Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My CSA Box for the Week

This week, my CSA box from Rhine Center Vegetable Club included:
  • Basil
  • Kohlrabi 
  • Yellow Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Dill
  • Peas
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Swiss Chard
  • Lettuce
  • Cabage
  • Beets and their greens

I also have some kale leftover from last week's box and, I'm ashamed to admit, I had to throw out a bunch of radishes that got soft before they got eaten.  It was the first wasted bit from my CSA box.

I'm thinking, to avoid further waste, I'm going to freeze the swiss chard, beet greens, and last week's kale.  Freezing greens works well - just blanch and shock them (cook them for a minute in boiling water, then transfer to a bowl of ice water to immediately stop the cooking process) and then stick them in a freezer bag.  It's my personal opinion that they don't come back well enough for just eating as a side (I like all of my veggies a little under cooked, I think), but they do come back well enough for stews and in pasta. 

It's been quite a challenge to build a menu for two around the box.  I see the amazing ingredients, and I want to turn each thing into it's own glorious full sized meal.  This doesn't work well, though, when each meal is like I'm cooking for four... Too many leftovers, and I've got something planned for the next day to use a different set of vegetables!  I need kids to help eat all this!  (No, mother, I'm not serious.  Sorry.)

So the preserving obviously continues...

I'm also at the point where I need to get as much as possible out of  my freezer, to make room for the new food I'm freezing.  I've got a few things left in there frozen: a full freezer bag of tomatoes, a few cups of corn, about a cup of shredded zucchini, and some green onions. The green onions and corn are probably just going to get thrown out.  Wasteful, I know, but it's time to start fresh.  I saved way too much corn last season, because I really, really, REALLY wanted the corn on the cob that I wasn't able to eat due to having braces.  Frozen corn thaws okay as a winter side dish, but it's not that great.  Two or three meals worth would probably have been enough. The zucchini will get added to some of this year's zucchini in a bread.  It really just worked out that I had one cup left, and there is very little that you can do with one cup! 

The tomatoes were a surprise.  I thought they were gone, or I would have used them months ago.  I could probably fill my whole chest freezer with tomatoes and still use them all up in the winter.  I will certainly have a post on preserving tomatoes, but freezing really is one of my favorite ways.  Just wash the tomato and throw it whole into the freezer.  Once it's solid, I put them all into freezer bags.  Then you can use them in anything cooked that calls for tomatoes.

This week is going to be a little frantic, so I've been planning for some crock-pot and quick grill meals.  I have dance class Monday, the husband has gigs Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday, and my dance troupe is performing Thursday-Sunday all day at a local street fair.  Which means I will be coming home hot, exhausted, and hungry.  And not really wanting to cook.  And I'm not willing to eat garbage for a full week (and waste my vegetables), so it's serious meal planning time.

Last night we started the crock-potting with a stewed chicken, cooked with tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, and mushrooms.  I'm going to call it summer Coq a Vin. Why not.

*Don't be afraid of the amount of garlic scapes in this recipe, or about leaving them large.  When cooked, garlic scapes lose almost all of their garlicy flavor, and end up tasting almost like green beans.

Summer Coq A Vin:
  • 1 whole chicken (about 3 lbs) cut into serving pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lb mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup yellow squash, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic scapes, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 lbs fresh tomatoes or frozen tomatoes, peeled, or use canned
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
Season the chicken well with salt, garlic, and onion powder.  Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pan, and brown the chicken well on all sides, working in batches if necessary.  As it is browned, transfer the chicken to the slow cooker.

Once all the chicken is browned, add the onions to the pan.  Saute the onions for 3 minutes, or until they are just starting to brown.  Add the wine and deglaze the pan.  Pour the wine and onion mixture over the chicken in the slow cooker.

In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except basil.  Season well with salt and pepper, and pour over the chicken in the slow cooker. 

Cook on low for 8 hours.  Before serving, taste and adjust seasoning.  Stir in the basil and serve over pasta or rice.


  1. I'd offer you my kids to help you eat your food, but they don't eat anything that might be mistaken for healthy! Any hot dogs in that box? ;)

  2. I've had the same thought! I need more people in my household so there are less leftovers, and more opportunities for me to cook new meals with CSA items. I really should be inviting people over for dinner, but that seems like such a hassle on a weeknight.