Today, I picked up the penultimate CSA basket of the season. The summer bounty is long past, but the basket was heavy with cabbage, squash, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, garlic, apples, eggs, and a jar of strawberry banana jam.
Earlier in the autumn, we enjoyed eggplant. I mad a simple ratatouille, finishing off the last tomato as well.
I can have complete meals with the CSA basket contents. Although this time I cooked the brussel sprouts with bacon.
I think this is the best vegetable soup I ever made. I sautéed onion, carrots, and celery. Then added kale. I cheated by using a packaged vegetable stock, but the goodness comes from those fresh vegetables.
I recently discovered why my egg never looked right in fried rice: I'm supposed to cook the egg separately, then cut it up and add to the rice dish. This chicken fried rice includes peas, carrots, and onions.
I didn't show you Thanksgiving dinner. I cooked a feast, but only used a few farm produce items: fiesta corn (corn with hot and sweet peppers) and baked potatoes. Also, I used onion, parsley, and a jalapeño in the stuffing. Later, I made turkey stew from the left-over turkey. As you can see, I added potatoes, carrots, onions, and peas from the farm.
The other night, I cooked an eggplant stir fry. I think that was the last of the eggplant.
After the CSA season ends, I'll still work on finishing veggies in the fridge and pantry. And into winter, I can relive summer with all the bounty that I froze. My freezer is almost full of wonderful veggies.
With the start of September, the contents of my CSA basket shifted. Instead of plums, peaches, and apricots, I get apples and pears. Lettuce is less abundant. Peppers, eggplant, and squash are showing up.
Eggplant, onions, and green onions made an easy stir fry.
I added apple to the salad, which otherwise contained the more typical lettuce, radish, roast beets, tomato and cucumber. I used more veggies to top a pizza: tomatoes, mushrooms, green pepper, and basil. Yes, this year the farm has mushrooms.
All the food pictures above came from the farm. The omelette is studded with Swiss chard and mushrooms.
This time, I added pear to the salad. Fruit adds sweetness and a delightful burst of flavor to salad.
I roast an acorn squash with brown sugar.it tasted good, but I should have roasted it longer. It really wasn't soft enough. The shrimp are stir fried with green pepper, tomato, garlic, and parsley.
We're still getting corn every week. I freeze whatever I don't cook. I love a bowl of corn chowder in winter, as it reminds me of summer. This omelette is stuffed with spinach.
Now the plate looks like autumn, doesn't it? Everything roasted here: chicken, potatoes, carrots, radishes. I stuck the carrots and radishes around the chicken. The carrots might look dried out, but they were tender and moist. A friend told me about roasting radishes with chicken. I never heard of that before, but it was a good combination.
I just recently picked up the week 11 CSA basket. We're clearly heading towards autumn, as this basket included the first winter squash. The harvest is bountiful with plenty of fruit. Most of these pictures are from the week 9 and 10 baskets.
We're still getting lettuce, but sometimes we need a break. Lettuce and cucumber make a quick light salad.
I love brussel sprouts! Fortunately, we had enough for one meal. They are cute and tasty, but I would tire of them if I had them often. I fried the shrimp with garlic and parsley. Even the baked potato came from the farm.
Last year, someone sent me a recipe for cinnamon zucchini bread. It made two delicious loaves. The recipe included a gluten-free variation. The loaf was so light, unlike typical gluten-free loaves. I'm glad the recipe indicated the measure of zucchini in cups, because I never know how much zucchini to use when the recipe calls for 2 medium zucchini. The zucchini that I got from the farm is an enormous 18 inches.
The left-over shrimp went into shrimp-fried rice, along with carrots, green beans, and egg. Fried rice is a great way to cook with random veggies.
Can you see the veggies in the shepherd's pie? I always cook this dish in 3 layers: meat, veggies, mashed potato. I don't know why I prepare the dish this way, as I see many people and recipes mix the meat and veggies.
I didn't eat the peaches quickly enough, and they started getting a few soft spots. So, I cooked them into a peach topping.
Perfect for mixing with yogurt or on top of ice cream.
