Potatoes, Salad Mix, Peppers, Garlic, and of course –  Beets!

Did you know?
Lots of groups like to highlight the best things to buy organically – as in the foods that are treated the most heavily with pesticides. I like to check on the “Dirty Dozen”, which I have listed below for 2012.  Click here for the full list of heavily treated crops.

These are ordered with #1 being the absolute worst. Hence, why I get peppers, lettuce and potatoes as much as possible in our CSA!

1.Apples
2. Celery
3. Sweet Bell Peppers
4.Peaches
5. Strawberries
6. Nectarines – Imported
7. Grapes
8. Spinach
9. Lettuce
10. Cucumbers
11.Blueberries – domestic
12.Potatoes

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Pasta Primavara Bake

As any good American citizen, sometime I just need to be able to come home and make something healthy and super quick for dinner. While there are hundreds of variations of pasta primavera, this one is my favorite for a quick fix.

Ingredients

1 box veggie pasta
1 jar organic Alfredo sauce (Newman’s is good, and relatively easy to find)
8 oz. Ricotta Cheese
1 organic, local zucchini – sliced into 1/8 inch pieces, cut in half again
3 organic, local carrots – cut into medium slices
1 cup local, organic peas
1 small head local, organic broccoli – steamed (or microwaved…gasp!)
handful of organic, local basil (I used Sweet Italian and Pesto Basil)
A shake or two of organic red pepper flakes
2-3 Tbsp organic, local garlic -chopped
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
Organic garlic granules
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1.) Preheat your oven to 350. Boil your water for your noodles, and cook them as you complete the following steps.
2.)Heat oil  in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add all vegetables (except for the steamed broccoli), garlic, red pepper & basil and saute for 5-7 minutes, until zucchini gets to a slightly wobbly point.
3.) Pour sauce into a 13 x9 glass baking dish. Add steamed broccoli. I usually add 1/4 cup warm water for baked pasta dishes, so that they stay moist – this is optional.  When the pasta finishes, drain and add to baking dish. When the veggies finish, add to baking dish as well. Mix it all together.
4.) Top with small spoonfuls of ricotta  and sprinkle with bread crumbs and garlic granules. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with garlic bread – nom nom nom!

Clockwise from garlic – garlic, tomatoes, Hungarian wax peppers, red gold potatoes, bag o basil

 

Did you know that the inside of purple carrots (see last weeks “What’s Cooking Wednesdays”) is actually not purple? 🙂

Purple carrots

Clockwise: Beets, Kale, Arugula, Green Beans, Peas, Butter Lettuce x2, Oregano

Normal CSA Requests: salad mix, radishes, arugula, broccoli
Extra CSA Requests: beet greens x2, beets, garlic scapes

Kale Chips

I’ve heard rumors of “tasty” kale chips – just as delicious as potato, and so I thought I should give it a go this weekend. The results? They need some developing. Eric, the fiance, loved them “as is”, but for me it wasn’t quite there. Here’s what I did recipe wise.

Ingredients
Most of one head of organic, local kale
Organic Olive Oil – a drizzle
Sea Salt and 4 color pepper to taste

*I did not preheat my oven totally. I let it go for about 4 minutes, then threw them in there. I don’t know if this helped or hindered my process. I set it for 300.

1. Wash kale well and fully dry – otherwise they won’t be crispy. I laid mine out on paper towels, and patted dry every 5 or so minutes. Took about 20 minutes overall until I felt they were good.
2. Rip the kale leaves from the center stalk at the bottom. You can leave the little central vein at the top, but anything thicker than about 1/8 of an inch, discard (or feed to your chickens!). My bigger pieces were tastier. Put in a large bowl.
3.  Drizzle kale with olive oil. Toss with tongs gently until coated.
3. Line 2 cookie sheets with aluminum foil. Place the kale leaves on the sheets, preferably with no leaves touching one another. If they overlap they lose the crunch.
4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Since this was my first attempt I wanted to keep it simple to see how they would taste relatively unencumbered.  I will say though, that I think there may be some better options here. Maybe curry, chili powder, or garlic next time.
5. Bake until crispy, checking occasionally.  Mine cooked relatively evenly, so I pulled them all after just 20 minutes. A few were a tad too crunchy though, so consider pulling done ones in batches. I will consider this for the future.They will be light as air when finished, nearly floating off of the trays.

Overall, I felt these were not OK on their own. Eric gobbled them down like candy though, so there is some merit to just salt and pepper. I got bold, and made a dipping sauce out of what was around. The sauce was good anyway, but would have been better with 1/4 cup sour cream and 1/4 cup mayonnaise instead of all mayo. With the sauce I assisted in eating nearly a whole head of kale in minutes.

1/2 cup Smart Balance Mayo
1 tsp lime juice
1-2 tsp fresh dill
1/2 tsp garlic granules/powder
Salt and pepper TT

Mix it all up and dip!

Community Supported Agriculture

CSA #2 Clockwise starting with the radishes, beets,  spinach, winterbor kale, chives, salad mix, frisee, Lacinato kale, strawberries in the center.

What is a CSA? Community Supported Agriculture is a healthy, local way for you to be a real part of what you eat.  You pay a given amount of money up front before the planting action gets going, the farmer uses the money to plant and grow,  and then for a fixed amount of weeks you are given a “share” of the farms products. Sometimes, when the season is good, you are even offered extras. The photo above is our half share plus extras. We have 22 weeks, and we are on week 2.

We pick up our CSA on Wednesdays, so as a visual representation of how awesome weekly, organic, fresh picked vegetables are, I will be putting a picture and listing up on Wednesdays. This will hopefully encourage everyone to consider a CSA next season!

This is the kick off of  “What’s Cookin’ Wednesdays” (I know… today is Thursday…but in the future this is what it will be.), where you see my palette for the week.

 

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