Posts tagged with Local Produce

Highlights from CSA season 2012

Pad Thai Salad ... YUM!

Pad Thai Salad ... YUM! by Sarah Henning

Well, the CSA season is over for another year, folks.

I kind of can’t believe it. Because my CSA season (and hopefully yours, too) is 26 weeks. That’s half a year. Meaning half of 2012 was filled with delicious, local veggies, picked up once a week like some sort of mineral-filled Christmas present.

In celebration of a good season (and in mourning of its end), I’ve compiled the best of the best from my CSA experience this spring, summer and fall. I hope you all got a chance to make some of the recipes, and if you haven’t, that you give them a try. There were definitely some good eats this year that will be added to my menu, despite my rut-loving tendencies.

So, without further ado, my favorites of CSA season 2012:

New favorites, still easy to do in winter:

-Napa cabbage salad with sweet and spicy vinaigrette

-Pad Thai salad

-A new (tropical) way to do sweet potatoes

-Bok choy and chard with red onion and sesame seeds

-The perfect sweet potato burger

Roasting highlights:

Roasted winter vegetables with salad greens and curried chickpeas.

Roasted winter vegetables with salad greens and curried chickpeas. by Sarah Henning

-Butternut squash and sweet potatoes


-Veggies with pasta and edamame

Pretty (and pink) drinks:

The prettiest smoothie ever, if I do say so myself.

The prettiest smoothie ever, if I do say so myself. by Sarah Henning

-Watermelon and mint cooler

-Electric pink smoothie

Recipes to save for next summer (or brave out of season):

A successful tomato salad (that — amazingly — doesn't taste like salsa).

A successful tomato salad (that — amazingly — doesn't taste like salsa). by Sarah Henning

-Cherry tomato salad with lime-garlic dressing

-Midsummer night(s) chopped salad

-Sweet and spicy corn and tomato salad

What was your favorite dish you made with your CSA goods this year?


Bye-Bye Bounty, week 12: Colorful and tasty tomato salad

A successful tomato salad (that — amazingly — doesn't taste like salsa).

A successful tomato salad (that — amazingly — doesn't taste like salsa). by Sarah Henning

Hello friends, how’s it going this week? Everything’s just dandy over here. Want to know why?

The tomatoes are HERE.

They’re in my garden, they’re at the Farmers’ Market and they’re probably in your weekly CSA.

Of course, thanks to the wonder that is our global food economy, these days you can get a tomato any time of year, but nothing — NOTHING — tastes as good as a fresh, in-season tomato. Certainly not those sad, mealy “tomatoes” available in the winter, or even the giant, expensive hydroponic guys that make their debut in the spring. They may be the first of the year, but they certainly aren’t the tastiest.

Now, I’m most fond of heirlooms, my favorite being the beautiful Purple Cherokee. I have four of those plants myself, and if I see a good one at the store or market, I snatch it up, whether I need it or not.

That said, I also have a major soft spot for the sweet little orange cherry tomato hybrids known as SunSugar or Sun Gold. They’re the sweetest tomatoes around (in my estimation) and they’re nearly fool-proof to grow. Plus, they are easy to pick and tiny, which means the boy loves them.

Luckily we’ve been able to get some in our Rolling Prairie CSA pickups (and at the market), because the four plants I have just aren’t enough. (Yes, I have four Cherokee Purple and two each of the SunSugar and Sun Gold. We also have a couple Black Krim and Green Zebra plants.) And last week, we got some cherry tomatoes in our CSA pickup, along with potatoes, beets, a turnip, cucumbers, summer squash, blackberries and mushrooms.

The potatoes were made into baked wedges, the mushrooms and squash rounded out a kale stir-fry, the beets were juiced, the cucumbers ended up in salad, the blackberries eaten out of hand and the turnip saved for a rainy day (or something). But the tomatoes, I had a plan for those, as you can see from the top picture.

I decided I’d try to make an all-tomato salad that wouldn’t taste like salsa. Kind of tough to do with the way my brain works because I really like salsa, but I’m really happy with the result: Cherry Tomato Salad with Lime-Garlic Dressing.

