Tuesday, March 24, 2009

2nd Tuesday CSA Veggie Pickup

I was able to pick up the veggies today without the kids. I was even able to combine errands and went grocery shopping right after so I didn't just drive 30 minutes to and from just for a bag full of veggies.

Today's pick up consisted of 1 leafy green I can't identify, 1 bunch of beautiful red beets, 1 bunch of turnips, 1 bunch of radishes, 1 bunch of cilantro, and 1 bunch of rosemary.

It isn't much this time either but I still have hope. The veggies are also very bright in color. It inspired me to really get that garden started my neighbor and I were talking about yesterday. I would love to see these veggies growing in my yard. It would save my family a lot of money doing it and we would eat well. My husband and I attempted a garden a few years back. We managed to grow tomoatoes one time, then the watermelon took over. We eventually learned how to pick the watermelons, but it took some trial and error and of course research online. I will say though that what did survive from the the tomatoes and the watermelon were delicious.

We pulled the one carrot that grew too soon and the corn didn't grow at all. Maybe this time it will be different. We will research more online first and during our gardening. I'll ask the farmer from the CSA for some tips too and maybe just maybe we can put a complete organic salad on the table this year or next year from our very own organic garden. Wouldn't that be nice?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

CSA, Pesto, Misperos and Sauteed Greens

I was told in the CSA email/newsletter group response from the farmer that the mixed greens we received this past Tuesday were "a mix of green and red mizuna with red russion kale and totsoi" and, if I understood correctly, also baby turnip greens. I wish there was a way that I could identify the leaves for sure. The farmer himself doesn't seem to know what they are. I find that strange considering that he is the farmer, but perhaps he has various greens and gave some people this and some people that. It is the only explanation I can come up with.

It was suggested, to prepare these green I can make them into a pesto or saute them like spinach. I don't like spinach...not sauteed. I can't stand the texture. I'll eat it fresh or baked, but gooey is not my kind of thing. Still I will give it all a try. I have to be open-minded to these things. Just because I haven't liked something in the past doesn't mean I wont like it now. Besides if I don't like it my husband will. He loves sauteed spinach. I can make some for him. As for the pesto, this may be the route to go for myself. I will have to find some good recipes first.

What is pesto? After a little research I read that it is usually crushed basil with garlic, onions, salt, pepper and it is made into a sauce to be spread over pasta. That sounds great. I don't see why I couldn't do the same with these mixed greens.

More on pesto:

By the way I forgot to mention that Wednesday the 18th I picked Misperos from a Mispero tree in my mother's back yard. They are completely organic, very pretty and so tasty. Take a look at the picture below. I filled the bucket below to the top in under an hour.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Tuesday's CSA Veggie Pickup

Tuesday's CSA Veggie Pickup was a little disappointing. I received one tote full of veggies. When the farmer mentioned in the weekly newsletter there wouldn't be much at the first Tuesday's pickup, I expected a little, but wow I didn't expect that little bit of food. Am I spoiled for expecting at least a little more?

In total I received 1 small cabbage, 1 bunch of dill, 1 bunch of radishes and 3 produce bags of mixed greens. In addition the drive was far (about 30 minutes), during traffic and finding the place was a little confusing at first. Had the drive been at a better time and had I not had my kids with me I would have tried to combine errands to save gas.

On a good note the radishes were beautiful big and red. The dill smelled great. Since picking up the veggies I have used the dill and radishes everyday (ex: tuna salad). I used the cabbage in a beef stew I made yesterday and on my birthday I made a delicious crunchy salad with the mixed green leaves, fried pork pieces, boiled egg, radishes, a pinch of fresh dill and a bunch of other veggies. It was all very tasty until I discovered that I didn't clean the leaves as well as I thought I did. I witnessed, what I thought were all the bugs wash down the drain. Still we found two bugs, a pretty green Caterpillar and a beautiful green live spider, in the salad during dinner.

We weren't disgusted, but I was very embarrassed. Had my in-laws been over, they probably would have never eaten at my house again. Wait....that could be a good thing! No, just kidding. Seriously, next time I will have to clean the lettuce better. I've been a city girl all my life and as I mentioned before I'm not a great cook. Someone needs to teach me all this stuff. To learn I sent an email out to the CSA group and asked for advice. I've been advised to soak the leaves. Bugs float and dirt sinks. I can handle that. I also asked how to keep the dill fresh and if someone lived in my area was willing to trade pickup weeks with me so we could save time and gas. It looks like I might be able to trade with another member. That's a relief. It will make this process much easier. If the two of us can find two more people, each one of us would only have to drive the distance only once a month.

One of these day I am going to have to visit the farm I am a member of. Maybe this summer. I would have loved to have visited the farm on Market Day, but its several hours away and between the kids and work, it isn't a possible trip for me right now.

I still can't understand why there isn't a local farm with a CSA program closer to where I live. Maybe one day.....

Monday, March 16, 2009

CSA, KIWI and the Future

Tomorrow will be the first CSA veggie pick-up. I'm not sure what to expect, but the Farmer's e-newsletter has let us know it wont be much this first time. Thanks to the recent rain the next pick -up should be better. There are veggies on the list I have never cooked before.

