Tag: spinach

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!

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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!