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the whole farm box in one meal
Friday August 19th 2011

When the idea for this blog got its genesis, a lot of my thinking was the surprise I got when I heard that other CSA members have a tough time eating through their CSA box in a week. We never had a problem, and often, as a result of extra boxes left at our site can cook through 2 or 3 boxes in a week. Why is this? What do we do differently? That’s what I wanted to explore through pictures, words, and menus.

Case in point was last night. We cooked through the entire box in one meal. That’s right, 2 adults and two kids piled through the whole box in one sitting. The box had the following:

Yellow Potatoes
Walla Walla Onions
Padron Peppers

Here’s how we did it.

First off, the strawberries. They were eaten so fast I didn’t even get a chance to take a picture! They are really tasting sweet and strawberry-like now after a long ramp up. Yumm.

Then the padrons. This was a fast (3 minute total working time) snack as we cooked the rest of the meal.

The spigariello got pan sauteed with  one of the walla walla onions to serve as a base for …

The small pork tenderloins that I butchered out of the pig I bought for Pig Fest (more on that in future posts.)

Add in the potatoes, just simply gently boiled and tossed with butter, more-salt-than-you-think-is-healthy, and chopped taragon, and here’s the main dish of the meal

But there were lots more veggies in the box. The romaine got washed by Alexis and turned into her favourite …

… creamy salad (aka Caesar Salad)!

The tomatoes were snacked on while cooking and what was left over got combined with a cucumber and an onion from the box. Some fresh goats cheese was added as was some basil, and it got quickly tossed with some balsamic and olive oil.

There you have it. What’s left from this week’s box? One onion and one cucumber. The cuc is going into the kids’ lunch, and the onion will go whereever it is needed.

So how much active time did this meal take?

Padrons – 3 minutes
Spigiarello – 7 min to pull off stems and wash. 5 minute to cut up onion, garlic and cook it all. Total 12.
Pork – Excluding the butchering, which was an hour, it was about 7 minutes active time. Get a pan hot, throw in the pork, toss in some herbs and a few cloves of garlic, turn a couple times. Easy peasy.
Caesar – 5 min to tear and wash. Dressing takes a bit of time, maybe 10 min.
Potatoes – 1 minute to dump in pot, wash, cover with water and put on the stove.
Tomato and cuc salad – maybe 10 minutes to chop it all up?

Total? 48 minutes. And I had help from the family with some of this as we ate the padrons and tried to weasel info out of the kids (how was school? fine. what did you do? nothing.) So in the end, it was maybe 30 minutes.

And clean-up? The pork and the spigiarello was cooked in the same pan, in that sequence (the pork needed to rest). The potatoes in one pot. One serving platter, plus the salads served in the bowls they were tossed in.

Sure, we have had lots of practice in using up the CSA boxes, but with a little fore-thought I think you’ll find it easy too.

10 minute (100% Farm Box) meal
Monday August 15th 2011

Just back from vacation and the kids were ravenous. Between piling clothes in the laundry machine, and putting the shorts back in deep storage (man, is San Francisco ever damn cold in the “summer”!), I didn’t have time for a large elaborate meal. So I took a look at the contents of the just-arrived Farm Box from Mariquita and threw together a big salad for dinner. In the end it took only about 10 minutes to make, was delicious, fresh, and actaully quite healthy! That’s how long it would have taken to go through a drive-through for heaven’s sake!

I started just by roughly cutting some pale green peppers into fattish strips, peeled and roughly chopped up some lemon cucumber, and chopped some medium sized yellow tomatoes into fair sized wedges. I didn’t want the pieces too small – I wanted large chunks. Here’s what it looked like so far.

There were some beautiful looking onions in the Farm Box, but putting them in raw tends to leave them too strong. So I macerated them in a sweet (cheap!) balsamic for a while to mellow them out.

Then I tossed it all in together, hit it with more balsamic and soem olive oil, more-salt-than-you-think-is-healthy, and topped it with a fresh light ricotta, which added a real nice creaminess.

What do you think? Not bad for 10 minutes, eh? And nutritionally it’s pretty good by my reckoning – fiber in the peppers and cucs, fat in the olive oil and cheese, and even a little protein from the cheese. Not to high in carbs, which doesn’t hurt either. And the most important thing – it was tasty!