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What to cook with all the CSA veggies

We received a great variety of veggies in our week 2 CSA basket. Greater variety is more fun. Also, it's easier to figure out what to do with a variety than with several heads of lettuce.

Sometimes the variety is good for a single dish. I used onion, garlic, yellow pepper, tomatoes, and mushrooms in a chicken stir-fry. The garlic and onions are young, and I saved the greens for other dishes.

Let me know whether you like seeing what goes into dishes. I'm unlikely to post recipes, but prep photos are quick to add.

Sadly, my dessert did not turn out as expected.

That was supposed to be coconut custard topped with strawberry rhubarb compote. The compote was good, but the custard did not set. If I find a better custard recipe, I might try this again.

I didn't even cook this asparagus. Just cut it and mixed with a little dressing for a quick salad. This super-thin asparagus is so tender.

The not-quite-custard used 7 egg yolks. So, I used the egg whites in an omelet. Egg-white omelet is not as satisfying as whole egg, but I needed to use those egg whites. The flavor comes from the filling of asparagus and garlic scapes. No lettuce in week 2, so I made a spinach salad.


This year, I start CSA season with salad

The first week or two of the CSA season are typically a bit light. Growing season is short in Canada. But my local farmer has a greenhouse, so we got all the fixings for salad.

No pictures of the strawberries. They were large, sweet, and flavorful. I just cut them up and ate them plain.

I steamed the asparagus.

I love the first thin stalks of asparagus. I steamed extra asparagus and used the chilled extras in another salad.

Also not pictured are the onion greens, which I chopped and added to many dishes - from tuna sandwiches to potato pancakes.

I wonder what I'll get in my next CSA basket.


Meatloaf fit for a president

Most of the dishes in The First Ladies Cook Book are elegant, intended to impress heads of state. But some presidents were fond of simple cooking. For example, President Truman enjoyed meatloaf.

This was likely the best meatloaf I've tasted. It was very moist, and the tomato sauce helped with the flavor.

These chicken croquettes favored by President John Quincy Adams seem like comfort food more than fine dining.

These days, it's not common to mince meat leftover from a roast chicken. Unfortunately, as I was preparing this recipe, I realized that I didn't have breadcrumbs on hand. It's not hard to make breadcrumbs, but it definitely slowed me down. I'll only try this dish again if I have all the ingredients on hand.

I made the casual version of Huguenot Tort, a favorite of President Martin Van Buren.

The fancy version is a layer cake alternating layers of cake and whipped cream. This apple pecan cake is very dense and really flavorful.


What did people used to eat?

What I like best about cooking from The First Ladies Cook Book is discovering dishes from the past. For example, I've heard of "pease porridge" from the nursery rhyme, but I had never tried it. This recipe called it "pea pudding"

I rarely see okra in Toronto. And, to be honest, I'm not a huge fan. So I substituted green beans.

This is another recipe from The First Ladies Cook Book. Chicken gumbo was supposedly a favorite recipe of James Munroe.

This chicken gumbo recipe is flavorful, but I'm not sure that all the steps in the recipe really helped. For example, why fry the chicken and then cook it in liquid?


The Cookbook Journey travels back in time

It's been some time since I cooked my way through one of my cookbooks. I pared down my cookbook shelf to a manageable number. Although I do still use my cookbooks, it's usually to look up recipes that I have used before. Still, a few cookbooks remain on my shelf that I haven't yet tried.

The First Ladies Cookbook is from 1969. So "all the presidents" referenced in the subtitle are from Washington through Nixon. When I came across this cookbook a number of years ago, I thought the idea interesting, and looked forward to trying out historical recipes. But every time I looked at the cookbook, I was intimidated, and I didn't try any recipes.

My cookbook shelf is filling up, so I decided it's finally time... I had to try the recipes and figure out if this book is worth keeping.

First up was "boeuf á la mode," a supposed favorite of Thomas Jefferson.

His wife, Martha Jefferson, died before he became President. So, she was never First Lady. But the book did include a chapter about her and a few favorite recipes.

This dish is basically a pot roast. But the recipe I followed is quite different from the beef that Jefferson would have eaten. That recipe is included, but as is typical for the time, the original recipe is brief and missing details. The detailed recipe that I followed is perhaps more appealing to the era when the cookbook was published.

The beef is really good. It's flavored by bacon, brandy, and white wine. But one day I'll try the original recipe, which is flavored with lemons and wine.

I'm not going completely in order, so my next dish was "beggar's pudding," a favorite of John Adams.

This cake-like dessert is made of bread, sugar, and currants. It's not overly sweet and is very moist. I baked this dish with white bread, which kept it cake-like. However, I don't really like white bread, so it was annoying to use the remaining half-loaf for sandwiches and such. I wonder how this dish would turn out with whole grain bread.


I say potato and you say potato

A couple of weeks ago, I finished the potatoes from the CSA in this potato beet salad.

Although it might look weird in the picture,I love how the flavors come together. The potato keeps the beet from becoming overwhelming. The beet livens the potatoes.

Back in the fall, when the temperature started to drop, I used potatoes in stew.

The carrot is also from the CSA.

What are your favorite ways to eat potato?


These pictures are from October, when I got a pie pumpkin from the local farm. I love pumpkins almost as much as I love Halloween.

First, I roast the pumpkin. I never used parchment before for this, but clean-up was so much easier.

I'm really bad at making pie crust, so I purchase a crust and just make the filling.

Of course, pumpkin pie doesn't last long.

Fortunately, I have extra roasted pumpkin in the freezer.  I might make another pumpkin pie in winter. Or I could make pumpkin pudding.

What ever happened to the CSA?

I knew that I had been reading more than blogging, but I just realized that my last entry was in early October! The CSA season until nearly the end of October.

Autumn meant eggplant, carrots, and tomatoes. The CSA didn't include mushrooms. During  CSA season, it was rare for me to buy and produce from the supermarket aside from bananas and apples. And even apples, I purchased from the farm when I'm season.

We got corn until late in the season. As I was still getting radishes but no more lettuce, I had to find other ways to use them. It's easy to roast carrots and radishes when roasting a chicken. Roasting mellows the flavor.

I didn't always eat corn on the cob. Sometimes I make a salad, combining it with tomatoes and a vinaigrette dressing. I got a cabbage in one of the late baskets, so I made coleslaw.

I love sweet potatoes. The omelet is filled with zucchini.

All these pictures of corn remind me of summer. Fortunately, I froze corn throughout the summer and autumn.

Food as colorful as fall foliage

I love bright-colored food.

Those are both yellow and red/purple beets in the salad. I don't see yellow beets so often.

We have a long season of corn. At first, I cooked all the corn each week. But now I don't eat corn every week. What I don't cook, I freeze. No corn on the cob in winter, but the frozen corn is good for soup and stews. Sometimes I sautée it with a bit of garlic.

I love roast squash. I don't think we got as much this year, but maybe most is coming in the last few baskets.

Sautéed shallots top the chicken breast.

The next day, I had leftovers and added cauliflower, cooked with tomatoes.

Not all meals were colorful.

This eggplant sautée was tasty. I included cucumber and radish. I used to think those veggies were just to eat cold in salad.

What are the colors in your cooking?


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