Tuesday, April 12, 2011

eat local: CSA and Cooking

This week was our first pick up from our CSA share. I wasn’t sure what to expect or how we would like it but overall I am mucho impressed. Aside from being a foodie and loving to cook with fresh stuff, I found the quality far better than the organic I buy in the store. I also calculated out how much we are spending and this came in as cheaper for us (a family of four). Definitely will be doing this again!


Bubble, bubble...
I have some pics to share and some ideas for what to do with the things we picked up. I love to cook so this isn’t a big deal for me but I recognize everyone needs some inspiration from time to time. My biggest piece of advice is it isn’t really that hard. Some things you get right, some things you mess up. I am constantly evaluating “how can this be better” when I eat. Don’t be afraid, branch out. 
A pasta sauce is always a great place to add loads of veggies or use up some you may have over ripe or wilting in your "crisper" drawer.  You also don't have to always make it from scratch.  There are a couple of great canned sauces and a few jars of them that make acceptable bases for whatever you can dream up.  For these meals I was looking for both fast and incorporating fresh ingredients.  My leftover sauce became topping for home made pizza another day!
This was more tasty than I can describe!





TURKEY BOLOGNESE


One pound of ground turkey, browned

One jar of your favorite marinara (I love Mario Batalis!)

One red tomato, chopped

One yellow tomato, chopped

Two Tablespoons of chopped garlic (yes, I add extra to everything)

Through all of this in a pan, stir; simmer on low for 30 minutes with the lid on. Stir every couple of minutes. This can stay on as long as you need if you want to throw together a salad or finish a load of laundry. When you are ready to eat, heat water in another pot to boiling, adding a couple of teaspoons of EVOO and a pinch of salt to it. Once the water is at a good rolling boil, drop in the fresh pasta (bought a couple of packs at the pick up), stir to coat with the olive oil and boil for two minutes. Drain and plate. YUM! (Yes, it’s that easy)

Love the color of free range eggs!
OMELETTE

The secret to good omelets is one Tablespoon of cold water per egg you are using. Have anything you want to go on the inside chopped in advance (at this point I also put meat and veggie ingredients on a small plate in the microwave for 20 seconds to take the chill off from the fridge). Drizzle the pan with EVOO and let it heat up on medium for a bit. I pour in the beaten eggs when I can feel that the bottom of the pan is warm. You let this coat the pan, swirl it a bit and when it begins to look cooked around the edges, use a small spatula to pick up the edges. Once the omelet is released on the edges, shake the pan a bit and the entire piece should be able to slide back and forth because of the EVOO you put in. At this point, I break small holes with the spatula into the base and let the remaining runny egg fill these places so it will cook. Once it begins to look cooked BUT NOT DRY I put the contents on. Using the handle of the pan as a guide, place your meat/veggie/cheese combo along one side of the egg base. When this is done, use the spatula to gently fold over the empty side and cover the contents with it. Leave it in for a bit to heat/melt it through and slide it out on a plate. This also takes practice and if you want a super stuffed omelet, sometimes it breaks. This doesn’t matter because it’s tasty and you can use some extra bits of the stuffing to cover any tears. Eat up!


In progress, wild boar sausage and fresh made pasta

Finished product, weird color but SO tasty!



WILD BOAR ITALIAN SAUSAGE AND PESTO PASTA

Aside from being a hunter extraordinaire, my man tends to load things on the grill for me once or twice a week because he is awesome like that. I find if I have everything selected that I know I will use as ingredients during the week, the actual cooking during the week is faster AND gets done instead of reverting to the “eggs and toast anyone?” This week, he grilled 6 chicken breasts and 6 wild boar Italian sausages in advance. The chicken breasts were consumed with a great salad and I took two of the sausages to prepare with the pasta. For the sausage, I sliced these in circles and put them in a pan with a bit of EVOO on medium low with the lid on. Periodically, I flip the slices over. This allows them to heat through and get a crusty exterior while waiting on the pasta. I put on water in another pot to boiling, adding a couple of teaspoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt to it. Once the water is at a good rolling boil, drop in the fresh pasta, stir to coat with the olive oil and boil for two minutes. I grabbed two plates and divided the sausage between them, returning the skillet to the eye quickly. I used a pasta fork to pull the pasta from the boiling water and put it into the skillet with the drippings, adding about 2 Tablespoons of pasta water. I dropped in 3 Tablespoons of basil pesto (Whole Foods 365 brand is great to have in the fridge but you can make your own). Stir quickly here to incorporate the pasta water with the pesto and coat the noodles. I divided this between two plates and got to the eating part. This whole process was about 10 minutes since I had pre-cooked the sausage.

All in all, it was a great experience and I am looking forward to future boxes. This is just two days of stuff so I will have another post later with more stuff.  I think this has made the eat well and in season thing MUCH easier. Find a CSA in your area and try it out. Remember, cooking is not about being perfect, it is about experimenting and learning about things you didn’t realize you could do! (And you can do it, I know you can!)






4 comments:

simplerich said...

One thing we did in Memphis when I was living on food.com (formerly recipezaar.com) and making new stuff a LOT was rate it on a range from "Do we have any sandwich stuff? This is awful! to Good! Make it again!" In between was a lot of gray area including Meh. Better than jail food. Good but not something you have to make again any time soon. etc. The make again stuff I would e-mail to myself and tag with RECIPE in gmail so I knew where to find it later.

Love to cook... also love how often you have olives on your plate. I love olives!

Queen of the Universe said...

Olives are so good for you and I can never have enough! My favorites are the jumbo garlic stuffed ones. Even my littlest monkey loves them and never has a cold so I think they are magic! :)

Wine and Words said...

I volunteer at my CSA...drive tractor, plant, pick. I love it. Not only knowing where my food comes from but having a hand in growing it. You are on the right track here. Wish more people would consider this option for their produce.

Nessie said...

Unfortunately we don't have CSAs here in Germany. There used to be a farm rather close by, but it was converted to a drug rehabilitation center, which isn't bad either, but no fresh produce.

I look forward to having an own home, and putting into practice the recipes that I have started to collect from everywhere that I randomly find them. Thanks for sharing yours!