Tuesday, June 9, 2015

CSA Week 4

Thankfully we are done moving. Sadly, not all the boxes are unpacked. Our precious Purrcy hasn't been taking it too well. Despite Maggie's anxiety (and a temporary higher dose of medicine per the vet's orders), she is handling it quite well-- as long as we are all together with her stuff, she knows everything will eventually go back to normal. And she sleeps like a baby...

Purrcy on the other hand doesn't know what to make of the new place. He seems to like it just as much as Maggie but is still slightly unnerved-- to the point of an upset tummy. We've got some sort of cat antacid (sadly this is not our first experience with such medications because of Maggie's anxiety) that will soothe his belly. I just wish I could clearly communicate to him that everything will be exactly as it was before, just with new surroundings. For now, I will just keep looking at cute snap shots of him enjoying the windows, cuddling with Maggie, and taking more pictures of Purrcy when he does things like this...

Enough about the kitties (but if you ever need advice about cats with anxiety, let me know since we've tried just about everything-- did you know they make aromatherapy for cats?). This is supposed to be a post about food. What can I say? I love my feline children.

Week 4's CSA box was very green.

We received collards, some sort of lettuce, a red lettuce mix, broccoli, green onions, garlic scapes, and a few cucumbers. If I ever get my dream garden, it will have garlic-- so many parts of the plant can be used during the growing process!

These boxes are sort of like a choose your own adventure book except it's food. I chose to start my adventure with the garlic scapes. I found several recipes to try, but I settled on a garlic scape carbonara first. I was cooking for myself since Jeff was at work so it seemed the most appropriate. Plus, the last time I tried using the grill things did not go so well. Pasta on the stove top it was! I did hate that I had to cut the scapes up though. 

Their natural curves show off nature's beauty... I almost went digging for my good camera, but alas, I was hungry. The original recipe called for bacon, but I didn't have it on hand since we lean towards a plant based diet. To amp up the scapes, I seasoned them with a bit of poultry seasoning as they cooked in the pan. I also added some of the red Siberian kale we had left from last week's box. Overall, I enjoyed the dish. Jeff is more of a kale eater than I am so if I make this again, I hope to add spinach instead. I also think some fakin' bacon would be a nice addition too.

Over the weekend we had plenty of unpacking left to do which meant serious desires to eat out. However, we love going to the Farmer's Market (minus its early start time), especially now that we live closer. We bought yellow potatoes, zucchini, blueberries, and a few more strawberries before they go out of season here.

We ended up making a compromise, or rather, my cravings and wallet made one. We ate an early dinner at a favorite Mexican joint of mine and had a small salad for a late dinner/snack.

We have oodles of lettuce, but it's not all that appealing on its own, at least to me. So I thought we could grill the garlic scapes and zucchini for a bit more flavor. I was a bit leery about the scapes. I knew the zucchini would be great as we'd done it before following a Pioneer Woman recipe. However, the idea of eating something straight from a garlic plant seems a bit absurd-- I love the flavor of garlic, but make a funny face if I accidentally bite into a bit of a cooked clove hiding in my pasta. But the Internet raves about garlic scapes, claiming they taste almost like a green bean with a bit of extra flavor. In this instance, I bow to the Internet. The grilled scapes actually tasted as described. If you manage to find scapes, I highly recommend grilling some up! The recipe we used (from With Food and Love) paired nicely with the zucchini, and the left over oil and lemon zest we had was a nice way to dress the rest of the salad. 

On Sunday we initially planned to make collard greens and a potato parsnip mash, but I had a hankering for my Grandma's Au Gratin potatoes. Purrcy appeared to agree with me, putting his paw on the recipe in our family cookbook. We stuck with the collards and paired them with the potatoes.

I was worried about the collards, but they were actually delicious! I have to thank my brother for pointing me in the right direction. He couldn't remember the exact recipe, but he knew it involved apple cider vinegar and maple syrup. After a quick Google search I found what looked like it could be a solid recipe from Heather Crosby. Because there's only two of us, and we only had 15 leaves, we needed to adjust the recipe. We also wanted to give it a little something extra since it was being paired with meat or a protein heavy main dish. Fake bacon to the rescue! We also threw in some green garlic and green onion from the week's previous CSA box.

Our adaptions worked out well, especially since it was just the two of us, and this turned out to be one of my favorite CSA experiments. If you need left overs, I'd consider doubling the recipe.

  1. 15 large collard leaves
  2. 3 to 4 slices of fake bacon (or real bacon if not following a vegetarian diet)
  3. 1 stalk of green garlic
  4. 1 green onion
  5. 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  6. 1/4 cup maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
  7. 1/8 cup water
  8. Pinch of salt
  1. Wash and rough chop the collards. Removing the stems is optional.
  2. Cook the green garlic and green onion in a small pan until tender.
  3. Put the collards in a large pot, and stir in all ingredients except the bacon.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium to high heat.
  5. Cook bacon following directions on the package, and once cooked, chop it up, and toss it into the collard mixture.
  6. Reduce heat, letting it simmer until the liquid reduces completely. 
  7. Eat! 
We still have items left in the box, most notably the romaine lettuce. Our plan is to grill it, and use it in place of taco shells. Other than that, we'll have a few more salads, and keep using the green garlic, the scapes, and green onion.

I wonder what we'll get in the next box!

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