csa

I’m a bit belated in sharing last week’s CSA delivery.

I was a little worried about getting the new delivery, as I skipped out on cooking at home the week before. I still had vegetables from the previous box, and I was concerned about spoilage. I decided to go ahead and get my delivery as usual though, as I knew that I could get through my produce with my new found motivation to regain health.

I am so glad I decided to get my delivery. There was something in the shipment that I was super excited about. Can you guess what?

I love artichokes! I’ve never cooked them myself before, but I can’t wait to get these into mah belly!

I had one extra surprise in my box this week. Though I’ve had CSA eggs before, I have never tried any of their meats. Truthfully, I haven’t been eating a lot of meat at home. Still eating it at restaurants, and everything, but I haven’t been much for cooking it as of late. For some reason, last week, the idea of trying out some meat from the CSA sounded like a good idea.

I decided to pick up a pound of ground beef. I’m thinking either tacos or actual burgers, but I’m still not sure which sounds best. Maybe both? The beef arrived frozen, which I was happy about as my fridge was completely stocked with new (and old…) produce. I’ll let you know about the meat when I decide between American and Mexi-Cali cuisine.

Speaking of “old” produce, a lot of people have been asking me how I manage to keep all of my CSA goodies from spoiling while I work my way through them. I typically am only cooking for 1 or 2 people, so I used to avoid buying much produce. Then at some point I discovered those plastic baggies that are “As seen on TV’….

I found the Debbie Meyer bags at Safeway and bought them on a whim. I also have some “Stor It” bags that my Mom gave me in my Christmas stocking. So far, I think I’ve liked the Debbie Meyer version a little more, as the Stor it were only one size and were zip loc closing, so it was difficult to put the larger pieces of produce in them.

I wasn’t sure these bags would work, but they really do seem to keep my produce fresh. As I mentioned above, I didn’t get through all of my previous box before the next one showed up. This means that this week I was eating red cabbage and kale….that was three weeks old. Tasted great!

I have been eating a random mix of cabbage and kale with various toppings all week. It’s really filling and surprisingly good.

The only problem is that when you put an egg on top, the veggies kind of turn the whites blue-green. Oh well.

 

How do you keep your fruits and veggies fresh?

The past two days have been a total blur.

Whenever a co-worker goes on vacation and the other managers and I have to pick up the slack, everything becomes complicated, kind of annoying and stressful. With my work week so wacky, I feel quite slighted by how quickly my two days off flew by.

On Thursday I ate my bagel, and then proceeded to do nothing. I was feeling like a zombie. I kept trying to do household things, but since the plumbing was being worked on for the FOURTH day in a row, I had no water for dishes, etc. Finally I was able to take a shower at around 4pm and I felt like a new person again!

Shortly thereafter Greenhearts showed up with my CSA delivery. Although my shower had left me refreshed, I must’ve still been a little space cadet-like, as when Aurora came into the building with the produce we had the following conversation:

Me: How’re you?

Aurora: Good, you?

Me: Okay. So how’s it going? Wait…I already asked that. You’re good. Sorry. I’m tired!

 

Yeah. I’m awesome.

 

Minneola Tangerines, Kiwis, Baby Bok Choy, Beets, Red Cabbage, Swiss Chard, Green Kale, Potatoes, Fennel, Butter Lettuce, Yellow Onions and Green Garlic

Yum!

(well, except for the beets….I’m going to try and make borscht. I keep trying to like them, I swear…)

After the veggie photo shoot, I made plans to meet up with a friend for some fun which included:

AND

Last spring I went on my first wine tasting adventure with a couple of my friends from high school. Out of the vineyards we visited, I enjoyed Michel-Schlumberger the most. We took the tour there prior to the tasting. I don’t remember all of the really interesting facts that we learned. What I do remember is their wine! I don’t know if they had essences of raspberries and hints of beetle sweat, or whatever, but I liked them. They were very smooth..none of that bite that some wines have. I absolutely wanted to pick something up. The wine I enjoyed the most was $75/bottle. It seemed way too steep for a first timer, so I bought the above for around $40. I’ve been saving it for almost a year now. My friend and I decided that Thursday was the night!

It was delicious!

And I was drunk in about 5 minutes. Oops.

We spent the evening enjoying the wine as we watched “You Bet Your Life: The Lost Episodes”. I love love love Groucho Marx! He is hilarious. The guests are a trip as well. On disc one, two of the contestants’ names: Harry Potter and Alice Cooper.

Yes, I’m serious.

Alice Cooper was actually the mother of actor Gary Cooper. She told Groucho to shut up. Feisty!

Man. I wish the Marx Brothers were still around. The world would be a funnier place.

What is your favorite game show?

I’m the busiest person with no life you’ve ever met.

