Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Now back for round two...

Kiwiberries "Actinidia arguta"

After years as a subscriber to the Two Small Farms CSA, we gave up our subscription. It's been nearly two years since our last box, but today a new box arrived.

We recently subscribed to the Capay Organic CSA, Farm Fresh To You.  Their model is different: you can customize the content of your box (within the range of what's available), they offer a variety of delivery schedules, a variety of box options, and year round home delivery while maintaining the connection to a local, organic farm.  We're excited to give it a try.

This week's box contains:

  • Gala apples
  • Valencia oranges
  • Kiwiberries (pictured above)
  • Bartlett pears
  • Red leaf lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Kale
  • Red potatoes
  • Baby broccoli

The kiwiberries were completely new to me - I'd never even heard of them.  As you can see in the photo below, they really are just like little kiwifruit.  The taste the same, but their skins are edible.  Imagine a kiwifruit with the skin of an apple and you've got it.

These, along with the apples and oranges, will be eaten out of hand.  I expect to make minestrone with the carrots, green beans, kale and potatoes, and a main course salad with the pears and leaf lettuce by adding some gorgonzola and toasted walnuts.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Another Season of Community Supported Agriculture, Another Adventure

Tomorrow begins a new season with Hidden Villa and I'm thrilled to be, once again, supporting local farms through a CSA share and chronicling my experiences on Getting Your Share.

In the four years since my last post a few things have changed. My daughters have made the leap from preschool to elementary school and while their tastes have grown in some ways, they still are disinterested in anything out of their comfort zone, sometimes vehemently so. I'm hoping that a summer of fresh produce straight from the "box" will inspire them to venture beyond the safety of raw broccoli and frozen strawberries into a world of kale, tomatoes and anything else their food fears will allow them to try.

My post as private chef has recently come to an end and I am now turning my eyes toward new adventures. In the time since the last dinner with "the family", I have had little chance to reflect upon what it means to be at home. A sizable project at the girls' school kept my mind from wandering too far and held the sadness at bay that I now feel from missing my place in the kitchen and the relationships I forged with "the family". What happens next is still a mystery. For now, I will eagerly await the bounty that my Tuesday CSA box will hold and dream of the dishes I might create should I have willing diners.

Each week, I like to create a food plan, offering my daughters an opportunity to provide input and giving them each one day per week to select their own menu. My hope is that they will not only become active participants in each meal's inspiration, creation, and consumption but also in the retelling through blog posts here.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Finding Inspiration in Foods You Love: Summer Salsas

As mentioned in my last post, the plan for this week's box was Mexican food, an all time favorite of mine. Mapping the produce in your CSA share to favorite cuisines is a great way to find inspiration and to really enjoy yourself ... and your food.

This week's box contained:
  • Bull's Blood Beet Greens
  • Celery
  • Summer Squash (zucchini)
  • Chantenay Carrots
  • Jalapeño Peppers
  • Monica Tomatoes
  • Tomatillos
  • Strawberries
  • Red Leaf Lettuce
For dinner last night we had fish and veggie tacos with chips, fresh tomato salsa and tomatillo salsa verde, all of which completely consumed the tomatoes and tomatillos. It also made a large dent in the jalapeños and zucchini as well as the sweet peppers from last week and the red onions from the week of July 18th.

The left over salsas made for an excellent omelet today. As for the remaining ingredients, here's what's planned:

  • Strawberries - frozen for smoothies
  • Celery, carrots, and onions (from previous weeks) - mirepoix as base for a big batch of lentil soup 
  • Beet greens - added to lentil soup
  • Red leaf lettuce - salad to serve along side the soup

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Po-TAY-tow, Po-TAH-tow, Tow-MAY-tow, Tow-MAH-tow

German Butterball Potatoes

As I mentioned in my most recent post, last week's box contained:
  • Green Beans
  • Spigariello
  • German Butterball Potatoes
  • Yellow Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Summer Squash
  • Mixed Sweet Peppers - Mix of young tender sweet Romanian, Cubanelle and Green Pimiento peppers
I had been in China the prior week and didn't have much energy immediately on my return; however, early this week it was a joy to have this food on hand. Such gorgeous produce. Sadly, the strawberries and the spigariello did not make it, but the rest has been or will be put to good use.


It is tomato season here in California, so all that's needed is a knife and some good salt.  My favorite is Maldon Sea Salt, which you see pictured above. I simply sliced the tomatoes, drizzled them with white balsamic vinegar, and sprinkled them with salt. Beautiful.

I steamed the potatoes with some broccoli and tossed both with a mustard butter made from PIC Dijon mustard. Again, beautiful and so simple.

The green beans found their way into Sichuan-style green beans. Again ... beautiful and simple.

This week was a good reminder of how amazing food, in season, can be served all by itself. For the zucchini, onions, peppers, I'm planning a veggie fajita with fresh salsa from the tomatoes, jalapeños, and tomatillos from tomorrow's box:
  • Bull's Blood Beet Greens
  • Celery
  • Summer Squash
  • Chantenay Carrots
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Monica Tomatoes
  • Tomatillos
  • Strawberries
  • Red Leaf Lettuce

Friday, July 27, 2012

This Week in China: Xiao Long Bao

I've started a new role that affords me the opportunity to spend plenty of time in China ~ Hong Kong and Shanghai this week, with amazing friends to show me the ropes.

Last night we had dinner at Din Tai Fung, referred to by CNN as a "global dumpling icon".  One of their specialties is the Shanghai treasure Xiao Long Bao. Xiao Long Bao are soup-filled steamed buns in a precise form and were just fantastic. I can't wait to try to make these at home...

Of course spending time on the road means having to handle the CSA box in a different way.  This week Sean picked it up and it's waiting for me, including:

  • Cauliflower OR Green Beans 
  • Mustard Greens OR Spigariello 
  • German Butterball Potatoes 
  • Yellow Onions 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Strawberries 
  • Baby White Turnips OR Summer Squash 
  • Mystery: Mixed Sweet Peppers - Mix of young tender sweet Romanian, Cubanelle and Green Pimiento peppers