Friday, June 29, 2012

CSA Summer 2012 - The Goods - Week 6

Week 6.  Remember that time I was like, "ugh, beets are coming," and then beets didn't come and I danced? Ok, fine, you weren't in my kitchen this afternoon. 

We get an email the day before pickup letting us know what we're getting, so we knew the losers on the list were beets and peaches.  I had committed to figuring out something with the beets, since I had already given away a bunch of them from a previous haul.  We have someone for the peaches, too, so we were all set.

And then it happened.  For the first time, I went to pickup, which meant it was much later in the pickup window than when Sous Chef Brian typically goes, and wouldn't you know it, they were out of beets.  Amazing!  They were also out of green beans, which is sad, but hey, no beets. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mexican Rice from the Internet

We had this little dinner party.  It happens a lot.  And I had a busy morning and other stuff to do so I thought we'd "just have tacos."  But you know, just tacos sounds lame.

So the plan was I'd do seitan and beef.  Beef like how I did the beef fajitas, and seitan that had spent some quality time with some canned chipotle.   

And corn spoon bread, which, if I had photographed it, I'd have written up for ya'll, but it was my first time doing it since I quit boxed mixes and I wasn't sure it'd turn out.  It did, and I'll make it again sometime and tell you all about it.

So two types of tacos, spoon bread, and some black beans.  Just beans and some bacon fat and cilantro and cumin and onion.  And then all the fixins, with the lime and the cheeses and the tomato and lettuce and the salsa and the guacamole.  Basically, what I mean is we had to use the dinner table, two fold out trays and a side table.  I cooked like my mother cooks, which is to say plentifully. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Barbecue Tofu

I didn't think dinner would be awesome enough to warrant a blog post. This was one of those meals where I was like, "Yeah, sure, I guess we could do barbecue tofu." So yes, they're phone photos taken on the couch. Because we're superclassy. 

But then, of course, we liked it enough to tell you about it. It's not rocket science, it's sauce on soy. It's not even grilled, it's just sauced. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sour Cherry Brownies

At least in this part of the country, folks with CSA fruit are getting overloaded with cherries.  Sure, you can make pies and crumbles and tarts, but those are totally not my thing, so I've just been eating sour cherries by the handful.

It got to be too much, and Sous Chef Brian won't touch them, so it was all on me.  We finally resorted to inviting friends over (not that we wouldn't have invited them anyway) because we knew they liked sour cherries. We sent them home with a doggy bag. 

But wait, you know what's better than staging a dinner party to use up fruit?  


Friday, June 22, 2012

CSA Summer 2012 - Week 5 - The Goods

Isn't it pretty?  

I'm going to go in order of looks. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cucumber Salad

My friend MSNDG's* grandmother makes this cucumber salad.  I should be clear, she makes a cucumber salad, or even the cucumber salad, but not really this cucumber salad, and it's truly spectacular.  It's sweet and tangy and so cool and crisp.  I was thrilled to take home the leftovers from one of their family events a few months back.  Also, we had a variant of this over a year ago as part of the falafel dinner. 

I'm very good at asking your mother, your grandmother, whoever, for a recipe, but I'm not good at pulling out a notepad and writing it down.  We covered this in the episode on brisket.   But I asked her, I think twice, and she kindly told me what she does, but I'm under the impression that either she cooks like me, and doesn't measure everything, or that she intentionally gave me vague directions so I couldn't follow her recipe exactly.  Either way, it worked like that, because I have no idea exactly how she makes it and this was close, and fantastic, and I'll make it again and again, but it's not MSNDG's grandmother's recipe.  Close. 

When I asked MSNDG for a refresher, just before making this, she gave me about as much information as I had remembered... vinegar, sugar, salt, white pepper, and cucumbers.  Ratios, procedures, no.   

