Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What's in a CSA share?

Here is a sample of the first five weeks of our CSA share with Garden Treasures (I didn't take a picture of week one).  We have an economy share (the medium size - $28.50 a box for 15 weeks) with a fruit share (19.50 a box for 12 weeks).  I paid for the season ahead of time with our tax return, so picking up from the farmer's market on Sundays feels more like going in for free food.  I am posting this primarily for our own records to help us determine if this is our best value for the dollar, but I thought it might be helpful to visualize for anyone wondering about Community Shared Agriculture, which I have written about previously.  The only produce we are supplementing from the grocery store right now are bananas, onions, and potatoes.  To find local CSA near you, see Local Harvest.

Peaches, Apricots, Raspberries, Cherries, Garden Salad Mix,
Kohlrabi, Oregano, Zucchini and Crookneck squash,
Shelling Peas, Cabbage, Kale (8 items harvest, 3 items fruit)

Spring Salad Mix, Kale, Cabbage, Shelling Peas, Raspberries,
Fennel,  Radish, Basil, Onions, Carrots, Corn (11 items)

Three varieties of Cherry including Sour!, Apricots (4 items)

Turnips, Salad Mix, Carrots, Kale, Onions, Strawberries,
Cilantro, Collard Greens, Kohlrabi (9 items)

Broccoli, Zucchini, Dinosaur Kale, Radish, Onions,
Turnips, Cilantro, Garlic Scapes, Salad Mix (9 items)

If I recall correctly, week one had Garlic Scapes, 
Collard Greens, Turnips, Onions, Salad, Strawberries, 
Radishes, Kale, and Cilantro (9 items)

I'll compile another report after week 10.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Harvest Beef & Vegetable Soup

This post is a part of Fight Back Fridays at Food Renegade.

Easy Sour Cherry Tart

1 1/3 Cups Flour
1 tsp Sea Salt
Pinch Stevia
1 Stick Cold Butter cut into 16 pieces
2 Egg Yolks
1/4 cup water (give or take depending on humidity)
2 pounds sour cherries + 6-10 sweet cherries, halved and pitted.
2-3 tbsp rapadura
1 tbsp gelatin

Place dry ingredients in food processor with butter pieces.  Process until pea-sized butter.  Add egg yolks and process until just mixed.  With food processor running, pour in 1/4 cup water with the emulsifier attachment (i.e. drop by drop).  When it clumps together, stop.  Press into a flat, 4 inch disk, refrigerate one hour.  Roll 1/4 inch thin.  Place over pie dish.

While crust dough is chilling, sprinkle rapadura and gelatin over cherries and let sit in refrigerator.  Once crust is ready, fill with sweetened cherry mix and fold edges toward center.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, or until crust looks browned to your liking.  Let sit until cooled.  The inside will thicken as it cools.

This post is a part of Real Food Wednesdays with Kelly The Kitchen Kop

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Three Onion, Sausage, Potato Cream Soup

This weeks CSA share
A soup recipe in June?!  Well, here in Seattle, you wouldn't know it was summer.  However, our organic CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) is in the growing season.  I love this time of year because I have a good excuse not to do much menu planning. I won't know what's in my box until I collect it, and then I'll have to invent recipes around my seasonal produce share.  Like most cooks I know, I do not enjoy having to put dinner on the table every night.  What I enjoy is being creative in the kitchen (another reason I am bad at menu plans), which I got to do today.  Garlic scapes, and turnips, and kale, oh my!  

I wish I'd grabbed the camera earlier, but I didn't think about pictures until we'd already nearly finished the soup.  So my apologies for the photo.  My husband really liked this soup.  Every time I make soup he tells me, "I don't actually like soup, but this is good."  Seriously.  Every time.  Tonight was no different.  The man likes soup.  Truth is, he'd never ask for soup, but he likes it well-enough.  Well, my friends, I think I just converted him into a soup-requester.  I know he will want this soup again, so I am going to write down the recipe so I can make sure to add it into my repertoire.  

Three Onion, Sausage, Potato Cream Soup

2 tbsp pastured butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 bunches garlic scapes, chopped
3 large Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
1 bunch turnips, quartered
1/2 bunch kale, remove central stem and chop the rest
6 bratwurst sausages, cut into inch-pieces
1 tbsp gelatin
filtered water
1/2 cup pastured cream
two springs fresh thyme & two springs fresh rosemary - tied with string
generous amounts of freshly ground pepper and Celtic sea salt to taste

Melt butter and olive oil over medium - med-low heat.
Saute onion until soft.  Add scapes and garlic and let soften 2-4 minutes.
Add potatoes, turnips, kale, sausage pieces and gelatin and cover with filtered water.  Pour in cream and top with freshly ground pepper, sea salt and place in tied herbs.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and let simmer for 1 hr or more.  Remove tied herbs.  Serve and enjoy!

