Posts Tagged by asparagus

Eat Your Veggies! Robert Treat Farm CSA Week 4

I still haven’t made it through all the cabbage from last week…it’s insane!  However I’ve made some rather delicious slaws that I’ve mixed with shredded carrots, the garlic scapes, and an apple cider/citrus dressing.  Super good with fish tacos and grilled chicken…yum!

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Keira got much more creative with her cabbage and mixed it with pineapples, mangos, carrots and a strawberry vinaigrette.  She let it sit overnight and voila!  This looked super good.

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She also sauteed up her white turnips with some onions, garlic and zucchini for a tasty side dish.  I love seeing how she is using all the ingredients so differently than I would…helps me to think outside of the box a little!

Robert-Treat-2014-CSA-Week4-Turnips

Somehow we are already in week four.  It’s exciting because we’re now starting to get things other than greens (YAY!) and the farmstand is now open to fill in the gaps.  Here’s what we got this week.

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Robert-Treat-2014-CSA-Week4-Table

I took home the purple kohlrabi, red chard and purple beets.  Judging by the colors, I am clearly sick of greens 😉  I also picked up some asparagus, tomatoes and peas from the farmstand.

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Keira got the cauliflower, carrots, asparagus and swapped the green leaf lettuce for some red chard.

Robert-Treat-2014-CSA-Week4-Keira

After getting our goodies, we walked around the Woodmont Farmers Market for a bit.  It was PACKED!  It’s so cool to see the community come out an support local businesses and farms.  I was intrigued by a new vendor, Nutty Bunny.  This is a non-dairy frozen dessert that looked a whole lot like ice cream.  After tasting two of the flavors, Double Chocolate Crunch and Vanilla, I was sold!  This stuff is delicious and actually not all that bad for you.  The vanilla is made from cashews, coconut milk, maple syrup, almonds, coconut oil, filtered water, pure vanilla extract, sea salt, and vanilla beans…that’s it!  Needless to say, I went home with a pint.

Robert-Treat-2014-CSA-Week4-Nutty-Bunny

I went home in the BEST mood!  This is by far my favorite time of year when the air is warm and all the food we eat is from down the street…just can’t get better than that! Til next week!

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Eat Your Veggies! Robert Treat Farm CSA Week 1

I am SO excited that the Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) program at my favorite place, Robert Treat Farm, started up again this week!  This is the 3rd time I am taking part in the CSA and I am so looking forward to a summer full of fresh vegetables from right down the street!

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If you’re not familiar with a CSA, it is when a farm offers what they call shares for a set amount of time.  These are available to pre-purchase before the growing season and at Robert Treat they come in small, medium and large shares.  Each week we get whatever is ripe for picking.  So early in the season we’ll get a lot of lettuce and other greens.  Later in the summer, we’ll get tomatoes, corn and squash.  It’s an exciting surprise each week!

In the past I have opted for the small share which is 5 items per week and is plenty (sometimes too much) for B and I.  However, it was getting a bit challenging as I’ve come across numerous food allergies of mine (squash, cucumbers, etc…) to eat all of the things we are given.  So this year, my friend Keira and I decided to split a medium share which will work out perfectly!  We can each pick the items we like best and I don’t have to worry about wasting the foods I can’t eat!  

So here’s what we got for Week 1: asparagus, tatsoi, broccoli rabe, curly endive, green leaf lettuce, escarole, radishes, red leaf lettuce.  Basically, ALL the leafy greens!

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The cool thing about our farm is that they put out a display table with labels over all the items in the baskets, so if you’re not familiar with something you can see what it is.  The farmers are also always around to ask questions about preparations or recipes for unfamiliar items as well.

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Keira took home the green leaf lettuce, escarole, broccoli rabe and radishes.  Can you believe the size of these things?!?

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I took the red leaf lettuce, tatsoi, asparagus and swapped the curly endive for escarole. That’s another cool things about the farm…they have a swap table so if you don’t like something or would prefer more of one item, you can swap it out if it’s on the table.

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Also this week, we were given a cheery tomato plant for our patio.  Keira was nice enough to let me take that home and I promptly planted it outside.

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Speaking of planters…check out how big my chives have gotten!  I just love those purple flower on top 🙂

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So for the next 16 weeks, I will be sharing my CSA experience with you.  I’ll show you what we get each week and hopefully share some healthy recipes that I create with my veggies. CSAs are a great way to support your local farms and also ensure your family eats healthy on a daily basis.  You can’t help but feel better when you have an abundance of fresh veggies on your plate!  I hope it will inspire you to get out there and find some local veggies in your area 🙂

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Asparagus – A Labor of Love

I recently started reading a book called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. It’s the story of a family who left their life in Arizona to live a rural life in southern Appalachia. They vowed to live for one year off of local food they either they grew themselves, or could find in their local community. Not only is it an compelling story, but it is an insightful look at the food culture in America.  

