Tuesday, June 28, 2011

CSA potluck and the farm

One of the really great things about our CSA (and maybe all, but I only have experience with North Star), is how they try to make the CSA a community instead of just a place you show up to once a week to get vegetables. A prime example was this last weekend.
Every year at the start of the CSA season, they host a potluck dinner for CSA members. Everyone brings a dish and a blanket to sit on and Lisa and Ike provide the drinks, entertainment and a place to put that blanket. It's a lot of fun, and there are always a ton of delicious dishes.
Our contribution - Blueberry cake with lemon glaze
 Ooh, and in case you didn't know, Superfresh has blueberries on sale this week 6 pints for only $6.99. It's a lot, but you can freeze them!
Peter gets artsy with the camera

A father daughter team provide music

Yummy food
After we ate, Lisa convinced Ike to give one last garden tour. We've toured the farm a couple of times already, but this time we had the camera!


Parsley being provided with dappled sunlight

The greenhouse where they start plants before setting them out into the real beds. They also have a row of tomatoes and cucumbers going so we got them way before they're usually available in this region

Peter is obsessed with these seed starting blocks

Enough so that he took a picture of the block maker



Garlic being allowed to go to flower so they can save the seeds for next year

Onions being saved for seed

Swiss chard

Bolted broccoli




CSA Week 4

This week I didn't get to go to the vegetable pickup because I'm a wonderful person who switched shifts with my partner at work so that he could start his Puerto Rican vacation a day early. I have no problem doing this, even though it meant my schedule this weekend was quite draining. I'm starting to feel normal again now though.

Anyhow, Peter and Gabriella got to do our pick-up on their own. Here's what they came home with:

Spicy salad greens, a head of lettuc, basil, summer squash, fresh garlic, kohlrabi, carrots and peas.

I don't get home until nearly 11pm when I work the night shift, so we rarely have an interesting meal before I collapse. Luckily I found never mentioned our dinner from my last day off

Grilled steak, roasted kohlrabi and carrots, peas and braised greens.
Did you know that even though they not the main attraction, you can eat the leaves from both broccoli and kohlrabi? We have massively huge broccoli plants in our garden (only 1 tiny little head so far) and they were starting to shade my brussels sprouts, so we cut some of the biggest ones off. They're pretty bitter, but cook them up like kale, and they are quite yummy. To make these, I sauted some garlic in olive oil, then threw in the stems until they started to get soft. Then I added the leaves and let them wilt. Finally, I added a cup of chicken broth (I wanted to use beef to go with the steak, but we were out of my favorite) and simmered the whole thing covered for like 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Big weekend

One of the problems of working every other weekend, is that I end up trying to cram so much stuff into my weekends off. This weekend was JAM PACKED. As I mentioned before, we had a full house for dinner on Friday. My parents, Julia, Nick and Molly, plus my mom's friends Lainey, Dave and Claudia. We made it simple with hamburgers and hotdogs, pasta salad and more shredded beet salad. Good food and good company.

Saturday was something I've been looking forward to so much. We took Gabriella to the Philadelphia Zoo for the first time. There was a puppet workshop going on in the Treehouse, so we headed there first.
Bella got to make a paper snake puppet, which was really the only part of the puppet talk she was interested in. Not a big deal, we just played in the treehouse while Peter's parents and sister listened to the discussion. I did get to see Elmo naked though.

While those who are capable of sitting still were listening we:
Sat in a flower

Went down a slide

Sat on a caterpillar
Found daddy hiding in a frog
After the discussion, we got our puppet book signed by the author (I love getting books signed!) then it was off to see the animals!
We saw real hippos

And sat on a fake one

We got excited to see goats, and then petrified when they got close

Wandered the bird house

And saw a momma and baby giraffe

She wasn't overly interested in the zebra

But for some reason knew what a rhinoceros was

There was a polar bear playing with a stick

And a golden lion tamarind

More sitting on fake animals

Peacock just chilling out

It was a very long day, but little miss was a trouper until the ride back to Collingswood.
Then she gave in to her exhaustion

Sunday was of course Father's day, which since it's summer means party at Aunt Claire's house!