It’s super easy, will take care of two pints of tomatoes at a time (or more) and is healthy as all get out. Perfect for a hot summer evening, or to bring to lunch after a night spent picking from your backyard garden.

Oh, and you could probably use chopped “normal” tomatoes for the salad as well, but the texture will be different, FYI.

Cherry Tomato Salad with Lime-Garlic Dressing

2 pints (or more!) cherry tomatoes

1.5 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 pinch each: salt, pepper, cumin

Halve the cherry tomatoes and place in a serving bowl. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the tomatoes. Stir gently and serve. Serves 4.

What’d we get this week? Carrots, blackberries, cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, cucumber (just one), corn and yellow squash.


Bye-Bye Bounty, week 11: Pad Thai Salad and the joys of sweet corn


CORN! by Sarah Henning

Don’t you just love being smack-dab in the middle of sweet corn season? It’s just a total delight, right? Right. Unfortunately, the lack of rain and horrific heat has been really hard on the corn crop, so get it while you can.

The past few weeks, we’ve been lucky enough to get corn at our Rolling Prairie CSA pickup. And, honestly, though I have recipes for corn, there’s probably nothing better than eating sweet corn straight off the cob.

But just telling you to eat corn straight off the cob probably makes for a boring blog. Instead, we’ll go in a different direction. Last week, at our CSA, we got the aforementioned corn, plus potatoes, onions, cherry tomatoes, squash, beets and cucumbers.

Such a nice variety, right? Gotta love it.

So, the hubby made his favorite recipe from Nancy O’Connor’s “The Rolling Prairie Cookbook” these excellent Green Onion and Potato Pancakes.

The hubby's favorite potato pancakes, covered in cheese.

The hubby's favorite potato pancakes, covered in cheese. by Sarah Henning

They used up the potatoes, plus we had the aforementioned corn on the side. Meanwhile, the squash and beets went into juice, the onions ended up in storage, and the cucumbers and cherry tomatoes ended up in various salads. Among the salads, was this Thai-inspired one I made using dinosaur kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, red pepper and — because I had them — kelp noodles.

Pad Thai Salad ... YUM!

Pad Thai Salad ... YUM! by Sarah Henning

It looks really involved, but it wasn’t at all. All I did was make dressing, soaked the noodles in it and then mixed the sauced noodles with the chopped veggies. It was really, really good and all you really need is a blender, cutting board and knife.

Pad Thai Salad


1 bunch dinosaur kale

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 cucumber

1 green onion

Basil (Thai or otherwise … I used purple and genovese basil), for garnish

Lime juice

1 bag (uncooked) kelp noodles or 1 bag/box rice or soba noodles, cooked and cooled


1 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup no-salt almond butter

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 to 2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 to 2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon miso (I used white)

2 tablespoons low-salt tamari (or other soy sauce)

2 medjool dates, chopped

Pinch cayenne (or more

Place noodles in a bowl, spray generously with lime juice and let them soak while preparing the salad ingredients. Tear kale into tiny pieces, halve the cherry tomatoes and chop your cucumber and green onion. Mix together the kale, tomatoes, green onion and cucumber in a large bowl and set aside.

Make the sauce by putting all ingredients in a blender. Blend until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Pour over your noodles. Let soak for at least 10 minutes.

To serve: Portion out the kale mixture in bowls. Top with a generous helping of noodles and sauce. Garnish with basil leaves. Enjoy!

Serves 2 to 4. If you have leftovers, store the salad and noodles separately, if possible.

What'd we get this week? Potatoes, tomatoes, beets (one turnip was mixed in), cucumbers, summer squash, blackberries and mushrooms.


Bye-Bye Bounty, week 10: Electric pink smoothie

The prettiest smoothie ever, if I do say so myself.

The prettiest smoothie ever, if I do say so myself. by Sarah Henning

Yes, that's a smoothie. And yes, it has beets in it.

And, yes, I did that on purpose.

You see, I'm the only person in my house who adores beets. And we happen to be in the middle of the local beet season. I can't get enough of them, which is great because they're abundant at the Lawrence Farmers' Market and through my Rolling Prairie CSA. But, it's also sad in that I have to work my tail off to get through all of them in a week.

