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Entries from blogs tagged with “Sarah Henning”

Bye-Bye Bounty: CSA Week 22 — Wraps, salad and sweet potatoes

A wrap ready to roll... or just to eat as-is.

A wrap ready to roll... or just to eat as-is. by Sarah Henning

Well, we're almost to the end of the road. On Monday, I picked up my very last CSA haul of the year from Rolling Prairie. It's so sad to me because it signals the end of the summer. The days are getting cooler and pretty soon the Lawrence Farmers' Market will be a goner too. Sigh. But, I do feel a bit lucky, because I know from talking to friends that other CSAs have ended earlier than ours.

So, next week will be my last CSA blog until next spring, but I'm cooking up a weekly something to keep all of us foodies busy in the in-between.

But, until then, I had a lot of fun whipping up different items this week with last week's goodies.

Including sweet potato medallions...

One of our fall/winter staples: sweet potatoes sliced into medallions and covered with a mixture of pepper, salt and a little brown sugar.

One of our fall/winter staples: sweet potatoes sliced into medallions and covered with a mixture of pepper, salt and a little brown sugar. by Sarah Henning

A salad for work with our lettuce mix (plus local apples and walnuts)...

A salad of CSA salad mix, local apples and walnuts.

A salad of CSA salad mix, local apples and walnuts.

And Swiss chard wraps based on a recipe by my sweet friend Natalia.

One wrap rolled and another one left open...

One wrap rolled and another one left open... by Sarah Henning

Inside, that's a mixture of Natalia's "eggplant bacon" (made from local eggplant!), avocado, local tomatoes, and a cilantro-lime sauce/dip that made the whole thing have the same salty/sweet level as a BLT.

Everything we need for wraps — CSA chard leaves, avocado, tomato, sauce and some "eggplant bacon" I made in my dehydrator.

Everything we need for wraps — CSA chard leaves, avocado, tomato, sauce and some "eggplant bacon" I made in my dehydrator. by Sarah Henning

I highly recommend checking out Natalia's book if those wraps look like something you might want to try.

So, the recipe I'm going to share is the one for the sweet potato medallions. It's a recipe my dad gave us a few years ago and its a total staple for our family. I've blogged about it before, but because of some sort of glitch, that recipe (and a few others) is missing from my past blogs. But it's really too good not to share again.

Now, I do it with the amount of seasoning listed, but my dad — the recipe perfecter, as it were — will sometimes double the amount of seasoning and coat the potatoes a second time after flipping them. If you think that's your cup of tea, go for it.

Sweet Potato Medallions

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into rounds (about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Olive oil/olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray two cookie sheets (lipped ones are best) with olive oil. Place the sweet potato rounds on the cookie sheets.

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, salt and pepper.

Spray the sweet potatoes with oil, or put a little olive oil in a small bowl and coat each round with oil using a basting brush. Once all the rounds are coated, sprinkle on the sugar and spice mixture.

Place the sweet potatoes in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, flip the rounds and put them in for another 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool.

What'd we get in our last week from Rolling Prairie? Two bags of salad greens, more chard leaves, potatoes, sweet potatoes and peppers.

Our last CSA pick up of 2011: chard leaves, two bags of mixed salad greens, sweet potatoes, peppers and potatoes.

Our last CSA pick up of 2011: chard leaves, two bags of mixed salad greens, sweet potatoes, peppers and potatoes.

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Bye-Bye Bounty: CSA Week 21 — The Perfect Fall Soup

Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Butternut-Apple Soup with slices of Wheatfields' baguette.

Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Butternut-Apple Soup with slices of Wheatfields' baguette.

If you’ve read this blog since fall last year, you know I’m a total sucker for Nancy O’Connor’s Butternut Squash and Black Bean Burritos. I think they’re the perfect fall dish. And I had them this week, but I’m not going to write about them. Instead, I’m going to write about a dish we made for the first time that we just absolutely loved: Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Butternut-Apple Soup.

Now, I’m a veteran of sorts when it comes to butternut squash soup. I feel like I’ve made every single one out there (including Nancy’s great one from “The Rolling Prairie Cookbook”), but I can tell you this one was absolutely fabulous. And a total surprise, sort of.

First of all, I had no idea I was going to have soup the night we had it. I went for a 10-mile run with my running group and came home to a house that smelled heavenly. My boys had made dinner — which is always awesome to come home to. My hubby had found the recipe in Isa’s newest book, “Appetite for Reduction.”

Now, why was it so awesome? Because, besides the fact that it has just 200 calories per serving, it has quite a different taste than other butternut concoctions. It’s sweet because of the apples, and a bit sour because of lime juice and apple cider. Plus, there’s ginger, red pepper flakes and garlic in there to add quite the latent kick. Really, really excellent. Plus, the six servings are generous, and perfectly proportioned when shared with a crusty Wheatfields' baguette. Heaven.

And it used CSA squash, CSA onion, CSA garlic, local apples and local apples cider. Win/Win.

A plethora of local ingredients in our squash-apple soup: Louisburg apple cider, local apples, CSA squash, CSA garlic and a CSA onion.

A plethora of local ingredients in our squash-apple soup: Louisburg apple cider, local apples, CSA squash, CSA garlic and a CSA onion.

Butternut-Apple Soup (Recipe by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, “Appetite for Reduction”)

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 medium-sized onion, diced small

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons dried rosemary

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch chunks

1 pound red apples, peeled, cored and cut into 3/4-inch chunks

2 cups apple cider

2 cups vegetable broth

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions in the oil for 5 to 7 minutes, until translucent.

Add the ginger and garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary and salt, and sauté for a minute more. Add the squash, apples, apple cider and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat just a bit and simmer briskly for about 20 more minutes, or until the squash is tender.

Apples and squash simmer before being blended with an immersion blender.

Apples and squash simmer before being blended with an immersion blender.

