Archives for the month of: June, 2012

With the exception of pumpkin pie, I really have never been a pie person.  Everyone that knows me, knows I am obsessed with cake, donuts, and bread.  But Ryan is totally a pie person.  And so we’ve now reached a compromise where I make cake 90% of the time and pie 10% of the time.  Just kidding. Kind of.

Anyway, I’ve always known that Ryan’s favorite pie was Strawberry Rhubarb.  I would always remember this at the most inopportune moments (his birthday in July, Christmas, in the fall after a first round of midterms) when rhubarb is out of season.  I constantly whined to Ryan “I would have made you a Strawberry Rhubarb pie, but its out of season and nobody sells frozen rhubarb waaaaah.”

And then one day last winter Ryan brilliantly suggested that we buy a bunch of rhubarb this spring and freeze it ourselves.  So that is what we set out to do this spring.

Our farm had a harvest of rhubarb (before the CSA started), and we bought one bunch. Apparently, in our excitement to make a pie, we completely forgot about the brilliant plan we’d hatched over the winter.  We went to the farmstand the next weekend and there was no more rhubarb to be had!  I panicked.  WE’D MISSED OUR CHANCE AGAIN!!! After waiting all winter!?!?!?! Nooooooooo!!!!!!!!

I did some researching around the internet and found that rhubarb was in fact still in season. Phew, we still had a chance.  So the next time we went grocery shopping I went to pick some up.  Except there wasn’t any!  I talked to the produce people, and they confirmed that rhubarb is in season, but they’ve just been having a really hard time getting it for some reason.

By the 2nd trip with still no rhubarb, I realized I needed to get serious about this.  I started calling all the grocery stores in Longmont, asking if they had rhubarb.  It took about a week until somebody finally had some.  I let out a little shout of “ohmygoshreally!?!” over the phone and I am pretty certain the produce guy thought I was crazy.

I literally raced over to King Soopers on my lunch hour to buy up all that rhubarb.  Well, initially I took it all.  But then I felt bad…. I mean, there was a rhubarb shortage going on in my city.  Everyone must be feeling the pain.  So I left four stalks (because according to my mother-in-law that is how many is required for a single pie), and took the remaining 3.5 pounds home.  (Well actually, I took it back to the office with me and kept it under my desk for the rest of the afternoon, which was kind of awkward.)

So I lugged the rhubarb home that night.  I told Ryan all about it, and then got distracted by some other project (typical).  So, Ryan ended up processing all the rhubarb.  Thanks, babe!  He chopped it up and froze it on cookie sheets for an hour before dumping it all in a plastic ziplock bag, which went back to the freezer. That way, the pieces don’t freeze together in a big ice block, and you can easily scoop out what you need without having to thaw that big ice block.  (We did not think this up ourselves. We googled “freezing rhubarb”.  The interwebs is smart!)

The next weekend we were randomly in our old King Soopers in Boulder, and I was wondering if Boulder was also experiencing a rhubarb shortage (and also wanted to see how they were charging an arm and a leg and looky how I got mine for so much cheaper hahaha Boulder is expensive).  I strolled through the produce and lo and behold, they had rhubarb.  Like, really maybe over 10 pounds, actually spilling off the shelves!  And the worst part: $0.99 a pound after I had just paid $2.99 a pound in Longmont!  Has there EVER been a time in history where something was more expensive in Longmont than Boulder?!  Probably never.  Really, I would put money on it that this was the first time.

So there I was standing by myself and I said (probably much too loudly) “99 cents a pound!?!?!”  I am pretty sure like 3 people turned and looked at me as I stood there, jaw dropped, staring at all that beautiful, cheap rhubarb.

And that, my friends, is how I became the Crazy Rhubarb Lady of Boulder County.

We did pretty good this week!  We were able to eat up everything, and though I did take two weeks to get around to the Colcannon, surprisingly nothing went bad.  Here is a recap of where all our food was used from Week #2:

Paris Market Carrot – Coleslaw
Napa Cabbage – Coleslaw
Siberian Kale – Colcannon
Garlic Scapes – Pesto Sauce in Pasta dish
Sugar Snap Peas – We ate these up as snacks throughout the week and they were pretty freakin delicious.

I think this week really exemplifies what I was hoping the CSA would provide for me.  I am learning about produce I have never heard of before (garlic scapes), and learning how to use produce I probably wouldn’t go out and buy on my own (Napa Cabbage).  I’m also being challenged to find recipes for dishes I wouldn’t think to make on my own.  Up to this point, a lot of my cooking has been “one main dish”, but a lot of the food from our CSA is going to rock the side dishes I usually wouldn’t be up for making (coleslaw).  And of course, once they are made, I love them!  Looking forward to next week!

As a random side-note, Week 2 also ended with a fun concert on Main Street in our little city!

Colcannon is a traditional Irish recipe made with mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage.  I found out about it a year ago when I came across a Denver band named Colcannon, wondered about the name, and looked it up. So totally random!

