Friday, July 15, 2011

CSA Weeks 3 & 4: Yeesh, I’m a bad blogger.

First, the good news. My awesome husband, who ably handled Week 3’s CSA run solo, took a picture for you. Like I mentioned at the end of Week 2’s post, I was in yoga teacher training all weekend and had not a moment to spare for all the foraging we vegans must do to feed ourselves. I haven’t mentioned it here before, but in April I started my 200-hour program, which I hope to finish within a year or so. Training days are tiring, but so much fun and I’m learning a lot.

The bad news is, I’m not sure I can remember what we made, and I flaked on taking a picture for Week 4 (and Week 5, so don’t expect much there). Anyway, you can see that he scored us some garlic scapes, broccoli, kale, and a cabbage from One Straw. The other stuff came from random vendors, but allow me to mention the Lodi apples. These freakin’ things are everywhere this summer. I never knew there existed an apple tarter or greener than a Granny Smith, but lo and behold, the Lodi is it. They’re supposed to be for turning into applesauce, but I eat them straight-up because that’s how I roll. Not as juicy as Granny Smiths, but they’ll do. Also, their seeds are white. White apple seeds! My mind, it was blown.

I just realized I have no idea what became of those carrots. Husband, what did you do with them?

Anyway, here’s this spinach-strawberry salad from Becoming Raw. It’s amazing. We made it once last summer, and only the short season for strawberries keeps me from making it every day. I even stuffed some into a tortilla and made a very drippy but delicious wrap. The dressing is this orange-poppy seed combination that is like being kissed by a unicorn.

Here’s a picture of the baby birds who lived outside our front door. They’re fledged now, and I miss them. It was funny to see them sitting on top of each other. You’d think Mom would get a clue and build a bigger nest, but maybe she doesn’t want her offspring to get too comfy. Empty nest, har har har.

Healthy dinner ahoy! Steamed broccoli, brown rice, and some spicy cabbage from Vegan Soul Kitchen. Even though on my best day I am sort of meh about cabbage, it’s tasty. I think I’m still recovering from childhood mushy-stinky-cabbage trauma. A head of cabbage goes a long way, so Red fixed himself some coleslaw as well.

You absolutely want to make this, but I’m a bitch and can’t give you a recipe, so I apologize. We call this Adam’s Kale Salad, because this dude Adam would bring it to Vegan Pledge Program meetings, and it always disappeared like rapacious vegan aliens had abducted it. I don’t think Adam used exact proportions, but Red is really good at approximating it, so I let him carry on. It’s garlic, Bragg’s, lemon juice, and maybe one or two other things? Ask Red, he’ll tell you. Then you just toss your kale with it and go to town. Anyway, Adam is a ferocious activist, and you can read a rockin’ interview with him here. He doesn’t talk about kale, though. MORE KALE, ADAM.

I think we’re into Week 5 now, but who knows. Our house is like a time warp sometimes. I’m lucky I even get to work. We picked up two purple peppers from One Straw, and I knew exactly what I’d do with them. I’d agreed to test this Greek barley salad for Tami, and it is like all of Greece is having a party in your mouth. Spinach, olives, sundried tomatoes, lovely grilled peppers and red onions…and barley! I’d never cooked with barley before, and I really like it. Oh, don’t be scared of purple peppers. They taste pretty much like green peppers, only they’re purple and therefore better.

Here’s the first frittata of the CSA season! I tend to stick to the Vegan Brunch recipe because it’s reliable and easy. Here we have red chard with garlic scapes and a few portabella stems mixed in. I didn’t really notice the shrooms, but I sadly noticed the scapes a bit too much in places. They tend to get woody, don’t they? Scape-lovers, how do you know how much to trim off so you’re not munching twigs?

We got some beets, too, but those are Red’s domain. He roasted them, dog bless. I don’t like beets, so I’m glad to have him.