I was out of broth, or I would have used it.  Thus I used water and added gelatin.  The soup broth was delicious and I imagine it would be even richer with homemade stock, but I'll have to let you know next time. My kids also praised me and kept asking for more, with more sausage.  So when I make it again, I will probably use 8 sausages.

***This recipe is a part of Fight Back Fridays at Food Renagade***

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Shrimp Cakes and Mint Pea Salad

I've broken out the Williams & Sonoma "Spring" cookbook.  
They have a great selection of seasonal recipes for inspiration.
This pairing was perfect for a warm evening and took a total of 1 hr from start to finish

Defrost 1 1/2 - 2 pounds shrimp
Trim peas
Finely dice 1 celery stalk, 1 bunch green onions, 1 tbsp shallot, and 1 jalepeno (all kept separate)

Cook shrimp in butter until just pink and curled, set aside
Saute finely diced celery and one bunch green onions
Steam peas for 2 minutes, then place in ice bath, then drain

Shrimp Cakes: Place shrimp in food processor and process until crumbly.
Add celery and green onions, 1/3 cup mayonnaise (preferably homemade, but at least not soy-based), 1 tsp chili pepper sauce, sea salt and pepper, 1 cup saltine cracker crumbs (yes, a compromise from W.A.P.F. - you could probably substitute sourdough bread crumbs), 2 well-beaten eggs, some chopped chives, and mix until everything is combined.  Add more bread crumbs/crackers if needed.  Make into 12 cake patties.

Dip: Take 1/2 cup mayo and mix in 2 tsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp dijon, the chopped jalepeno, and sea salt and pepper.  

Dressing: Mix 3 tbsp EVoliveoil and 1 tbsp white wine vinegar with sea salt and pepper and diced shallots

Saute shrimp cakes in butter over medium lowish heat for 3 minutes each side.

Arrange peas on plate and tear up mint to place on top, drizzle with dressing
Add shrimp cakes and a dollop of sauce


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Coconut Oil and Nutritional Yeast Popcorn

This is such a simple recipe and you could change all the proportions to your own taste, 
but I get asked for it all the time, so I'm posting it here for easy sharing.

Place 3 tbsp oil in a large, heavy-bottomed, pot with 3 kernels corn and cover.
Meanwhile, gently melt the coconut oil (or oil&butter blend) in a smaller pan.
Heat large pot slowly (4 on my gas stove, or slightly higher than med-low).
Once the 3 kernels pop, add the popping corn and cover again.
Gently shake pot back and forth to coat kernels in oil.
When popping slows to 2 seconds between pops, turn out into a large bowl.
Pour melted oil over popped corn, add generous pinch salt and nutritional yeast (or more), and toss to combine.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Spring Salad

Dandelion greens, walnut, and chevre salad with vinagrette

1 bunch dandelion greens
1/2 cup crispy walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup chevre
3 tbsp EVoliveoil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Monday, October 31, 2011

Unprocessed: Day 31

We have had many days of uninteresting-to-photograph (or eaten too quickly to think about it) meals, however unprocessed.

Here are some peaks at what I did manage to photograph:

Three potato saute, served with eggs

Unprocessed Rapadura cookies dipped in chocolate

The last standard harvest box of the season
(a Thanksgiving box will be coming)

Dinosaur kale, acorn squash, and seasoned chicken

Coconut Macaroons
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day Twenty: Dinner

Tonight I decided to get creative. I saw this recipe for tomato paella and it got my wheels spinning. I wanted to try making something similar using finely diced chanterelles and criminis in place of rice (because I had a bunch I needed to use before we get more in tomorrows CSA box). Of course, I added parmasean.

I served salmon a top the tomato-mushroom dish, and had a fresh mushroom and green onion salad on the side.
As is typical when I serve fish (and all the kids finish their portion), we enjoyed dessert (homemade ice cream from raw cream and eggs)

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Unprocessed: Day Twenty

I am getting bad at updating about our meals this month!

Above are a few pictures I've taken since last I posted. Not seen are things like cinnamon-whipped cream and raw vanilla ice cream. Also not seen are the basics like our morning eggs on toast and lunch sandwiches and snacks (apples, carrots, popcorn with nutritional yeast). I have some extra pumpkin puree left from the pumpkins I roasted and we're looking forward to another pie. I also had fun making my husband some pumpkin spice syrup for his morning latte tweaking this recipe by substituting rapadura for the sugar and using 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and a bit of grated fresh ginger for the pumpkin pie spice.  I would recommend ground ginger in place of fresh, unless you are going to strain it.

