So much CSA

E’s school started, so I’m all alone on CSA duty…

What’s going to happen to all this stuff?

  • Corn–peel, boil, shuck, freeze in bags
  • Beets–boil, slip skins, cut in half, add to jar of cider vinegar in my fridge (lazy person’s pickled beets!)
  • Jalepenos–blend with coconut oil to use to sautee things all winter long.
  • Melons–Rough chop for lunches all week.
  • Eggplant–peel, 1″ chop, olive oil + salt, roast at 400 for 20-30 min, stirring once or twice
  • Zucchini–2 of them: chop and roast with the eggplant. I use these roasted veggies in everything (with eggs! Mixed in curry! in peanut sauce!) Other two: shred and freeze.
  • Green beans–olive oil and salt and roast, separate pan from eggplant/zucc but same oven. I like to let them get a little brown and then toss with vinaigrette and nuts.
  • Cukes–eat in salad. No need to do anything.
  • Red peppers–again, we’ll just eat them in salads.
  • Kale–chips to be eaten while everything else is prepped. Again, olive oil + salt in a 400 oven. You have to kind of pay attention so they don’t burn.
  • Cabbage + tomatos–Heat some oil, add 1 t ea cumin seed and ground cumin and something hot (like jalepeno oil!) and salt. Let the cumin begin to pop then add the three big red tomatos finely chopped and the head of cabbage 1″ chopped. Put a lid on and let it wilt. Add more salt.
  • Red onions–add to the bin. They’ll get used.

Hard to carry but totally manageable.

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Gone swimming

I forgot to tell you how the yogurt turned out! Actually, I didn’t want to tell you how the yogurt turned out, because it was a total disaster. I was too impatient for it to cool down and I added the starter too soon, which promptly killed off all my precious bacteria. The end result was delicately curdled milk with some clammy bits. In her eminently practical way, K said, if you do it again and it turns out well, you can pretend that was the original ending and no one will know the difference, but I’m a terrible liar. So the truth is, round 2, once I strapped myself to the couch and made myself be patient, was amathing. It is thick, creamy, tangy. It is the best yogurt I’ve ever had, and I consider myself a bit of a connoisseur. I ate it all week: plain over tacos, then with maple syrup for snacks, then with peaches and strawberries. Oh, yum! I’ll give you the recipe, but it has to wait a few weeks because now we’re in our beloved Chincoteague for the rest of July.

I’m lucky to be marrying K for a number of reasons: her sanguine practicality, her wit, her firm adage that disaster preparedness begins at home (which meshes nicely with my constant vigilance about unlikely pitfalls), her great ass, among other qualities. But the fact that she also comes with a rambling beach house on an island with wild ponies? If my 26 year old self is reading this, which is possible according to the paranormal time traveling romances I’ve been devouring from the little used bookstore downtown on the way back from the world’s best ice cream parlor, then self, I have to tell you: just wait a while, things are going to get so good.  Pretty soon you’re going to be making yogurt, wearing sundresses and no-shoes and that particularly summery smell of sunscreen and salt, swimming for days on end with your favorite person.

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An Experimental Phase

K is away on one of her many bidness trips (Guys, don’t come over and rob me! All you will find is a mid-30s lesbian wearing a t-shirt from WomaNation 1999 with an eye mask as a head band and her two shorn, sullen feline companions). Whenever K is away, my eating habits go south instantly. K ascribes to the paleo way of eating, which basically means she once pushed a car that had run out of gas through the streets of Windsor Terrace TO SAFETY. Hot. Deeeamn.

However, as you (and by you I mean AP, the only reader of this blog, who already knows this anyway from being my bosom friend) may have already determined, I greet many meats dubiously and prefer a more carb-loaded and dairy-filled homesteading existence. I am aware that my beloved, who I like to refer to sometimes as Gaston, thinks I would be happier and healthier if I too foraged for nuts, seeds and berries; aware because she tells me so routinely while enthusiastically slurping down eggs with a side of tuna tartare for breakfast and then rolling around on the gymnastics rings that resides in one of our kitchen doorways. It’s not that I don’t like eggs OR tuna tartare! And I also like (don’t mind) your rolling around on the rings!

It’s just that I love so many other things too. I love the process of making bread. I love how yeast, salt, water and flour just sit around in a lump, and then glutenify themselves into the crumbiest, crustiest boule. I’m aware that she may wear me down and in a year I may be espousing the benefits of the raw mulberry paste I spread on almonds before lifting up neighborhood cars to see if there are any spare kittens trapped underneath. But please, let me have my bread for now.

Anyway (this blog is really tangential, isn’t it), since K is away, I’m appropriating the slow cooker, which is usually filled with an entire side of beef cow, for one of my OWN experiments. YOGURT. Hello, dreamy creamy tang. My college roommate, RMGF, tells me all I need is enthusiasm and some mason jars. I have those both in spades, so right now a gallon of the least pasteurized milk I could find is warming up to 180 degrees in the crockpot. It’s been in there for about 90 min and has an hour to go. After that, I’m told it needs to cool for 90 min back down to 110, and then I’ll stir in a cup of live culture greek yogurt. And then it will sit on the “warm” setting, or wrapped in a heating pad, or wrapped in towels and put in the oven with the light oven, depending on what blog you read, for 8 -12 hours.

And then, YOGURT. Yogurt with my gluten filled granola! I will, of course, keep you posted.

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You complain a lot, but you really persevere.

That’s how K complimented me this morning after I pitched a total fit that the internet wouldn’t work well enough to stream Dance Academy onto the TV without it skipping. When I calmed down, it was still broken, so I spend the first two hours of our nation’s birthday fixing it. And guess what, if you want to come over to watch the entire first season of Dance Academy SKIP FREE, I’ll supply the organic free range popcorn.

