Monday, May 31, 2010

Lentil Salad

For my second food box meal, I made one of our new summer staples (new because I discovered it this early spring). I must confess that I did have a few extra veggies on hand from previous shopping trips. I may have even bought them knowing we would only have greens, maybe. In the fridge I had carrots and pre-cooked beets from good old Trader Joes along with frozen haricot verts (french green beans). The hubs and I love beets. Throw in some feta cheese and we are sold. This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe I found online, though I do not remember where. I had just gotten puy "french" lentils and was not sure how long to cook them or what they went best with. This recipe is so versatile and I ended up using the leftovers in a wrap as a car trip sandwich as we drove to Boston. 1 med red onion, diced and divided 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 T evoo 1 c puy lentils 3 c water 1/2 tsp thyme 1 c. green beans 1/2 c chopped carrots 3 T red wine vinegar 3 T flax seed oil 3-4 cooked beets, diced salt and pepper to taste feta cheese (optional) baby spinach Saute 1/2 of red onion in the oil until translucent, add garlic and saute for 1 additional minute. Add lentils, thyme, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender. When 30 minutes have passed, add carrots and green beans to the pot for an additional 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, drain, and refrigerate until cool. Add remaining ingredients together in a small bowl except for feta cheese. Pour dressing over lentils and mix to coat. On a plate or in a bowl, put hearty portion of baby spinach. Top with lentil mixture and feta cheese. Add additional dressing if desired (we always love to add more). The next day I threw the leftovers into a tortilla, surrounded by a piece of lettuce from our box. It was tasty though the beet juice got a little messy. Great road trip lunch though.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

First Box

Last evening I stopped by my friend G's house and picked up my half of the share. Wow. There was much more than I was expecting, but just enough that I think we can finish it. We received spinach (gorgeous), kale, a half a head of lettuce, baby greens, arugula, radishes, and garlic chives. For the first night, I used up all of the baby greens for one dinner. I got home later than expected so the lentil salad originally planned for that night was a no-go. 7:00 is just too late in my book to start a 45 minute recipe that should be chilled after it cooks. It was decided that we would have taco salad, to the delight of the hubs. This is a staple meal in my house, we pretty much always have on hand black beans, salsa, and hopefully some guacamole. If the hubs could eat burritos and tacos everyday, he would. For my taco salad I go pretty simple: 1 package of tempeh 1 can of black beans, drained 1/4 to 1/2 packet of taco seasoning OR 1/2 t cayenne pepper, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp chili powder Tonight, I also added 1/2 chopped onion and green pepper each Saute the onion and pepper until barely browning. Add tempeh by crumbling it into the pan. Saute until tempeh browns, add beans. Saute one minute more and add spices with 1-3 tbsp of water. Saute until water is absorbed. Serve in taco shells, tortillas, or over a bed of greens with salsa, guac, or your favorite mexican fixings! And for a special treat while writing up an article review about stress i mixed some leftover coffee from this morning with vanilla almond milk: a stress reliever with fresh mint that came special in my box!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Fridge Clean Out Week

We are headed to Boston this weekend to visit some friends and for a long over-due break from the world. I recently finished up my internship for grad school and the accompanying 60 hour work weeks plus classes. We deserve a little break. In preparation for such, I am not going grocery shopping. The first food box comes at quite an odd time as we will be gone 4 our of the 7 days, though most likely I will just leave a little more with my food box partner, G, if that is the case. I have no idea how many greens to expect. So, for no grocery shopping, here is a look at my fridge currently: Well, I suppose more my fridge last night (the strawberries are half gone thanks to lunchs). My plan for the week: M- leftovers- I will have the pfchangs and the hub will have a concotion I just devised using leftover casserole comprised of black beans with jerk seasoning, tomatoes, and green chilies topped with cornbread. I found the poblano peppers in the veg drawer, split them open, and stuffed them with mashed up casserole with some added jalapeno also found in the drawer. For a lovely topping, some sharp cheddar cheese that is on it's last leg. Hopefully the hubs likes it, though anything mexican and/or spicy is a-ok in his book. T- Lentil Salad (using the beets in the bottom drawer, carrots there as well, and spinach. W- Leftover risotto, fake chicken nuggets, and salad (notice the salad trend here?) Th- Taco Salad (using up the guacamole in the drawer, salsa up top, sour cream up top. That should likely make my fridge look pretty bare ;) Recipes to follow this week.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Muffaletta Salad

I made a muffaletta sandwich to bring to the picnic at Red Hill Farm. Let's just say not my finest hour. For starters, it was too big to put the lid on the container I transported it in. Needless to say, when we opened the bag, there was muffaletta everywhere. I managed somehow to put it back together, only to have it basically fall apart as you ate it with both hands firmly grasping what you could of the sandwich. Flavor wise, it was pretty spot on, though I think I missed the pesto part.