Puree the soup using either an immersion blender or by transferring half the soup at a time to a food processor or blender in batches. If you prefer, you can leave the soup a little chunky by only pureeing half or so. If using a blender, be sure to let the steam escape so that it doesn’t build up in the blender.

Add the lime juice and season to taste. Serves 6.

So, what’d we get this week — our penultimate week of the CSA season?

The goodies we got on our second-to-last pick up of the CSA season: apples, sweet potatoes, greens, salad mix, peppers and basil.

The goodies we got on our second-to-last pick up of the CSA season: apples, sweet potatoes, greens, salad mix, peppers and basil.

Apples, basil, greens, salad mix, peppers and sweet potatoes.

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Bye-Bye Bounty: CSA Week 20 — Stupid weather

The bounty we picked up on Labor Day from our CSA.

The bounty we picked up on Labor Day from our CSA.

The end of the CSA is near.

Normally, we’re able to get our weekly goodies from Rolling Prairie clear through to Halloween. Not the case this year. Because of weeks of high heat and little water, the season is ending early. On Monday, I got an email from my pick-up site coordinator, Bob Lominska, saying that because of “the challenging weather” (he’s being nice) my last CSA pick-up as a regular customer will be Sept. 26.

Total bummer.

I'm not sure other CSAs will be ending as soon, but I think pretty much every farmer/home gardener/container gardener had the same problems this year in Northeast Kansas. So, chances are, even if your CSA hasn’t given you an end date, you probably won’t be getting goodies very late this year.

The good news? Even after our CSAs have finished for the year, we should still be able to get local produce at the Lawrence Farmers’ Market for a few weeks. They haven’t announced as to if the season will end earlier than its usual mid-November date, but chances are we can still pick up something through November. So, there’s our silver lining. Plus, the local goods will still be coming through our groceries. The supply might not be the best, but chances won’t be totally out of luck.

And we’re lucky to have anything, honestly. Think about all the crops ruined by flooding, drought, storms and disease this year across the Midwest and we’re doing pretty stinking well.

So, what did we do with the bounty we picked up on Labor Day (above)? Actually, not that much. We stored the squash, ate the tomatoes and basil out of hand and juiced the cucumber. The okra we still have and are hoping to use this week.

And the eggplant, well, the eggplant went into a wonderful eggplant Parmesan that the hubby slaved over. We used Mark Bittman’s recipe, and the hubby loved it. But that’s all I can tell you because, well, I have no photographic evidence.

I took photos with my personal Droid, which I lost this weekend while helping out with the Hawk 100. We’ve searched high and low for it to no avail, which makes me think some goober picked it, wiped it clean and is hoping to sell it, since it’s relatively new.

So, in a word, no pics of the yummy eggplant parm. Very sad, indeed.

This week from Rolling Prairie, we got a true mixed bag of summer/fall treats: More eggplant, melon, basil, garlic, golden potatoes, sweet potatoes. (Notice how different the photos look, this photo was taken with my lovely work-issued iPhone 4).

Our pickup on Sept. 12 from Rolling Prairie. Eggplant, potatoes, sweet potatoes, basil, garlic and melon.

Our pickup on Sept. 12 from Rolling Prairie. Eggplant, potatoes, sweet potatoes, basil, garlic and melon.

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Bye-Bye Bounty: CSA Week 19 — End-of-summer bliss

The kiddo displays our CSA onions and peppers before they were chopped up and spread on a pizza. The pizza's crust was made using a mixture of white flour and whole-wheat flour from our CSA, Rolling Prairie Farmers Alliance.

The kiddo displays our CSA onions and peppers before they were chopped up and spread on a pizza. The pizza's crust was made using a mixture of white flour and whole-wheat flour from our CSA, Rolling Prairie Farmers Alliance.

So, this week I’m not going to do the typical “Here’s what I ate” and one recipe routine. It’s not that I’m feeling lazy after the long weekend, it’s just that we had so many great things with CSA ingredients last week.

Last week’s haul included grapes, basil, tomatoes, peppers, butternut squash, onion and a cucumber.

What we received from our CSA on Aug. 29.

What we received from our CSA on Aug. 29.

Lot’s of variety, right? Totally. Lots of possibilities and not enough room in a single blog. So, I’ll describe the week in pictures. Because, honestly, they’re probably more taste bud-satisfying than any words I’d type. If you want specific recipes, shoot me an email at sarah@lawrence.com and I’ll get them to you ASAP.

So, the second I took that picture of our entire week's haul, a certain little monster stole some grapes so fast he’s a blur.

That Grape Monster is so fast it's hard to get photographic proof.

That Grape Monster is so fast it's hard to get photographic proof.

But he didn’t eat them all, so the next morning the rest went into the blender with strawberries and peaches from Hiawatha that we bought at the Lawrence Farmers’ Market. Smoothie time!

Local grapes plus other fruits get ready to become a smoothie.

Local grapes plus other fruits get ready to become a smoothie.

Next, I used some of my tomatoes in a veggie-heavy take on tabbouleh:

My take on tabbouleh — lots of veggies, hemp seed and raisins!

My take on tabbouleh — lots of veggies, hemp seed and raisins!

The peppers ended up both on a pepper-avocado-Dijon-hummus sandwich (bread from Wheatfields’ and hummus from Mediterranean Market and Cafe) ...

Local hummus and red pepper, plus Dijon and Wheatfield's bread makes for perfect sandwich goodness.

Local hummus and red pepper, plus Dijon and Wheatfield's bread makes for perfect sandwich goodness.

... And on a pizza made with the whole-wheat flour we received previously from our CSA. (That’s the kid holding up the peppers and some CSA onions, pre-chopping in the first photo).

Whole-wheat flour from Moon on the Meadow Farm (and given to us through our CSA, Rolling Prairie) gives this homemade pizza extra nutrition. The peppers and onions are from the CSA as well.

Whole-wheat flour from Moon on the Meadow Farm (and given to us through our CSA, Rolling Prairie) gives this homemade pizza extra nutrition. The peppers and onions are from the CSA as well.