Did I mention that the zucchini was 18 inches?! The zucchini bread barely made a dent. I used quite a bit in chicken stew (along with carrots, tomato, and onion).
Left-over stew was repurposed into veggie chicken chowder.
I even prepared zucchini hummus out of that same large zucchini. With the garlic, tahini,and lemon juice, it has only a faint zucchini flavor.
We have lots of meals with green beans and corn on the cob. Our most recent basket included shallots, which I quickly used in a sauce for the steak.
My basket didn't include strawberries, but I couldn't resist picking up a pint at the farm. These late berries are so sweet and flavourful. I combined them with pears in a cobbler. I don't remember having this combination before. It is quite sweet and the flavours complement each other. To those who feel that rhubarb spoils strawberry desserts, give pear a try.
The only ingredient not from the CSA basket was salt.
This salsa contains:
4 finely chopped tomatoes
2 finely chopped peaches
1/3 cup chopped onion greens
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Random amount of hot peppers... Seriously. I took peppers from last year out of the freezer and used a vegetable peeler to scrape off pepper.
The first day, it seemed tangy. The next day, however, the sweetness of the peaches overwhelmed everything.
Next time, I'll add onion (not just greens) and more hot pepper. I really want that heat and sweet contrast.
The other reason I took 1st place is that only two of us entered the contest. I think too many people were on vacation in August.
Other cooking with fresh produce
I'm finding all sorts of ways to cook kale. It's easy to throw into stir fry or to mix in with pasta sauce.
Combined with parsley and onion greens, this was a very green chicken stir fry.
I took a picture of blueberry peach cobbler before adding the batter. The wild blueberries had such a potent flavour for the cobbler.
Some of the chicken stir fry got repurposed in chicken fried rice. I added peas and radishes. Last year, I thought radishes were only for salad. I ended up with many radishes in the fall, when I had no more lettuce. So, I discovered how great they are sliced in sandwiches and cooked in stir fry.
Yes, I'm still eating salad.
Every week, I have corn on the cob. For this meal, I sautéed zucchini with tomato and parsley. I cooked the salmon with lemon and parsley.
Omelettes are great for filling with vegetables.
Strawberries! I ate them plain, mixed into plain yogurt, and added some to a salad.
Btw, if you have a backup of everything important on your phone, you could do a factory reset, then restore.
Did I mention that this year the CSA program includes eggs? In the winter, I don't use eggs so much. But in summer, eggs are a great base for veggies.
I started the week with a zucchini tomato omelet, boiled potatoes, and salad. Yes, we're getting a bit tired of salad. I might try lettuce soup one of these days.
I used the extra boiled potatoes in potato salad. Other ingredients from the farm include egg and parsley. To use lettuce in a non-salad way, I stuck some into a sandwich (along with sliced tomato). The week 6 basket included cherry tomatoes. In addition to red ones (pictured above), we had some yellow ones. I love the pickles from the farm. They are so flavourful.
I finished the kale in potato kale soup. It's similar to the Portuguese "caldo verde" soup. I remembered that this recipe called for too much chorizo sausage. However, I forgot that it calls for way too much kale.
Chicken stew is much lighter and quicker to prepare than beef stew. I threw in potatoes, vegetable marrow, peas, and parsley. Light, tender, and tasty.
I finished the eggs with this crustless mushroom leek quiche. Do any of you know how to make a potato crust?
It starts with salad, because each basket includes lettuce.
As you can see, this week's basket also included tomatoes! Later in the week, I roasted beets to include in salads. But it wasn't all salad.
Those aren't blueberries - they're saskatoon berries. There weren't quite enough for cobbler, so I added apple.
I made a stir fry with beef, yellow squash, carrots, pineapple, and garlic greens. I love the color.
This week's zucchini was a good size, so I stuffed it. I tried two different methods to roast corn. I heard that it's easier to husk corn if you roast the corn in the husk. It was a bit easier to husk and it was very moist. However, I found the corn a bit bland. Then I went back to my usual method of roasting corn in greased seasoned aluminum foil. It's not hard to husk corn, and the extra heat and seasonings improve the flavor.
Not pictured are the apricots, which I ate plain.