When we got home we had quite a bit left and were hungry after taking Elvis for a walk through the neighborhood. Not wanting to add to the mounds of leftovers already in my fridge (see next post), I decided to dice it up and try to make a salad out of it. I added a bit more cheese (you can never have too much cheese), a few more gardiniera veggies(an italian pickled veg mix- oh so tasty-we like the spicy variety), and cooked up a couple veg-friendly chicken nuggets for my protein-loving husband. All in all, not a fantabulous salad, but a pretty tasty one that was heartily enjoyed on the front porch with Elvis lying at our feet ;)


So I realized that my goal for this blog was to be a recipe blog and I just posted a photo and talked about a meal without posting the recipe. So, here is the original muffaletta recipe that I based my sandwich off of from Rachael Ray Magazine. For the picnic and this salad however, I merely put together what I could remember during my after-work grocery store rush.

1 eggplant

2 portabello mushroom caps

1 vadalia onion

1 green pepper (i would recommend a red pepper instead)

Toss lightly with olive oil and roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Refrigerate.

1 sourdough round loaf

Provolone or havarti cheese (i bought havarti- it was much cheaper)

Gardiniera mix (comes in spicy or mild, often near the pickles and olives)

baby spinach

Cut off top 1/4 portion of loaf and scoop out the insides of the bread, leaving the crusty crust and about 1/2 inch of bread. Layer the veggies, cheese, and then spinach. Stuff the gardiniere in the top portion of the bread (messy- i know), and press on top of sandwich. Press down on sandwich so contents smush together.

For the salad version, see above.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Open Season!

Today was the tour and opening of Red Hill Farm for the season. They did a tour of the farm as well as sold seedlings. My husband and I went, toting a picnic lunch of a muffaletta sandwich and chamomile lemondade. We went with our friends with whom we are sharing our share and their kiddos. I bought a pepper plant as my other two that I got from a friend were mysteriously gone yesterday when I went out to water them...perhaps I should let my dog out in the yard more frequently! We learned some great tips about organic gardening while there as the farmers explained their methods. In this first pic, they often cover up their plants to protect them from critters. They were not sure what the fabric was made of, but it was tightly woven so that not even small insects could penetrate. They also talked about pests that pester the cucumbers and summer squash. Their remedy is some type of sprayable clay that they wait until the pests arrive to use. It is certified as an organic pest control, but our farmers stated that they waited longer than other, larger organic farms to use it. They also rely heavily on crop rotation that helps to relieve the pest problems. Clovers are planted in between the rows of crops as a great pathway, but also because they absorb the nitrogen into their roots and convert it into a more usable form for when it is tilled for the other plants. We got to tour the farm, see the large u-pick area, and meet a few of the members. I am extremely excited about the u-pick area, hoping that I get out there to pick. There are 2 large rows of blackberries, 4 of raspberries (my favorite!), and much, much more. We also saw the crops that we will be picking up next week, wonderful, colorful greens like spinach. Off to a good start!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

First Week

June 1st was supposed to be the first week of our box, but alas, the vegetables are raring and ready to go already! We will be getting our first box the 25th, and apparently we will be getting greens, radishes, and perhaps turnips. Now, the real dilemma here is: how can I cook a whole week of dinners with just greens and radishes? Especially due to the fact that I am not that fond of radishes. It will certainly depend on the types of greens that we recieve. Look for updates this weekend as we are doing a tour of the farm!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


This is a blog documenting my family’s first attempt at a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box. My husband and I are on quest to become more socially responsible in our life, but I must stress that we are trying, and not perfectly either. Yes, we still choose things out of convenience, yes we still are energy mongers at times and yes, we do not always follow through with our goals. However, we do ascribe to the belief that change can start with one and make every effort to begin in our home. We are vegetarian, recycle as much as possible, and just got our first compost bin (still working out the ratio of brown/green matter). Through trial and error, we take steps every day to being more socially and environmentally responsible. This blog is mostly documenting my culinary attempts with a box of vegetables and a few fruits given to me by Red Hill Farms. My goal throughout the 22 week season is to not purchase any vegetables and cook only using those that were given to me. The recipes that follow with probably be varied, and have reviews at the end. Luckily, I have a husband that is not picky and will eat things even if they are not the greatest. We hope that through this our menu will become more local, organic, and seasonally appropriate. We are working at this one season at a time…