Category Archives: Farm Box

CSA Week 7: Compound butter and fabulous corn

The disaster of the previous week’s corn was forgiven once we ate this duo. Oh man, was it good!

The haul:

CSA Week 7

-Zucchini/summer squash.

I wasn’t going to get to the basil before it turned black and sad, so I decided to make a compound butter that I could freeze.


I put the ingredients in my new boyfriend, the Vitamix, in roughly the order implied by a compound butter recipe int he binder that came with it. Unfortunately my butter wasn’t actually very softened and I was using totally different ingredients. Um, oops.


It did work eventually, but it took doing. And it was so hard to get the butter out of the bottom of the blender! I think the cuisinart wins on this sort of task.


The butter could have used a little more zip, but I have loads of it in the freezer so I’m going to be positive.

That night I applied it lavishly to the ears of corn we’d received. I’d soaked the ears in water for about 20 minutes, then peeled back the husk and desilked before buttering and closing them back up.



10 minutes on the grill and the corn was just barely cooked, incredibly tender and sweet.


Another night, I plowed through that summer squash, riffing on a suggestion from my mom to roast it and mix it with feta and mint. I added cherry tomatoes and used basil instead, since I still had some.

(I didn’t use the giant one in the end.)



The downside was using a 450 degree oven on a hot day. And I was too eager and put the tray in before the oven was hot enough, so the squash softened before getting really brown. Luckily I have plenty more where that came from to try again!




We ate it with sausage:

I made leftovers into a killer sandwich the next day, btw. And it would also be great tossed with pasta.

I had my baby shower this weekend! I am just 2.5 weeks out from my due date, if you can believe it. I don’t think I’ve posted a single photo of myself since I have been showing, so here you go, complete with a giant flower showing where the baby is. Between the hand gestures and the weird talking facial expression this is a very accurate photo of me!

Baby shower

My friends Lauren and Megan hosted in Lauren’s backyard. It was lovely, and I ate QUITE a bit of Megan’s totally ridiculous key lime pie. (She’s promised me the recipe. I will fully make this even with a newborn at home.)

Baby shower


And just to be silly, I brought craft-store wood veneer masks as favors, with Crayola markers to color them. Everyone was very sporting about it.

Baby shower

CSA Week 6: Oh, right. Zucchini season.

We were at the lake for the first part of last week, thanks to many of you fabulous people. More on that after the vegetables.

Ben went to pick up the share after we got home on Tuesday, while I lay flat in the air conditioned bedroom and bemoaned the lack of lake outside our apartment. He took these photos, too, and I guess he saw the flower-like gorgeousness of the lettuce and thought a purple pepper would make a nice accent!



-Bell pepper
-2 ears of corn
-Green beans

I still had a bunch of zucchini from the week before, and we are WAY backlogged with eggs, so I decided to make a frittata for dinner and use up some of each. I got rid of my much-hated Oxo mandoline a while ago (HATE HATE HATE) so I just sliced the zucchini thin with a vegetable peeler. (Also Oxo. Not hated.)


Salted the slices a bit to draw out some of the water:


Softened shallots and then sauteed the zucchini briefly:



Added in six eggs, which I’d beaten with salt, pepper and a big handful of grated parmesan.


So to cook a frittata you start by sort of pulling the edges back gently to get the raw egg to run under the cooked. Eventually if you’re my mom you flip it onto a plate (she never splashes egg everywhere doing this, but I always do) and slide it back in the pan to finish cooking, or if you’re less brave and more traditional, you slip it into the over to finish that way. I opted for the oven because I could tell I had some sticking problems.

Before going into the oven:


After (check with a knife in the middle to make sure it has set all the way through):


I also made green beans with shallots:


And steamed the corn from the farm.


The beans were amazing, so fresh and small and delicious. The corn was awful; I took one bite and spit it out. Starchy and mushy and flavorless; I guess it wasn’t really ready to harvest? I don’t know. Blech. I made sandwiches with the leftover frittata; it is delicious cold or at room temp.

Before we left for the lake I used half of a little CSA cabbage and a kohlrabi, plus a non-CSA carrot, to make slaw:


We ate it with burgers so fully loaded you can’t see the burger in the photo!


