Sunday CSA #2

After much anticipation, I finally got my second CSA pick up. And oh it is such a good one this week!

Red and gold potatoes, donut peaches, black beau plums, yellow nectarines, haas avocados, bell pepper, collard greens, red romaine lettuce, green beans, thyme, and what I’m told is yellow squash. Looks like zucchini to me, are yellow squash and yellow zucchini the same thing?

So I’ve cut up and washed and stored the leafy greens, and I’ve snapped and washed and stored the green beans. I really don’t know what I am going to do with all these vegetables- I like all of them so much on their own, but should I try new things with them? I think I’ll end up roasting the potatoes (and perhaps the green beans as well) with the thyme; what other seasonings go well with thyme?

I am not a fan of avocados. I am going to give them a try again, and then probably just pass them off to someone who can enjoy them. I sincerely wish I did enjoy avocados since they have so many great nutrients for you. Are there any recipes with avocado that are good for a non-avocado eater? My problem with them is mainly that I am a texture eater, and their texture does not bode well for me at all.

I can’t wait to savor the fruit over the next week or so. It all looks so good I could eat it up right now. We’ll see how long it lasts …

So far as the lettuce and collard greens go, I suppose I could sauté the collards with some fresh garlic (I ALWAYS have that on hand!) and add them to my quinoa, black beans, and salsa staple (seriously every single day for lunch). The lettuce I am still at a loss for; I was directed to a few recipes in the comments of my last CSA post, but not many look to appetizing to me. I’m just not a lettuce eater. I wish I could make lettuce chips and collard green chips as easily as I can make kale chips, because those were amazing!

I think during my trip to Whole Foods later today I am going to do some price comparisons to see how much (or if) I am saving by getting my veggies this way. I am grateful that this is such an easy way to get organic, local produce- but I am such a number cruncher that now is the time to see how the convenience and cost balance out.

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a day of greens

I was so happy to have the day off work, because it gave me a chance to prepare all my leafy greens before they go bad.

I invested in a quality salad spinner this morning, and after today I know that the purchase was not in vain. As it seems I’ll have a surplus of greens every time I pick up my CSA produce, the salad spinner is a great way to save time and frustration. It is so convenient and efficient!

lettuce in the salad spinner basket

I was most excited about making kale chips since I have heard so many good things about them. They only way I’ve prepared kale previously is by sautéing it and adding it to a stir-fry. I also learned today that baking kale does not harm the nutrients that are packed into it!

I love the look of curly kale!

I looked up a few recipes, and the general consensus is to line a pan with parchment paper, place bite-sized kale leaves on it making sure they are not on top of one another, drizzle with olive oil and seasonings, and bake for 10 minutes at 350*.

ready for the oven

I’m not very good at “drizzling” oil- more tends to come out of the bottle than I’d prefer- so after I spilled enough onto the kale, I just fluffed it all around with my hands to be sure all the leaves were coated. I salted one of the pans, and for the other batch I added salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. I love everything spicy!

LOTS of cayenne!

I checked the leaves after 10 minutes in the oven and they weren’t quite dehydrated/crispy all the way through, so I gave them another few minutes and then took them out. They were PHENOMENAL. Plenty of the recipes I looked up had warned about how tasty they are and how you can’t stop at just one. I figured they’d taste good enough and that would be that. I was wrong. I really couldn’t stop at just one. In fact, I ate the entire tray of the spicy ones. And I had left some raw kale out to stir-fry later, but I ended up making it into chips as well.

Out of the oven and ready to eat! So delicious!

My only downfall was storing them in plastic bags for later. I brought some for dinner with Jeremy tonight and by the time I got there, the kale was limp and chewy. I’m hoping that putting them in the oven again tomorrow will rejuvenate the crispiness. Was it how I stored them that made them limp, or are kale chips just hard to keep in general? I’m wondering if I didn’t keep them in the oven long enough.

I also washed and stored the red leaf lettuce, mizuna, and bok choy. I used the lettuce and mizuna to make a quick stir fry with an onion, red pepper flakes, pepper, oregano, sun dried tomatoes, and parmesan cheese and ate that for lunch with a crumbled sunshine burger mixed in.

