I started something fun and new this week: CSA food drops!
If there's anything I dislike more, it's the chore of going to the local generic grocery store. Especially when I'm hungry. I end up buying random, pointless things... like ice cream sundae flavored pop tarts.
But my irrational food purchases aside, the worst part of going to the store is trying to pick out an assortment of vegetables from the "fresh" aisle, while wondering where exactly they came from -- or what has been put on them to make the colors so bright and the texture so perfect?
I adore farmer's markets, but unfortunately, I work a job that doesn't always allow me weekends off, so my trips there are inconsistent (at best) or nonexistent (at worst). And even when I do visit the market, I'm overwhelmed by the sheer number of vegetable choices, paired with my inability to cook with them.
Thus, I have happily signed up for a CSA! (that actually stands for "Community Supported Agriculture", just in case you were worried I had joined the Casting Society of America.)
Not only is it surprisingly affordable, it's also home grown, supports local farms, and it gets delivered right to my doorstep. My first drop came this week and I was a bit surprised by the weight of it. Apparently a "small bin" translates to a small ton of food. Here is the gorgeousness inside:
1/2 lb Cherries
1 lb Apricots
1/2 lb Sugar Snap Peas
1 bunch Collard Greens
1 lb Zucchini
1 Lettuce Head
1-2 Green Peppers
1 lb Fava Beans
1 bunch Green Onions
1.5 lb Potatoes
2 Spring Onions
Not only does that equate to a large amount of food (especially considering Tanner's distaste for anything the color green, leafy, healthy, or rhyming with the word "fegetables") but a lot of the stuff I simply had no idea what the hell it was. Fortunately the CSA's website had a handy print-out list that classified all my food stuffs, so I didn't have to sit staring at a pile of fava beans and wondering if they were some kind of mutant green bean.
The other thing is, I would never willingly buy fava beans at a grocery store. Much less collard greens, or apricots, or even a cucumber on Wednesdays. (Plus, am I the only one who mistakes those for zucchinis? I always have to look twice.) Having them in my house now forces me to look up new recipes and try out a fun assortment of meals I've never attempted before. It's pretty exciting.
And this doesn't even include the lettuce, collards, or green onions!
However, I will note that the preparation for fava beans doesn't look too promising. Something about de-podding the beans and then blanching the shells and then still having to struggle with the little suckers to make them edible. I'm not sure I have one pound's worth of patience for that, but we'll see. You may be able to convince me otherwise with a compelling recipe.
To start with, I chopped up all the fruit and made myself a pleasant, surprisingly orange-hued fruit salad. It's worth noting that a lot of the cherries did not make it to the bowl (yummm) and the same goes for the cantaloupe. It was so juicy it practically fell off the rind. Is there anything better?
At this point it was quite late in the evening, and if I didn't make something for dinner quick I would be on the verge of diving into that box o' pop tarts. Rather than do anything fancy with the veggies, I simply divvied up a couple of my favorites and created myself an impromptu veggie wrap.
Here's how to make it:
Sliced and diced green pepper, spring onion, and zucchini. I pureed a can of Great Northern beans and used it as a spread on a tortilla (I'm not a fan of the texture of beans, so you don't have to puree them if you like it), added a chopped up slide of smoked Gouda (my favorite) and sprinkled the veggies on top. I warmed the whole thing up on the stove and topped it with crushed red pepper and parmesan.
I would share photos of the final creation, but it got devoured as quickly as the fruit salad.
I will note that the spring onion was the most amazing thing I have tasted in a long time. Crisp, flavorful, and just a tiny bit sweet. The combination of that and the smoked Gouda was a veggie wrap well concocted.
More recipes to come!