I am always more of a fan of using a recipe from one of my books before turning to the internet, and of course I ended up finding a recipe for Colcannon in the world’s most versatile vegetarian cookbook to go off.  Their recipe includes cooking some eggs on top, which seems to be a variation from the traditional dish.

I’ll be honest, I kind of slacked on this one.  In fact it took me 2 weeks to get to it. We were both getting home late from work and had a lot of craziness going on, and I kept pushing it off so I could make “easier” recipes.  But I did finally get to it, and it was really easy and delicious (and healthy! Holy cow one serving gives  you 127% of your daily recommended Vitamin A!). I guess it was a good thing I waited so long to make this dish, because it calls for scallions, which we got in our CSA for Week 4!

Irish Colcannon

Ingredients

  • 5 medium-large russet potatoes cut into pieces
  • 8 0z kale, shredded
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 0z mature cheese (I used Gruyere)

Directions

  1. Boil the potatoes until they are tender (easily can stick a fork through them)
  2. Drain potatoes and mash well
  3. Boil the kale for a few minutes, then drain
  4. Preheat the oven to 375F
  5. Mix the kale with mashed potatoes, scallions, and butter
  6. Season with salt & pepper to taste
  7. Spoon mixture into shallow baking dish
  8. Make four hollows in the mixture and crack an egg into each hollow
  9. Bake for around 12 minutes, or until eggs are set
  10. Serve sprinkled with the cheese

Since my dreams of homemade sauerkraut were dashed to the wind, I settled on the other thing I know cabbage is good for: coleslaw.  Yes, I could have done another leafy salad type thing, but at this point we still weren’t done with our original leafy salad and I didn’t want things piling up.  I initially found a recipe from Smitten Kitchen that specifically calls for Nappa Cabbage, but the idea of making wasabi coleslaw with my entire head of cabbage scared me a little.

So I just opted for some normal coleslaw based off a recipe in my favorite versatile veg book.  The recipe calls for a quarter of head of cabbage but I was determined to use it all up, so I just took a look at the ratios of ingredients and started throwing stuff together and hoping it worked out.  Here is my ingredients list, and vaguely the quantities I used:

  • Mayonnaise (12 tbsp)
  • Plain Yogurt (8 tbsp)
  • 1 apple
  • 15 celery stalks
  • Entire Napa Cabbage
  • The rest of my Paris Market Carrots (7? 8?)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

I chopped up the cabbage, celery and apple, and I shredded the carrots.  Overall it turned out pretty yummy.  It looks like a lot of mayonnaise and yogurt, but because there was just so much of everything else, it was actually pretty minimal.  Ryan and both agreed that it was a lot less ‘soupy’ than most coleslaws (which was nice because you could actually taste what was in it).

I think my main regret was shredding the carrots so fine.  This particular cabbage is apparently more ‘leafy’ and less stiff than ‘normal’ cabbage from the grocery store (obviously there is no such thing as normal cabbage, but I am a product of America and therefore any produce that is consistently available at the grocery store becomes the ‘normal’ version).  So, because of this the coleslaw already wasn’t as crunchy as I would have liked.  And with the carrots grated so fine, they were more like ‘carrot paste’ and less like ‘strips of crunchy carrots.’ In the end it wasn’t too bad, because the apple and celery gave it a lot of crunch.

Since I pretty much fell off my chair when I saw that we would be getting Garlic Scapes (after looking them up and finding out what they are), I knew I had to use them for something that night. Our farm suggested that they make a great pesto, and even gave us a quick recipe, so I decided to make Whole Wheat Penne with Garlic Scape Pesto and Tomatoes for dinner.

By the time I finished making the pesto, our whole apartment smelled amazing!  I took a taste test and oh man.  It was STRONG.  Like way-stronger-than-when-Ryan-makes-the-garlic-bread strong (I didn’t think it was possible!).  The recipe says “We did find that the garlic scape pesto mellows a little after sitting, so if you find it a little overpowering at first, just refrigerate it and taste it again once it’s had a chance to sit for a few days.”  Right. So basically if you are a normal human being, make this pesto a day in advance.  It was practically burning my mouth it was so strong!  Ryan of course loved it 🙂

I just boiled up 2 boxes of whole wheat penne (yes we still have lots of spaghetti, but I felt this pesto really deserved some fancy pasta).  While the pasta was cooking I whipped up the pesto and sliced 8 cherry tomatoes in half. I initially was going to use sun-dried tomatoes, since those always go amazing with basil pesto.  But, I was scared they would over-power the garlic scape pesto (HA) so I used some fresh cherry tomatoes instead.  Once the pasta was done I just mixed everything all up together. Super easy.

Luckily for me, things really mellowed out over the night in the fridge and the leftovers I had for lunch the following day tasted much better.  I loved it so much that I went back to the farm a few days later and bought another bunch of them.  I thought that the pesto could make a really awesome pizza sauce (Ryan and I are in the midst of a pizza experiment), so I will keep you posted on how that goes.

