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CSA Week Four, Greens Galore!

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Lots of spinach and salad mix this week. A pound of spinach and 1/2 pound of salad greens. Fresh, peppery arugula mixed in those greens. Loving that spring-y quality creeping in among all the winter root veggies.

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This week it was still breezy out at Breezy Willow, but worth the wait.

We got:
1 pound spinach
1/2 pound salad mix
3 pounds potatoes
1/2 pound bean sprouts
1 bulb garlic
3 parsnips
1 pound humongous Brussels sprouts
3 grapefruit
1 Napa cabbage

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Bread: I picked the High Five Fiber bread.

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Value Added Week: this isn’t an egg week, so we got fresh cheese, I picked white cheddar. The other choices were colby or Monterey Jack.

I picked up some Trickling Springs fresh butter, to use in making this recipe for Brussels Sprouts. Just pull all those large leaves off the sprouts. Save the centers to steam another night. Get fresh butter and a little olive oil in a pan. Get the butter nice and frothy and brown, add the leaves. Keep them moving unless you like them crispy. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Just simple browned butter sprouts.

Although with the huge potatoes, I could make colcannon again. Add the parsnips to it also, maybe.

Last week we ate everything but two grapefruit, and the carrots. And, a third of the bread. Bread was the item I worried about. We don’t eat lots of it. I did decide that this weekend I will make croutons with the last of the white bread, to use on salads.

Looks like two people who love veggies can utilize all the CSA items. It does take planning, and making veggies the star of the dinner plate. Not a bad thing.

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Early Bird CSA Week Three

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Spring is here, officially, by calendar. But, it was a bit breezy up at Breezy Willow today for CSA pick up. Warmer than the first week. We were there fairly early, and needed to stop over at Rhine, across the road from the farm. I should remember not to buy ice cream if I have other errands but couldn’t resist the salted caramel.

As for our items this week, here is what we got. Lovely looking, isn’t it?

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1 pound spinach
1/2 pound mushrooms
3 Valencia oranges
3 grapefruit
1/2 pound bean sprouts
1/2 pound spring mix
2 humongous carrots
1 Napa cabbage

Plus, the dozen eggs and this week we picked Old Fashioned White Loaf, from Great Harvest.

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Looks to me like this week there will be spinach salad with oranges and mushrooms, maybe spinach salad with hard boiled eggs, some sort of stir fry to use some bean sprouts and Napa cabbage, maybe a slaw with the last two apples in the fridge and the Napa cabbage and carrot. Who knows? Lots of inspiration in this basket.

I finally did get the second salad spinner at Costco a while back. Comes in handy when you have two different greens to wash. It also keeps them fresher for longer.

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As for using up most of last week’s veggies, tonight for dinner I baked some kielbasa from Orchard Breeze farm, picked up at Olney a while back. This is real PA style kielbo, garlicky and spicy. Served with my turnip, Brussels sprouts, white potato concoction I roasted yesterday. Not pretty, but very tasty.

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After smashing the veggies, I added a little milk, two pats of butter, some nutmeg, paprika and heated it up in the oven. Not quite colcannon, but a good green and white mix. Roasted turnips have the best flavor.


No Room in the Fridge

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Seemed to be that way today, so I had to get cooking and empty those produce containers and bins to get ready for tomorrow’s CSA pick up. We are doing fine with the fruit, the bread, almost OK with the eggs, but have too many veggies in there at the moment.

Time to cook it down to a manageable level. Soup and stews and stocks are my biggest veggie consuming recipes, so today I am working in that realm. First off, I decided to make Tuscan bean soup, and include the lacinato kale left from two weeks ago.

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Start out with bacon. Boarman’s thick cut bacon. I buy it by the pound and freeze it. Take it out. Cut off the end, or two whacks. Put it in the pot with scallions and olive oil. Let it get all nice and curled up before adding some liquid. Today I am using an organic mushroom broth for the soup base. Here is what it looks like before adding the rest of the box of broth, and then adding the kale and beans.

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I used two cans of beans, Great Northern and Butter beans. All the kale from the CSA. With the quart of mushroom broth, some seasonings like garlic powder, salt and cayenne flakes, that is all I put in the pot to make this soup.

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The kale is still lovely, crispy, fresh and green even after two weeks. Really fresh veggies from the Breezy Willow CSA will last two weeks if you store them in a crisper, or a salad spinner. After cooking, I divided the soup into two containers. It is really thick so when I heat it up I will be adding a splash of chicken broth to thin it out.

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As for the rest of the fridge, I did roast some other veggies to use in two recipes. The acorn squash, a sweet potato and two carrots to make hummus tomorrow. Plus, two turnips, two white potatoes and a handful of Brussels sprouts to use to make colcannon tomorrow night for dinner. The before and after pics will be used in tomorrow night’s post.

I got quite a bit out of the fridge today, leaving only a few turnips, carrots and potatoes around. Tomorrow the new veggies will go well with these for some interesting recipes. I will have to hard boil some eggs this week for egg salad, but the week before Easter we don’t get eggs, so I should come out OK in the egg department.

Still loving these early spring and leftover winter veggies from the CSA.


What’s In The Box?

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I now love Thursdays because they are CSA delivery days, my weekly Christmas on Thursday. We got our first box today for the Sandy Spring CSA. My new pickup point is an outparcel of Columbia off Cedar Lane. The list at the site had the confirmed contents of what was harvested and packed for the 40 or so members of this drop off point. We get to go to the web site and see in advance what they hope to pick and box.

