Thursday, April 28, 2011

Week 4 Menu Plan

Basket of Bright Red Strawberries
First Strawberries of the Season

Featuring green garlic, onions, mushrooms, and lettuce

Fortunately I used up all the onions from last week, because we got both yellow onions and red spring onions (a LARGE bunch) in our farm share this week. I didn’t do as well using the green garlic, so I’m going to try harder this week, since I know there’s more garlic where that came from. ;-) Scheduling must work around possibly being in San Francisco all day Sunday. So it looks like I’m cooking Friday and/or Saturday.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Week 4, Veggie List & Ideas

Crate Full of Apples
Bonus Fruit for Members!
It's Week 4 of our CSA farm share and a most wonderful surprise greeted us today when we picked up our share. The very last of last season’s apples offered to members on a take-as-many-as-you-like basis! True, many of the apples are dryish or have a small squishy brown part, but the taste is still sweet ambrosia. I might make some of my Mom’s applesauce, but we’ll probably just eat them as is. Heavenly! Thank you, Live Earth Farm.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Potato Leek Soup

Bowl of Potato Leek Soup
Potato Leek Soup

Recipe by Robin

I came to Santa Cruz quite a few years ago as a braless young vegetarian idealist in search of good veggie camaraderie and foods, among other things. At the time, there were so many vegetarians here that none of the natural food stores carried meats as they all do now. I moved into a cooperative vegetarian household with the agreement that I would cook for the household once per week. I’ve always been an experimental cook, but because I was cooking for others and experiments can go very wrong, I started to consult cookbooks.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Steamed Artichokes with Lemon Sauce

Steamed Artichokes for Two

Artichoke Recipe by Devon
Sauce Recipe adapted from “Cooking by the Seasons” by Karri Ann Allrich

My friend Devon. We lost each other when she moved away, then found each other again one night at a local coffeehouse when she moved back. She taught me how to steam artichokes during our many dinners together, then she suddenly moved away  again. We’ve been parted long enough. Where will we meet again?

Chicken with Green Garlic, Onion and Tomato

Plate of Chicken with Green Garlic, Onion, and Tomatoes
Chicken Baked in Thick Sauce over Pasta

Recipe by Robin

Part of my commitment to eating local foods emerges from my greater desire to conserve natural resources. Less transportation of food equals fewer fossil fuels used in its production. As a longtime conservationist, I’m delighted to see increasing interest in global warming. In particular, I am heartened to see individuals taking responsibility to reduce their “carbon footprints” by minimizing the amount of fossil fuels that they consume, reducing personal contribution to global warming by lowering their production of greenhouse gases.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Wishes

Fragrant lilacs grace our yard

Happy Easter, Everyone! I sincerely hope that you’re enjoying your day.

Although my Easter was not at all traditional, and I didn’t make any Easter foods this year, Easter is still my favorite holiday of all. Do you have favorite Easter traditions? I would love it if you’d post a comment about your Easter including any food you prepared or ate. I have many Easter memories from Easter egg hunts to singing in church to colorful indoor-outdoor potlucks. Let’s share our joy about Easter and spring, and inspire each other with ideas for next year!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Week 3 Menu Plan

Japanese turnips from Live Earth Farm

Featuring artichokes, green garlic, and more leeks & radicchio

This week I’m having a challenging time figuring out how and when to cook veggies. We will be out all day Saturday celebrating my husband’s birthday. We will have time to cook on Sunday, but I don’t want to burn out by making too many things then, especially since that’s my prime blogging day. ;-)

I’m hoping that we can get it together to cook chicken with green garlic and canned tomatoes tomorrow (Friday) night, but will have to make up a recipe and buy the canned tomatoes—and chicken—beforehand. Good thing that necessity is the mother of invention. We seriously need to use up the leeks and radicchio before we get more, as well as the potatoes from last week.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Week 3, Veggie List & Ideas

Pickled Tomatoes and Dilly Green Beans from LEF Winter Share
Preserved foods left over from CSA winter share
It's Week 3 of our 2011 CSA farm share and we're more or less keeping up with the veggies. Except for a few. We have some leftover radicchio, onions and leeks. We’re getting more of each of these this week, so it's time to commit to working with these foods so we'll eat them. I bought some potatoes last week at the Watsonville Farmers Market where I was playing music. The potato leek soup I was envisioning at the time didn’t get made (I used the leeks in a stir fry with bok choy) so this week we’re definitely on for the soup.