I am just five weeks away from full term with this pregnancy. I have hit what I like to call the "roosting" phase. Which is much less productive than the "nesting" phase. That is to say, I am ready to spend most of my days sitting down and not busy about the kitchen (let alone chasing kids). This is not a very realistic desire, but it's there all the same. What I'd really like is wonderfully nutrient-dense foods that require no work. Since we cannot hire ourselves a professional, live-in, chef, this is not an option. Soup has been a great option. I can spend a bit of energy all at the same time and then have lots of leftovers. I can't think of another time we've eaten so much soup, but I've never before been pregnant in the fall either (three summer babies until now!).

Yesterday we spent the day with my mom at a holiday show my parents produce. That meant eating concession food. We found a burrito place that looked decent. My kids wanted the nacho's, and I was so busy coordinating the three of them and trying to specify toppings that the fake cheese on their nachos totally missed my radar. The funny part is that my kids thought it was gross, and my eldest spent most of his meal trying to scrap it all off. I am grateful for those little indicators that my little ones can actually taste the difference between real and fake food - and prefer the real.
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Friday, October 14, 2011

Unprocessed: Day Fourteen

Yesterday, we had a busy day.  Busy days are prone to what my friend Cherie might refer to as "indiscriminate eating."  My mom was going to come over for lunch, but due to her schedule, she could only meet us for lunch at the Olive Garden by her office.  I ordered soup and salad.  However, having
"cheated" for lunch, and having eaten food that is just not as satisfying as a homemade meal, I was still hungry when we came home (and after walking the dog and putting my kids to nap).  My husband's chocolate covered peanuts were calling to me and I was "indiscriminate" with them for the rest of the day.

Dinner went as planned, Salmon with soaked rice and kale.  

This evening was pizza for dinner.  After making dough, we had a lovely pizza with nitrate-free bacon and fresh pineapple and the rest of that tomato sauce I made on Wednesday - along with some mozzarella, of course.
Our CSA pick-up moved to today, as well, since the Sunday Market is now closed for the season.  We have a beautiful array of produce and with the bounty I need to whip up a batch of root soup this weekend.

In other good food news, there was raw cream at our milk pick-up this week!  I LOVE raw cream.  Tomorrow, we will have raw ice cream and pumpkin pie.  YUM.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Unprocessed: Day Twelve

Today, my kids and I made a menu plan for the next week.  Whenever the boys help me, I can be sure that spaghetti and meatballs will make the list, along with pizza.  Then we went shopping for the ingredients we didn't have to fill out our menu plan (as well as a few staples I don't want to have to wait for until the next Azure Standard delivery)

My husband brought a few extra pineapples home the other day, 
so I decided to try making pineapple vinegar to use for making cortido 
(Latin American sauerkraut) later this week.  Right now it looks like this:

Then, as promised to my 4-yr-old, spaghetti and meatballs.  First I had to make the sauce.
Nothing beats heirloom tomato sauce from scratch, 
and it gives me leftovers to use for the pizza requested for Friday night.
(not seen, the onions sauteing in my largest frying pan)

Dinner.  It should have had a salad to keep it company, and some sauteed greens, 
but pregnant mama's don't finish their best laid plans.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Uprocessed: Day Eleven

Seems like Mondays are not good blogging days for me this month.  The past several days have been full of good eating and lots of soup.   Saturday I roasted a chicken and tried roasting my potatoes this fun way.

Of course, I made our salad dressing.  This is such an easy way to cut out processed ingredients.  
Salad dressing can be as easy as drizzling extra virgin olive oil and your favorite vinegar.
Or it can look like whisking up a mix as seen below 
(freshly ground pepper, Celtic sea salt, lemon juice, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, flax seed oil, ground mustard, basil)

Sunday we went for easy and made our own chicken noodle soup for dinner.

Also on Sunday, I went to the Lake Forrest Park Farmer's Market (last market of the season) to pick up our CSA box from Garden Treasures.  We decided that Full Circle Farms was not priced as competitively as a real CSA.  I just didnt' know that you could join CSA's this late in the season.  We have three more weeks and a bonus Thanksgiving box to anticipate.

Going to the market also doubled as some me-time.  I discovered Third Place Books, found some used titles I've been looking for, and enjoyed a latte and uninterrupted reading.  How does a latte fit into the unprocessed challenge?  Well, depending on if the coffee itself qualifies (which, I believe it was locally roasted), I asked for whipping cream instead of milk.  They look at you funny, but if you admit you're weird and high-maintenance and don't forget to tip, the baristas will be happy to accommodate you.  Of course, you have to double-check that they don't use ultra-pasteurized whipping cream as that it really unfit for drinking.

At market, I treated myself to a $5 bouquet.  I love market flowers!  Flowers on the table is also my secret to a clean kitchen and table (because I don't want to detract from their beauty).