The basil and cucumber made it into some more green juice and the squash went in the pantry for later use. All in all, a tasty week, for sure.

This week, we got quite the end-of-summer haul too: eggplant, tomatoes, squash, okra, cucumber, basil and melon.

The bounty we picked up on Labor Day from our CSA.

The bounty we picked up on Labor Day from our CSA.

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Bye-bye bounty: CSA week 18 — Soy un Pepper

Plenty of peppers from the garden, the CSA, the farmers' market and neighbors.

Plenty of peppers from the garden, the CSA, the farmers' market and neighbors.

When I was in high school, I picked up a vintage Dr. Pepper shirt from some random place (Friend’s closet? Garage sale? The drama department at school?) that said “Soy un Pepper” on it. I was taking high school Spanish and thought it was funny, so I wore it around, even though it was more than threadbare and smelled like a mothball-filled basement no matter how much I washed it.

I have no idea what the heck happened to that shirt beyond probably disintegration, but this week it came back to me in a vision. Why? Because of a sudden influx of peppers. You know how I love peppers, but suddenly we had little room in the crisper for anything else.

How’d we come to get such an awesome collection of peppers? Well, we combined leftovers from our CSA, garden and the Lawrence Farmers’ Market, with some peppers gifted to us from our sweet neighbors, Eric and Tracie. Seems their cupboards and fridge were overflowing too, so they brought us a big old haul:

Yummy gifts from our neighbors.

Yummy gifts from our neighbors.

So, you know what we made, those pepper fajitas/quesadillas, of course.

What’d we do with last week’s veggies?

Our haul for week 18 (plus green juice made with one of our CSA cucumbers).

Our haul for week 18 (plus green juice made with one of our CSA cucumbers).

That’s garlic, butternut squash, cucumbers, potatoes, whole-wheat flour, basil and pears — plus the green juice I made with some of the cucumbers, pears and basil from the CSA. I made that juice a few times last week with our CSA ingredients, stored the potatoes, flour, garlic and squash, and we just ate the rest of the pears outright. Yum!

As for the juice, the recipe is super easy ... if you have a juicer. If you don’t, you could cut everything up and blend it with some water and then strain it.

Garden Green Juice

1 cucumber

1 pear or apple (optional)

1 handful basil

1/2 head of celery

1 zucchini

1 lemon or lime

Run everything through the juicer!

What’d we get this week? Grapes, basil, tomatoes, peppers, butternut squash, onion and a cucumber. A pic:

What we received from our CSA on Aug. 29.

What we received from our CSA on Aug. 29.

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Bye-bye bounty: CSA week 17 — Colorful kale salad

Our CSA produce for week 17.

Our CSA produce for week 17.

I’m kind of sad because I know there are only about 10 more weeks to my CSA. Yes, that’s almost three months, but I’m still in mourning. Good thing I’ve got these beautiful fruits and veggies to cheer me up.

So, those are my fruits and veggies from last week: A melon (intact!), pretty bell peppers, tomatoes, an onion, potatoes and cucumbers.

I wish I could tell you I did something new and fantastic with it this week, but, um, no. It was just a summer week. You know, tomatoes washed and eaten as a work snack, melon inhaled by the kid, potatoes and onions in storage for another round of last week’s potato pancakes.

And the peppers? I thought about making my friend Laurie’s lovely fajitas, but instead fell back into making my very favorite kale salad with the pretty peppers, the CSA cucumber and the tomatoes I didn’t plow through at work.

Rockin' Kale Salad made with local cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes.

Rockin' Kale Salad made with local cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes.

This week we got: Garlic, butternut squash(!), cucumbers, potatoes, whole-wheat flour, basil and pears, as you can see, below. In the pic, there's also a glass of green juice that I made with one of the cucumbers before I took the pic. (We also had more pears, but the kid tore into those.)

Our haul for week 18 (plus green juice made with one of our CSA cucumbers).

Our haul for week 18 (plus green juice made with one of our CSA cucumbers).

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Bye-Bye Bounty: CSA week 16 - Surprise smoothie, potato pancakes

Broken yellow watermelon.

Broken yellow watermelon.

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, right?

So, when a certain 2-year-old butterfingers dropped our yellow CSA watermelon this week, we made a smoothie.

Just take a halved small watermelon (above, already prepared, as it stands) and scoop the flesh into a blender, seeds and all. Add a little water (enough to get the blender going) and blend. Once all frothy and juicy, pour into a large glass or mason jar — running it through a metal wire strainer to get rid of the seed gunk — and wallah! Instant smoothie:

Yellow watermelon smoothie made from our broken watermelon.

Yellow watermelon smoothie made from our broken watermelon.

So, what else did we do with the beautiful veggies we received from Rolling Prairie last week?

Our Rolling Prairie produce for week 16.

Our Rolling Prairie produce for week 16.

Well, the tomatoes, basil and cucumbers all made it into various forms of salad, while the potatoes went to a dish we’d never tried before from Nancy O’Connor’s fabulous “Rolling Prairie Cookbook.”

It’s kind of amazing we’ve never made this recipe because it seems like we’ve tried nearly everything in this cookbook. (FYI: I won’t treat you to a current pic of the cookbook because it’s got the stains and smells of being VERY well-loved … which is probably slightly disgusting in a cooking blog.) But we did finally try them while having friends over for dinner and they were awesome, even if my photography is not.

Shadowy potato pancakes.

Shadowy potato pancakes.