Hot Kale Salad with Balsamic & Hot Chili Oil

Bowl of Kale
Delicious and Nutritious Kale

Recipe Inspired by Live Earth Farm

Another recipe inspired by Debbie, LEF’s CSA coordinator and kitchen wizard. Most likely I created it when we wanted to make her original recipe but were out of lemon and parmesan. We substituted balsamic vinegar and a touch of hot oil. Debbie tried our recipe and didn’t have hot oil, so substituted hot chili sauce, and reported delicious results! Feel free to come up with variations of your own, and post them as a comment if you create something you like!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Beltane Lemon Bread

Recipe From "Cooking by Moonlight" by Karri Ann Allrich


My quest to use my bounty of fresh Meyer lemons brought me to explore a most delightful cookbook for cooking with the seasons. In “Cooking by Moonlight,” Karri Ann Allrich has created menus and recipes for each moon (month) of the year.  May’s Flower Moon menu features this quick bread.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Honey-kissed Baby Turnips & Greens

Sliced Baby Turnips with Greens
Baby Turnips Before Cooking

Recipe from Live Earth Farm

CSA coordinator Debbie’s simple recipe highlights the sweet yet savory taste of young turnips, and answers the question of what to do with the greens. Her original recipe calls for “some butter and a blorp of olive oil,” and I’ve translated this based upon the size of my turnip bunch. Your blorp might be bigger than mine. We were lucky enough to get some red turnips (which I had never heard of) along with the white, adding a spark of color to this dish.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sicilian Sauteed Radicchio

Adapted from Weight Watchers Recipe


As you might have guessed, if you read my recent post about mustard greens, my husband is suspicious of radicchio, yet another bitter green. He actually enjoys a little radicchio in a salad, but sometimes we get a lot more than we can use this way. This recipe combines sweet onion with the bitter radicchio for a delicious dish similar to sweet and sour. Although my husband wouldn’t call it “delicious,” he does say that this is the best radicchio recipe we’ve ever tried.

Eating Salmon Sustainably

Alaskan Salmon Habitat
A couple weeks back, I was excited to hear that king salmon fishing was open in California, but when I inquired about buying local salmon at Staff of Life, my favorite natural foods store, they said it would be several weeks before commercial fishing is allowed. Right now the season is only for non-commercial anglers, and we will not be able to buy local salmon until May.

This brings up several questions for me. How sustainable is the salmon industry in California? Are there good alternatives to local salmon that we can eat now? What alternatives are best to avoid, environmentally speaking? And of course, might any of my friends be salmon sports-fishers and provide me with some salmon in the meantime? :-)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Week 2 Menu Plan

Delicious LEF Apples this week, to be eaten at anytime

Featuring Japanese baby turnips, artichokes, rainbow chard & more lemons

This week we will be out more than usual, so really need to plan in order to eat all of our veggies from the share. Especially since I just discovered that we got bok choy in addition to everything else. Thursday Bruce works late, Friday I’m playing music at a gig in the afternoon followed by a writer friend’s soiree/reading and late night potluck. Wednesday is the usual routine: pick up our veggies, eat, and band practice. So it looks like once again most of our cooking will happen near the weekend, particularly Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Week 2, Veggie List & Ideas

Our second farm share of the season tomorrow! Still in the honeymoon phase of the season with our delicious veggies and not minding a bit that we’re getting more broccolini, kale, lemons, lettuce, and onions this week. We have a good radicchio and onion recipe that we’ll likely be making again. I ordered some extra Meyer lemons so I can do some baking. Stay tuned. As always, you’re welcome to chime in with ideas for the week. Especially if you have any ideas for leeks!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sauteed Radishes with their Greens

Before saute

Recipe from Live Earth Farm, Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, 2001

My mother said not to, but it turns out that it’s okay. Eating radish greens, that is. At this time of year, they’re young and delicious, and can be eaten simply steamed or even raw, if you dare. This recipe combines the best of both worlds by sautéing both radishes and their greens together with a little garlic. It makes a brightly colored and novel side dish, and the sharpness of the radishes as well as the fuzziness of the greens disappears in the cooking.

Spicy Mustard Greens with Cumin

Bowl of Spicy Greens with Cumin at Place Setting
Variation: Substitute Arugula & Mizuna for Mustard Greens

Recipe from Live Earth Farm

My husband approaches spicy greens with some trepidation and doesn’t like them raw. I have tried sneaking them into salads, but finally he drew the line and said, “No arugula in my salad! It tastes like dirt!” I do like arugula in my salad, but can’t eat all of it. We also received mustard greens this week, which we’re not familiar with. LEF recipe maven Debbie provided this intriguing recipe: imagine adding more spices to spicy greens! Since we had less than a large bunch of mustard greens, I added the arugula too.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Baked Chicken with Lemon and Herbs

Lunch today: Leftover Chicken & Steamed Chard

Recipe adapted from Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers has come a long way. When I first joined, back in my teen years, it was broiled fish 5 times a week and no tortillas until you reached your goal. My favorite snack was canned mushrooms, baked until completely dry and crispy, which also made them incredibly salty.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Braised Fennel with Tomatoes

