Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weekly CSA Box and Meal Plan #2

Another great week!  Here is what is in our CSA Box and the recipes I plan to use with the box contents and stuff from my own garden. We are going camping and then on a week long vacation, so I might end up freezing some things too.

Box Contents:
Asian Greens
Swiss Chard
Head of Lettuce

Weekly Meal Plan:
Pasta bake with a vegi salad with Sage Dressing
Potato Pancakes with Kale
Grilled Steak, garlic scapes, and swiss chard
Parmesan-Chive Popovers
Vegi Stir Fry
Spinach Omelets

Still looking for a Swiss Chard Recipe.  Any suggestions?  I'm not a fan of swiss chard, so I need something to cover up the "beet" flavor.  Also, my chives are spreading like weeds in my garden.  Any recipe ideas that use a lot chives?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Seasonal Meal Plan

Every week I create a meal plan and a grocery list.  Then I search for which stores have the best deals.  This helps us stay organized and save money and time.  Our weekly CSA basket has put a spin on my weekly routine.  Now I have to wait until Thursday evening to set the meal plan.  Our local farm store store opens on Friday and Saturday, so everything works out.  Thankfully I love looking for recipes.  This week is different then most due to a different work schedule and a camping trip.

Weekly Meal Plan (a little late)
Burgers and vegi salad (arugula, spinach, lettuce, mizuna, borage flowers, and chive blossoms)
Beef and Bean Chimichangas
Bok Choy Stir Fry (add in mizuna stems)
Kale and Cheese Spread (made into sandwiches)
Pizza topped with arugula, spinach, and chive blossoms
Basic pasta salad with arugula, tomato, onion and herbs
Dessert: Rhubarb Crumble (Will last us all week)

I'm thankful for our garden produce and HighCross Farm!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Year of Strawberries

If I buy strawberries in the middle of winter, the berries taste horrible.  So does everything else that travels over 1,000 miles to the local grocery store.  I don't understand how our culture got to the point of transporting food from so far away, when that same food product can be grown in our backyards.

Goal: Eat food when in season.

Purchasing or eating food when it is in season might seem like a difficult task.  But people ate seasonal food for many years and lived without having to eat cardboard strawberries in winter.  How did people eat during winters?  They preserved their food!  I think food preservation is so important nowaday because it is one step closer to self sufficiency and sustainability.

Last year was our first year of canning strawberry jam...our first year of canning anything for that matter.  We just finished off our last jar of jam.  But we aren't too sad because our local U-Pick strawberry farm just opened yesterday!  And now we get to start the whole process over again.  Canning, freezing, and dehydrating- it makes a messy kitchen, but the results are delicious!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

CSA Workshare

Eric and I are members of a CSA farm. CSA= Community Supported Agriculture. Members will pay a one time fee for a weekly box of produce (usually for about 20 weeks).  We are participating in a work share.  We donate a certain amount hours per season and in return we receive a free box of produce every week.

Benefits of a work share include saving money, learning new things, meeting new people, and eating new foods.  Plus the added bonus is that the farm is next door to my parents house, so we can visit them too.  We also have a few things planted at my parents house that we can upkeep after working on the farm.

This week we received:
One head of lettuce
Arugula, with flowers
Bunch of Kale
Mizuna (Japanese salad green)
Baby Pac Choi
Tomato plant

Monday, June 13, 2011

Garden Treasures

Our first meal made entirely of ingredients from our yard!

Arugula, spinach, chives, and eggs.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dandelion Jelly

Wild edibles are very fascinating. I wish I knew more about which plants are edible, and I made it my goal to learn (and eat) at least 5 new wild plants or herbs each year.

I’m using Forager’s Harvest by Samuel Thayer as a plant guide. I really like his book because his information is based off his own experience. I like to have a recipe set aside for when I actually harvest the plant. For recipes I am reading Abundantly Wild by Teresa Marrone and Wise Woman Herbal: Healing Wise by Susun S. Weed. Of course there are lots of other resources out there.

So far I’ve made Ramp Flatbread and Nettle, Ramp, and Potato Chowder. Both were very good! Then I heard about making Dandelion Jelly and I thought, “perfect!” The only thing mature enough to preserve in my garden right now are dandelions.

I have a few spots in my yard where dandelions grow strong and free of chemicals. I felt like I was a child on an Easter egg hunt with my basket in one hand and picking all the bright colors with another hand. I wonder what my neighbors thought if they saw me!

There are a few great recipes already online, but I use Pomona’s Pectin which uses different amounts of pectin and less sugar. Thankfully, I came across one recipe that already converted the different pectin. I added 2 cups sugar instead of the honey. Next time I will try less sugar or add honey and maybe a little less lemon juice. I can’t wait to make this again. Dandelion Jelly is unique and will make great gifts for friends and family.

P.S. Remember our dandelion wine creation? We were finally brave enough to taste the wine.  It didn't turn out, so we will try again another day.  I think that maybe we will try to make a wine with flavors we have had before.