Ah, Squam. Thanks to the many of you who voted for me in the Rockywold-Deephaven Camp‘s contest, we spent the weekend in the wooded/watery bliss of the lake.

The weather was gorgeous:


The lake is always amazing:


I love everything from the rustic rooms (box fans provided plenty of cool air at night, even though it was steamy in the city) to the birch trees.


We were generally blissed-out and water-logged, and both got pretty tan (as evidenced by my freckles). (Tan, for us, is relative.)


Thanks to all of you who voted, and to John and Becky at RDC, for the fantastic visit!

CSA Week 5: No, I won’t turn on the stove.

Ok, I just looked at the 10-day forecast and there’s no break in sight. The heat, it is here to stay. The stove, it is staying off as much as possible.

This week’s share:


-Summer squash
-2 cabbages (one was a swap for MORE cilantro)

We’ve been out of town or not eating at home a lot, again, so I’m playing catch-up with the mountains of greens in the fridge. Luckily the fresher your greens, the longer they last. Heh. I had two bunches of kale, one flat-leaf and one curly, and no desire to touch the stove, so I finally dug out a raw kale salad recipe I saw over at The Kitchn a million years ago and off I went.


The recipe was for one bunch of kale but it was more than enough dressing for two. After cutting out the stalks, roll up the leaves and cut them into thin ribbons.



Add a bunch of pecorino (I’ve seen similar recipes that use parmesan or ricotta salata), then dress with, according to the recipe, the juice of two lemons and a half cup of olive oil. And pepper. Hold on salt.


Whoooooa. So puckery. I think I should have added more oil but I couldn’t bear to. This was so lemony it was as if I had gone crazy with salt, even though there wasn’t any except in the cheese. Next time I’ll start with one lemon and proceed cautiously, because in theory this is fantastic.

You let the salad sit at room temperature for at least an hour so the lemon softens the kale up a bit. Toasted walnuts would have been a great addition.


We ate it for dinner with toast. I ate leftovers with toast. And then I made egg salad and put the last bit on top. I highly recommend that last idea.


Another thing I highly recommend: Corn Chex. I’d forgotten how much I like them until eating them at Ben’s mom’s house this weekend. I am not a cereal person but pregnancy changes you.


I’ve also been brewing iced coffee using my dad’s method, which is definitely worth trying if you have a Bialetti pot.

And I’ve been hiding out in the living room, where we put in the big air conditioner. It’s a mess because I have my work stuff scattered around, along with things I’m reviewing for my Fit Pregnancy blog. Poor neatnik Ben hasn’t cracked yet, but I’m guessing it will happen soon. Maybe not, though: We’re going to Squam this weekend! Nothing could be better.

CSA Week Four: Fast “cooking” for hot days

Still very green in CSA-land:


-Kale (2 bunches; I traded my cilantro for kale in the swap box: BEST SWAP EVER)
-1 turnip
-1 kohlrabi

It was crazy hot earlier this week, and I wasn’t feeling particularly prone to extended cooking sessions. I still had a handful of cabbage from a previous share, so I just quickly sauteed the peas, added in the cabbage to wilt, dosed them both with a bit of rice vinegar before pulling off the heat, and dressed with sesame oil and soy sauce. I think it took 5 minutes from start to finish, including heating the pan.






We ate the vegetables with Trader Joe’s “Bool gogi” (sic), which wasn’t half bad.

I know this is lackluster, but guys, I’m 8.5 months pregnant. Ben is lucky we’re not eating chinese takeout every night. (We did have that last weekend. It was luscious.) One fast/easy/delicious thing we ate this week was another Trader Joe’s product, their chile/lime chicken burgers. I hate chicken and turkey burgers as a general rule, but we tasted samples of these and they are really good. They come frozen; we grilled them and I mashed avocado with lime, salt and pepper, spread that on top, added pickles, and we were good to go. (Oh, on rolls. Obviously.) I would eat one of those right now, I think, and it’s 8 a.m.

The main news around here is the purchase of….wait for it….A VITAMIX!!! I have a LOT to say on this subject, and will try to get around to saying it early next week. Enjoy the long weekend, happy birthday America, etc.!