CSA contents Week One

The collards were the only thing not included in the final tally. That’s OK because eleven items, mostly greens, is more than enough. I barely fit them all in a picture.

The hubby and I did a quick calculation of what we would pay at farmers’ markets and Roots for organic veggies like this. Since I had to stop at Roots to get organic chicken and shiitake mushrooms and ginger to make chicken chow mein with the bok choy, I got some of their prices. The tally here:

We got a pound of lettuce mix. At Silver Spring Market, for organic lettuce mix, it is $14 a pound. At Roots,$9.

We got a large bok choy weighing 12 ounces. At Roots, $3.69 a pound. Cost approximately $3.

Leaf lettuce, $2.49 each. We got two. So, $5.

Scallions, two bunches. Ours were a bit bigger than Roots. They were $1.69 a bunch. So, $3.50.

Parsley. $1.69.

Cress. $1.69, but ours was Persian cress and way more of it than the bunch at Roots. We had 10 ounces of cress. Estimate around $3 for ours.

Spinach $2.49 a bunch. Our 5 small bunches were about the equivalent of twice the size of their bunch. So, $5.

French breakfast radishes. No real comparison, but their radishes were $2.49 a bunch. Say our specialty radishes, like those we find only at Dupont Circle and cost $4 a bunch.

Baby Hakurei turnips. Last time I bought them at Dupont they cost me $4.


Conservatively — $38. If I got fresh organic lettuce mix instead of Roots in a plastic container, add $5.

The $29.72 a week we pay for this CSA is well worth the price, considering I don’t have to run to organic markets and far away farmer’s markets to get some amazingly fresh veggies. We like the surprises, and the exotic items are interesting to experiment.

It takes about 30-40 minutes to clean and put away the veggies.

I have already been menu planning, and chow mein is a big item. So is a colcannon with turnips, potatoes from Boarman’s, the turnip greens, radish greens and some of the cress and spinach.

A pesto or two is also in the running.

Salads for lunch with some tuna or chicken.

I love opening that box and seeing what goodness is within it.


Winter CSA Week 12 …

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… and a variation on colcannon to use up my brussel sprouts. I saw kitchen scribble mention colcannon on the hocoblogs page, and it inspired me to make it tonight, to use up last week’s potatoes and brussel sprouts.

The week twelve delivery hit the porch at 4 PM. Meat was an Italian beef sausage, my favorite of their beef options.

The veggies had a twist. Seems the beets weren’t up to snuff, so they substituted some of the Florida oranges. I know they do that when they go out and pick and find themselves lacking enough, or what they get isn’t good enough to send us. The way CSAs have to deal with what nature gives them. All part of the buy in. And I am OK with that.

We got:
2 lb. carrots
12 oz. radishes
2 1/4 lb. mixed potatoes
2 leeks
3 oranges
a 3 lb. cabbage

The cabbage will become part of tomorrow’s St. Patrick’s Day meal, with corned beef bought at Boarman’s.

This is a half share CSA, just enough to get through a week of eating home four or five nights for two people. The full share of ten items would have been too much, since many of the winter veggies wouldn’t be candidates for freezing or canning, like my summer ones are. I have to say, we have not thrown much at all away due to spoilage. This is a good size for winter for us.

As for the colcannon, another Irish dish, made of nothing but potatoes, milk, winter greens and butter. All smashed together. The filet for dinner was also from Boarman’s, pan fried with a balsamic, wine and butter reduction.

The wine, a 2001 Valhalla Valkyrie, a meritage with the five Bordeaux grapes. Ten years old, still a baby. Nearly sixty percent cabernet sauvignon with 25% franc, and the rest merlot, malbec and petit verdot.

You can eat amazing mostly local food all year round without that much effort here in this area of the country. This meal came from my CSA, Boarman’s, and the wine from the basement. Never set foot in a Giant or Safeway. Supported my local farmers and businesses.

A Freezer Full of Local Meat

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Want to avoid pink slime? How about dinner without antibiotics or hormones?

If you, like me, want to change the content of the meat that comes into your house, then go looking at the farmer’s markets and the local butchers.

Yes, the meat costs more. I solved that problem by putting less of it on our plates. More veggies, less meat. Same cost. Better for me health wise. The colcannon was the star of this meal, not the beef.

We are lucky here in Howard County to have at least four butchers, and a large number of local farmers selling meat from free range, grass fed, pastured animals.

With the butchers, you may not always know the source of the animal, but you can ask questions about what is in that package of ground meat. With the farmer’s markets, you can know even more about the source.

I just went digging in my freezer, doing a spring clean out. It is pretty deep in there.

I also have the benefit of a weekly meat delivery from the winter CSA. This half turkey, free range, from the Zahradka Farm, is sitting in the freezer waiting for me to brine it, smoke it, and make at least a half dozen meals from it. Then, use the leftover bones to make broth.

Butchers around here include: Wagner’s in Mt. Airy, Boarman’s in Highland, Treuth in Oella, and Laurel Meat Market. I have bought from all but Laurel. HowChow can fill you in on them.

Local sources include: Clark, TLV, Wagon Wheel, and at Breezy Willow, they sell locally raised meats. So does South Mountain Creamery when they come to the farmer’s markets, or if you have home delivery of their dairy products.

If you want to find sources near where you live for meats as well as checking out the farmer’s markets, use these web sites.

Real Time Farms

Local Harvest

Enjoy good food, from people you know, and avoid the pink slime and extra hormones and antibiotics.