Green Onion and Potato Pancakes (From Nancy O’Connor’s “Rolling Prairie Cookbook”)

1 pound potatoes

1 teaspoon olive oil

12 green onions, bulbs and greens, chopped

¼ cup minced parsley

½ cup fresh bread crumbs

2 eggs, beaten

½ cup lowfat sour cream

1 teaspoon salt

Lots of freshly ground black pepper

2 to 3 tablespoons oil for frying

Wash potatoes, cut into big chunks, boil, and mash — no need to peel, the skins add nice texture and color to the pancakes. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add green onions and sauté for 3 minutes, until just tender. Combine potatoes, onions and remaining ingredients, except for frying oil. Stir well. Heat 1 tablespoon of the frying oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop pancake mixture onto hot skillet, approximately 2 heaping tablespoons per pancake. Flatten with a spatula. Fry 2 to 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Repeat for rest of mixture. Makes 12 to 14 pancakes.

So, what'd we get this week in our CSA bag? Tomatoes, cucumber, onion, potatoes, baby melon and assorted peppers.

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Bye-Bye Bounty: CSA week 15 - Fajitas and friendship

My friend Laurie with the kiddo.

My friend Laurie with the kiddo.

So, my friend Laurie has been staying with us for a little while before moving out of Lawrence. I’m super bummed about her leaving, but I must say that while she’s been staying with us, I’ve been eating WELL. (Good thing she’s my running buddy, too.).

Laurie’s great in the kitchen, even if it’s my kitchen. And she was sweet enough to share with us her top-secret fajita quesadilla/taco recipe while staying in our house. She was also nice enough to make it once and then basically make it again so I could “practice” and get it right. That way, after she moves I won’t be calling her in a panic at dinnertime wondering why my fajita seasoning wasn’t thickening right.

And, you know what, that fajita seasoning was just perfect for the mountain of peppers we’ve amassed from our Rolling Prairie CSA and my own impulsiveness at the Lawrence Farmers’ Market. I really can’t turn down a pretty purple pepper or a mellow yellow one or the bright orange ones in my garden.

Colorful peppers from Rolling Prairie and the Farmers' Market.

Colorful peppers from Rolling Prairie and the Farmers' Market.

Seriously. I need to be stopped. I actually posted a Facebook message with just this picture of a pepper because I was so proud:

An orange pepper from my garden.

An orange pepper from my garden.

Yeah. So, thanks to Laurie’s cooking skills and my hoarding, I bring you Fajita Quesadillas/Tacos.

Finished fajita pepper soft tacos.

Finished fajita pepper soft tacos.

Fajita Quesadillas/Tacos (recipe from Laurie Euler)

4-5 small bell and/or frying peppers

1/2 large onion

1 recipe Fajita Seasoning Mix (below)

Olive Oil

Cheese or Cashew Cheese

Salsa

Guacamole

Fajita-sized flour tortillas

Fajita Seasoning Mix (adapted from Food.com)

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon cumin

Mix seasoning ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

Slice bell peppers and onions into sticks or squares, whichever you prefer. Throw them in a saucepan or large skillet over medium heat with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Sauté until the peppers are soft.

Peppers and onions sautéing.

Peppers and onions sautéing.

Next, add all the seasoning mix and add about a 1/4-1/2 cup water to the pan. Continue to sauté until the sauce thickens and coats the peppers and onions (this should take a few minutes).

Finished fajita peppers.

Finished fajita peppers.

Set peppers aside to cool. In a separate frying pan, warm two flour tortillas, one on top of the other. Flip them and once they’re warm take the top one off, put peppers and cheese on the bottom and then top with the other tortilla. Flip and heat through — 15 to 20 seconds. Put quesadilla on a plate, cut into four pieces and serve. To make the taco version, warm the tortillas in the pan and then put them on a plate. Stuff full of fajita peppers, cheese and whatever else you might want. Enjoy!.

What’d we get this week — my first without my buddy Laurie around? (Sniff). Tomatoes — both regular and cherry — potatoes, basil, cucumbers and a little yellow watermelon.

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Bye-Bye Bounty: CSA week 14 - A torte, of course

Herbed summer squash and potato torte.

Herbed summer squash and potato torte. by Sarah Henning

First, I apologize for my opening photo. Not the sexiest food photo known to man, I must admit. BUT, the meal depicted in the photo is absolutely lovely.

That, my friends, is the Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte. Why I say “THE” is because if you’re a follower of the blog you know my love affair with this torte began last year.

I love it for several reasons. Firstly, because it uses two of the summer’s most abundant veggies, whether you find them at the market or are a member of a CSA like Rolling Prairie: summer squash and potatoes. I also have it on our family meal rotation because it’s hearty and goes well with when paired with a salad made of our seasonal, local ingredients and some local or homemade bread. It’s also fabulous reheated, which makes for an easy lunch. Bonus: The hubby/executive chef of the household loves it.

In fact, there’s only two real downsides to the torte:

  1. It requires a lot of chopping. Not that that’s a problem when your favorite meal is kale salad.

  2. The recipe is REALLY long. So, if you want to make it, I’ll do what I did last year and send you to the original post.

So, what’d we get this week? Basil, tomatoes, potatoes, honey, peppers and the cutest little yellow watermelon you ever did see:

The kiddo with a baby yellow watermelon.

The kiddo with a baby yellow watermelon. by Sarah Henning

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Bye-Bye Bounty: CSA week 13 - A mid-summer basil blowout

So, now we’re getting into the spoils of summer. My CSA is churning out great stuff, my garden is hopping, and, unless this 100-degree heat continues to bake everything, August looks even tastier.

Last week at the CSA, we got one huge onion, two cucumbers, kale, yellow squash, new potatoes, blackberries and a HUGE bag of basil (below).

The second I saw that bag of basil I knew I’d have to do some caprese salad (top) with the Cherokee purples I’d just picked that weekend from my garden. Seriously, I know everyone has their own favorite tomato, but I’m not sure how anyone can pick against the Cherokee purple in any category. They’re juicy, plump and pretty with their purple-and-green coloring. ’Nuff said.

That bag of basil was massive, though, so one little salad couldn’t take care of it. So, I knew I’d be making pesto.

Specifically, avocado pesto.

