ReLocavore: Redefining "local"

A locavore moves from Wisconsin to New Hampshire and rediscovers what "local" means.


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This Week in Veg: A lot of Leeks

What’s the term for a group of vegetables? We have a herd of cows, a flock of sheep, a murder of crows… but what do you call a bunch of vegetables? A bunch? 

Either way, we got a lot of leeks this week in the CSA. I tried to chop and freeze them a few years ago, but I just didn’t get back to using them and they got freezer burn. I think I will put them into a quiche. Sound good. Maybe with bacon? 

That's a lot of leeks. A bunch of leeks? A bramble of leeks?

That’s a lot of leeks. A bunch of leeks? A bramble of leeks?

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Anybody else sick of zucchini yet?

Late August is the only time that New Englanders lock their car doors. If you leave your car unlocked, somebody will leave you a box of orphan zucchini on your front seat. (Photo from greenstag.net)

We have the first week of our CSA where we don’t have lettuce and do have more zucchini (and other summer squash) than we expect to eat in a week. This marks a big move in our Summer eating. Up until this point, we have new vegetables trickling in for the first time – the first cucumber, the first tomato, the first zucchini. We’ve now reached the peak of novelty and descended into bounty. We must smash tomatoes into jars because there are just too many to eat. The cucumbers get huge, bitter, and neglected on the vine. The lettuce, spinach and other greens have gone to seed and are bitter and inedible. We now have to hide zucchini in other foods. We now move into crisis mode. There are vegetables coming out our ears.

I have a lot of strategies for handling the bounty. Of course, you’ve read about my adventures with canning, drying, and other odd types of preserving. I also have strategic approaches for cooking that use up lots of vegetables. I went through some of  my recipes for using lots and lots of greens, and now over the next few days, I will let you in on my secrets on how to cook a lot of zucchini. 

Yes, I will share my recipe for chocolate zucchini cake. 

Until then!

 

 


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This Week in Veg: I’m OK with cucumbers coming out my ears

We got a healthy load of cucumbers this week. I’m completely OK with that. First, I’m at my fermenting workshop this week learning all about lactic acid fermentation and making old-fashioned “sour” pickles. Second, there’s nothing to beat the heat like an ice-cold cucumber. We’ll see what happens.

I’m also happy to see an influx of full-sized onions. We’ve been running low on aromatics over the past week. Spring onions are past, green garlic is scarce, and there’s not a ginger root or shallot to be had.

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This Week in Veg: We don’t eat all of these vegetables

20140709-094250-34970703.jpg When talking with my non-– CSA friends about joining a CSA, one of the first concerns that comes up is, “how do you eat all of those vegetables?”

My answer? We don’t.

Sure, we do eat a good portion of these vegetables, or else we wouldn’t have joined the CSA. But, honestly, there’s a lot of things that still will turn bad in the bottom of our refrigerator. Arugula and red lettuce are common culprits. We don’t sweat it, we have a compost pile. The food isn’t “going to waste”, we’re making fertilizer for next year’s garden.

But only about 5% of our CSA box will go bad. That’s because I often anticipate foods that we might not eat, and I’ll either find a special recipe to use with that vegetable, like I did with the pesto and arugula. Alternatively, some of the foods we put away to eat in the winter. This week, we received a large head of broccoli. Broccoli is really easy to blanch and freeze, and we eat it all throughout the winter in different dishes like stirfry and garbage rice. I know that the value of that broccoli will be greater to me in November or March then it will be this week. So, into the freezer it goes.

Last, I know there’s some vegetables that we just don’t eat in our house. Eggplant is probably the best example. What I will do is leave the eggplant at the CSA pickup point. There’s often someone else there picking up their vegetables who might enjoy an eggplant which would otherwise just rot in my refrigerator. I also occasionally give away CSA vegetables to my friends and neighbors when we are really overwhelmed with too many vegetables.

So, when you look at these pictures and you think “how do you eat all of that?” We don’t. We have figured out how to cheat the CSA system so that we don’t have to eat all of those vegetables. But importantly we don’t let the vegetables go to waste.


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This Week in Veg: I confess… I don’t love cauliflower

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I don’t hate cauliflower, but if don’t love it either. It seems to always be the leftovers from the crudités platter, or the bad cheese and cream soup, or mushy and over-cooked. So, this week it will be a challenge for us to eat an entire head. Our former CSA in Wisconsin didn’t grow cauliflower because it was too much of a hassle, and we didn’t get any in our box last year. So… I can roast it. What else?

Thanks to Sam for taking the pictures. We pickup on Tuesday nights when I am teaching. He’s masterfully taken over the responsibility of photographing and packing away the share in the fridge.


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This Week in Veg: A Cucumber is a fruit…

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We got two new and exciting things in the CSA this week: Cucumbers and Russian red kale.

The Cucumbers are the bearer of good news – Summer is almost here. They’re the first “vegetable” that we get each season that really needs some sun to grow. The turnips, asparagus, radishes, and bok choi that we’ve got over the last few weeks are cool-weather crops.

The red Russian kale is a fad, I think. Is there some local restaurant that’s doing something fancy with this type of kale? What ever am I going to do with an entire bag?