Monday, January 30, 2012

Week 43 - It Takes Two

Although I have much less time to cook these days, I'm still committed to using up as much of the box as possible each week.  In the past, I've often looked at the ingredients individually, trying to find recipes for the ingredients one by one.  This week it's all about efficiency, with the goal of using up two or more ingredients at the same time.  In addition to what was found in this week's box, I bought a bunch of fingerling potatoes at from another vendor from the farmer's market where we pick up our box.  Although I have a bunch of produce that at first glance doesn't necessarily go together, hopefully it's true that 'it takes two to make it outta sight.' 
In the box this week
(top) lettuce, dill, arugula, kale, spinach
(bottom) celery, bunching onions, apples, butternut squash, avocados, oranges

Meals/recipes for the week
Speaking of potatoes, poke me with a fork, because I'm done (figuratively, and literally).  
This week's title is inspired by the song Two by Ryan Adams.

Week 42 - Give It Away Now

Between my work travels to the other coast, my husband's now common long work hours, and our resulting plan to send the kids away to spend a week with their grandparents, I ended up with a box that I was afraid would go to waste.  So, we sent the fruit off with the kids, gave all the greens to friends who were watching our dog, and saved the avocados, peppers, tomatillos, and onions for the next week.  This week, using the box meant giving it away, alas I have almost nothing report back.  My husband did use the peppers and onions in a chicken pimenton recipe (something along these lines) and we ate up the avocados, but that's all folks.

Since I haven't a clue
of other uses of our box
there will not be any review
for week 42

In the box this week
(top) lettuce, spinach, arugula
(bottom) bunching onions, green peppers, avocados, tomatillos, strawberries, oranges, apples
This week's title is inspired by the similarly named song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. 

Week 41 in Review

The Score
Eaters - 10     Compost - 1     Carry Over - 0

This week was an ambitious week, but it helped that I was able to come home from the farmer's market and throw several ingredients straight into the oven.  The workload of my 'real job' is getting more and more outrageous, leaving not enough time to prepare dinner these days, much less document it.  So, loading activities onto the weekend is becoming a better and better plan.  I really have been enjoying my adventures into the world of canning, though sadly the end products just aren't lasting long enough to fully merit the process.  The learning continues! 

The Best
  • We all loved the roasted tomatillo and poblano salsa.  I took 2 lbs. of tomatillos, a handful of bunching onions, three poblanos, and a jalapeno that I had sitting around, and put them under the broiler.  About 5 minutes in, I added 6-7 cloves of garlic, flipped over the peppers, stirred up the onions, then continued to broil another 10 minutes.  When everything was nice and roasted, it went into the blender - juices and all - with about 2 cups of cilantro.  Blended until it was nice and smooth, and done!
In process shot

The finished product

The Good
  • A closer runner up this week was the arugula salad with sugar snap peas.   It is one of the best salads that I've ever tasted, between the arugula, peas and sauteed mushrooms; my family almost didn't get any.
  • My husband made the black bread, which was a delicious, wintry treat that incorporated some carrots from the box.  It reminded me of the year that I spent in Prague after college.  With that in mind, I tried it with some butter and homemade pickled radishes.  Yum!

  • The spinach lasagna was simple and good.  My husband didn't like that it didn't include ricotta and my kids also complained that it wasn't cheesy enough.  But, for a quick evening meal, it did the trick.
  • The strawberry tangerine marmalade is a tasty change of pace from the strawberry jam that we've been eating since May.  It's tangy flavor goes great on crepes and waffles.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Week 41 - Somebody that I Used to Know

Sometimes, when I look back over the course of the last year, I wonder what and how we ate before we began this 'year in a box' adventure.  I 'cooked' a few times a week, but it was more frequently food preparation than cooking.  I would throw together partially-prepared ingredients from the grocery store, with a rotation of five or six meals that got made repeatedly over the course of the month.  After looking what we've been eating over the past ten months, I feel like that person is someone that I used to know.  There are some weeks that I feel like cooking more than others, but I can't really imagine not eating based on what's seasonally available.  Dollar for dollar, buying the bulk of our produce through our CSA at the farmer's market is a way better deal than trying to buy organic produce at the grocery store.  It's amazingly fresh, it lasts a long time, and I am motivated to waste as little as possible.  While it's not over yet, it is safe to say that this experiment of ours has been a life changing one. 

(top) lettuce, spinach, arugula, cilantro
(bottom) bunching onions, sugar snap peas, tomatillos, poblano peppers, apples, tangerines, strawberries
 Meals/recipes for the week
This doesn't feel like a very challenging week, but I suppose that is because so many of the ingredients go together so well.  Or, maybe it's just because this whole process is getting easier.
This week's title is inspired by the song of the same name by Gotye.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Week 40 in Review

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

I've really been enjoying these first couple of weeks of the year.  We've been enjoying amazing weather, and there have been no after school commitments pulling us in a million directions.  The end result has been great time in the kitchen after school, with me cooking while working with the boys on third grade times tables.  We ate a lot of great meals this week, leaving only a tiny bit to go into the compost pile (a handful of spinach and a small bit of cilantro).  We have a bit of carrots left over, but I've got plans for those (see week 41). 

The Best

The Good
  • I really wanted this roasted tomatillo salsa to be amazing, and though it was good, the proportions were off.  I cut the jalapenos by half, but it was still so spicy that my kids wouldn't touch it.  It was also missing onions, even though the garlic was great.  I look forward to taking the basics of this recipe, and making my own version of roasted tomatillo salsa next week.
  • We ate the chopped salad (using lettuce, spinach, and carrots) with a nice turkey meatloaf.  

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Week 40 - Where Do We Go from Here

Now that it's getting to the final stretch, I've been starting to think about what happens when the year is over.  I don't want to stop doing what I'm doing: we will certainly continue with our wonderful CSA, and I imagine that I will continue to plan our meals around it, I'm just not sure that I want to continue to document the entire process week after week.  So, I've been trying to think about ways that I could continue to highlight what we get in the box but in a less time intensive way.  I have a few ideas, and am hoping that I will land on something that makes sense in the next couple of months.  Until then, back to the ingredients at hand!

In the box this week
(top) lettuce, fennel, spinach, cilantro
(bottom) sugar snap peas, carrots, butternut squash, tomatillos, apples, tangerines, strawberries

Meals/recipes for the week
I was so excited to see tomatillos available today, so I traded out a couple of things from the box to get a couple of pounds.  Freshly-made, roasted tomatillo salsa is one of my absolute favorites, especially when it's still warm.  With all of this to make this week, it's time to get organized and go shopping.  Happy new year to all! 
This week's title is inspired by the song of the same name by Jamiroquai.