And I'll tell you why. One chef I really love is Chloe Coscarelli. She’s a cute, spunky California girl who happened to win an episode of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” with a vegan cupcake. Yeah, she’s that good. Anyway, Chloe’s food is simple, fresh and tasty and she’s studied nutrition, so she takes health into account. Plus, she’s just delightful and will actually respond to you on Twitter (as long as you’re not creepy and stalkerish) and seems really happy to hear you tried one of her recipes.

So, Chloe’s Avocado Pesto Pasta it would be. With more caprese and a side of kale chips (made in the dehydrator the night before, as to avoid more oven time):

As for the rest of my CSA haul, the potatoes, onion and squash went into storage (I have a plan for them, mwah-haha!) and the blackberries became a really yummy smoothie:

That’s just a tub of blackberries, 2 bananas, 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder, 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder, a 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1-2 cups water blended together.

But the real star of the week was the pesto. Though not very photogenic, as you’ll see in a second, it’s still pretty tasty. Now, I will admit that it lacks a certain kick. Possibly it needs more salt, so make sure to taste-test it and add accordingly (and I’m not really a salt person, so this is really saying something). I added a pinch of salt and a large splash of balsamic to mine to give it a little more flavor. It’s also good with a portion of caprese salad tomatoes dumped on top.

What’d we get this week from Rolling Prairie? Sweet corn, more new potatoes, basil, summer squash, tomatoes.

Avocado Pesto Pasta (Recipe by Chloe Coscarelli, www.chefchloe.com)

1 pound linguine

1 bunch fresh basil, reserve some leaves for garnish

1/2 cup pine nuts

2 avocados, pitted and peeled

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 cloves garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes or sliced sun-dried tomatoes (optional)

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add linguine and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, make the pesto by combining basil, pine nuts, avocados, lemon juice, garlic, and oil in a food processor. Process until smooth. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Toss pasta with pesto. For an extra touch of color and flavor, top pasta with cherry or sun-dried tomatoes. Divide pasta among serving bowls and garnish each serving with a basil leaf.

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Bye-Bye Bounty: CSA week 12 - A summertime Mexican feast

OK, so, a confession. I love cheese, it just doesn’t love me.

It’s a sad state of affairs that has included a lot of back and forth over the years, but right now it’s safe to say that though I pine wistfully over goat cheese, eating it is a nasty proposition. My stomach freaks out and it’s just a nightmare to get it to calm back down.

So, no, I won’t die if I have cheese. I don’t have an allergy. It just hasn’t liked me ever since the little one came along. GRRR.

But that’s not a problem, because after a while, it’s true that you don’t miss it. Don’t crave it. Don’t really think much about it unless your husband is digging in to some ooey-gooey, hot and melty pizza right next to you (sigh). But, truth be told, it’s worth it to grit my teeth and deal.

Thus, I’ve become pretty good at making my own “cheese,” thanks to the “Stir-Well to Heaven” cookbook from Sandi Corder-Clootz, the executive chef of my longtime favorite restaurant, Eden Alley Cafe. I love making her “Mexican” cashew cheese — it’s quick, easy, tasty, cheap and is actually really good on pizza with the cheese scraped off (Yes, the hubby gets double the cheese — lucky him.).

But I hadn’t really had it on much besides pizza crust and sandwiches. So, when I got sweet corn last week from our CSA, and had a hankering for Mexican food, I thought I’d try my beloved cashew cheese on something a bit more involved than bread and crust.

The result is this dish that is one part salad, one part Mexican feast. It has the feeling of a taco salad without the heaviness. Plus, it’s super easy to make on a night when a toddler is at your legs begging you for MORE BLUEBERRIES NOW MOMMY.

If you followed this blog last CSA season, you know I like to avoid turning on the oven at all costs in the summer (Heat, yuck!), so it should not surprise you that you can make this without heating anything up.

That is, of course, unless you want to have it with real honest-to-god, gooey cheese. And if you don’t? I’m sharing Sandi’s cashew cheese recipe.

Yes, it sounds weird, but if you’re lactose shy and give it a try, you’ll not only be saving yourself some money over the stuff you buy at the store, you also may stand at the counter eating it by the spoonful like my son.

Um, yeah. He does that.

What’d we get in our bag this week? A huge onion, 2 cucumbers, kale, yellow squash, new potatoes, blackberries and a HUGE bag of basil.

Summer Weather Mexican Bowl

(Serves 1)

1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped

1/4 to 1/2 avocado, chopped

1 ear of raw sweet corn, corn removed and cob discarded

1-2 dollops of queso fresco, melty colby jack or Creamy Mexican Cashew Cheese (recipe is below)

1 squirt lime juice

1 squirt hot sauce (I use The Boulder Hot Sauce Company’s Smokey Serrano)

Salsa, to taste (I use Green Mountain Gringo’s mild)

Mix all in a bowl and enjoy! Best eaten with a spoon.

Mexican Creamy Cashew Cheese (Recipe by Sandi Corder-Clootz, “Stir-Well to Heaven: The Eden Alley Cafe Cookbook”)

1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 12 hours

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon agave nectar

3/4 cup filtered water

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

Put all ingredients in a food processor and run for 5 minutes. You can add more water for a thinner consistency or less for a thicker cheese. Makes 2 cups. Store in an air-tight container. Try to use within 10 days (sometimes I halve the recipe because it makes a lot.)

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Bye-Bye Bounty: CSA week 11 - Potatoes, two ways

OK, so I promised two potato recipes this week, right? Right. Well, I’m not going to blab on too long because with the amount of new potatoes coming in, it’s no secret you people need these recipes. And fast.

We’re swimming in potatoes between our CSA and our garden. I love spuds and all, but man, there are just SO MANY of them!

This week at the CSA, we had a choice and ended up not picking spuds, just because we have so many waiting for us in their own garden bed. Instead, this week we picked up honey, pesto, kale, yellow squash, sweet corn and green beans. Quite the haul, even without a bag of potatoes.