Chapter 2 focuses on asparagus, one of the first vegetable to appear in the spring.  To grow it is truly a labor of love as it takes 3 years after first planting to yield your first crop…that’s a long time to wait.  But if you love and nurture the plants, they can keep producing for 20 – 30 years! 

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As the author states, “waiting for foods to come into season means tasting them when they’re good…” and this is particularly true with asparagus.  Since it is such a delicate vegetable, once cut it begins to go down hill very quickly.  I will buy asparagus occasionally through out the year when I’m feeling in the mood, but there is nothing like those few weeks in May when my local farm has their own homegrown asparagus available.  The look an feel of that stalks are like nothing you will find in a grocery store…firm with vibrant colors!

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My favorite way to prepare asparagus is to toss it with olive oil, salt and pepper, then simply roast it in a 425 degree oven for 8 – 1o minutes.   I find this method enhances the flavor even more than simply steaming it.  Fresh, local asparagus is sweet…incredibly sweet!  I find asparagus to generally be a bit bitter, but not this.  It’s like it’s made from sugar.  Such a treat!

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There are only a few weeks left that you will be able to find this vegetable in all of it’s perfectly ripe glory.  So get out there and visit your local farm to pick some up!  Make sure to come back and let me know if you can tell the difference.  I bet you can!

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Feasting Poolside

Ahhhh holiday weekends.  These are the times to eat too much, drink too much and relax!

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Well that’s pretty much what my day consisted of yesterday.  B and I came down to NJ to visit my Dad and Stepmom and basically do a whole lot of nothing.  B’s parents, my uncle and two of my cousins also joined us to partake in the relaxation.  It was 95 degrees out so when we weren’t eating, we spent our time in pool cooling off and enjoying some refreshing beverages!

Crabbie's!

Crabbie’s!

While this was fun, my favorite time is always meal time 🙂  I made a lot of the sides with my Stepmom while B and my Dad manned the grill.  We definitely got the better side of the deal because we were in the air conditioning.  B’s Mom set up the tables in a wonderfully shady spot and we were good to go.

The family supervising B's grilling techniques..

The family supervising B’s grilling techniques..

Dining Al Fresco

Dining Al Fresco

So here’s what we gorged ourselves dined on!

B’s family is from Albania and his mom makes some delicious Mediterranean dishes!  She brought a cheese pie and a spinach pie.  Sadly since I found out about my egg sensitivity, I haven’t been able to eat either of these, but everyone else enjoyed them.

Cheese Pie (top) Spinach Pie (bottom)

Cheese Pie (top)
Spinach Pie (bottom)

They also brought B’s favorite feta cheese from a Greek specialty store, Titan Foods, in Astoria.  It’s a sad day in our house when it runs out, so I put a bunch out for him along with some Wave Hill Bread we brought from home.

Wave Hill Bread & Feta

Best Bread & Feta Ever!

For sides, we grilled up some eggplant, onions and peppers.  I also roasted some local CT asparagus and tossed it with a lemon vinaigrette.  My stepmom had roasted some beets from her garden the night before, so I tossed those with some feta and parsley, and also made a Greek salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and feta.

Salads & Veggies

Eat ALL the Veggies!

And finally the proteins…burgers, dogs and shrimp all cooked perfectly on the grill.  Simple and delicious!

Shrimp Burgers & Dogs

FOOD!

FOOD!

We even had a visitor join us for our meal!

Baby Bunny!!!

Baby Bunny!!!

After lunch/dinner/our only meal of the day, it was back in the pool along with a lot of lying around to digest before diving into the decadent desserts B’s mom brought.  Baklava, galaktoboureko and kataifi…whoa!  I can usually only have one bite of these because they are SO sweet, but they are still delicious 🙂

Greek Desserts

What a great day…just what I needed.  Quality time with family, floating around in a pool and stuffing my face.  In the craziness of our everyday life, it’s important to remember to take some time for ourselves and spend it with the people who matter.  Enjoy the beauty that surrounds us and fill your belly with good food.

Look closely...

Look closely…

My skin is sun-kissed and my heart is full….I LOVE days like this!  Makes all the bad ones melt away…

Sarah Pool

How did you spend your holiday weekend?? 

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