CSA Weeks 1 & 2: Back to the greens

Summer! Forget Memorial Day. Despite the calendar and no matter how freakishly cold or hot it is, the first CSA pick-up of the season marks the beginning of summer for me.

Last week in the first installment, I brought home a light and chlorophyll-packed bag of greens:

CSA Week 1

-Kale (I scored an extra from the new swap box)
-Napa cabbage
-Spring garlic (I think that’s what it’s called. It’s juicy and hasn’t hardened yet)
-Salad mix

I came home and took moody portraits of the garlic.

CSA Week 1

Then I chopped it up, removing the tough outer layers but not bothering to peel the cloves.

CSA Week 1

CSA Week 1

Obviously since I had a pile of kale that and the garlic were going to go together. Per usual. I do love kale.

CSA Week 1

CSA Week 1


This week remained green.

CSA Week 2

-Red leaf lettuce
-Rainbow chard
-White turnips (with greens)
-Garlic scapes
-Basil plant (Which reminds me, the poor thing is languishing on my sink waiting to be replanted. Drat.)

I figured I’d use up as much as I could in one meal, so I decided to cook the chard and turnip greens and serve them over pasta dressed with scape pesto.

I am always amazed by the grit that comes off nice field-fresh greens. Proof of local rain storms!

Greens and Scape pesto

I zoned out while making the pesto, and forgot to add in parmesan. I kept thinking, “this is bland and not quite like pesto,” but I didn’t clue in to the missing element until I was serving the pasta. Oops! Well, that kept it a bit lower fat, right? If you try this, add a good amount of grated parmesan. Anyway, I chopped the scapes just enough to throw them in the cuisinart, and added a bunch of walnuts and enough olive oil to make everything blend and get to the right texture. A bit of salt and pepper, and voila!

Greens and Scape pesto

Greens and Scape pesto

(Adding an extra handful of walnuts with the seasoning)

Greens and Scape pesto

For the greens, I cooked the chard stems for a minute or two, then added the chard, then the mustard greens, and a dash of chicken stock.

Greens and Scape pesto

Greens and Scape pesto

Bacon and feta on top gave much-needed creamy/salty/savory flavors. (I cooked the lardons first, and used the same pan/bacon grease for the greens.)

Greens and Scape pesto

Enjoy the hot weather! We have a busy week coming up, so I’ll probably check back in next Thursday. BTW, I’m now blogging at Fit Pregnancy’s website every Thursday, chronicling my preparations for the baby from a nursery/gear perspective. Check it out if you’re so inclined!

Spinach, tomato and bacon sauté with poached eggs

Sometimes all I really want is a giant bowl of greens. Garlicky kale is my favorite, or maybe chard, but spinach will do, too. (Not the baby stuff, that goes mushy too fast. Save it for salads.) But this dinner was really inspired by the divine confluence of the arrival of a care package from my mom, containing a pair of “Poach Pods,” and the simultaneous arrival of an early egg share from the farm. Fresh gorgeous eggs! I silicone helmet that is supposed to make poaching eggs foolproof! Clearly I needed to find something to top with poached eggs.

Spinach. Wilted spinach salad with bacon dressing. Maybe some cherry tomatoes. Toast. This was an easy plan! Of course, I ended up making more of a sauté than a wilted spinach salad, but who cares? We were happy.

Poached eggs and spinach saute

Poached eggs and spinach saute

Poached eggs and spinach saute

Poached eggs and spinach saute

Once I had cooked the bacon and softened the red onion, I added in red wine vinegar, a pinch of brown sugar, and a forkful of dijon mustard, and stirred it together with the rendered bacon fat to make a dressing/sauce.

Poached eggs and spinach saute

I threw in the tomatoes, which I’d quartered, and cooked them a little bit. (This was a mistake; should have added them at the same time as the spinach.) Then in went half of the very vigorous and enthusiastic spinach. Once there was room, I added the other half.

Poached eggs and spinach saute

Poached eggs and spinach saute

I cooked that on low heat until it was wilted.


Meanwhile, the Poach Pods!! Wonderful for adorning grapefruits and salt cellars; also great for poaching eggs!

