Box… ?? – Week of November 10th

Sorry for not posting in…. about 60 days, according to the date of the last post. I had just gotten a new follower or two as well, I wonder if you are still around. I know my mom is, so that’s something.

I already like fall, but this box makes me even happier! It’s funny how certain vegetables seem so much more friendly.

CSA Box, Week of Nov 10

Let’s start at the bottom left with those lovely turnips. Won’t they be great in stew? There’s some lamb in the fridge that would love to see them. Just above are some cute little patty pan squash that might be stir-fried with the bell peppers above them. Maybe the spinach there will be in a salad with the lettuce mix in that bag, while the kale between them could be sautéed, even my picky eater liked that with enough garlic! The butternut squash in the box will make some amazing soup, and that broccoli below it could be headed into that stiry-fry with the green onions. Finally the cilantro hiding on the right might be the hardest sell here at my house – I love it, so maybe I’ll make a salad dressing? I had one that was great somewhere, I will just have to think of where….

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Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Box contents


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Summer vegetable and tofu stirfry

I admit that this doesn’t make for the prettiest picture, but it was a delicious way to eat eggplant, onion, carrot and summer squash! I added some tofu for a filling vegetarian/vegan dinner. I always make my own sauce. I think the pre-made ones are usually too sweet, and this lets me adjust it how I like it. This time I went a little overboard on the rice wine vinegar, oops, but it was fine mixed with everything else and toned down by some brown sugar.

Eggplant Tofu stirfry

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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Using ingredients


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Basil Bread

A couple of friends were over baking when my last CSA box came. I offered them both the basil, but one of them suggested that I keep it and make basil bread. I have had tomato basil bread, but never plain basil bread, so I asked her what the heck she was talking about. She sent me a recipe and it was really good! You process 100g of basil with a bit of oil and garlic, then put that in the dough. I wish so much that I’d snapped a picture because it was a gorgeous bright green before baking, but turned into a more standard bread color afterward. 100g of basil is a ton, it was the whole big bunch from the box, but it made for a very tasty and fragrant bread!

I used the dough cycle on my machine, even though the recipe was for making it by hand, and it worked beautifully! My friend said she has always made it with less basil and just chops it by hand instead of processing it with the oil and garlic, so feel free to try that, too.

Basil bread

Basil Bread (adapted from a cookbook, let me know if you know which it is!)

Makes 1 2-lb loaf

100g basil
2 cloves garlic
4.5 Tbs or 70ml olive oil (I used just 1/4 cup and it was fine)
250g whole wheat flour
250g white flour (or bread flour)
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup plus 1 Tbs or 250 ml lukewarm water

Process the basil, garlic and oil until the basil is thoroughly blended. Place first in the bread machine with the water and salt. Add both flours on top of the liquid, being careful to keep them floating above it. Add yeast. [If you will turn on the machine immediately, you can activate the yeast in 3 Tbs of water, then add that on top of the flour. That’s how I did it.] Turn on machine to dough cycle and let it do its thing!

When dough cycle is finished, remove dough to a lightly floured surface. Punch down and knead until there are no more air bubbles. Shape as desired [I did a free-form loaf] and then let rise 30-60 minutes, until doubled.

Bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for 40-50 minutes if free-form, or 50-60 in a loaf pan. When done, remove from pan and let cool before slicing.

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Posted by on September 5, 2014 in Recipe, Using ingredients



Sautéed Sweet Potato Greens

For Box 6 I failed on the sweet potato greens AGAIN. They look fine until one day they are suddenly brown and weird. Or maybe that’s if I miss three days….

The point is, I was NOT going to let them go to waste for a THIRD time. I sautéed the greens (just the leaves, not the stems) in some bacon grease with a little salt and we easily finished the whole big bunch that came in our box on Tuesday.

Food from the box | Sautéed sweet potato greens

We had the greens with some baked sweet potato fries and baked chicken strips. It wasn’t planned that way, but I guess my subconscious wanted them together. My Designated Dishwasher and I both thought it was funny.

Is there anything that you struggle to use up, even though there are tasty things to be done with it?


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Posted by on August 31, 2014 in Using ingredients



Box 5 report card

This is terribly late, I know, but I am going with ‘better late than never.’ Plus, luckily I had noted in the Box 6 post that I had used most of the ingredients from 5.Box 5 report


The problem might be remembering what exactly I did with each one.

Canteloupe: Sliced and eaten

Okra: Used in Levantine Okra Stew. A friend suggested the recipe, and here is what mine looked like:

Food from the Box | Lebanese Chicken and Okra Stew

Might not be pretty, but was very tasty! And did not have the slimy/gooey texture that okra can sometimes give stews.

Sweet potato greens: Part went into a smoothie and part… I distinctly remember cutting up, but neither me nor my Designated Dishwasher can remember what they went into. It worked, though!

Sweet peppers: Eaten with hummus and tuna or blended up with water to reconstitute dry soup. It made it really good, and added a lot of flavor that the soup kind of lacked on its own. Would also be great with condensed tomato soup!

Butternut Squash: Put into a Lamb Tagine (thick stew), delicious.

Spearmint: Preserved three ways! Unfortunately, the ‘mint extract’ way was quite a spectacular failure. It tastes like minty grass, and looks like lake water. I have no idea what went wrong. I’ve already used the dried mint in tea a few times, and that is a huge success.

Eggplant: Sliced, tossed in oil & balsamic, and roasted. I had directions from my friend, who didn’t mention peeling them first. You should really peel them, the skin was inedible after being roasted.

Yukon potatoes: Latkes!

Onions: Latkes! Also chopped and put into the cavity of a whole chicken, which was cooked in the crockpot.