So, the potato recipes I’m sharing were made within the last two weeks, both using local potatoes from Rolling Prairie. New potatoes are very versatile, so one dish was a cold salad and the other was a more hearty hot dish. New potatoes also happen to be adorable, so the kiddo was quite happy helping us clean them, as you can see from the picture above.

And cleaning them also meant he was much more interested in eating them, as evidenced by the picture I previewed last week — the kiddo leaning in for a big bite of broccoli mashed potatoes with cheese:

And honestly, he usually ignores broccoli, even when it’s this pretty and local, so score one for the parents on the broccoli front! (Even if we did cover it in cheese and potatoes.)

Broccoli Mashed Potatoes with Cheese (adapted from “Appetite for Reduction” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz)

1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed

1 pound broccoli, cut into florets

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon salt

Several pinches freshly ground black pepper

Handful grated cheese (we used Alma colby jack, but probably any cheese would do)

Place the potatoes in a 4-quart pot in enough cold water to submerge them, making sure there are about 4 inches of extra water on top for when you add the broccoli. Bring the potatoes to a boil. Once boiling, add the broccoli and lower the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes and broccoli are tender.

Drain them in a colander, return them to the pot, and use a potato masher to mash them a bit. Add the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of broth, and the salt and pepper, and mash a bit more. Use a fork to make sure all the seasonings are mixed well. If needed, add another 2 tablespoons of broth. Add cheese, if using, and taste for salt. Serve warm.

Summer Potato Salad (adapted from www.allrecipes.com)

1 3/4 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced

3 eggs

5 tablespoons lemon juice

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 tablespoons mayonnaise

4 green onions, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

Handful chopped fresh parsley

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add potatoes; cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Place eggs in a saucepan and cover completely with cold water. Bring water to the boil. Cover, remove from heat and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water and cool. Peel, chop and add to potatoes.

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, oil, sugar, salt, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and black pepper; mix well. Blend in mayonnaise. Pour lemon dressing over potatoes and stir to coat.

Mix in spring onions, celery and parsley. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to allow flavors to meld.

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Bye-Bye Bounty: CSA week 10 - Smoothies and spuds

So, we’re a day late this week and here’s why: My CSA pickup is on Mondays. Because Independence Day was on a Monday, our pickup was moved to a Tuesday. So, I had to wait a whole extra day before I could get a bag full of blackberries, potatoes, onions, kale, beets and zucchini. YUM.

But I digress. What did we do with our bounty from Rolling Prairie last week? I made more kale salad (shocker, I know!), and the hubby/head chef made a potato/broccoli/cheese bake.

Now, you already know the kale salad recipe (Yes, I’m a woman o’ ruts). You’re probably wanting that potato bake recipe because those new potatoes are so cute and hearty. But I’m going to make you wait, because in next week’s post we’re going to have a potatopalooza.

Two potato recipes in the same post, can you believe it?!

Okay, yeah, I’m a little excited about the potatoes, but really that’s just because I have a huge garden bed of them and more coming in from our CSA each week. It’s going to be a starchy summer.

So, instead, I’m going to share a simple smoothie recipe. This one used up the black raspberries we got last week, but you could probably use 6 ounces of any berries, really. In fact, I would’ve made it again this morning with this week’s blackberries, but the kiddo got to those the second we got home. Two seconds after that, they were gone and he was holding the empty container. (Figures)

Protein powder and black raspberries in the blender before adding water.

Protein powder and black raspberries in the blender before adding water. by Sarah Henning

Berry Protein Smoothie

6 ounces black raspberries (or other berries)

2 scoops chocolate-flavored protein powder (I use Sun Warrior) or plain protein powder plus 2 tablespoons cocoa

1-1 1/2 cups water

Blend! Ooooh, pretty:

For those of you wanting a potato/broccoli/cheese bake preview, here’s a photo of the kiddo chopping down on daddy’s version. Mooch.

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Bye-Bye Bounty: CSA week 9 - #FailWhale and juicy vampires

Last week, I talked about how it took me allllllllll week to use my veggies. It’s true, things happen, most notably leftovers and life. This week, we had a major #FailWhale of a different kind: dinner.

On Tuesday, my dashing head chef tried out a new recipe. We had the perfect local ingredients for it — carrots and broccoli — and we had nearly all the other ingredients too for this dish that shall be known as “chickpea casserole.” Now, I hate casserole of most any sort (even the name makes my skin crawl), but the recipe was from one of my favorite cookbooks, and we had most of the ingredients, and the chef was gung-ho about it, so we went for it.

Except for one tiny problem. We didn’t have enough chickpeas for the “chickpea casserole.” So, the hubby improvised with the beans we did have in our pantry. Thus, the “chickpea casserole” turned out to be the “chickpea and black bean casserole.”

Um, it didn’t work. Though the chef was proud of it when it came out of the oven.

Thus, I won’t be sharing that recipe with you this week. I really don’t want you all to have to trash your dinners on account of little old me.

But, I’ll tell you what else we made with our local offerings: juice. I have a very basic Breville Juicer, and I like to use it not only for the juice, but also for the pulp it produces for my compost pile.

Sunday night was the season premiere of “True Blood,” so I decided to whip out the beets and (leftover) carrots from our CSA, plus cucumbers I bought from Stephanie with Spring Creek Farm at the Farmers’ Market and make some bloody good juice.

It turned out a pretty pink, and cleaned out my fridge quite well, as you can see from that ingredient spread.

The kiddo liked it too, drinking about a third of that big ol’ mason jar, though I wasn’t able to get photographic evidence.

‘True Blood’ Juice

1 bunch celery

4 carrots (peeled)

4 small cucumbers or 2 big ones

6 small beets

3 Fuji apples

Run it all through a juicer!

What’d we get this week? Kale, beets, pink mushrooms, black raspberries, new potatoes and white onions.

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“Forks Over Knives” comes to Lawrence!