Washed, dried, and ready to cook for dinner.

The bok choy I am saving to eat raw throughout the week since I love its mild flavor. Every last bit of the rest of the greens, including what little kale I had left, went to Jeremy’s to cook for our dinner. I made a stir fry with lots of fresh garlic, peanuts, and one of my favorite Chinese-inspired sauces- 1.5 T water, 3 T soy sauce, 1 T rice vinegar, 1 T sugar, and some cornstarch to thicken it up. It was delicious!

So, all the greens I got on Sunday are already gone (save for the bok choy), and while I wish I kept them longer, I was worrying so much about them going bad that I am happy they all got used. In the next weeks when I get more I’ll have to try some of the ideas I’ve been given about extending the life of the greens.

Sunday CSA!

Today I picked up my first bag of local organic fruit and veggie goodness. Last week’s post explains why I joined a CSA, and today I couldn’t be more happy about it!

curly kale, red leaf lettuce, arugula, onions, bok choy, fava beans, zucchini, cherries, plums, nectarines, tomatoes

bok choy

arugula

glorious fruit!

onions

We picked up the food at noon today, so of course I had to incorporate some of it into lunch. I had Sunshine Burgers in the freezer (they were on sale at Whole Foods over Memorial Day weekend, otherwise the price isn’t worth it), so we cooked them up and added lettuce, kale, and tomatoes for a delicious vegan meal.

We also shelled the fava beans and boiled them for a few minutes, as suggested by an email I got from Savraw this morning. I’ve never had fava beans before- they were quite good, they reminded me of peas. We just tried a few, and I’ll be having the rest with lunch tomorrow.

On Tuesday (a day off work!) I will be attempting to make kale chips; if anyone has any suggestions, it would be greatly appreciated- I’ve never tried it before.

I’ll be trying my best to savor the fruit and hopefully spread it over the entire week. It will be a stretch- I LOVE fruit! (I am most excited about the cherries! Since I typically go out of my way to avoid non organic produce, cherries are not at the top of my shopping list due to their cost.) As for the rest of the veggies, I suppose I’ll buy a few supplementary types and make a some stir fries this week. I am not a huge fan of lettuce, does anyone have any suggestions as to how to use it before it goes bad? I would like to eventually purchase a blender so I can make green smoothies whenever I have a surplus of leafy things.

What was the best part of your most recent CSA bundle? What meals are you planning to make with your fresh produce?

Community Supported Agriculture

I got frustrated the other day at Whole Foods after spending a ton of money because I wanted vegetable stir fry for dinner. Two yellow squash, three zucchini, a bunch of carrots, two heads of broccoli, and some teriyaki sauce set me back about $20 for dinner for two. Not absolutely ridiculous (though slightly), but it’s not something I can do every day of the week. The next day I set out to research some CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs here in LA, something I’ve been intending to do for a while.

What is CSA? The best I can explain with my knowledge is that you are paying money to a local farm to help it support itself (essentially, in a way, buying “stock” in the farm), and in return you get a generous helping of various fresh fruits and vegetables from the farm every week (or bi-weekly). Most of the farms involved in CSAs seem to be organic. What better way to eat healthy, eat local, and eat organic?!

I found a great blog post here, with a seemingly comprehensive list of all available CSAs in the area. After doing some of my own research online and asking around, I decided to sign up for Savraw Organics (formerly known as CSA California). I signed up for the $25 box, bi-weekly, and my first pick up is on Sunday June 3, just a mile away from where I go to church. So convenient! I am very excited to start saving money and eating more fresh and local whole foods. I am also looking forward to broadening my cooking skills and recipe repertoire, as I’ll surely be getting some vegetables I’m not used to eating. I’ll be sure to post some of my favorite new recipes once this starts happening.

Ironically, the day after I signed up for Savraw, there was a Living Social deal for Farm Fresh To You, another CSA. Of course, I couldn’t pass it up, since buying the deal (half off a $31 box!) got me a voucher to use whenever I desire, and the produce will be delivered right to my apartment! I’ll be sure to post about that when I redeem it.

Do you invest in a CSA? Which one? I’d like to know other people’s experiences!