Jalapeños: Used in the whole crockpot chicken. Another went into the tagine, I believe.

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Posted by on August 30, 2014 in Box report card


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Box 7 – Week of August 25

Classes started again this week (awww, so sad!) and I am going to blame that on why I didn’t post this yet. I will also use it as an excuse for not posting pictures I took last week… but I’ll post those at some point.

I was a little bit…. unsure what to think when I saw the sweet potato leaves and the basil once again, but luckily I had invited over a couple of friends to bake on our last day before classes, and one of them suggested that I make basil bread! If the sweet potato greens are still good I’ll probably sauté those tonight. And if they’ve gone bad…. then that’s just another greens fail on my part.

On the other hand, I was happy to get some purple onions, that is a nice, but subtle, change, as well as the carrots and butternut squash. In fact, having a lower green ratio somehow made the whole box seem more approachable.

Food from the Box | CSA Box 7

Box 7 – Now with more colors!

In the next two weeks we will be eating:
Basil, Butternut squash, Sweet potato greens
Okra, Cucumber, Carrots
Eggplant, hot peppers (it didn’t say what kind! They look too skinny to be jalapeños, anyone know?)
Red onion, Zucchini, Beets

If anyone recognizes those peppers, let me know! We’ll see how well I do using up this box.


Posted by on August 30, 2014 in Box contents


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Potato Latkes

I have been trying to find ways to use the many delicious onions that we’ve been receiving. Since the potatoes were amazing with the stew we made, we thought of latkes. 

Latkes with roasted mushrooms and green beans

Latkes with roasted mushrooms and green beans

Now time to figure out what to do with the rest of the onions…

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Posted by on August 13, 2014 in Using ingredients


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Box 6 – Week of August 11

I finished off (almost?) everything from the last box before this one arrived! But more on that in another post. Here is what we are looking at for the next two weeks.IMG_6850


This is what we are seeing:
Melon (cantaloupe-like), arugula, yellow squash
Okra, butternut squash, onions
Sweet potato greens, basil, carrots
Eggplant, pepper mix

I am very excited about the carrots, I realized with the last bunch that they are ridiculously good with just some olive oil. I hope we’ll see some actual sweet potatoes soon, too. 

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Posted by on August 12, 2014 in Box contents


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Box 4 Report Card: C

Awwww, it’s so sad that I failed some of my poor vegetables AGAIN! It was the sweet potato leaves that met the trash this time. Although I got more this week that I plan to throw into smoothies and devour after sautéeing them in bacon grease. Mmmmmm!

Box 4 reportI also ended up tossing a banana pepper from who knows when and two little squash guys. Maybe this box itself is better than I am thinking right now and my attitude is just affected by forgetting about the veggies that got soft and fuzzy.

Here is how I ended up using this box:

Basil – part of it was dried and stuck into the cabinet, another part was in tomato sauce

Cherry tomatoes – all eaten quickly!

Eggplant – more zaalouk! It’s my Designated Dishwasher’s favorite.

Watermelon – drank. Went down wonderfully. 

Okra – Oven roasted

Pepper mix – Some eaten multiple ways: With hummus, with tuna, with salad. Some still waiting for its chance in my belly.

Arugula – This stuff is SOOO much stronger than what you get in the store! It’s great, but needs to be tamed by other greens. I tried to have an arugula salad the first day and it was a bad plan. I was getting sick that day and the arugula did not help it. Bad thoughts just thinking about it. But tasty stuff, and amazingly still looks edible, yay!

Sweet potato greens – Some eaten with rice and chicken, some… met the trash can after they got brown. Sad and gross. Their friends from this week have already entered a smoothie, though. Progress!

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Posted by on August 6, 2014 in Box report card


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Mint, three ways

Some ingredients ‘three ways’ or ‘eight ways’ always sounds pretentious to me. Like restaurants that serve you tiny bits of things and call it food or the contestants on food network that try to do too many things and fail. I went to one of those restaurants once, it had rabbit seven ways and was supposed to be a major thing there. Nobody at my table was impressed, despite the fact that a lot of people love it. I guess me not going will just make more room for them.

But when some amazing smelling spearmint was in the CSA box, I was excited to use it. And also unsure of how. I know mint doesn’t last super long, and wasn’t sure what to use it on. I did have a bit on some lamb tagine, but I wasn’t sure if I’d be making salad any time soon. I could definitely use it all in tea, but I’m quitting caffeine for a while. So I looked up how to preserve mint and couldn’t decide between three options. So here they are:

First, mint extract! (or mint vodka or rum…) Mine will likely go into coffee or hot chocolate as a flavoring. And into brownies, yay! Once I tried to just stick mint leaves into brownies, it was kind of hilarious because they were full of green bits and barely tasted like mint. Not recommended. You can make your own extract by sticking mint into a jar and adding vodka or rum. Just be sure to cover the leaves with the alcohol or they can rot, ew. Shake every few days and strain out the mint when you like the flavor for your intended use.

Yay, flavored vodka! I mean... homemade extract!

Yay, flavored vodka! I mean… homemade extract!

Of course, an easy thing to do is to simply let the leaves dry and then store them, so these will do that.

My camera had trouble focusing on these, hope it doesn't give you a headache

My camera had trouble focusing on these, hope it doesn’t give you a headache

And finally, I liked the idea of freezing them. First, lay them out on a cookie sheet and then pop into the freezer. Move to a container once frozen.

Just the leaves, ready for the freezer!

Just the leaves, ready for the freezer.

 Do any of these look good to you? What’s your favorite use for mint?

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Posted by on August 3, 2014 in Using ingredients


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