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Pasta Anyone?

Solving the regular what’s for dinner without having to head to the store for things. Friends and Farms basket this week again had a theme and just about everything you needed to execute it.

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Full of ingredients to make Italian cuisine. This is the individual size basket, with just enough for the two of us, but a large basket would provide quite a few choices for the week before Thanksgiving.

I can make us three meals using this much linguine.

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And, that huge lovely living basil.

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Besides the basil, I love the inclusion in my “D week”, which is plain yogurt and eggs. The rotation where I substitute for milk by getting extra eggs.

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I found a recipe that makes a mushroom spinach carbonara, using the baby bellas, some of that spinach, a couple of egg yolks. Finish with some grated cheese. The recipe called for half and half, but I have been using plain yogurt to make a lighter creamy sauce.

In fact, I am contemplating a simple mix of some yogurt, chopped tomatoes, green pepper, onion and garlic. All of it right there in the basket. Maybe some sausage meatballs. I like “repurposing” the Italian sausage. I also considered saving two to make a simple dinner. Sausage, peppers, onion. Sautéed and served with a salad.

The possibilities here are endless. As for the chicken breasts hidden in the left of the picture above, they could be poached and used instead of sausage in a few of my favorite Italian recipes. Or, stuffed with basil pesto. There is always cheese in our fridge. Almonds in the freezer. Easy pesto.

That leaves the butternut squash and the apples for some other night. Roasted sounds good. Or maybe a soup.

Yep, Italian sounds good before all that turkey and stuffing and casseroles next week.

When He’s 64!

So yesterday was my husband’s 64th birthday. As for that needing or feeding part of the Paul McCartney reference, I at least fed him well.

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Part of it was even local! We tend to stay home for birthday dinners, and break out the good wine, and make something fairly simple but matching the wines. Last night it was a simple lamb chop dinner. I should have gotten the lamb from Mt Airy, but the Whole Foods lamb looked good. It did end up having a little too much connective tissue and fat, but had a good flavor. Simply sautéed with a red wine reduction. Marinated earlier in some rosemary and my roasted garlic. We split a baked potato. And, I made some of those Baugher’s Brussels sprouts. Not that difficult to make, and just the right amount. The dinner rolls were also from Baugher’s bakery.

As for wine, we didn’t do local. We did old.

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A special Chateauneuf du Pape, from the year we went to Provence. 2003.

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Memories of those caves, and the time spent eating and drinking locally produced market fresh foods. It is what created our appreciation of good food and wine from local farms.

We did go out yesterday, on the spur of the moment for lunch at Ananda. In Maple Lawn. An Indian luncheon. A treat my husband loves. Which is Indian food. Thanks to HowChow and his followers for letting us know about this new addition to Howard County. It certainly is a lovely restaurant with very good food. We will be going back for dinner, that’s for sure.

I think my husband had a pretty nice birthday. I certainly fed him well.

CSA’d Out

I can understand it. Our first year we were overwhelmed at the end of the CSA season. But, we hung in there and learned from it, and drastically changed how we approached the weekly deluge of veggies.

I say this because at our first pick up last Thursday for our fall CSA, we heard that about 5 of our summer CSA members never picked up their last week of veggies, or fruit, or meat, or eggs. The food bank did well, as did our site host’s friends, who benefited from things the food bank doesn’t want. Like all that chicken and meat.

We are down to 30 members, from close to 50 in the summer. Enough to keep us going. Those fortunate enough to join us got new and exciting things, like these.

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Watermelon radishes. I roasted mine.

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Salanova lettuce. A red multileaf variety. So sweet. So flavorful. Devoured in a lunch mix with some poached chicken breast on top.

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Baby Hakurei turnips. Thanks to Elizabeth at Three Beans on a String these will be honey glazed with Larriland apples and served for dinner in a few days.

The whole haul.

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Napa cabbage. Will be a slaw soon, with apples. The beets. Already roasted and eaten. The potatoes. Made their way into a potato leek soup today, thanks to Friends and Farms having extra leeks for me to pick up this morning. Sweet peppers. Sliced in salad. Put into a frittata for tonight’s dinner. A couple of them are left.

As for that glorious cheese share.

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Biweekly in the fall. That stinky funky six year aged cheddar. The “Lanchego”, which is simply awesome. A Colby. New to us, from this supplier. Creamy and delicate.

I can honestly say I am not CSA’d out. I am really enjoying the variety, and of course, the freshness. You don’t have to rush and eat it all in one week. With food this fresh, in two weeks, I swear it is still better than grocery store produce.

Tomorrow is my husband’s 64th birthday. Stand by to see what I put together to celebrate. Will I still need him? Will I still feed him?

Ethanol Free

We finally gave up and had to find an ethanol free gas station. I swear that ethanol is doing us more harm than high fructose corn syrup. Neither one of them is good for us.

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The closest place for us to buy it is in Littlestown PA. Full serve. In the rain today we drove up to fill up the gas cans for the snow blower, the lawn mower and the leaf vacuum. So far, in the past year, the string trimmer, snow blower and lawn mower all had carburetor work, because of the E10 gas gumming them up.