Recipe Adapted from Monday to Friday Cookbook by Michele Urvater


I first found the Monday to Friday Cookbook at the library. After several recipe successes, I bought one of my own. The book's idea is easy preparation of meals during the week. Note that this doesn't always mean that the recipes are quick to prepare. Still, the sections on organizing the pantry are useful, the general tips for various kinds of foods practical, and the volume contains some stellar recipes. Like this one.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Week 1 Menu Plan

Featuring young golden beets, assorted greens, fennel & radishes

Young Golden Beets with their Greens
During the work week time for elaborate cooking is limited, so my husband and I stick to simple fare. I don’t work outside my home on Fridays, but Bruce often works late, so that’s a good day to cook solo. Wednesdays are always rushed because we pick up our veggies, eat, and I have a band practice. For maximum success in planning weekly menus, analyze your family’s busy and not-so-busy times and schedule cooking accordingly.

I try to use up delicate veggies and anything that is large and takes up refrigerator real estate first. We are having salad on days that my husband thinks he might not like the recipes we’re using. ;-) I found the kind of lemon bread recipe I was looking for in “Cooking by Moonlight,” but might not have time for it this week.

Here is our dinner plan:

  • Pork chops coated with (prepared) mustard & broiled
  • Steamed chard (large)
  • Steamed broccolini (delicate)
  • Leftover pork chops
  • Leftover chard & broccolini
  • Boiled yellow beets with steamed young beet greens (greens delicate)
  • Sauteed radishes with their greens (Live Earth Farm)
  • Kale “Hot Salad” (inspired by Live Earth Farm recipe)
  • Lunch: Leftover chicken
  • Dinner: Salmon with lemon sauce
  • (Lunch: leftovers)
  • Leftover salmon
  • Sicilian sautéed radicchio & onions (inspired by Weight Watchers recipe)
  • Salad
  • (Lunch: leftovers)
  • Leftovers
  • Veggie burgers
  • Next week’s veggies

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Week 1, Veggie List & Ideas

The first Farm share of the season today! As promised, I am posting my list of veggies for this week and my rough ideas on Weds. Feel free to give input in the form of suggestions and veggie recipes. What would you do with this farm share?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Menu Planning: Questions, Questions, Questions

As I said in an earlier post, I am not an expert meal-planner…yet. In the past I’ve planned weekly meals with some success, but have abandoned the effort time and again. However, the pain of throwing out delicious veggies that have gone bad because they got buried in the refrigerator causes me to take up the effort again. Fellow CSA members, do you feel my pain?

This time, to start planning meals, I'll brainstorm by asking a series of questions about each veggie:

Monday, April 4, 2011

And Now for a Word from our CSA

LEF Tomatoes from the Web Store
I’ve had a couple of readers ask me what a CSA is. The acronym stands for Community Supported Agriculture. The idea is that you “subscribe” to an organic farm and receive fresh veggies and fruits every week. The farm provides you with a “share” of whatever is ripe and ready for harvest, and of it’s fresher than organic produce in the store. Most folks (including yours truly) think it’s tastier too.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Meyer Lemon Tea for Two

Recipe by Robin

Something about honey compliments lemon beautifully. This tea is great for singers, and for those who suspect they might be getting sick. It soothes sore throats and is rich in vitamin C. I prefer to use Meyers lemons, which are a sweet hybrid thought to be part mandarin and part lemon. 

The Ultimate Lemon Drop

Recipe by Bruce

My husband Bruce invented this recipe during an impromptu birthday party for me at a house with a Meyers lemon tree full of lemons. He experimented throughout the night with our drop-in guests, perfecting his recipe to the ideal mixture. Lightweights that we are (in the drinking department, at least), half of the vodka is still left over from the party in 2003. We are prepared, though, should someone who has gleaned from a lemon tree happen by…

Lemon-Ginger Chicken

Golden Baked Chicken with Browned Ginger Bits
Baked Lemon-Ginger Chicken

Recipe by Robin

You can prepare this marinated chicken in the oven or electric frying pan, or on the BBQ grill. Amount and type of chicken parts can be varied, though this is written to serve a crowd or have leftovers for several lunches. I have also added some leftover cherry tomato halves and a few sprigs of thyme, so feel free to get creative and personalize this dish with ingredients on hand—as long as they go with ginger!

Crispy Tilapia with Lemon-Onion Relish

Recipe from Fish Forever by Paul Johnson

Here’s a recipe from the best resource that I know for preparing seafood that is healthy for your body and the environment: Fish Forever: The Definitive Guide to Understanding, Selecting, and Preparing Healthy, Delicious, and Environmentally Sustainable Seafood by Paul Johnson. The title says it all. It's also a great source for unusual recipes such as this one [Read my review on Goodreads].