But I shall work on it.

For instance, tomorrow, I am promising you all a race recap for the Strawberry Hill 5K.

Tonight, however, let me catch you up with the CSA Delivery from Thursday 2/17/11 from Greenhearts.

Orange picture is colored wonky. Oranges themselves, awesome.

I got a lot more citrus than is pictured, by the way. Like I said, it is awesome.

I’m so excited to have the chance to make mashed kohlrabi again! And how about that romanesco? I’ve never had it before. What a fun box!

Are you good at time management? Are you an expert at getting the most out of your day?

(I’m not, in case you were wondering…)

Hey all!

Super busy today…cleaning cleaning cleaning! I am exhausted!

Just checking in to show you my CSA box and then I am going to go collapse someplace!

Sorry these are not very artistic…like I said…tired!

Hope you had a good Thursday!

Back in December when I e-mailed Greenhearts Family Farm to change which week I was receiving my CSA box that month, I was greeted with some very unpleasant news: There was going to be a month-long break between the end of December and the end of January.

That’s right, NO fruits and veggies delivered to my home or office for four weeks.

Not cool.

I promised myself I’d go to the Farmer’s Market to pick up supplies, but for the most part, I didn’t. Life is always hectic around the holidays and the beginning of the year, so when you couple that with two back to back head colds, there just isn’t a lot of desire to trek out in search of produce.

I really learned how much I’ve started to rely on these CSA deliveries since I began participating a few months ago. I essentially plan my entire meal plan around whatever is delivered. It inspires me and pushes me to grow in the kitchen, try foods that I’ve never been exposed to before and to eat more healthfully.

Trust me, without these deliveries, it was all chocolate and frozen pizza.

At any rate, I was ecstatic on Thursday to receive my first box of the 2011 season.










All these items look delicious. I can’t wait to dive in!

What pushes you to try new things in the kitchen?

P.S. In case you were wondering, Greenhearts doesn’t compensate me for mentioning them on the blog. I just like ’em and want to give a shout out to a local business!

When I got my CSA box last week, I knew exactly what I wanted to make.

Potato Leek Soup.

I had never made potato leek soup before and while I thought about finding a recipe, I decided in the end that it would be easy enough to wing it. During my lunch break at work, I stopped by Trader Joe’s and picked up some thyme, so I wouldn’t have to make any stops on the way home.

Then I forgot the thyme in the employee refrigerator.

Score.

I started my near 4 mile walk home and thought about whether or not I should stop off for some spices of some kind. While I didn’t really want to brave the lines, I in the end decided to stop off at Whole paycheck Foods * for some more thyme. They somehow managed to be completely out of fresh thyme. What? So I got rosemary instead. I nearly got sucked into the Whole Foods vortex, but I caught ahold of myself and managed to get out with only buying the rosemary. Go me.

* I don’t mean to be all snarky about Whole Foods. I like it there, and everything, but it gets so expensive. I try to only go there for specific items that can only be found there and I do my regular shopping at other markets.

When I got home, I set to work….as quickly as possible. I was hungry!

First up, cut up the potatoes and set to the side.

I know what you’re thinking.

“You didn’t peel them first?!”

I thought about it…and then decided I was too lazy. Plus, since I was going to blend the soup anyway, there was really no need. Hey, fiber, baby!

Heat up a little bit of extra virgin olive oil in a pot and then add some garlic. Then add two chopped leeks and saute until soft.

Add 2 cups of chicken broth and the potatoes. Then add water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for about 20 minutes.

Then blend the soup in four batches with your Magic Bullet. Or use a blender. Or an immersion blender. Whatever you have available.

Yeah, I admit it. My method is not terribly efficient. Effective though.

In the last batch of soup that went into the magic bullet, I added a couple of tablespoon’s worth of fresh rosemary. After it was blended, I put all of the soup back in the original pot to heat back up.

Once the soup has been returned to the pot, you can add any further seasonings that you would like. I added a healthy amount of black pepper. Then I dug around in my fridge and located the creme friache that I had used when I made the golden beet soup and the butternut squash soup in October. As it turned out, it was good for exactly three more days, so I took the pot off of the heat and added the remainder (about 1/3 cup) to the soup to make it a little creamier.

Final step is to serve up a yellow bowlful:

I added a little too much rosemary, as the flavor was a little bit overwhelming. It was still super tasty though. I considered it a recipe success.

Are you a soup person in the winter? I sure am.

So this morning, the craziest thing happened.

I woke up, yawned, stretched and thought to myself, “I really want to go to the gym! I want to work out!”

I paused, shook my head a little and listened again, to make sure I was hearing correctly. “I want to work out! Rowing Machine! Treadmill! You name it, I wanna get at it!”

How….strange.