Last night was the first basil in our CSA delivery. Yum! We have a tiny 4×8 garden plot a few blocks away that’s about half basil, but our plants aren’t nearly along enough to start making the pounds and pounds of pesto I demand, so I was excited for this. While K was making a “cumin cabbage mix em up” which I will let her tell you about, I was working on Kitchen Cabinet Pesto. That means, it’s the first batch of summer pesto and I was not prepared, so get creative. Instead of pine nuts, I toasted pumpkin seeds, and instead of Parmesan, used the last third of a hard cow’s milk cheese K brought back from the Burlington Food Co-op. Dump the seeds, the basil leaves, 2 or 3 cloves of garlic into the food processor, the cheese if you’re into it, and salt and pepper them up.

Then slowly add lemon juice and oil while the processor is running. Stop when it’s getting pasty. And tasty. Spatula it all into a little ziplock bag, get as much air out as you can, and seal. And then freeze the bag on it’s side, so that once it’s frozen, you can stack up space saving frozen bags of pesto and sauce in preparation for the long winter and feel positively Caroline Ingalls about it.

I also made the world’s easiest roasted new pototoes – rosemary from the window sill, oil, s and p, and a little cornstarch to make ’em extra crispy. We had a classic snears cobb salad for dinner with the rest of the goods: tomatoes, cukes, pea shoots, lettuce, hard boiled eggs, peppers, and added sunflower seeds, with my famous vinaigrette. I’ll tell you about it sometime. I was feeling rebellious, so I had a white wine spritzer.

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Clarification and chicken

I feel that in the spirit of honesty I should clarify that WE did not make any of those things; they are all K’s creations. I am deeply suspicious of both chicken and beets, the former even more so than I am of squash and raisins (those I firmly believe are two of God’s biggest mistakes.).

Believe me, I wish I didn’t turn my nose up at chicken. It all went down in the summer of 2008 after a bad run-in with a perfectly rotisserie’d bird from the Food Coop. It probably had a better life than I did, that chicken (actually, given that I was periodically breaking up with my woefully adulterous evangelical ex girlfriend that summer who never liked the cats anyway, I’m sure it did).  Anyway, as I was forking a perfectly arranged bite to my mouth I had this crazy visceral reaction that “THIS IS FLESH!” and ever since then, chicken and I do not go gently and companionably into that good night together. Turkey is sometimes out, and Cornish Game Hens are completely off the table. But I will set aside my chicken-y fears for these lettuce wraps. They’re like PF Changs, only not in a strip mall outside of Nashville. I know that sounds like a crummy compliment, but if you really KNEW me and how I can go through an entire thanksgiving season without touching fowl, you’d realize that they’re really good. You’d try them out tonight, even.

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Week 3

Same overwhelming amount of lettuce…

I made two main things tonight. Chicken salad and roasted beets.

Vaguely Asian Chicken Lettuce wraps: 

1) marinate a couple pounds of boneless chicken thighs in tamari, rice vinegar, coconut oil and something spicy (I used hot sauce but that wasn’t quite right. I wish I’d used sriracha) and then drain and poach the chicken in water. I brought the chicken up to a boil and then turned them off and put a lid on for a half hour. Check and they’ll be done!

2) let the chicken cool and then dice.

3) add a couple diced cucumbers, two cans of water chestnuts and a grated, peeled raw beet.

4) dress with: 3 T nutbutter, 1 T fish sauce, 2 T lime juice, 1 T the sweetest vinegar you have (I had plum vinegar, rice would work), 1 T chili garlic paste.

5) garnish with basil and eat out of lettuce leaves.

 

Balsamic-Roasted Beets: 

Peel all the beets that are left and wrap them in tin foil, leaving a little spout thing on top. Add balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper and then close the foil. Roast at 350 for 45 min and check to make sure they’re tender. Delicious on salad.

 

Then we prepped the lettuce and put everything else away. We’ll make saag and salsa and roasted veggies tomorrow to deal with everything else.

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Do-over, please

I have exactly two days between leaving my high-stress corporate job and pursuing fame and policy in the public sector, and I wasn’t planning on spending it with my disgruntled cats at the holistic overpriced naturopath vet. But T, our upstairs neighbor, knocked on the door and when I opened it, I deduced from his wild pony eyes that something was amiss in the hallway. My boys like to slink around out there, pretending they’ve never known humans, and Paco, the lunatic cat upstairs, likes to try to hump them when he can, and one of the three dragged some rat poison out from underneath the radiator to have a little rat poison picnic. Well.

So off we all went to our various vets.  I sat in the crowded waiting area looking guiltily at the powdered raw food they always told me I was supposed to give them and imagining how I’d have to wear sunglasses inside if one of them died because I would cry so hard, and also, there were the most adorable tiny feral kittens there, one of whom had an underbite because of a jaw disorder, and you know I cried about that too. 

I was blowing up K’s phone with minute by minute updates but she was foraging for gluten free food in the East Village and clearly preferred to let me go this one alone, not that I’m righteous about it. 

Anyway, this is ostensibly a food blog, so my tangential point is that once they made the cats throw up, they injected them with enough vitamin K so that they’ll never have to eat leafy greens again, and we got the all clear to head home. I was so rattled that I could not bear to eat any of the delectable vegetables that K had tenderly prepared. I wanted the food of my youth; the meal that my dad would eat for a snack while standing up in the kitchen and tossing off a jovial soliloquy or two. I rotated peanut butter, cheese, and tuna dabs on saltines (my dad used to add butter to the mix: hardcore), calmed myself down, and took a nap. 

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