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dining Out: La Lupe

A few weeks ago, Sous Chef Brian was all, "MEXICAN FOOD!!" and I was all, "eh. Long wait to get in."  So we went somewhere else.  La Lupe is up by the Italian Market, right next to the damn cheesesteak places.  And it was awesome. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

CSA Summer 2012 - Week 4 - The Goods

Now, let's just take a minute and observe this week's rainbow of produce. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Local Vegan Sausage

At the end of Winter Harvest, I ordered some vegan sausage.  We're not meat-sausage people, but I was interested in new main dish options, so I went for it.   It's been occupying my freezer for a while. The sausage is from Renaissance, right here in South Philly, and they're known for their food truck

Monday, June 11, 2012

Dining Out: Lucky Old Souls Burger Truck

Take a look at that cheese. 
CSA pickup means a busy evening.  Sous Chef Brian comes home with the foods and then we sort through the fridge and do what needs done.  This time, that meant making zucchini bread and salad dressing to make room for a giant cabbage.   Things get frozen, chopped, blanched.  There are dishes to do.  

So, in a brilliant business decision, there is a burger truck at our CSA pickup.  Because people who are bringing home pounds of amazing fresh local veg and don't want to face it all, those people want a burger.  We are those people. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

CSA Summer 2012 - The Goods - Week 3

Week 3, the reckoning.

I look forward anxiously to the summer CSA all year and its magical berries and veg, and then at some point it hits.  This was that week.  It's on.

The farm described this week's haul as "cornucopic" which is a word I'm going to have to bring into rotation.

This is the week where we weren't all that close to done with last week's veg and then it all came in.  The week I was afraid to look at the fridge.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Eating Seasonally and Whipped Jello

One of these things is not like the other. 
This is something called whipped Jello.  You take Jello let it set a while, and you whip it, then you let it set longer.  It is not food.

A friend of mine asked about a statement I made about having been eating seasonally for a few years.  We do, generally, eat our produce seasonally.  That means that while I buy tofu and chicken and mustard and couscous and kidney beans year round, I only buy tomatoes when they're here.  "Here" means that someone local (within a state or two) grew them and they're ready now.  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sundried Tomato and Basil Crackers

My basil plant is thriving, which is a shock, because last year I killed a handful of them.  Looking for new uses for the abundance of sweet leaves, I thought back to crackers.  There's a cracker we've liked that's crispy and wheaty with sundried tomato and basil.  I can do that. 

I started with the flavor.  Dried tomato from Margerum's, via Winter Harvest and still fresh in my fridge, basil from the backyard and a bit of parmesan.   You can totally leave out the parmesan, just add a bit more olive oil and salt.  The crackers don't taste cheesy.  For cheese crackers, try something like the Mac and Cheesy Crackers I made last year.  These crackers are based on the recipe for the Thyme and Onion Crackers I wrote about more than a year ago (!) but they're tangier and almost spicy. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

CSA Summer 2012 - The Goods - Week 2

For years now, I've spearheaded this CSA thing at Saturdays Mouse HQ, and beyond the CSA part, the change in how we buy and cook food in general.  Sometimes I get all gender-role irritated about it, wife's gotta cook and shop and all of that, but mostly, I'm just glad we get such good food.  

This year, things have shifted.  The one drawback I see to our CSA this year is that Sous Chef Brian has to pick it up, so I'm never actually there.  Yesterday, he came home with the produce and told me it was, "magical."  Not the produce, which, from what I can tell, looks pretty magical, but the picking up.  Going to the farm and choosing the asparagus and interacting with other members and all.  I'm so jealous!

But it's especially awesome, because as I've hinted before, the farm market is wonderful until it's crowded and angry there and sometimes it's hard to go there on the weekend, knowing I'll be elbowing for asparagus.  Sous Chef Brian has opted out of that this season - he really hates it.  So if picking up the produce at the CSA gives him that wonderful farm market experience without the hate, everyone wins.  And I don't have to go to the market on the weekend. 

So yesterday, Sous Chef Brian went to the magical farm with the pig and the chickens and picked up all this gorgeous veg.  Honestly, the first time I saw the veg was when I was uploading these pictures.  Photo credit to Sous Chef Brian. 

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