Hence, I decided to try something new.

And that something is pretty. Which is always nice, in my estimation, as an eater.

So, here's the story. Last week at Rolling Prairie we took home beets, blackberries, collards, summer squash, corn, new potatoes and giant shallots.

The berries and the corn went super fast (as in they barely made it through the door), while the squash, potatoes and shallots went into a twist on this favorite of ours, the Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte. The "twist" being that we used shallots instead of onions. Exciting, I know. But if you like cheesy, potato-y things, that torte is totally for you!

As for the beets and collards, I tried to do something a bit different with them.

Last week, I made the collards into wraps. That worked well, but I'm a bit wrapped out. So, this time around, I decided to juice the collards. It wasn't the tastiest idea I've ever had (talk about a STRONG flavor), but the result was pretty healthy. More on that later.

As for the beets ... they are definitely a "no middle ground"-type food. You either love them or hate them. Or, at least, that's been my experience. And, as I mentioned above, usually it's just me enjoying them in our house.

So, some of my beets I paired with the collards for the aforementioned juice. The juice also utilized local apples and parsley I got at the Farmers' Market, so it was a super local concoction!

The remaining beets, well, I got creative with them, and the results were electric:

Shhhh, don't tell him it has beets in it!

Shhhh, don't tell him it has beets in it! by Sarah Henning

That smoothie is something I've never done before. But, because I know very few of you out there probably have a juicer, I thought I'd try something with my blender.

It's much more likely that you readers have blenders, right? Right.

Even if you like beets, I realize this smoothie idea is probably a little hair-raising, but, I implore you, just try it. My top reason besides the flavor: the fact that my beet-hating kiddo is happily drinking it in the above picture. If he'll drink it, your beet haters might drink it, too.

Thus, I give you beets two ways. First, that smoothie recipe. Second, my "gulp it down before you can really taste it"-type beets-and-collards juice. Both are full of antioxidants and vitamins, though the smoothie definitely tastes worlds better!

Electric Pink Smoothie

1 medium beet, raw, peeled and diced

2 cups chopped pineapple

1/2 cup strawberries, chopped

1/2 cup blueberries

1 to 1-1/2 cups water

Blend and enjoy! Serves 1 to 2.

Local and healthy beets and greens in a glass.

Local and healthy beets and greens in a glass. by Sarah Henning

Liquid Beets and Greens

2-3 small beets, or one large one

2-3 collard leaves (kale works too)

2 tart apples

2 lemons

2 heads celery

1/2 bunch parsley

Run all through a juicer. Enjoy! Serves 1 to 2.

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Bye-Bye Bounty, week 9: New twists on old classics for summer squash and basil

Collard wraps with zucchini hummus, hemp seed and basil pesto, avocado and local tomatoes.

Collard wraps with zucchini hummus, hemp seed and basil pesto, avocado and local tomatoes. by Sarah Henning

This week I have two recipes for you that add up to one delicious locally sourced wrap.

Awesome right?

Yes. And totally healthy.

But first, the rundown of what we got last week: Potatoes, collards, eggs, broccoli, basil and summer squash.

Our potatoes went into storage, our eggs were scrambled for breakfast, the broccoli we ate out of hand. As for the summer squash, collards and basil? They all went into the wraps you see above. Yep, they're all in there.

The basil became a pesto that's a twist on the normal pine nut-and-cheese concoction. Instead of the norm, this pesto is made with hemp seeds to up the nutritional value. Hemp seeds have a great omega-3 essential fatty acid profile and are high protein. They have a nice, nutty flavor that is just perfect for pesto.

The summer squash, meanwhile, went into another twist on a classic: hummus. Basically, you make hummus as you normally would, but instead of the chickpeas, you use zucchini or summer squash. I used this recipe a lot last summer and it works just great to get rid of a large amount of summer squash in a hurry.

Meanwhile, the collards, of course, are being used as a wrap. Basically, you "de-vein" them by getting rid the hard stem, fill them with goodies and then roll them up. For diagram's sake, here are the "unrolled" wraps below.

