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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.

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?

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.

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.

The CSA and Market Official End to Summer

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The markets are ending all over the county. A few have a week or so to go. Tomorrow is the last Ellicott City market. As for our CSA, yesterday we picked up our last summer share. There were 44 of us at our host’s site. Fall veggies were the norm in our boxes, but it still was considered the summer CSA.

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It was greens heavy, as usual for this time of year. This was also the second week we got celeriac aka celery root.

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This week it included the leaves. Looking them up online I see they are in fact edible. There was an interesting discussion at the pick up site about how we get our veggies. If it is in the box, it is edible. We get carrot tops, beet greens, kohlrabi leaves, all sorts of things not found in our local grocery stores.

What did I do with that celeriac? Sliced it and froze it. Same with the leaves. It will be used in stocks all winter.

As for the rest of the box, there was romaine, red cabbage, broccoli, spinach, bok choy and sweet peppers. There was also kale but since I grow it in my garden, I did a swap to get beautiful arugula. I had used the last of my home grown arugula in a pesto, so this fresh large stuff in being used with goat cheese for salads.

Next Thursday 28 of us will get our first fall CSA box. Then, the following week two more people join us. Fall CSAs aren’t as popular as summer. People seem to think all we get are potatoes and turnips.

Still, we are happy. We met the minimum to continue a Columbia pick up site. I look forward to celery and Jerusalem artichokes. To exotic pumpkins and maybe salsify.

Who knows what surprises will come every Thursday?

One Pot Wonders

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It’s that time of year. When thoughts turn to soups, stews and one pot comfort foods.

Fairly easy to accommodate with a little advance planning. How about revved up pork and beans.

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Or maybe chicken chili.

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And, from leftovers, a Sunday luncheon of stuffed peppers.

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All because of this in the pantry.

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A few cans of beans, all sorts of flavors, can make meal planning and execution easy.

The pork and beans. Compliments of those beans, the pork butt from Friends and Farms. All those green peppers which I steamed in the oven last Friday. A little onion, and a little of the butternut squash, also baked while the peppers were steaming.

The leftovers from that dish were spooned into a couple of nice looking peppers and heated up Sunday for a late luncheon.

As for that chicken chili, this was the inspiration.

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That pound of additive free ground chicken from our CSA delivery. Browned, than added some crushed tomatoes, some peppers and onions from the freezer, a can of beans, some spice (I used cumin, cinnamon, salt, guajillo chili powder, cilantro and garlic powder). Left to simmer for an hour on the stove.

With the CSA deliveries, the well stocked pantry and freezer, I can heat up meals by dumping ingredients and “kicking it up” with spice.

Perfect meals now that the weather is blustery.

Mama Needs a Brand New Wok

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Courtesy of the modern day equivalent of the Sears catalog. It’s greens season and my wok started chipping. Not good for a non stick surface.

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Out here Amazon seems to be the new Sears or Spiegel. When I can’t easily get something locally or from a small business, Amazon is the simplest. Better than that 35 mile round trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond. Especially if I can cobble together enough to get free shipping.

A simple stainless steel wok. To deal with all the greens coming from the CSA. This week and last week.

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Today I picked up eight items in our next to last week of our summer CSA. Looking quite a bit like fall in that basket. Greens galore. Broccoli. Spinach. Tatsoi. Arugula. Add to that some large Beauregard sweet potatoes. A red butterhead lettuce. Butternut squash. Green and yellow peppers.

Last week’s basket was pretty fall like also. I never got around to posting about it. Here is what we got then.

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Red bok choy. Spinach. Radishes with greens (I did a swap to get two of them). Eggplant. Green beans. Celery root. Tuscan kale and broccoli.

So many of these items make perfect stir fry ingredients, so I am glad my wok arrived this morning.

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