Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The locavore's dilemma

Catherine Price explores The Locavore's Dilemma: What to do with the kale, turnips, and parsley that overwhelm your CSA bin in Slate.

I left a comment there because those are the issues I am trying to address with this blog. 
For turnips, try this Taiwanese soup.

Cilantro will keep for a month if you trim off the ends and put it in a glass of water. Put a plastic bag over the top because the leaves transpire a lot of moisture. See the picture here (but imagine a bag over it).
We use a few springs here and there, just like Mark Bittman suggests. It's gone before it rots.

For cabbage, my mom sautes it with a bit of pork, or we make dumplings. The potsticker/wonton/dumpling recipe is here:  
Apples and cabbage both ripen in cool weather. You think that is why German omas braise cabbage and apples together?

We've got recipes for kohlrabi and other 'problem' vegetables.
Don't be discouraged when you start because it takes a while to get into the rhythm of using up your box.  We get deliveries Thursday afternoons.  When I get the box home, I trim and put away the produce right away.  If any of it looks wilted, I will trim off the ends and put it in a pitcher of water, cut side down, like the cilantro example above.

On Thursday, think about how you want to cook that week's contents.  Then shop on Friday for ingredients you need to complete the recipe.

[Aside: If you are clueless, post a comment on this blog or email Penny and myself.  We will post something for you.  This isn't a test a la "Iron Chef".  We are here to help you figure out what to do with your "surprise box of goodies".

Don't forget to check the Tanaka Farms compilation of recipes

Or type the vegetable into your favorite search engine + recipe.  E.g. type "kohlrabi + recipe".]

A couple of hours investment once a week goes a long way.

On Friday night or Saturday, I wash and chop all the vegetables from the box. We rinse lettuce, slice cucumbers, shred carrots and radishes etc for salads.  I make a small blender jar of salad dressing and boil some eggs.  I make a vat of seasonal vegetable soup and then put them into 1-2 serving containers.  I put some in the fridge and some in the freezer.  Then I move a different soup from the freezer to the fridge.  This gives me more variety.

On Sunday night, we also make a bunch of sandwiches and cut up fruit.  That way, we have everything we need to easily assemble lunches during the week.

(If I can, on Monday, I also take some pre-made soups and salads in to a friend/coworker who is caring for two terminally ill parents while working more than full-time.  I used to swap home-made soup for home-baked bread with a neighbor.  Home cooked food is one of the nicest things you can give someone.)

On weeknights, we can heat up some soup, assemble a salad or roast or steam some precut veggies.  With our rice cooker on a timer, dinner is on the table in minutes.

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