Unrolled collard wraps with zucchini hummus and hemp seed and basil pesto.

Unrolled collard wraps with zucchini hummus and hemp seed and basil pesto. by Sarah Henning

These wraps would be perfect with just a plain-old tortilla or even some nori, but, hey, if you have the collards, why not use them?

As for what we got this week? Blackberries (though, they're already gone), beets, collards, summer squash, corn, new potatoes and (giant) shallots.

Finished zucchini hummus.

Finished zucchini hummus. by Sarah Henning

Zucchini Hummus

2 large zucchini, or 1 large zucchini and a handful of small summer squash

1/2 cup tahini

2 tablespoons lemon juice (or more)

4 cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon each: salt, cumin, paprika

Push zucchini through a food processor with a shredding disc or shred by hand using a box grater.

Shredded zucchini and summer squash.

Shredded zucchini and summer squash. by Sarah Henning

Once shredded, put the zucchini in a bowl lined with cheesecloth. Twist the cheesecloth shut and start squeezing as much liquid out as possible. This might take awhile. (I squeeze until I get tired, dump the liquid out of the bowl and then come back to it a few minutes later and do it again.

Zucchini and summer squash chillin' in a cheese cloth.

Zucchini and summer squash chillin' in a cheese cloth. by Sarah Henning

Once you feel you've gotten as much liquid out as you can, put the zucchini and other ingredients in a food processor, fitted with an S blade. Process until smooth. Makes about 2 cups.

CSA basil plus a bit of purple basil from our container garden.

CSA basil plus a bit of purple basil from our container garden. by Sarah Henning

Hemp Seed and Basil Pesto (adapted from "Pure Pleasures" by Natalia KW)

2 large cloves of garlic

2 cups basil leaves, well packed

1/2 teaspoon miso

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3/4 cup hemp seeds (you could also use pine nuts or walnuts, but the hemp seed has a great fatty acid profile)

1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil

Process the garlic and basil with the basil. Scrape the sides and then add the miso, salt and pepper. Process to combine. Add the hemp seeds. While processing, slowly add the olive oil through the feeder shoot. Enjoy!


Bye-Bye Bounty, week 8: Oooh, we’re getting to summer’s best offerings!

Man, it's hot out. And you know what that means in terms of CSA pickups? THE GOOD SUMMER STUFF is coming. You know what I mean: tomatoes, sweet corn, peppers, melon, basil. All those items that are expensive on their own, but totally affordable in a CSA format. YUM.

But, while we're waiting, there's some majorly good stuff going on all ready. What we got last week from Rolling Prairie is a perfect example: Asian cabbage, Swiss chard, carrots, potatoes, black raspberries and summer squash.

All I can say is YUM.

And, as you can see, the boy liked the results too. He totally stole the juice I made out of apples, CSA Swiss chard and these beautiful CSA carrots:

But that was fine, because we had plenty more. One night we made a strange and mixed-up dinner that was totally amazing, featuring a version of the Asian salad I mentioned a few weeks back. This one was basically the same thing, except instead of peppers and sesame seeds, we threw in two small avocados (chopped) and about two-thirds cup of kimchi. So good.

Then, on the side of that dinner, we made roasted potatoes, using the cute little new potatoes we got in our bag. The hubby and his adorable little helper put a little olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder over them and roasted them in the oven at 450 until they were brown and crunchy. They didn't have the same flavor profile as the salad, but we ate them together just fine. Terrific.

The black raspberries were eaten out of hand for breakfast, while the summer squash made it into fajitas. We used the homemade fajita mix I mentioned last summer, doubling the recipe to include all of the summer squash (sliced but not peeled) plus a few peppers and two sweet yellow onions we got at the Lawrence Farmer's Market. We topped them with avocado and salsa and they were divine. The picture doesn't do them justice.

What'd we get this week? Potatoes, collards(?), eggs, broccoli, basil and summer squash.


Bye-Bye Bounty, week 7: Tips for avoiding CSA pickup panic

Those of you who are subscribed to a CSA have probably had a few weeks of pickups by now. You're probably getting in the routine of having an influx of fresh, local vegetables and products at the same time each week.

