Thursday, July 10, 2008

CSA Box, Week 4

This week's box has:
  • one head of cabbage
  • two zucchini
  • two yellow squash
  • one cucumber
  • one onion
  • one bell pepper
  • two broccoli stalks

We should do all right with that. When I left to get this week's box, our produce drawer was nearly empty! We're getting better at this. It helped that we had company for lunch today and I had an excuse to fix Beet Roesti with Rosemary and Summer Squash Slaw.

A vital CSA coping technique seems to be to have a couple of dishes in our repertoire that don't really need a recipe and can be fixed with any number of vegetables. For us right now, those two dishes are fried rice and pasta.

For fried rice, we marinate a chicken breast cut in small slices in soy sauce, about a half teaspoon of tapioca starch, and whatever else sounds good for at least ten minutes. In the meantime, I chop up the vegetables we're using into small pieces, loosen leftover rice with a fork, and make up a sauce from the various bottles of Chinese sauces we have in the refrigerator (soy, hoisin, hot sesame oil, sweet chili, etc) . The cooking process may vary a bit with the vegetables but it usually goes like this:

  1. Stir fry the chicken until opaque, then remove it from the wok and reserve.
  2. Stir fry the vegetables, starting with the toughest and ending with the most tender.
  3. Stir the reserved chicken and sauce into the vegetables.
  4. Stir the rice into everything else and heat until the rice is warm.

The pasta dish varies even more. It usually starts with a half package of the fresh pasta that I buy at Tower Grove Farmers Market from Mangia Italiano and an 8-oz can of tomato sauce I buy at the supermarket (although I just bought some at Whole Foods that had a better ingredient list). While the pasta cooks, I saute any aromatics (chopped) I have on hand, then any vegetables (chopped or sliced) I want to use up, and add lots of fresh basil from the garden. Then the tomato sauce goes in and I stir it up and simmer it on low heat, maybe adding some dry herbs and spices or some honey. If the pasta takes too long and the sauce starts to dry up, I'll add some low sodium V8 juice to keep things saucy.

With those two dishes in our repertoire, often served on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, I can make a big dent in what's left in the produce drawer before our new weekly box arrives on Thursday.

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