Sunday, June 26, 2011

Moving Right Along

My belongings are really starting to pile up in my new garage. I’m keeping them there until Wednesday, the day before by closing when I can actually move them in, and the day the movers are moving my large items.

I’ve been taking about three carloads a day, but thanks to help from my sister, brother and brother-in-law, yesterday I was able to double that.

In between, I’ve been eating up as much of the CSA bounty as I can, and I have to say I’m doing a pretty good job. After the chard, the lettuce, radishes, cucumber and one of the kohlrabi disappeared in a salad. For breakfast, I used the broccoli and some of the spinach in a breakfast bake, which helped me use up my eggs and some of the milk and cheese I had on hand.

Yesterday, I used up the green onions and garlic scapes in a pan of butter dips. They were a savory treat alongside the broccoli spinach bake, even if I ate them off a paper plate.

Today, after taking my last carload to the condo, I decided to stop for a swim at the pool. While there, I was reading an issue of Real Simple and saw a recipe for Feta and Sun-dried Tomato dip inside. They recommended you serve it with pretzel crisps, which I didn’t have, but I knew I could easily substitute that for something I did have on hand – soft pretzels. I bought a bag at the Bavaria Sausage store in Madison before I knew I was selling my house, and still have a few in my freezer.

In my mind I knew had the jar of sun-dried tomatoes, feta, and Greek yogurt the recipe called for on hand. When I returned home, I found I didn’t have as much feta as I imagined, but used the rest of the blue cheese I didn’t know I had. In addition, I added two handfuls of torn CSA spinach to my batch.

It tasted wonderful with a hot pretzel out of the oven and later made a tangy dressing for a cold pasta salad. Although the presentation wasn’t beautiful because I mixed the last quarter of a box of penne and half a box of spaghetti I had on hand together, it did taste pretty great.

Moving is actually turning out to be pretty healthy for me. I think I’ve done more cooking in the past week than I’ve done in the month leading up to my move, thanks to my Two Onion vegetable delivery. I am basically down to a pan and a pot and I’m only using the ingredients I have on hand, so I’ve also been more creative than I’ve been in a long time. I may be getting to be an old hat at this CSA farm share stuff, but in the midst of a move, it’s still teaching me new lessons.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

They’re Back

The veggies that is. I picked up my first box of vegetables from my CSA share this afternoon. And although I’m excited, my enthusiasm is tempered a bit this year by the fact that I’m a week away from moving out of my house and into a new condo.

My first impulse upon dropping the vegetables on the kitchen table was to throw them all in a pot and make stew. That thought only lasted a second, not only because a lettuce, chard, beet, spinach, radish, kohlrabi, cucumber, broccoli, garlic scape and green onion soup sounds a little unappetizing, but also because I remembered I’d already packed away my stock and crock pots.

Unable to use up all produce in one feel swoop, or should I say soup, I've decided to do my best over the next week to eat whatever I can and see if the rest is hardy enough to make the move.

First up was the chard. It’s the most fragile and I knew that if I didn’t eat it tonight, it would be a wilted mess tomorrow. In fact, as I write this a few hours later, I see a leaf of chard that I missed beneath the bag of spinach already has taken on the consistency of a wet paper towel. It will be one of my final gifts to the compost bin.

I rooted through the pantry for a can of white beans I wanted to use up before I had to pack and move them and then headed to the freezer. There I found a turkey sausage that would likely end up in the garbage in a week if I didn't eat it soon. Before I knew it, I was getting excited again.

I thawed the sausage in the microwave and cut it into bite size pieces before putting it on the stove in one of the pans I hadn’t yet packed. Next I cut the ribs out of the chard and added them to the compost pile, before tearing up the dark leafy greens and throwing them in the pot. I cut up one of the garlic scapes and added that with the beans and a quarter cup of chicken bouillon. I let it cook for about 15 minutes on low heat, to let the chard soften and then it was done.

Overall, it was a good start to a new CSA season and a healthy meal in the midst of all the chaos and boxes filling my house right now. Earlier today I may have wished my CSA share would’ve waited a few weeks, but now I’m glad to have a few healthy choices on hand to nourish me as I finish packing up over the next week.