 

Whole Wheat Penne with Garlic Scape Pesto and Tomatoes

Pesto Ingredients

  • 1 cup garlic scapes, chopped
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Other Ingredients

  • 8 or 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 boxes of whole wheat penne pasta
  1. Cook the pasta
  2. While pasta is cooking, place all pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
  3. Place cooked pasta in a large bowl and mix with pesto and tomatoes

It’s week 2 and I feel like pro! I know to drive in the correct entrance and how to cross my name off and everything. Yay.  Here is what we got this week:

Napa Cabbage – I instantly thought to myself “HOMEMADE SAUERKRAUT!!!!” And then realized I don’t have a basement and I don’t really want to be fermenting cabbage in our tiny apartment during the hot summer months.  (ew)  I am pretty sure if I ever give up my beloved apartment life, homemade sauerkraut will be the reason.

Paris Market Carrot – These guys are so freakin’ fat and cute!  Also the name makes me feel fancy about eating carrots.

Siberian Kale – Also excited about this one.  Kale is apparently this cool vegetable that everyone is always talking about.  (It is strange to me that foods can be “in style.”)  I’ve never had it, but now we can be like all the other cool kids.

Garlic Scapes – Aka cool curly things that taste like garlic.  I had never heard of them until now, and I’m not quite sure how I’ve lived without them.

Sugar Snap Peas – YUM!

So the day of the pick-up I ran around our kitchen (well.. our kitchen is really too small for running… I guess it was more like “frantically opened and closed cabinet doors multiple times”) trying to find something I could use to miraculously throw together a fabulous gourmet dinner using our new food. I kept thinking up things to make, then realizing I was missing some key ingredient.  Finally I settled on making a salad and a pasta dish. Lame, I know.

RECIPE #1
For the salad I sliced two of the Hakurei Turnips, a third of the Skyphos Lettuce and some Romaine Lettuce we had leftovers of, to create a salad.  For the pasta dish, I used all of our Spinach and made this recipe I found online a really long time ago.

Also, I really wanted to use some penne for this dish, but we were running out, and we have insane amounts of spaghetti that were gifted to us when some siblings-in-law moved out of town, so it only seemed right to use what we had.

The rest of the Skyphos Lettuce ended up in salads, too.  Apparently these leaves are great for lettuce wraps but I didn’t end up having time to make some sort of awesome thing to go inside lettuce wraps.

RECIPE #2
Our CSA newsletter mentioned the turnips are good in stir-fries, so I make a stir-fry a few nights later and chopped up the rest of the Hakurei Turnips.

DAMN were those things perfect in that stir fry! Super sweet and juicy.  YUM. I used a recipe from the world’s most versatile vegetarian cookbook for my base, and just skipped bean sprouts and put the turnips in their place. Its the most handy recipe because you can just add and remove things all over the place, and it is still delicious.

“Egg Foo Yung”

  • 3 eggs
  • Sunflower oil
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed ( I usually do way more)
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 4 0z bean sprouts (where I used the turnips)
  • 3 cups cooked white rice
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

Scramble the eggs, set aside

Stir-fry the onion, garlic, pepper and bean sprouts for about 2 minutes

Mix in the rice

Add soy sauce, sesame oil and egg. Mix well and serve.

RECIPE #3
Coming Soon….. Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.  At the time our beautiful little basket of strawberries made its way into our home, we had no less than 3 different types of desserts waiting to be finished!  We decided to freeze these little guys until we had 0 desserts quickly spoiling / making us really fat.  Then we will make our pie and I will tell you all about how I became the crazy rhubarb lady of Boulder County.

So that’s it!  Week one has been conquered and no food has been wasted. Yay!

This was the first week ever of our CSA, and I was so scared.  I think everyone I’ve ever known to have a CSA griped about “weird vegetables you’ve never heard of” and “way too much food.”  The first gripe didn’t scare me a bit… being a vegetarian and all “weird vegetables you’ve never heard of” pretty much translates as my kind of gourmet.  But I was really worried about wasting food.  So I wanted to have a game plan.  We even picked Thursday as our pickup day, so that if we needed to process some food for freezing or something, we would have the weekend to do it before things went bad.

I love that this farm is right in Longmont.  It is so cool that our “local” food isn’t 2 hrs away… it is like 5 minutes away!  So I popped over after work to pickup the first share.  Things got a little crazy when I drove in the exit (oops…), but once I parked the car and was safely in the Farm Stand, everything ran smoothly.  I crossed our names off the list, and read what came in our share.  I grabbed some fantastically fresh food from each bucket and was then on my way home!

Here is what we got:

Hakurei Turnip (which I proceeded to call Daikon Radish on accident for like 2 weeks…. )

Skyphos Lettuce.  (The farm sent us pics of this before pick-up.  I was like “ooooh that is so pretty, but I bet they all don’t look like that.”  And then they did all look like that.  Awesome.)

Spinach

Strawberries

I will be back soon to post about the recipes we made!

Hello everyone!  My husband and I are currently in our first ever CSA with Ollin Farms in Longmont, CO.  I decided to create this blog as a way to keep track of all the yummy food we get, and how we use it all up.