Poached eggs and spinach saute

And let’s discuss those eggs. Oh my GOD. I have missed the farm eggs so much over the winter. No matter what fancy organic natural free range heaven-sent eggs I bought from Whole Foods, the yolks were pale and the whites were runny after six months of eggs from the farm. But back to the pods. You oil them (to prevent the eggs “sticking like glue,” according to my mom), break an egg in each, and then set them afloat in an inch and a half of simmering water. Cover the pan, wait four to six minutes, and voila! Poached eggs!

Poached eggs and spinach saute

I had a surprise when I cracked open the two huge eggs I’d chosen from the carton: they BOTH had double yolks!

Poached eggs and spinach saute

Off to sea:

Poached eggs and spinach saute

Finished, if slightly overcooked (my fault, I panicked because of the double yolks):


You scoop the eggs out with a spoon, and they plop onto whatever you’re serving them with in perfect little domes.



The eggs were delicious, despite not being quite runny. Light and creamy and fluffy. Ben claims he hates eggs, but the farm ones don’t seem to count. They “don’t taste eggy,” he says. He’s right, they taste like heaven. I have used 8 of the dozen since Thursday, pacing myself AND going out of town for the weekend. Just look at the color of those yolks and tell me you aren’t dying to get your hands on some!

Farm eggs

Purple produce and uneven sprouts

I could have sworn I wrote this up, but apparently not. Back at the beginning of the winter share distribution I got a truck load of extra-awesome vegetables, including purple potatoes and cauliflower and a stalk of brussels sprouts. I combined all three in a dinner designed purely for my own amusement, because seriously?

Fun veg

How fun are those?

I took some beauty shots before getting down to the cooking:




As cool as the stalk of sprouts is, it does leave you with a slight problem:


Yes, that is the top (huge) sprout next to the one from the bottom of the stalk. Since the sizes were so wildly uneven, I decided to make Greta’s shaved oven-roasted sprouts. The cuisinart makes this WAY easier; use the blade that looks like this and attaches to that stalk thing to keep it at the top of the bowl:


12 seconds later this:


Became this:


I cut the cauliflower into florets to roast (at 400 or 425) alongside the shaved brussels sprouts, and tossed each with oil, salt and pepper.


Meanwhile I boiled the potatoes and tossed them (while hot) with a butter/vinegar/mustard dressing.


A few slices of grilled steak for protein and voila!



The leftovers were excellent for lunch the next day, and in daylight the colors were even crazier:


[FYI, purple potatoes and cauliflower taste essentially the same as normal potatoes and cauliflower, but they look purple. So: Worth it.]

I’m scrambling to pack for a lengthy round of holiday visits. Looking forward to NYC and to the usual cooking orgy back home in Oregon. I hope everyone has a lovely holiday season!

CSA wrap-up and the onset of winter veg

Yesterday I picked up my first winter share from Stone Soup–two bags full of treats:

Winter share 1

Let’s zoom in a bit, since that is a LOT of stuff.

Winter share 1

Winter share 1

Let’s see, I’m pretty sure it is:
-1 enormous white cabbage
-8 oz. salad greens
-2 rutabagas
-2 heads garlic
-1 head *purple* cauliflower (there were white, cheddar, and romanesco varieties, too!)
-1 stalk of brussels sprouts, OMG I am in love
-2 delicata squashes
-1.5 lbs. daikon radish
-2 bulbs celeriac, yippee!
-2 lbs. onions
-1 bunch of gorgeous little white turnips, with greens
-2 lbs. sweet potatoes
-1 bunch cavolo nero

So exciting. Let’s zoom in even closer on some of my favorites.




I know I’ve said it before, but vegetables just amaze me.

I am alone for a couple nights, so I indulged in a super-simple dinner, even though I knew I should be eating up those perishable greens and saving the sturdy root vegetables for later in the winter.

Dinner for One: Mashed rutabaga and toast

Peel and cut up the rutabaga (preferably not an enormous one):




Boil in salted water until nice and tender.