Week 3 of the CSA included 3 heads of lettuce. I'm really glad that I'm splitting my basket with a friend, as I'm not quite finished with lettuce at the end of week 4!
I added raspberries to the first salad. Later on, I roasted beets and added beets. I always include radishes, and include cucumber when possible. This winter I learned about salad in a jar - a way to pack salad in a jar, so I can take it to work. Basically, dressing and wet ingredients go on the bottom, firm veggies go in next, and topped with lettuce. The firm veggies form a barrier to keep the lettuce dry.
This omelette includes parsley and eggs from the farm basket.
More salad. I roasted potatoes, beets, and kohlrabi at the same time. I mixed parsley with the bread crumbs that coat the chicken.
When I'm not sure what to do with veggies, stir fry is the easy route. This stir fry includes Swiss chard and zucchini. Also, garlic greens.
I baked salmon with basil and lemon juice. First time I tried this combination, which is really tasty. I didn't have many peas, so I mixed them with rice.
Everything in this frittata came from the farm: eggs, potatoes, Swiss chard, garlic. I had to see a recipe to think of using Swiss chard in a frittata. Now, I realize that I can probably substitute chard for spinach in many recipes.
Shrimp with garlic and basil. This is a great combination. The recipe called for shrimp with their tails on, but I cooked the shrimps without their tails. The only time I like shrimp tails is when I'm dipping cold shrimp in sauce. The worst is when I get soup and the shrimp still have their tails. What's the benefit of leaving the tail on?
The next day, I used the left-over garlic basil shrimp I'm shrimp fried rice. I added onion and peas. Also, a carrot. But there's so little carrot compared to the rest of the food. I should have either added more carrot or left it out.
For week 2 of the CSA program, I didn't manage to cook everything in the basket. Next week, I'll have to either catch up or start freezing. Fortunately, my freezer is nearly empty.
This dish might look like ordinary pasta with meat sauce. However, I cooked most of the kale into the sauce. This was a good addition, but I should have considered adding more veggies to the sauce.
We ate quite a few strawberries before I baked anything. I ended up with not enough fruit and added banana to make this strawberry rhubarb banana cobbler.
Cobbler is one of my favourite desserts.
I used half the vegetable marrow, all the garlic scapes, and most of the basil in a Thai-inspired scallop dish. I didn't buy enough scallops. I realize now that I could have used all the basil and also added the garlic. But it smelled so pungent when I was chopping everything. The white liquid is coconut milk. This dish is pleasant, but too mild.
I used more kale, along with the carrots and peas in a chicken vegetable soup.
Not pictured, I sliced radishes for sandwiches. I also shredded more kale to include in a sandwich pita pocket.
I only used half the vegetable marrow, and didn't completely finish either the kale or basil. I barely touched the parsley, and didn't use any garlic. This week's basket included eggs. Although I cooked with eggs, I was finishing the store-bought eggs.
It's summer, which means that Front Step Farms CSA program has started up again. The start of the season is manageable - even more so this year, as I am sharing the basket with a friend. I have now cooked everything in the basket, except for a few radishes, a small portion of dill, and 3 rhubarb stalks.
I loved my first meal: lemon dill salmon, steamed asparagus, and rice. I steamed all the asparagus at once, because I had plans for cold asparagus. Really fresh asparagus is best served simply.
But my meal was not yet complete.
Strawberry rhubarb crisp was luscious with sweet berries tempered by tart rhubarb. Unfortunately, the only part crisp was the oat topping. I had modified a recipe for apple crisp, but berries are too loose and smooshy. I ended up serving this dessert in small bowls.
You cannot see the garlic that roasted inside the lemon garlic chicken, but it flavoured the meat. Early garlic doesn't divide easily in cloves. Cutting it and stuffing in a chicken is simple. I sliced the green stems and sautéed them, along with kale, chard, and vegetable marrow (like a fat zucchini) as the basis of pasta primavera.
Finally, I mixed the dandelion leaves, radish leaves, radish, strawberries, and asparagus in a salad. I've been reading about salad in a jar as a method of taking salad to work. I hope it works out, because last year I had lots of lettuce.
If you have a favourite non-dessert use for rhubarb, let me know.