You are what you eat, right? We all know this, but do we adhere to that bit of wisdom? Probably not. Two out of every three of us are overweight, many dangerously so. Yet we live in one of the most advanced civilizations on the planet. How could it be that we're killing ourselves with food?

"Forks Over Knives" strives to answer that question. The film, which has taken its grassroots campaign to theaters across the country, examines how we got this way and discusses research that indicates that not only can we prevent the "diseases of affluence" we can reverse them too.

The movie is coming to Liberty Hall for a limited engagement July 5-7. At this writing, movie times haven't been determined, but check back or go to www.libertyhall.net for show times.

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Bye-Bye Bounty: CSA week 9 - Sometimes, you just can’t eat it all

Honesty is the best policy, especially in blogging, so I must tell you: Life and leftovers sometimes get in the way.

When we picked up our CSA bag last week from Rolling Prairie, I had all these designs on more stir-fry and a few other tasty treats. We’re getting to a really flush season local produce-wise and the getting is good with my CSA.

But did I get to use all of it last week?

No.

In fact, I didn’t have the time or the fridge space (thanks to a giant watermelon we cut up and then had to divvy between every big piece of Tupperware we own) to make anything other than my favorite kale salad with my veggies until Monday night. As in last night.

Now, I could have lied and said we made these during the week and for separate meals, but what’s the point in that? I’m not perfect and neither is my meal planning. We had a friend in town from my days at The Palm Beach Post in Florida and ended up eating pizza, Thai and barbecue for dinner while she was here.

So, no, the chef and I didn’t get to make dinner with our CSA ingredients until a week after we picked them up. Is that a problem? No, not really, because unlike veggies from California, Florida or other countries, my CSA veggies didn’t have to get on a truck or a plane to make it to this corner of Kansas. This is good for several reasons including one that’s perfect in this case: local veggies are freshly picked and haven’t been sitting on shelves and therefore last longer.

This isn’t a myth, it’s true.

The stir-fry and potatoes we made last night were pretty darn fresh considering most of the ingredients were at least a week old.

So, if you have some old Chinese cabbage, peas or potatoes (picked a week ago from our garden), don’t fear. Just take a look and see if they’re still good. Chances are you won’t have to relegate anything to the compost pile just yet.

This week, I hope to be more on top of things with our goodies: kale, beets, carrots(!), eggs, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. But if I’m not? I’m not going to beat myself up about it (too much).

Spicy and Sweet Chinese Cabbage (Recipe from “Rolling Prairie Cookbook” by Nancy O’Connor)

1 tablespoon peanut oil (we used vegetable)

1 1/2 pounds Chinese cabbage, thinly sliced (8 to 10 cups)

2 teaspoons finely grated ginger root

Crushed hot pepper flakes (to taste)

1/4 cup golden raisins, soaked in a 1/2 cup warm water, then drained

1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oil in a deep skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add Chinese cabbage, ginger, and hot pepper flakes. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium. Mix sweetener and vinegar. Pour over cabbage mixture. Toss in raisins, season with salt. Cook for approximately 3 more minutes, stirring often. Cabbage should be wilted but still slightly crunchy. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Smashed Peas with Potatoes with Miso (Recipe adapted from “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” by Mark Bittman)

2 medium potatoes (we used the equivalent in new potatoes from our garden)

2 cups snap peas (or edamame)

2 to 3 tablespoons miso mixed with 1/4 cup water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chopped scallion for garnish

Boil the potatoes in water to cover until soft, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another pot, bring about 1 quart water to a boil; add the peas and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Drain the peas, transfer to a blender or food processor, and pulse until roughly chopped (do not purée).

Drain the potatoes when done (reserve a bit of their cooking water), add the peas and the miso, and smash the potatoes with a masher or wooden spoon (it should be fairly chunky). Add a little of the reserved potato water if the mixture is too dry. Taste and adjust the season, adding salt and pepper or more miso as needed. Garnish with scallion and serve. Serves 4.

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Bye-Bye Bounty: CSA week 8 - Strawberries, stir-fry and bok choy, oh my

Well, I finally outwitted the strawberry thief and got my hands on some local strawberries! I was able to use Rolling Prairie strawberries not only in my fruity breakfast last week (above), but also in a lunch salad (below) that featured not only CSA strawberries, but also CSA spring mix. There are walnuts, apples, blueberries and honey mustard dressing in there too, by the way.

Besides strawberries, we also got some other yummy things in our weekly CSA bag, including butter lettuce, salad mix, kale, broccoli, snap peas.

And for some reason, all that sang "stir-fry" to me. Maybe it was because we also had a lot of garden bok choy and kale to use:

By the time we finally got around to harvesting the bok choy and kale from our garden, I'd already eaten the CSA kale in Rockin' Kale Salad fashion. But not to fear, we had plenty with which to make stir-fry.

The hubby consulted with Mark Bittman, he of the "How to Cook Everything" line of cookbooks and came up with a stir-fry recipe that ended up pretty tasty, too. It featured not only our garden kale and bok choy, but also CSA snap peas and broccoli, among other ingredients that soon will be easy to find locally. We enjoyed it with a couple of slices of Megan Paisley's bread from Double J Farms.

CSA and Garden Stir-fry (Recipe by Justin Henning)

2 carrots

1 red pepper

1 pound snap peas

1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger

2 tablespoon garlic

3 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

3 heads bok choy

1 bunch kale

1 head broccoli

1/2 large zucchini, chopped into half-moons or quarters

1 cup cashews (we used raw)

Sauté garlic and ginger in wok for one minute, add vegetables until slightly brown.

Then add broccoli, kale and bok choy. Keep on heat until leaves reduce slightly. Remove and enjoy.

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Bye-Bye Bounty: CSA week 7 - Samosas: Go big or go home

Okay, so I’ll admit it, I usually don’t do the cooking. Gasp! Yes, I’m a food writer, but I’m much more of a baker or a salad maker than a true “cook.”