I hope this means it's getting easier for you.

I know when I signed up for my first CSA share a few years ago, I had a little bit of panic with every pickup until about mid-July. By nature I'm a planner, and the idea of getting a random assortment of food each week and not knowing what it would be until I got there, just totally freaked me out.

Honestly, I do much better at the grocery store or the farmers' market, where I have a chance to really choose what I'm going to take home.

But, I love the idea of the CSA. How it forces you into trying new things. How it assures our local farmers are going to get paid. And how it puts my money where my mouth is in regards to not only supporting local businesses, but also healthy eating. I expound about salads and stir-fries a lot on this blog, but like most everyone else, I would much rather order pizza than try to figure out how to use kohlrabi before it shrivels and dies in my fridge.

So, my blog this week is dedicated to those of you who are still freaking out about what you're picking up each week.

It's a hard adjustment from going from the "once a week BIG shop" type of person to getting a load of produce in the middle of the week and having very little say in what ends up going home with you. That's enough to cause panic no matter your personality.

Therefore, I thought I'd share my favorite ways to deal with "daunting" CSA pickups. Because we all have those weeks. And if you've hit your stride, no problem at all? Hopefully you'll find a few resources here, too.

Five methods to avoid CSA panic (or waste)

The big dinner: This is probably the easiest way to ensure you'll use all your CSA veggies. The idea? Make a single meal that utilizes all the ingredients you picked up for the week.

If your CSA provides you with a choice of items (mine does — we usually have a choice between two or three greens, or maybe you can have either eggs or mushrooms, for example), then simply pick things that might go together pretty well. Like, say, snow peas, carrots and bok choy. Make a stir-fry out of that and then make a salad, side dish or dessert incorporating the rest of your items.

If you don't have a choice or none of your items seem to go together, don't worry. Take them home and check out what you have in your fridge, then go through your favorite cookbooks. I highly recommend checking out Nancy O'Connor's "Rolling Prairie Cookbook" for great ideas for foods you're bound to get in your CSA bags.

Pick a main dish that uses at least two of your ingredients and then put together the sides. Make it for dinner the next night, so you're not feeling rushed on pickup night. That way you also have time to buy any stray ingredients to make sure your "big dinner" is a success.

The semi-plan: If you're a regular meal planner, take heart, you can plan a bit. It can be tricky, but most of the time, you can gauge what you might get in your CSA by going to the Saturday Lawrence Farmers' Market in the days ahead of your pickup. If there are items that are prevalent on many of the farmers' tables, chances are they'll be among the items in the next week's CSA pickup. You can also check forms like this one to see what is normally in season in our area.

Use this recon and plan your meals as you normally would any other time of year. But be flexible, if you don't get what you planned on, you can always grab stray ingredients at the store, or use a dish you thought you'd choose down the road.

The "pick away": This is just as it sounds: chipping away at what you get in your bag, just a little at a time. For example, cucumbers and carrots make great snacks for work, snap peas are fun for kids to eat, berries make a good breakfast and so on.

If you just try to include CSA ingredients in one meal per day during the week, your crisper will be cleared out in no time.

The swap: You might have a friend who is also part of your CSA and has completely different tastebuds than you do. If that's the case and you really find some things inedible (the aforementioned kohlrabi, or, if you're my husband, beets) see if your friend might be up for swapping goodies. You can get together post-pickup and trade each other for the items you know you'll have no trouble eating in a double serving. That way, you get more of what you want, and nothing goes to waste.

The save for later: A few blogs ago, I mentioned that because of travel and social commitments, we didn't have time to work through our weekly share. I felt like a bit of a failure (I am blogging, of course, about how to use the food ... not how to let it sit in your fridge), but I was buoyed by the fact that because of the fresh-picked nature of CSA goodies, they have a much longer fridge life than most store-bought fruits and veggies.

When the farmer picks your food just hours before it ends up at your house, that means you cut out all the travel and shelf time these same items see at the grocery store. Thus, if you just can't get through this week's goods for whatever reason, don't stress.