Last night I had a dear friend over for dinner with her girls and I didn't think to photograph dinner (nor our breakfast pancakes that morning).  It was simple, butternut squash soup with a side salad and some grass-fed-buttered sourdough.  I can't say her girls loved it, but my six-year-old did have a second bowl.

Tonight?  We still have so many leftover soups that I think we'll be enjoying leftovers and I'll be taking it easy.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Unprocessed: Day Seven

Gratefully, all the kitchen projects and food deliveries of late made cooking (and snacking) from whole foods easy today.  
Ample Apples
Breakfast did involve yogurt, which is now suspect, but lunch was left-over steak slices sauteed with broccoli.  Yum.  I can't get enough red meat when I'm pregnant.

Tonight I made use of our delicious broth to make Egg Drop Soup (one of my favorite recipes by Food Renegade).   It always sounds a little "blah" on the menu, but then the flavor wins me over.  It wins my kids over too.  Tonight, after my six-year-old took his first bite he quickly asked me if there would be enough for seconds.
Egg Drop Soup
As I type, I am still feeling hungry, and grateful that there is one Bavarian cream pot (from Day Five) left in the fridge....once I get the kids to bed!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Unprocessed: Day Six

Major fail to report: Take-away pizza for dinner.

I didn't even think about it until after I ate a couple slices.  I had big plans use my freshly concocted broth to make a delicious soup for dinner.  Dinner, for us, is usually at 5:30 or 6.  My husband called me at 3pm to tell me he'd be home in 20 minutes, and that he was not feeling well, and that he was bringing home pizza because he was famished and didn't want to wait until 5.  "That's fine," I said, kinda planning to go ahead with my dinner plans anyway.  Then, of course, my husband and children filled up on pizza, and expending my energy cooking for just me seemed silly.  So I ate.  My hesitancy to want to eat "Gourmet Pizza" had more to do with knowing how dissatisfying it would taste (my being spoiled with whole and organic foods now), and not needing any extra pounds in my third trimester.  Only when I finished and started thinking about the rest of my evening did I even remember the unprocessed challenge.   Let me just be honest - I'm not good at goal setting.  I could blame my pregnancy brain, but I think it's just me.

Breakfast, lunch, and birthday brownies were all a success.  Lunch consisted of our good broth with coconut milk, which my kids greedily gulped down and I think my mother even enjoyed.

The bounty found on our doorstep!
Today was also our first trial of a produce delivery company here called Full Circle.  The produce was all beautiful and great quality, we're just not sure the quantity is worth the price.  I'll compare to store prices this week and make a decision.  Food dropped off at my door is a major perk at this point in my pregnancy, so I have to figure out what that is worth too.

In other news, my nuts finished dehydrating and there are plenty of brownies leftover, which should make for easy and unprocessed snacking for the next week.

What about you?  What are your weak points in your battle to eat real food?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Unprocessed: Day Five

Today was a busy day in the kitchen.  The morning started out with porridge, nice and simple.  Then I realized it was an Azure Standard delivery day.  I love Azure Standard.  I wish I would have taken a picture of all the boxes that came to the house today (though more than half were for other people).  For us, I realized, a 50 pound box of frozen chicken would be arriving.  I had been meaning to make broth for weeks, and my carcasses had built up in the freezer.  Time to clear them out!  

Currently there are three large pots of broth simmering on my stove.

Since it's October, I decided I was mass producing witches brew:
Can't quite call it broth without chicken feet.

While I was busy about my kitchen, I decided to get around to soaking all the nuts I bought last week.  Especially because I cannot make butternut squash soup later this week 
without being able to add walnut butter

Of course, I also realized that tomorrow is my mother's birthday, and we have to have treats ready when she visits.  I ground some spelt into flour and soaked it in buttermilk.  You are looking at future brownies.

THEN we got the delightful news that a dear friend was in town today - on her birthday.  
So I decided to make carob Bavarian cream pots 
(with a hint of real chocolate and topped, for her, with candied orange peels 
which don't usually pass my kitchen test, but for this birthday, I made an exception.)

Then at some point I realized I also ought to cook dinner, so I defrosted one of the Coho fillets that had just been delivered from Azure Standard, and we had Salmon, Thin potatoes, and sauteed broccoli and rainbow chard for dinner, followed, of course, by the cream pots.  I forgot to find the camera by the time dinner was plated, so all you get to see is this lovely salmon skin.

At the grocery store this morning I faced another unprocessed challenge, yogurt.  I have been buying Nancy's for a long time because it's the best, reliable brand I could find.  But I think they use some powdered skim milk to help thicken - which is not unprocessed, and has oxidized cholesterol (think heart disease).  Further, I do not know if they use homogenized milk, but as the cream does not sit at the top, I have to think so.  I am going to call tomorrow to find out more details and start my search for a "purer" yogurt.


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