Sunday, September 26, 2010

csa day: autumn begins

CSA day vegetables from the past two weeks have definitely shown that fall is here. We're getting butternut squash and cold weather greens like chard, though some summer staples like tomatoes and peppers are still hanging on.

Two weeks ago we got: lots of sweet peppers, hot peppers, a variety of squash, chard, and tomatoes.

Last week we got: sweet peppers, a mix of beans, hot peppers, sweet basil and holy (purple) basil, beets, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes.

This year's CSA subscription has felt very different from last year's. Last year we picked up the vegetables at the farmers' market and chatted with one of the guys who worked on the farm. He'd let us know how growing was going and give us tips on how to cook things we weren't familiar with. This year the vegetables are delivered to my dad's front porch in the early morning, so it feels a little like the vegetable fairy has come. Delivery is very convenient for us, but I've missed the interaction with the person who grows our food. 

Recently Nick, the farmer of Finger Picking Farms, emailed some details about how the farming is going. He said that because of the lack of rain and super hot weather, he's gone to overnight watering for the fall crops. The watering has to be rotated fairly often to get to all of the crops, so he's been sleeping in a makeshift bed in the back of his pick-up truck, waking every hour and a half to change the watering over. Knowing all of the work he's put into these vegetables will make them taste even better and will keep me motivated to use them all.

The plan is to freeze a lot of peppers, make a small batch of pesto, and to roast the squash and sweet potatoes. I'm sure we'll find a night to have the green, speckled, and yellow wax beans with dinner, but I don't know what we'll do with the beets yet. With school and work, I don't have the time to whip up beet gnocchi this week. Does anybody have any quick and easy ideas?

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Menu Highlights from the past two weeks:

Spinach Lasagna

Breakfast Burritos (Chili leftovers + Eggs + Tortillas)

Veggie Burgers and Cabbage Casserole (K's mom's recipe)

Yes, I am very behind on sharing our menus, but we've made some really great meals lately that I think you will absolutely love! 

The Sweet Potato and Cabbage soup--Inspired by the Indonesian dish gado-gado, this soup contains sweet potatoes, chopped cabbage, ginger, garlic, onions, and tomatoes in a peanut butter broth, and is excellent when topped with green onions and cilantro. While the name might not sound very appealing at first, let me tell you, once you make this it will quickly become a regular in your meal-making. It's got peanut butter in it after all!  And with so many healthy vegetables, it's great for warding off colds.

The Black Bean Chili--This is a very thick and hearty chili (what a certain TV chef might refer to as a--gag--stoup). The recipe comes from a nationally famous local restaurant that specializes in good food, expensive drinks, and gaudy decor. What I love about this chili is how versatile it is. Not only did we eat it as plain ol' chili, we also used it to make breakfast burritos and as a topping for baked sweet potatoes (my new favorite lunch). The only major change we made is using only half as many beans as the recipe calls for. Believe me, even when halved, it's still plenty of beans.

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What have you been cooking lately? I'm always looking for fast meals and make-ahead dinners.


  1. One of my favorite salads uses beets. Use field greens, blue cheese, red onions, and beets. Sometimes I put in kalamata olives if I have them. The beets almost make like a dressing and I've never put a dressing on this salad.

  2. thanks lisa! this salad sounds so good and easy. plus, we're big blue cheese fans. i'll have to try it.

  3. What beautiful photos, such a rich harvest! Isn't it amazing to know the love that goes into these whole foods! For the beets - what about a grated raw salad with other veggies? We have been loving this zucchini cake recipe from a friend:
    grate your zucchini,
    mix in a teaspoon of salt
    leave it in a colander to drain.
    chop up some scallions, garlic, parsley, basil,
    add an egg and some breadcrumbs.
    After squeezing out the excess water from the zucchini, mix all of the ingredients and create thin patties to fry in olive oil. - We slice some corn off the cob to accompany it and it is so good!

  4. there is a great quinoa recipe on my blog from a few weeks back that you can add extra sweet and hot peppers too. I make a huge batch of it over the weekend for all my lunches in classes or the office since I don't get an official lunch break!

  5. Your veggies look amazing! Can't believe the farmer has to sleep in his truck - that's dedication!
    As for beets - they are so yummy roasted. Just olive oil, salt and pepper, cut them in half and place on pan cut side down in the oven for 30-40 min. Sprinkle with a bit of balsamic vinegar and serve as a side dish or just over steamed rice. Stir fry the green part in a bit of olive oil - the leaves are yummy too.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog - you have a beautiful space here.

  6. Ha -- that stoup word kills me (as does that nationally recognized chef -- I have to change the channel when she's on). Anyhow, I boiled up a beet and mixed it in with smashed potatoes. It was really good and such a beautiful color. I've also made a tossed salad and added a cooked and cut up beet and blue cheese. I can't remember where I found the recipe, but it was very good. Your bounty photos are great.

  7. The transition to the late Summer/early Fall CSA contents is one that we definitely look forward to. Our members seem to love this change. Something about the hearty storage crops as the weather turns crisper signals the fondest memories of some special times. It is bittersweet coming to the end of the season, but what a wonderful way to go out! Enjoy the remaining weeks!

  8. I agree that the extra work put into those veggies will impart a sweeter flavor.

    Breakfast burritos sound good. It's been a while since I fixed those for supper.

    I'm adding to the simple suppers this week...probably Wednesday I'll have another installment up and ready.


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