Just make sure they're properly stored (in plastic, unwashed, in your crisper) and save your veggies for later. Or hard-boil your eggs. Freeze your berries or herbs. You really don't have to "use it or lose it" as long as you think about what you can do.

Last week, we received black raspberries, carrots, radishes, eggs and snap peas. We used the "pick away" method. The kiddo had the raspberries the second we got home (as you can see, above), the carrots, radishes and snap peas made it into random salads that weren't exactly ground-breaking and the eggs got hard-boiled and eaten for breakfast.

So, even though we didn't get a single night for a big homemade meal this past week, we were able to get through those goodies, plus items we picked up at the store and the Lawrence Farmers' Market.

This week? We got Asian cabbage, Swiss chard, carrots, potatoes, black raspberries and summer squash.


Bye-Bye Bounty, week 6: Skip the stir-fry and try this instead

I have mentioned many times in this space that during the spring and summer months, I do not like to turn on my oven.

This isn't just because I'm trying to save on my electric bill (though it does save on air-conditioning dollars), but rather because in the summer I just happen to crave things that aren't cooked. I don't know if it's because of the heat, the water in raw fruits and vegetables or simply that some random switch flips in my brain and that's just what I want. All I know is, if it's above 70 degrees, chances are I won't cook.

But there are some things we get in our Rolling Prairie CSA bag that I tend to assume I'll cook, no matter what. And last week, there were a couple of items that fit that bill. Our total haul included: beets, napa cabbage, snap peas, eggs, green onions and purslane. Now, obviously, we're going to cook the eggs (raw egg, ewwww), and everything else on that list could go either way.

The beets and purslane we juiced. The snap peas and green onions we had on salads. But the real surprising thing I didn't cook was the Napa cabbage.

Usually, Napa cabbage is stir-fry material for me. Considering I also got stir-fry perfect snap peas and green onions, it's kind of weird that we didn't do that. But also considering the west side of my house isn't shaded and gets a total nuclear beatdown from the sun just about the time I get home, we thought we'd try something different.

So, I sliced the cabbage thin, threw in some of our CSA green onions, plus some other yummy ingredients and created a salad that will definitely be making the rounds. It requires a bit more chopping and mixing than last week's salad, but trust me, it is incredibly worth it and totally refreshing. Plus, it makes a TON and stores well to take for lunch the next day.

Napa Cabbage Salad with Sweet and Spicy Vinaigrette

1 Napa cabbage, chopped

2 orange, red or yellow bell peppers, chopped and seeded

2 carrots, peeled and grated

2-3 green onions, green parts only, chopped

2 tablespoons sesame seeds (I used one 1 tablespoon each black and tan)

Snap peas, shelled and raw


3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons nama shoyu (or tamari, or soy sauce)

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon agave nectar

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

Put all salad ingredients into a large bowl. Whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over salad. Put the dressed salad into the fridge and let chill for 20 minutes. Enjoy! Serves 4-8.

What'd we get this week? Black raspberries (already eaten by the kiddo), carrots, radishes, eggs and snap peas.


Bye-Bye Bounty, week 5: The perfect no-dressing salad

No, that's not an egg, it's an orange cherry tomato...

No, that's not an egg, it's an orange cherry tomato... by Sarah Henning

For as much as I slacked off using my CSA goodies last week, I totally made up for it this week.

And I didn't spend every weeknight slaving over the stove or anything, to do it. I mean, who has time to do that? I don't. Plus, it's 90 degrees out, so who wants to slave over a stove anyway? Yeah, exactly nobody.

Instead, the hubby and I had a "free" (as in no commitments) night for once, and decided to cook in tandem. He made a stir-fry in the same mold as this one, while I checked out what salad ingredients we had in our crisper and on our counter and set about making what I could with what we had.

The resulting dinner was totally amazing, filling and full of leftovers. Both of us got about halfway through our portions and couldn't eat another bite. (The kiddo wasn't interested in any aspect of the meal ... oh well, more for us.)

When we packed up our leftovers and peered in the fridge, there was a TON more room. We'd finished nearly everything we'd gotten from Rolling Prairie (green onions, kale, mushrooms, salad mix, head lettuce and snap peas) and several items we'd picked up at the Lawrence Farmers' Market or the grocery store over the weekend.