Seriously, I really don’t like to go to the gym. Like, at all. It’s tolerable if you watch Netflix on your iPhone, but otherwise, snoozeville. I’d rather go on a long walk, a short run or essentially do anything else besides go to the gym. This is why I wanted to make sure I wasn’t still dreaming or having some kind of psychotic episode when my brain told me to get up and go to the gym. It didn’t sound like me at all!

But it was!

And I wanted to burn some mad calories…so I did!

When I got to the gym, I had my heart set on the rowing machine. Someone had already snagged one of them, and as they are positioned really close together, I didn’t feel like using the other one. So, I wandered around and found myself in front of a Stairmaster. I don’t think I’ve ever used a step machine….well, unless you count me playing on one of my mom’s friend’s machines when I was a little kid. I ended up doing about 15 minutes on it. My arms were dripping with sweat when I was done…I guess it’s obvious that I don’t walk up enough stairs….

After the Stairmaster, I checked out the rowing machines and they were both free, so I went over there. I did about 18 minutes, though I had to stop a couple of times for water –I was super thirsty today. I was a little concerned about 5 minutes in because I started to have some really uncomfortable pain in my left knee. This isn’t unusual, as I do get pain in my left knee when exercising, but I didn’t like how much it hurt. Luckily, after about 7 minutes it got better and sort of went away. Maybe it just needed to get further warmed up?

Last, I hit up the treadmill. I was going to just jog for 15 minutes or so, but I ended up doing 30 minutes of sprints. I’m sure there are more efficient ways of doing them, but I was essentially just trying to run .25 miles as fast as I could, with really long recovery walks in between. I almost ran at 8 mi/hr, but thought I might go flying off of the machine, so I only did about .12 mile at that speed. Mostly I pushed myself at paces between 6-7.5 mi/hr. Those speeds are super fast for me, as even on race days I only average a 10:30 min/mi. The sprints were pretty addicting. Kept wanting to push myself harder. I would be about ready to end my workout and head to the stretching mats when an awesome Glee soundtrack song would come on and I’d think, “Gee…this would be fun to run to! Okay…just one more sprint!”

After some stretching I showered and hit the road. I had about 90 minutes to kill, so I went back down to Powell and the Westfield Shopping Center for fro-yo and Christmas shopping. I got pretty carried away looking at sweaters in Banana Republic…they were having a lunch time sweater sale with great prices. When I got out of there, I realized I had 15 minutes to get to work….either on the bus or on foot it takes 30 minutes. Oops!

I had planned to post about my last day in Orange County today, but I was much more excited about my weird workout enthusiasm. I’ll finish up tomorrow (promise!). For today, let me spend some time talking to you about spaghetti squash.

Yes, spaghetti squash.

I got one in my CSA box about a month ago and last week I finally had a chance to cut into it. It was awesome!

spaghettisquashhalves

As you can see, it’s a pretty big fella. Once I got in there, I cleaned out all of the guts, then I sprayed a cookie sheet with PAM and placed the halves in the oven to roast for about an hour. Then they looked like this:

roastedhalves

I’m sure most of you know, but the reason spaghetti squash is called spaghetti squash is because when you scrape out the meat, it looks like strands of spaghetti. I had heard so many positive reviews, I was dying to dig in and try this guy out.

spaghettithreads  spaghettithreads2

Pretty neat, no?

One squash yields a lot of spaghetti strands.

bowlsofspaghettithreads

I got a gigantic bowlful from each half. I decided that I would use half for spaghetti squash pasta, and the other half would be turned into spaghetti squash pancakes.

Say what?

You heard me, pancakes.

I received Mollie Katzen’s recipe for spaghetti squash pancakes in my CSA box. I was intrigued. Due to what I had on hand, I ended up changing the recipe. Didn’t work out quite the way I would have liked. I skipped out on the onion and added an ample sprinkling of Garlic Gold Parmesan Nuggets to the mix. Next, I only had liquid egg whites, and while I should have measured them out, I eye-balled the amount. My batter seemed a little too soupy.

battersquash

How do you like my measuring cup? Super cute, no?

While I don’t think my version came out exactly right, they ended up being pretty tasty. I topped mine off with a healthy dollop of Fage Greek Yogurt and a drizzling of Trader Joe’s Cranberry Apple Butter. Delicious!

squashpancakes

The next day, I took spaghetti squash to work for lunch and decided to try out the pasta method. I didn’t have anything to make sauce out of, so I just used a store brand roasted garlic tomato sauce and then topped with some parmesan cheese.

spaghettisquashpasta

No, presentation isn’t high on my list when sitting at my desk.

The important part was that it was so good. I can’t believe I have lived this long without spaghetti squash in my life. I want another one…like now!

What is your opinion of spaghetti squash? How do you like to serve it?