Other than the Eastern shore of MD, where the marinas are located, there are few choices near us. Charles Town WV. Front Royal VA. The one above in Littlestown. All on our short list are sources when we go on other trips in those areas.

We were really careful with our small engine equipment, draining when not in use. Using the additives. This has been the year we had major issues, including losing the lawn mower for 10 days while it was fixed. Thankfully, the tractor is diesel powered.

So, on a rainy Monday we drove 40 miles to get gas. Decided to stop on the way back at Baughers in Westminster to get a few items. Like my husbands favorite ice cream. Pumpkin.

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The last quart in the case. Perfect for his birthday dinner this week.

As for Littlestown, it is just up Rte. 97 a few miles north of the Mason Dixon Line. On the way to Gettysburg.

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Downtown is already decorated for Christmas. It reminds us so much of my husband’s home town in PA.

As for finding ethanol free gas, here is a great website.

And if you aren’t using ethanol free gas in your 2 cycle engines, it’s only a matter of time before it bites you too. Now, back to our regularly scheduled leaf removal.

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Surf and Turf

Friends and Farms style. When you get an individual basket, sometimes your protein is a bit small. So, you improvise.

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Like with a small New York strip steak. And a couple of strips of cod. The cod isn’t pictured above. I had already put it away to guarantee freshness. I baked the cod with mustard and breadcrumbs. Sautéed the steak with garlic powder and pepper. Made a couple of potatoes. And, got rid of the spinach from two weeks ago.

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The spinach was from October 30th, and yes, it still looked like what I put away then. The great thing about really fresh produce is the fact that it keeps much longer than store bought stuff.

I did a simple creamed spinach. Using sour cream, spinach, grapeseed oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder.

No, I didn’t take pictures tonight. It wasn’t particularly picture worthy, but it was tasty.

As for the rest of the Friends and Farms basket this week, here it is.

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A couple carrots, turnips, apples, some rosemary, a cabbage, spring mix, a leek, and pea shoots. I love these pea shoots. Put them on top a frittata. On a salad. Just munched on them after I got them. A good mix this week.

Gleaning

By definition, gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest.

It’s what we were doing last Tuesday on our food bank gardens. Almost everything is gone. Except for some greens. There was still enough out there to do one more harvest.

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I called what we got from the collards, baby collard greens on the label on the bag. We still got a large blue recycling bag full of collards from these long producing plants.

As for the rainbow chard,

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you could still find lovely baby chard nestled between the stems of the past harvests.

And, that Russian kale.

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Before we pulled the plants out of the ground, we found quite a bit of it to harvest.

Beets and carrots.

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What we couldn’t get for the food bank, like bundles of carrot tops, we used to feed the goats at the Conservancy. It seems they love carrot tops. We did get a good harvest of baby beets and beet greens.

Last act before leaving, pulling those immature cabbages, for anyone who wanted to make cabbage soup. Not big enough to use, but yet edible, these little morsels would make a tasty treat.

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We have learned much from our food bank harvesting. We know what can be used, and what is just too messed up, or tiny, or “weird” to use. I get it. People in our CSA won’t take strange vegetables that are harder to cook. A handful of cabbage leaves isn’t enough to donate, so they either go to waste, or we find a volunteer willing to use them.

Next year, our plots will be planted with varieties that are easily cooked or processed. Exotic vegetables aren’t the way to go, nor are plants that don’t provide a prolific harvest. A handful of something isn’t useful. We need to be harvesting bags full.

Twas the Night Before Pick Up

Thursdays are CSA and Friends and Farms pick up day. The night before pick up is usually when we get serious about finishing off what we got the previous week. I blogged earlier in the week about the last week of our summer CSA, but held off talking about last week’s Friends and Farms basket so I could talk about what I did with it.

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Like these proteins found in our individual share. All gone. Eggs. Frittata. Egg salad. Sunday breakfast over easy. Chicken thighs. Baked and served with rice and tomatoes. It made two dinners. We finished the leftovers tonight. Ribs. Slow cooked with a dry rub, for five hours Thursday when I got home. Bacon. Baked. Used with greens. And in the frittata, and on the egg salad sandwich one day. There’s a few pieces left to be used with the last of the greens tomorrow night.

The rest of the basket.

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Raw Virginia peanuts. Spread on a baking sheet and roasted. Half went into granola I made. The other half used in a few salads and as a snack while watching football. Apples and pears. Eaten with lunches. Sweet potatoes. Baked to serve with a lamb stew last weekend.

Spaghetti squash. Baked and served with Parmesan and butter. Tomatoes. Used on egg salad, and in the lamb stew the other day.

Bok choy and collards. Still hanging around the fridge. Thankfully, greens keep well when they are this fresh. I am making a stir fry Friday to use the bok choy. The collards? Will be a side dish with the cod we are getting tomorrow.

If you ever wanted to test a food service, this individual basket is a good beginning. It shows you the quality of the food, without drowning you in quantity.

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