Thursday, July 14, 2016

CSA Week 3

This is the first week I found it really difficult to use some of the items that we received. The lettuce, snap peas, cucumbers, carrots, garlic scapes, rosemary, and saskatoon were easy enough, but the cilantro and fennel challenged me. In fact, I did give the cilantro away. Neither my husband nor I like it, At All, not one little bit.
I was excited to see that we were receiving more garlic scapes. I loved using them the first time in stir frys, and will use them again in the same way, though we didn't receive nearly as many (three instead of around 10 I think). My kids were excited for the saskatoon berries. I let them each eat one the same day we received the basket and the rest we enjoyed thoroughly with our breakfast the next morning. My neighbor benefited from the cilantro. I had never eaten fennel before (scared off by its licorice reputation) let alone tried to prepare it. What we received was a rather small bulb with gigantic stalks. I decided to make a pesto with the leaves and roast the bulb, but what to do with the thick stems? I threw them on the sheet pan with the bulb and the carrots, keeping each of the three separate but tossing all with olive oil and salt to roast. I added a few of the leaves to our meatballs. But then I chickened out on the pesto and added the remaining leaves to a coleslaw instead with cabbage, carrots, and a mayo-free dressing. My husband ate three helpings before dinner (I think he had skipped lunch that day), the kids complained each time I served it (but I gave them each a bite-full anyway), and the rest made its way into my hubby's lunches and my own lunches. Coleslaw lasts a really long time, btw, if two thirds of the people eating it only take a single spoonful, and even that under protest. In our case it appeared at quite a few family meals over the course of more than a week.
We are attending a potluck nearly every weekend this summer as usual and I quickly decided to make "vegetable tray" the item that we bring to each one. If I don't have a lot of flexibility in my schedule we can purchase one pre-made and if I do then I can pick items that I know my family will eat. Leftovers are easier for me to do something with (I can rinse any gluten crumbs off and still use them as opposed to most things which I have to throw away) and my kids have a familiar vegetable without loudly telling me and everyone else that they're skeptical about the various salads and casseroles which might otherwise be their only options to eat the vegetable that they know they're supposed to eat before picking a dessert. This week's cucumbers and snap peas were perfect for that; Well, they would have been, but my oldest saw the peas and ate them all up before the next day was over. Some of the cucumbers survived until veggie tray time and I only had to add cherry tomatoes, peppers, baby carrots and a dip to complete the tray.
I've used fresh herbs that I've grown in the past, but I've used them mostly in the later half of the summer, with fresh green beans, tomatoes, zucchini, and other foods that haven't come into season yet. So far I haven't felt like I've really taken full advantage of the herbs in my box since I've only minced them into butter and frozen that butter for later. That will taste good on our winter chicken and steak, but it's not doing much for us yet in the summer. I did put a generous slab on the steaks we grilled though and we certainly enjoyed it.
Other vegetables that we bought this week: 6 pounds carrots, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower. The tomatoes were for the vegetable tray, the cauliflower and some of the carrots worked beautifully with the garlic scapes and an onion in a stir fry, and more carrots complemented various other meals throughout the week.

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