It was a great feeling, especially because we felt like we were starting at a handicap at the beginning of the week with extra veggies leftover from the week before.

Plus, the salad I created was pretty good, and took like no time to put together. We're definitely making this one again.

No-Dressing Spring Salad

4 cups spring mix, baby spinach or arugula

1/2 to 1 cup sauerkraut or kimchi

1 avocado, chopped

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

2 to 4 tablespoons vinegar (balsamic, apple cider, rice, red wine, etc.), to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

Put lettuce in a bowl and pour the avocado chunks on top. Using clean hands, massage the avocado into the lettuce. Top with the tomatoes and sauerkraut or kimchi. Top with vinegar of choice and salt and pepper to taste. Eat immediately. Serves 2 to 4.

So, what'd we get this week? Beets, Napa cabbage, snap peas, eggs, green onions and purslane.


Bye-Bye Bounty, Week 4: Saving vegetables in more ways than one

Last week, we were on vacation and missed our regular CSA pickup. That said, we were lucky enough to have a sweet friend pick up our goods for us and save them until we could get them. When we finally got our CSA bag on Tuesday night, what we found in our bag was a great selection of items we’d normally pick out for ourselves, given the choice, including: salad mix, head lettuce, Swiss chard, asparagus, spinach and spring onions.

That CSA pickup was a great way to restock our post-vacation fridge in one fail swoop. However, because of how late we got back on Tuesday, plus our busy weeknight schedule, we were hardly home to cook at all this week. Thus, we had a few leftover items that we couldn’t use until Monday night (as in the night we picked up this week’s CSA goods).

But — and this is just one reason to love local food — because our CSA food didn’t travel very far, it was picked right before our friend went to go get our bag for that week. Thus, it didn’t spend precious time being shipped on a truck or plane before it landed on grocery store shelves. That, my friends, buys the purchaser time to let those veggies sit in the fridge if need be. Normal (shipped) veggies wouldn’t have lasted a week in the fridge like that, especially the delicate greens.

So, this Monday, we were able to steam asparagus and make these great potato pancakes from the Rolling Prairie Cookbook that we discovered last season, using week-old veggies plus all the green onions we received this week (the hubby LOVES his green onions).

As for the stuff we actually managed to use during the week? Well, honestly, when I don’t cook, the easiest way to use the items in our bag is for me to get out the blender and the juicer. Yes, I know this isn’t for everyone and many of you are probably annoyed that I resort to this method so often. But, really, those two kitchen appliances take care of a lot of greens that don’t become salad — keeping them from going to waste. Plus, green smoothies and juice are pretty much the ONLY way I can get my son to eat leafy greens. He’s not an unusual toddler — he’s not going to eat kale salad with mommy. The veggies he likes to eat are the “stand alone” types like carrots, peas, green beans, etc.

So, because I know he’ll eat/drink it, I make a lot of smoothies and juice. As you can see from the pic at the top of this post, that’s pretty effective (that was my drink and he wanted to “share” … but ended up drinking two-thirds of it). So, though I know the idea of drinking your greens is probably weird to many of you, I highly recommend at least trying it.

Often, we make green smoothies, and we did plenty of those this week with the spinach, lettuce and salad greens this past week.

But the recipe I wanted to share this week is a juice. Now, if you don’t have a juicer, you could still make it as a smoothie, just as long as your blender has some “oomf” to it. All you need to do is chop up the ingredients really small. Then, start with 1 to 2 cups water and the greens and blend those up before adding the other ingredients. This will hopefully keep your blender from seizing on you.

If you do have a juicer, this one is quick, easy and uses all these fruits and veggies, including our CSA Swiss chard:

Yep, all those things become simply this:

Springtime Swiss Miss Juice

1 bunch Swiss chard

2 apples

1 bunch celery, trimmed

1 lemon or lime, peeled (or you can squeeze the juice in to finish)

Run all through a juicer.

What’d we get this week? The aforementioned green onions, kale, mushrooms, salad mix, head lettuce and snap peas.


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