Here is the list we have been given for this week:
Brussels Sprouts (maybe)
All Greens Mix (excellent raw or braised)
Baby Swiss Chard
Baby Spring Mix (maybe)
Spinach (maybe)
Head Lettuce (small but tasty)
Turnip Greens
Radish - Easter egg OR Chinese red

I've cooked with cilantro and spinach before and I've eaten head of lettuce, but the rest of the stuff is new to me. I'm not a very good cook. Having different foods like these to cook makes me nervous. I don't want to make a new dish with an item I've never cooked before and then find out no one, not even me, likes the new dish. A good chef can make anything taste good. Me? Not so much. I will give it a try though. Who knows, I may surprise myself. It would help if I knew what most of these veggies looked like and what they are traditionally cooked with. I grew up with white corn, tomatoes, cilantro, avocados, onion, garlic, chile... What is dill? What are Turnip greens? What is baby Swiss chard. I know what Brussels sprouts look like, but how do you cook them? I've been told they are cooked like cabbage, but longer. I hope that is true.

Well... I guess as I learn you do too. Today's vegetable defined and explained:
Brussels Sprouts are one of the few vegetables to have originated in northern Europe. Brussels sprouts look like small heads of cabbage and are similar to them in taste as well. Brussels Sprouts are also high in vitamin C and "beta-carotene (vitamin A), and nitrogen compounds called indoles which may reduce the risk of certain cancers," according to foodreference.com.

Brussels Sprouts Recipe:

1.Roasted Brussels Sprouts SUBMITTED BY: JAQATAC via allrecipes.com
  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and yellow leaves removed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
  2. Place trimmed Brussels sprouts, olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal tightly, and shake to coat. Pour onto a baking sheet, and place on center oven rack.
  3. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes, shaking pan every 5 to 7 minutes for even browning. Reduce heat when necessary to prevent burning. Brussels sprouts should be darkest brown, almost black, when done. Adjust seasoning with kosher salt, if necessary. Serve immediately.

This recipe appears to be simple enough for someone like me to make and it sounds delicious. I also happen to have all the ingredients in my kitchen, well....sort of. I'm not sure what kosher salt is, but I have regular salt...

Kitchen On-line Dictionary to the rescue! Kosher salt defined at this link http://www.recipezaar.com/library/getentry.zsp?id=359.

I will have to use regular salt for now. If the dish turns out well, maybe later I can add a broth to it (chicken, beef, or veggie). Maybe I can add them to rice or put them in a stew. I mean if it is similar to cabbage it shouldn't be too hard to make. Right!?

Oh a quick note before I sign off...today while reading KIWI magazine I saw an ad for a gift from the Eat Like a Hero program at organicheroes.com. Mail in UPC codes and "in return, Nature's Path and Organic Valley will make a generous contribution of up to $50,000 to the Rodale Institute's Farmers Can Be Heroes program. To thank you for your support, you will receive a free subscription to Organic Gardening magazine* and a chance to win a year of FREE Nature's Path and Organic Valley products! " For more information check out http://www.organicheroes.org/ .

Sunday, March 1, 2009

CSA, Liver, Dogs and Organic Food

Did I tell you I asked to skip this month on the CSA delivery? I did. I asked to skip it. It wasn't in my budget this month. Did I tell you I finally cooked the CSA liver? I did. I've never liked the taste of liver. No matter how it's cooked I still can't stand it. Unfortunately, the same rings true with the liver that came in the CSA meats. I waited until I was all out of other meats before cooking it. I sauteed it with onion and salt. I really don't know any other recipe. It smelled great. Wonderful in fact. My kids were going on and on about the how good it smelled. Liver does have a nice smell to it. When it was done cooking I gave a small piece to each of my girls who were so excited to get a taste ( I hardly ever let them taste before a meal) they hopped with joy. My oldest took a huge bite and said yum and just as quickly as she said yum her mouth and face turned into a look of disgust. My youngest was to busy confused about the texture of the meat that she was taking pinches and putting the tiny morsels into her mouth. Then at the same time the both stuck their tongues out and looked at me and told me they didn't like it. Secretly I knew my picky girls wouldn't like it, but a part of me was hoping they would. I wish I were a better cook and maybe I could have somehow made it taste better, but the texture from the liver alone is enough to turn me off and apparently my girls too. Yes I tasted it too and I just.... couldn't bare it. I was so disappointed. All the other meats from the CSA meat have been remarkably better compared t regular meats that I assumed the liver would taste better too, but it wasn't. Not in my opinion or my daughters. I hated to waste it, but I knew there was no way we would eat it. So I gave it to my dog who enjoyed it very much. He ate it up in less than 5 minutes. That made me think about an article I read somewhere, wish I could remember where, about why dogs should be fed organic meals too. I looked at my dog and gave him a pat on the head and told him, "I wish I could sweety, but I can barely afford to buy organic foods for us". The next time I went to the big HEB I looked for organic dog food, just to check out the prices, but there wasn't any organic food available for dogs that I could find. I continued shopping for my organic food, wishing there was more selection there too. Then I began to wonder how I would come up with the money to buy organic food in the next couple of months. The job security situation has me a little worried for once. Then I began to wonder why I am worried about organic food at a time like this. Maybe because I believe doing so completes the circle. You know, the circle of life. Don't laugh. I'm serious. It is what will pull us through. If those few of us who can still afford to buy organic foods, eco-friendly products and such still keep doing what we can to buy it, we help others keep their jobs (local farmers, eco-friendly companies, green organizations, etc) and if they keep their jobs they can grow big and create more jobs, more green jobs. More green jobs means a healthier economically sound non-toxic country, perhaps world. In the end this all means a healthy stable world for our kids. Its hard to think so far ahead though when in the next few months anything can change. What if I can't even pay my mortgage? Should I buy the organic tomatoes that cost twice as much or regular tomatoes that I can afford, but have pesticide?