side.
  7. Slice on diagonal for cute triangular pieces.
  8. If making more sandwiches, turn the heat down just slightly so that the others don’t overcook.

Day 5: Monday

Baked potato with broccoli and cheese

I felt like cooking myself a “real” lunch (instead of my usual fare of leftovers or whatever’s-in-the-fridge), so I decided to bake a Farmer’s Market potato and steam some produce box broccoli.

Having been forewarned about the strong possibility of aphid-infested broccoli, I gave the whole heads of broccoli a good rinsing. But then I realized that the now-dead aphids (dead from being in the fridge for several days, probably) were stuck inside the tiny crevices of the broccoli. Some people might not care about eating an aphid here or there, but once I saw them, I had to do something about them! I ended up spending about 15 or 20 minutes cutting off each floret and painstakingly washing off dead aphids, using a small paring knife to scrape out the little crevices. A bit ridiculous, perhaps, but I think I ended up with the cleanest broccoli I’ve ever had in my life!

And washing the broccoli did give some time for my potato to bake. I used the quick-bake method: Poke a few holes in the potato and microwave for 6-8 minutes until slightly softened, then finish off in the toaster oven for another 15-20 minutes at 450 degrees.

I only ate half the potato, sprinkling it generously with shredded pepper jack cheese, piling broccoli on top, and adding a heaping spoonful of sour cream. I packed the rest of the potato with some broccoli and cheese for Steve’s lunch the next day.

We had a light dinner; I made a repeat salad with grilled cheese sandwich, but adding mustard to the vinaigrette.

Day 7: Wednesday

Pasta with arugula

One of the recipes that came with the Eatwell Farm newsletter was for pasta with arugula. I’ve never cooked with arugula before and didn’t know what to do with it besides including it in salads, so I decided to try out the recipe. Based on previous experience with longer veggie washing times, I washed the arugula in the morning and stored it in a salad spinner. I did end up rinsing the arugula leaf by leaf in a big bowl of water, but it went a lot faster than washing spinach or broccoli.

The recipe instructs you to cook pasta, then make a simple sauce of sauteed garlic in olive oil with some salt, pepper, lemon juice, and white wine. (The white wine turned my garlic green!) Tossing the hot sauce, hot pasta, and raw, chopped arugula helps the arugula to wilt down slightly. Very light meal and pretty tasty; I ended up adding some shredded parmesan cheese for some extra flavor.

The picture above shows the leftovers, packed with steamed broccoli for Steve’s lunch.

Beef short ribs, bok choy, and broccoli

For dinner, I made asian barbecued beef short ribs (a new recipe I found online). I’ve never made short ribs before; since I was working with one pound of ribs instead of the six pounds that the recipe calls for, I only baked them for 45 minutes, afraid of overcooking them. I probably should have baked them for longer as the meat was still pretty chewy. The sauce was delicious spooned over the rice and steamed broccoli, though!

I cooked the baby bok choy with my standard soy-garlic recipe. I also made some homemade chicken broth and made a small side of egg drop soup with one of the larger free-range eggs from my box but forgot to take a picture of it.

Bok choy with soy-garlic sauce

  1. Chop the lighter stems into half-inch pieces, then chop the green leaves coarsely.
  2. Heat olive oil over high heat until quite hot and then brown the stems.
  3. Add some minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds to toast.
  4. Add the leaves and a soy sauce/sugar mixture (about 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of sugar).
  5. Toss until the leaves are wilted and serve.

Free range egg drop soup for two

  1. Smash a clove of garlic and a small piece of ginger and combine with two cups of homemade chicken broth or stock. Simmer for several minutes on low-ish heat, then remove the ginger and garlic.
  2. Pick out your largest free-range egg and beat in a small bowl.
  3. Use a utensil to slowly stir the soup in a circular motion and slowly pour the egg in a thin stream into the moving liquid.
  4. Mix together a small amount (1/2 to 1 teaspoon) of cornstarch and an equal amount of water and add to the soup to thicken.
  5. Add chopped scallions and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.

What’s left from our box?

  • Several mandarin oranges
  • Leeks
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Kale
  • Turnips
  • Remaining washed arugula, stored in salad spinner in fridge to keep fresh

This is a short week for me — going on a short vacation starting this afternoon until Saturday, but I have plans for all the veggies (except possibly two of the leeks) in yummy-sounding dishes before our next box gets picked up on Wednesday!

CSA Day 3: Spinach, salad, and salmon

Day 2 passed with more mandarin oranges and the last Pink Lady apple. Saturday night, I made a late dinner with more goodies from our Eatwell Farm box.

First, I spent half an hour rinsing off the polar bear spinach. Here’s a close-up picture of what I was working with:

Dirty spinach

I found it best to tear off the leaves and rinse them under running water one at a time, gently brushing off the dirt with my fingers so as not to bruise the leaves. Not very water-conservation-y of me, but simply rinsing in a bowl wasn’t doing much! Then, I scrubbed the stem bases with a vegetable brush under running water. (I like cooking the stems, too; I like the way they squeak in my teeth.)

When the spinach was finally clean, I lined the toaster oven pan with foil and greased it with olive oil. I sprinkled salt and squeezed some lemon juice over a wild salmon fillet, laid a few sprigs of dill on top (from the freezer), and cut a few slices of lemon to lay on top. I stuck it in the toaster oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

While the salmon was baking, I washed off a few leaves of the romaine lettuce from our produce box. The lettuce had a lot of dirt on it as well but it came off much easier. I had just gotten some mushrooms and oranges from the Farmer’s Market that morning, so those got sliced into the salad along with some leftover red onion. I mixed together a quick dressing of olive oil, orange juice (from the end pieces of the orange), salt, pepper, and sugar to drizzle over the top.

With the salad ready, I mixed up some softened butter with minced garlic and spread it generously on two slices of french bread from a local bakery.

The salmon was nearly done so I started cooking the spinach. In a non-stick pan, I melted a generous chunk of butter, then added the spinach stems and let them cook down just slightly. I added minced garlic and the rest of the spinach and salted it lightly, then let it all cook down while I pulled out the salmon and quickly broiled the garlic bread.

Did the food taste better because we knew we were supporting local farmers, weren’t eating any pesticides, were getting more vitamins and antioxidants and other good stuff than with conventional produce, and had painstakingly washed the spinach with love? I’m not sure, but we both had very happy tummies at the end of the night…

Yummy dinner!