Friday, July 2

We Survived Week 1 of the CSA!

In fact, I'm finding that the CSA makes my life easier, not harder, because the contents of the half share make my decisions for me. No more drawing a blank when it's time to write up our weekly menu.

Last week we got lettuce, kale (my choice from a selection of greens), an onion, tomatoes, string beans, zucchini, cucumbers, basil, and beets. I made a salad and sandwiches (Thursday), string beans as a side with tofu and rice (Friday), kale with scrambled eggs and muffins (Sunday), baked beets and homemade hummus (Monday), and zucchini with pasta (Tuesday). Beckett had the tomatoes in his sandwiches for lunch, the basil turned black before I could make pesto (I'll be making it tonight or tomorrow with this week's bunch), and the onion and cucumber were left over. My biggest challenge: I baked the beets in foil, per Mark Bittman, who writes, "If you want to serve them right away, peel, then serve hot with butter, any vinaigrette, or freshly squeezed lemon juice." O the mysteries of that one word, "peel"! Please tell me, Mr. How-to-Cook-Everything, how do I peel hot-from-the oven beets?

But alas, I'm not sure if the Critter ate a single bite of any of the glorious veggies that I served up for dinner last week—not even the beets, which he usually likes (when we get them at Top CafĂ© Tibet, anyway). I have received many suggestions about how to get greens into him, some via a comment from my good friend at MyGreenMouth, and some via Facebook. I plan to try out just about every suggestion, depending on my energy level and the contents of our half share. However, if I'm going to follow through on this project, I need a checklist—my mind is not what it used to be. Here goes:
  • Frozen peas, left frozen: Intriguing. Gotta follow up on this one, though, because I'm not sure exactly to serve it up.
  • Crispy kale: Hm. Will definitely try this recipe, although it does involve the mysterious term "chiffonade strips."
  • Spinach pasta: I wonder how much of the spinachy nutrition is still there after the spinach has been added to the pasta? Is there whole wheat spinach pasta?
  • A blend of spinach, peas, and pears: Okay, but I'll have to come up with a recipe for this one. I remember reading a while ago (don't remember where) about a mom making something she called "Monster Sauce" (or something like that), which was applesauce mixed with spinach. She served it for dessert. Can spinach be pureed? I suppose it should be cooked first.... (See how boldly I display my ignorance!)
  • Avocados: We tried avocado last year, and to my surprise the Critter rejected it. Since I received this suggestion, I've bought a few avocados each week ... and I've been eating them all myself.
  • Green rice: Cilantro? Garlic? Sounds good to me!
  • Less bitter greens, such as snow peas, green beans, zucchini, edamame, okra: We already regularly eat zucchini with pasta, and the Critter loves edamame. The green beans: rejected (see above). Will try the others.
  • Celery: Probably still too difficult to chew.
  • Bean sprouts: Not sure how to serve them up to the Critter. 
  • Mix the greens with sweeter veggies; for example, some finely chopped spinach with sweet potato: The Critter eats sweet potato happily; let's see if I can sneak something extra into him through it.
Finally, to my amusement, after my complaints (on Facebook) about the possibility of getting radishes in our half share, we have not received a single one! And I now have at least two recipes I'd like to try, here (shared by a friend) and here. But I'll have to wait; instead, I'll be making enough coleslaw to last us a month with the cabbage we got this week.


Genevra said...

Ari loves frozen peas; one of the few greens she will eat. Her list of eatable vegetables has actually shrunk as she's gotten older. Something Andy and I lament often.

Very excited to try out the crispy kale recipe. We do something similar with brussle sprouts. Delicious.

Nice to read this. I have been hesitant to do the CSA thing, though we talk about it often. Your blog and the experience of a good friend nearby has me nearly convinced! xoxo

raerae said...

Do you just put the frozen peas in a bowl? How does she eat them?

Mary said...

Hazel eats the frozen peas as a finger food right out of a little bowl. Layering spinach/zucchini in a lasagna, or on pizza, seems to go over well, too (not that you have a shortage of ideas!). My sense of spinach pasta is that it is not too valuable nutrition-wise, but I could be wrong. I wouldn't stress about the "chiffonade" business in the crispy kale recipe ;) For me the challenge is waiting long enough for the kale to dry before cooking it. Your menus are inspiring me to get out of a lazy cooking phase!