Rather, the cook’s apron in our household definitely goes to my husband, Justin. He loves to tackle new recipes and even gets excited about the old ones (I’m a rut-type person, and thus, we eat a lot of the same things repeatedly). He especially likes the recipes of Isa Chandra Moskowitz, who has several cookbooks out there, including one I blogged about regularly in this space last year.

So, when we got snap peas and onions in last week’s CSA bag from Rolling Prairie, he decided to try something new. Add a few springs of mint from our garden, and a few pantry items, and he was ready to try his hand at Isa’s version of an Indian food favorite: samosas.

These little dumplings are a staple as an appetizer or a side for those of us who like Indian food. My husband loves them with some chicken tikka masala. But he’s never made them. So, why not try on a Sunday night when he’s got the time?

It all seemed easy enough, until he’d prepped all the ingredients and started reading the directions. You see, this is another wonderful thing about my husband: He jumps in with two feet. The problem is, sometimes he ends up with seaweed in his waders.

This was one of those times. The recipe actually ends up taking awhile, so if you do plan on making it (which you should), start EARLY.

You’ve got to make a sauce, a filling and roll out the dough like so:

But it’s totally worth it, and, apparently, it’s pretty customizable. Remember how I said my hubby is fearless? Well, he decided to turn his samsosas into empañadas. The recipe calls for you to make 36 tiny balls. Instead, Justin made six BIG ones and doubled the cooking time.

And it turned out beautifully. And, I should mention that this move of his plays in perfectly with our family history of turning “appetizers” into one-stop dinners. You’ve probably noticed we eat a lot of salad as a meal. This is the same sort of thing. Instead of having samosas as part of the meal, he went big with them and called it a meal. Don’t be afraid to do this, especially when using up local ingredients.

Now, I'd give you the recipe, but I totally forgot to type it up last night from the cookbook. And I can't find it online. Soooo, if you want the recipe, email me at sarah@lawrence.com and I'll hook you up once I have time to type it all out. Bad Blogger, I know.

In this week's Rolling Prairie bag: strawberries, butter lettuce, salad mix, kale, broccoli, snap peas.

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Bye-Bye Bounty: CSA week 6 - The case of the stawberry thief!

Strawberry season is officially here. Yes, yes, it is, as you can see by the look of determination on my kiddo’s face to eat EVERY LAST STRAWBERRY in the house.

Yes, the second we busted open our Rolling Prairie strawberries last week, the little one decided to eat the whole entire carton in one sitting.

Yep.

Then, he asked for more.

So, I can’t exactly tell you how the Rolling Prairie strawberries tasted last week, but I can tell you that they’re popular.

I can also say with certainty is that the mushrooms, chard, lettuce and salad mix that we got last week were excellent. I made salads like the ones from last week — greens and various veggies and fruits in sweet and salty combinations.

And, because I had so much chard, I did a lot of lunch and dinner roll-ups. I was out of tahini, so I didn’t make my own hummus like the last time I made roll-ups. Instead, I made use of the yummy (but expensive!) avocados that have been in the stores lately, and did guacamole roll-ups.

For easy guac, all you have to do is take two avocados, a squirt of lime juice and a half a jar of pre-made salsa, mash it all up with a potato masher in a bowl and call it guac. Super easy.

To make the wraps, just spoon guac into de-stemmed chard leaves and roll up. Ta-da! In an effort to try something new, I shot video of the roll-ups here:

So, in this week’s Rolling Prairie bag, we got strawberries, green onions, salad mix, snap peas, kale and eggs.

I can tell you right now I still don’t know how good those strawberries are. The kiddo had them in his grubby little hands the second I got home.

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Bye-Bye Bounty: CSA week 5 - Homemade salad dressing FTW!

Mmmm, salad.

If you’re a fan of local food, it’s definitely a staple this time of year. Greens are everywhere and come in all sorts of yummy shapes and sizes from baby salad mix to big heads of leaves of kale just begging to be subdued into something green and colorful.

But, after a few weeks of CSA goodness from Rolling Prairie and trips to the Lawrence Farmers’ Market, even I, the queen of salads, can be begging for something new.

That said, we can’t really change the fact that we have tons of greens at the ready and they’re perfect for salad. So, why not just change the salad? We did that a bit last week with my favorite kale salad. But, because it’s my favorite salad, I’ve been eating it all winter and spring.

Time for a change.

I happened to find that change in an unusual place — the Bay Leaf’s close-out sale. Way back when the beloved Lawrence cooking shop was closing, I went in and picked up three dressing bottles. The bottles had salad dressing recipes etched right into the glass and seemed like a good edition not only to my kitchen, but also to the kitchens of both my mothers-in-law for Mother’s Day. (What? They both love salad!)

Anyway, I brought home the bottles, doled out the gifts and washed mine out. Last week, when I got a deluge of greens — salad greens, lettuce, kale, along with homemade pesto and radishes — I decided it was high time to try that sucker out. I picked out a honey mustard dressing recipe and went to town. What you do is fill each wet ingredient up to the line, spoon in the dry ingredients and shake. The result is a perfectly bottled dressing.

The first salad I chose to serve it on was a mix of my spring greens, two Fuji apples and a handful of chopped walnuts. It was perfection. So much so that I ate this entire salad.

Embarrassing, but I was hungry.

Later in the week, I made the salad at the top of this post and covered it in the remainder of the dressing. In that salad, along with my CSA lettuce and some local romaine are: red peppers, cucumbers, mangoes, kalamata olives, sliced grape tomatoes, capers and local green onions. YUM.

Also, I suppose I should say what I did with my kale last week if I didn’t make my beloved kale salad. Well, if you must know, it was my favorite green smoothie. While the kiddo prefers banana and spinach, my all-time favorite is half an in-season cantaloupe with four or five kale leaves, stems removed. The result is a pretty, sweet green drink.

This week’s CSA included strawberries, mushrooms, lettuce, salad mix, chard (I traded turnips for two bunches).

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