Mash with butter, salt and pepper. (I have recommended it in the past, but it’s worth repeating: I love my Oxo potato masher, with the handle on top. It’s easy to get enough pressure behind it, and the way it’s designed lets you mash things right in the pot and get to the corners, etc.) Devour with buttery sourdough toast.


I considered frying an egg, but decided to skip it and make popcorn for dessert, instead. I ate the whole bowl while watching CSI reruns and feeling less sorry for myself than I usually do when I am on my own for a few days!

BTW, just in case you’re interested, here’s a slide show of the vegetables from the summer share, from June through October, plus the winter share. If you’re in the Boston area and you’re interested in a great CSA, get on Stone Soup’s mailing list now so you can try to get in on the 2010 action!

Slow cooker pulled pork

Meat cuts like pork butt always call my name at the butcher counter because they are so darn cheap and so easy to prepare. Last week I had apples and pork on the brain, and it was also getting really chilly all of a sudden, so I hauled out (and scrubbed off) the slow cooker and got to work.

(A bum bottle, sadly. Worked fine as cooking liquid but wasn’t drinkable. Boo!)

I took the elastic waistband off the pork and trimmed off the bigger chunks of fat–this is a really fatty cut, so I also had to skim off fat from the cooking liquid at the end.

I patted the pork dry and seasoned it with salt and pepper, then seared it well on all sides and put it in the pot.

Along for the ride were a couple red and yellow onions.

I used a couple glugs of chicken broth and some of the cider for my liquid, and set the slow cooker on low for 7 hours. After six or so I came back and added in my apples, cut in quarters and cored.

At dinner time I pulled out the meat and apples and onions and drained the liquid into a gravy strainer to separate out some of the fat. I sort of messed up, mangling the cooked apples in with the onions, so instead of just mushing up the apples as sauce (which would have been great) I mixed the two together. That was fine but definitely diluted the apple flavor. I added a little cider vinegar to sharpen it up, and more salt and pepper.

I tried to get the extra fat off the meat, then I put it back in the pot with the liquid and pulled it apart with a couple forks.

We had the apple/onion sauce and chard on the side.

Three pounds of pork yielded a mountain of meat, and I have to admit it was sort of bland. I need to dissect how Chipotle makes their carnitas so flavorful. Ben took leftovers for two lunches, and we made flatbread pizzas with some more. I froze the rest for future use. For the flatbreads I drained the liquid off the meat and crisped it up in a pan, then topped garlic naan with the meat and some shredded cheese.

Once they were baked I put a little arugula salad on top.

I’m going to try cooking chicken legs–another extra-economical cut–tonight. Wish me luck! As long-time readers know, I loathe cooking chicken.

Roasted delicata with shallots and cipollini

Here’s an easy one to try out when you’re feeling autumnal! When we worked at the farm a few weeks ago, Jarrett gave me a couple pounds of shallots, including some that were “seconds” missing too much skin to keep well and get distributed. I needed to use the seconds up sooner rather than later, and I also had a handful of little cipollini onions in the pantry, so I decided to try roasting them up with a couple delicata squash from the farm.

The joy of delicata (aside from the delicious, not-too-sweet flavor and great texture) is that you can eat the skin, which is thin and gets tender once it’s cooked. I cut two in half, seeded them, and then sliced them into little half moons to roast.

When I was scooping out the seeds I found THE weirdest thing: One seed had somehow SPROUTED inside the squash!! Crazy.

I peeled the skin (and sometimes the outer layer) off the cipollini, and peeled and halved the shallots.

Olive oil, salt, pepper.
(Meanwhile the oven was preheating to 375 or so.)

Ben was at a meeting and running late, so I hedged a bit on cooking–everything stayed in the oven a bit too long, but you probably need 45 minutes to an hour to get the onions really caramelized and delicious. After half an hour or so, I drizzled on some inexpensive balsamic vinegar, as an experiment. Tossed everything around and then put it back in the oven to finish cooking.

I made israeli couscous and dressed that with olive oil and more of the vinegar, and grilled sausages for a bit of protein. Great combo–sweet squash and onions, all with different textures, and a different sweetness/slight tang from the balsamic.

My really genius move was saving a handful of squash and shallots for pizza topping later in the week! It made an amazing white pie with fresh local ricotta and mozzarella.