Um. What else? Right now, when I’m not at work, my life is pretty much cooking/testing (I love you, Tami!), yoga (although I could use more), and school. I’m getting my certificate in web graphic design, and one day in the distant future I do hope to pretty up the blog a bit. Come fall, I hope I have time to read a book or maybe just comment on y’all’s blogs, but right now I’ve decided to just do my best to keep up with these recaps. Please love me anyway? I’ll bake you a pie!

Friday, July 1, 2011

CSA Week 2: Going somewhere in a handbasket.

Dear readers, I have a confession to make: I don’t have a picture for you this go-round. I know, I’m a total failure as a blogger, and you should spend your employer’s time elsewhere. I know I would. But here’s what happened: There was a 10-mile race across the city that was poorly signed and extremely poorly publicized, because not even the people running the farmer’s market knew about it. So no matter which way Red and I tried to get into, and then across, Baltimore, we were met by roadblocks and bored cops and thousands of people dicking around in valuable travel lanes. Had I been driving, I’d probably be locked up for vehicular homicide right now. I love my city, but there is no 10-mile route nice enough to want to run through. Let’s not pretend otherwise.

Anyway, we eventually managed to park about a half-mile away, then hoof it down one of Bmore’s sketchier streets, past a rusted-out car and a lady distressed that the stupid race meant the buses weren’t running on schedule (see, Baltimore? it wasn’t just my morning you ruined), and finally make it to the market. I’ve never been so glad to be somewhere and simultaneously wanted to go home so badly. We were not in the mood for market chaos, so we grabbed our veggies and ran. I think we ended up with spinach, collard greens, broccoli, and kale. Yes, that sounds right. From the other vendors, we scored some onions and strawberries. Or maybe I made up the strawberry part. I mean, I know we had them, but we might have bought them at the MOM’s afterwards. Whatever, I’d kneecap a nun for strawberries.

Our market highlight was this awesomeness:

As you see, that is mango-curry hummus from The Wild Pea, a small local hummus operation. One of their guys had given me a sample the week before, and I was so in love with it, I wanted to snarf it all down right then. But I still had some homemade hummus in the fridge, and I knew I had to finish it before it got moldy and I got guilty for wasting food. I promised him I’d be back, though, and this week I got my mango-curry hummus. You may be thinking, “WTF? Mango in your hummus? Bitch, please.” Scoff if you like, but this shizz is delish. Sweet mango and warm, savory curry…mmm. I don’t know if I’d try all their combos (does the world really need PB&J hummus?), but I sampled the pizza flavor when I bought my tub of mango-curry, and that might be on deck for next time. They even have a vegan sour cream-and-onion flavor!

By the time we finally got home, quite a bit later in the day than we had anticipated thanks to all the pedestrian mayhem, we threw everything in the fridge. As soon as we finished, I wailed that I had forgotten to take the photo, and that everyone would be so mad at me. Then I probably took a nap and got over it.

Red sautéed up the kale with some garlic, and we didn’t bother taking a picture of that because you all know what sautéed kale looks like. It made a great lunch over brown rice, spritzed with some Bragg’s. Is there a hippier vegan lunch imaginable? I doubt it.

Here’s the broccoli, next to couscous and some spicy tofu I tested for Tami at Vegan Appetite (it was good!):

I ate much of the spinach in hummus wraps throughout the week—hummus wraps are my favorite pre-yoga snack, and spinach makes them even better. There came a day, though, when the remaining spinach was looking pretty wilty. I didn’t have time to cook anything from scratch, so I dumped two cans of Amy’s lentil soup into a pot and added the spinach. I highly recommend sexing up your canned soups this way!

That left the collards. These were this week’s surprise hit, starring in Vegan Soul Kitchen’s Citrus Collards with Raisins Redux. We didn’t have any raisins and I don’t like them, so I used dried cranberries instead. AWESOME call on my part, if I do say so. These collards are sassy and bright, with enough garlic to keep them from being too sweet. They’d be a great holiday side. You should make them right away.

Week 3 teaser: Red hit the market by himself because I was in yoga teacher training all freakin’ weekend! Check back to see how he fared.