Saturday, April 21, 2012

Week 52 in Review

The Score 
Eaters - 10     Compost - 0     Carry Over - 1
This was a week that my husband picked up the box, and unlike me, he took it 'as is.'  Often, I take one or two items that are hard sells with the family, and exchange them at the farmer's market for ingredients that I know that will be well received.  Seeing as it was our last official week of the year, however, it seemed like a reasonable challenge to accept the box as it was.  Interestingly, a few items that almost certainly would have hit the compost nine months ago were not that hard to integrate into our meal plan for the week.  We ate up everything this week, with the exception of a few avocados that weren't quite ripe enough to consume, but they will definitely get gobbled up in the coming week as we all love avocados. 

The Best
  • Surprisingly, we all loved this very simple sausage, white bean and swiss chard soup.  This was a delicious, quick alternative to the Italian wedding soup that took many hours to prepare several months back.  This may have been the first time that our entire family willingly ate swiss chard at the same seating!

The Good
  • While quite simple in many ways, this Thai-spiced salad could act a great base for a number of proteins.
  • Arugula on pizza is fantastic!  We all loved this recipe with fig jam and prosciutto.
  • Never one to want to waste, I took our left over curry chicken, mixed it with some shallots, golden raisins, crushed cashews and a bit of mayonnaise to make a yummy and pretty curry chicken salad.
  • Using lemons from the box and our backyard, I made this tart and tasty lemon bar recipe.  I could eat these every day.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Week 52 - It Was A Very Good Year

Yes, it's here... Week 52 in the box!  Hard to believe that this experiment has reached its official final week, but in many ways I'm ready.  After a couple of weeks of vacation, I'm ready to get back into the kitchen, and after fifty-two weeks of working with a wide variety of ingredients, it's easy to embrace what's found in the box any given Saturday.  Planning around the box is a part of my process these days, so really it just feels like it's time to get things going.

In the box this week
(top) lettuce, spinach, arugula, mustard greens
(bottom) carrots, swiss chard, sugar snap peas, summer squash, avocados, apples, strawberries

Meals/recipes for the week:
After this week's review, I look forward to sharing some closing thoughts about our year in a box, as well as some thoughts about what's up next!
This week's title is inspired by the song of the same name by Ervin Drake.

Week 51 in Review

To be honest, week 51 didn't go quite as planned.  In the rush to get our family of four packed and ready for a two week trip, cooking just didn't fit in.  I made a couple of things for breakfast - waffles with strawberries, frittata with kale - but dinners were quickly thrown together or eaten out.  Alas, my second to last week of 'Year in a Box' wasn't a banner one. That's life, however, and our enjoyable vacation made up for any blog regrets that I might have had.

And now, onto week 52!!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Week 51 - Circus

We've got a busy week ahead, with a few days in town followed by more than two weeks of vacation. Before this crazy week gets started, however, the family is off to see Cirque du Soleil to celebrate my birthday.  Given the ingredients in the box this week, the circus seemed like a theme that could be carried through to this week's meal planning. I looked for recipes that - for the most part - put together two or more ingredients that might not necessarily seem like they'd be a match. We'll see if some of these recipes taste less crazy than they sound.

In the box this week
(top) lettuce, sorrel, spinach, kale
(bottom) broccoli, bunching onions, radishes, lemons, apples, tomatoes, strawberries

Meals/recipes for the week
Here's to me (and my family) being able to get this all cooked, photographed and posted before we head out later this week!  Cheers!
This week's title is inspired by the song of the same name by Eric Clapton.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Week 50 in Review

The Score
Eaters - 10     Compost - 0.5     Carry Over - 0.5

It was a good week in the kitchen.  I was able to make everything that I had planned, and only ended up losing a small bit of lettuce this week to the compost.  We have a bit of celery left over, but have plans to use that up in a tomato sauce this weekend.  The week also brought a lot of variety - from Irish, to Italian, to spins on Mexican and Indian.  Wish every week could go this smoothly! 

The Best
  • We all really enjoyed the arugula pesto and sausage lasagna.  It was the most complicated of the recipes made this week, so I tackled it on the weekend when I had a bit more time.  The arugula made for a nice twist on traditional pesto, and the fresh tomatoes really livened up the sauce.  A fantastic lasagna!
 Tomato sauce in progress

Arugula pesto gets combined with ricotta

Final product

The Good
  • It doesn't look fancy, but once a year, gotta love St. Patrick's Day dinner.  With green cabbage and orange carrots from the box, and a variety of potatoes from the farmer's market, it certainly was a colorful plate.
  • I started with a sauteed spinach and mushroom recipe, and then added it and some cotija cheese to whole wheat tortilla to make a lovely quesadilla.
  • The curried cauliflower soup was quite simple, but very delicious.  It allowed me to use up the entire head of cauliflower, as well as some left over potatoes that had been purchased for our St. Patrick's day meal. 
 All the veggies in the pot

 The soup is served
  • The kids didn't love the broccoli and red pepper gratin, but I thought it went perfectly with a turkey meatloaf dinner.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Week 50 - When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

It's cold and rainy in southern California, just in time for St. Patrick's Day.  My husband and I both have partial Irish backgrounds, and we always enjoy making a traditional St. Patrick's Day dinner.  Fortunately for us, we have a lovely head of cabbage from last week's box, and a nice bunch of carrots from this week.  Add in a few colorful potatoes from a booth nearby the place where we pick up our box at the farmer's market, and I think our meal is well on its way.  After last week's focus on salads, I'm thinking that it might be nice to make primarily hot meals this week.  Warm meals are good when it's cold outside, and we've got quite a few oven friendly vegetables this week.
In the box this week
(top) lettuce, arugula, spinach
(bottom) celery, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, carrots, oranges, strawberries, apples

Meals/recipes for the week
Several recipes this week are from Martha Rose Shulman's Recipes for Health series in the New York Times.   She has so many lovely and often simple recipes for so many vegetable varieties; it's definitely a great resource for CSA members everywhere!
This week's title is inspired by the song of the same name by Chauncey Olcott and George Graff, Jr.  

Week 49 in Review

The Score
Eaters - 9.5    Compost - 0.5     Carry Over - 1 (on purpose)

Turns out our week of salads went quite well.  We enjoyed a great variety of flavors and tastes, and the boys even enjoyed some ingredients that they normally might shy away from.  Making only salads isn't an option given the ingredients in the box every week, but it did open my eyes to new options for many of the ingredients that frequently are featured in the box. 

The Best
  • The warm broccoli and chick pea salad made for a light, healthy lunch.  Next time I'll make a full recipe's worth so there will be some left over for the rest of the family.

 The Good
  • The so-called celery and cucumber salad featured a number of other veggies that made for a sweet and crunchy salad. I left out the relish as it seemed to be an odd addition, but added some leftover purple bunching onions from the previous week, instead.

The So-So
  • We weren't the biggest fan of this kale salad, but it may be due to the fact that I didn't use the type of kale recommended by the recipe.  Though I think this purple kale does better when cooked, I do hope to try other types of kale that we receive in future salad recipes.