Gabriella liked the pool well enough last year, and absolutely LOVES her baby pool, so this was a big treat. She's going to be trouble because she did not want to get out, even once her poor little lips and arms were turning blue. Hopefully the water will be a little warmer when we head in for the Fourth. I got in, and it did feel good, but it would be even better if it were warmer, that's all.

Monday we mostly laid low, although we did get the new mailbox installed and the mountain of cardboard removed from the basement and bound for the recycling men. We went to dinner at my parent's house, since we had to return a yard tools that Julia and Nick had borrowed.
Bella goes to see the neighbor horses with her Pop pop

CSA Week 3

Yeah, I'm late updating again. Get used to it, I kind of suck.
Onto this week's pick up ...

We're getting out of the spring greens and into the good stuff. A huge head of green leaf lettuce, more shelling peas, kohlrabi, beets, dill, a cucumber, new potatoes and tomatoes!!

We went a little crazy after our pick up on Thursday. We needed to go to Home Depot for the supplies to finally replace our mailbox which hasn't stood up straight for 2 years. Naturally, it's impossible for the  two of us to go to Home Depot and only get what we came for. 

I don't know what the occasion was for the sale (Father's day, I guess) but patio furniture was on sale, and I've been wanting to replace our hand me down table so ...

We did!

A close up

Since we had people coming over for dinner on Friday, we just had to put it together when we got home, so dinner was just a little bit late.

Still yummy though
Here we have pan fried pork chops, peas with butter and herbs, shredded beet salad, and the remainder of last weeks butter crunch lettuce. 

Finally, I just need to show off how stinkin' cute our little helper is

That would be Chuck the Truck hauling some freshly shelled peas around the island. That little girl gives me more joy than I can describe.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Food catch up

Between babysitting on Thursday and the closing shift on Friday, we didn't get to eat any of our CSA goodies until after work on Saturday.
One of my favorite flavors is fresh ginger, and these recipes took full advantage of it.

Soy and ginger glazed tofu, stir-fried bok choy with ginger and garlic and plain old white rice. It was yummy, although I can not figure out how to get a nice crispy crust on tofu without it sticking to the pan. I think I'm not getting enough of the water out before I throw it in.

On Sunday, Peter brought the baby to me at work, because he went in to Collingswood so he and his dad could get an early start on tearing out the Rossi's front porch floor. After a longer than expected shopping trip to the time sucking stores of Target and Home Goods we got home right before Bella should have been in bed. Bad mommy moment, but we whipped up a very quick dinner anyhow.

Oven roasted potatoes (yes, in the toaster oven) and scrambled eggs with swiss chard and feta. OMG these eggs were absolutely delicious, and the entire meal came together in like 20 minutes. I cubed a couple of scrubbed potatoes and roasted them my usual way with the addition of garlic powder to the salt and pepper. While they were in the oven, I sauteed the chard stems in olive oil with minced garlic until they were mostly done, then added the leaves and stirred until wilted. Then I added a little bit of butter and poured some eggs over the entire thing. I was planning on cooking it like a frittata, but it was sticking more than I thought it should, so I just kept stirring it around until the eggs were cooked. Finally, I crumbled some feta over it, turned on the heat and covered it while I got our plates ready. Yum yum yum.

Monday, I decided that since Peter didn't think we should even get them, he wouldn't mind if Bella and I ate the garlic scapes. Last year, I used the scapes in a wine sauce with capers, and while I thought it was good, I didn't really get the excitement that the internets have for scapes. Most of the bloggers extolling their virtues use them in pesto, so I decided to follow the herd this year.

Garlic scape pesto with scallops and tomatoes, and green salad.
Yeah, the scapes are kind of incredible used this way. It's really funny, because they don't have an overwhelming garlic smell, but grind them up and whoa. Suffice it to say, I told Bella that we wouldn't be able to give Daddy any kisses when he got home. It is strong stuff, it was hard not to gobble down all the leftovers, but as much as I talk big, I really did want Peter to have the chance to taste the pesto.