Tag Archives: garlic

CSA #7 -The heat makes for lazy bloggin’

I’m going to do what surely almost every other unproductive person is doing right now and blame the heat for my lack of productivity. The heat and a rejuvenating weekend trip to DC have led to a complete lack of momentum on matters both business and personal. No blogging, no article writing for the Patch, not even a box filled for my impending move.

What’s worse, in the last week, I’ve spent a total of an hour cooking time in my own kitchen.

The real tragedy there, aside from missing the cooking time itself, is that every week we’re getting a big supply of fresh from the earth produce through our Garfield Farms CSA. And every week, we come this close to wasting something because we just didn’t move fast enough, we just didn’t make the time, we just didn’t have the time. Every time I have to throw away even half a cup of salad mix, I feel a little sick to my stomach.

Recently I interview a woman for the Patch who runs Victorian tea services from her house and she shared with me her general philosophy regarding the teas. The services are meant to be enjoyed slowly and savored for more than simply their culinary delights. Tea and snacks and the accompanying conversation are the medium to relationship building. When we savor the process as much as the relationship itself, we are truly engaging with one another.

I bring this up not as a great argument for the installation of tea time in the American workplace (although I am a firm supporter of that issue) but as an analogy to what my relationship with the CSA should be. I should be savoring the process of working with what I’ve got more than simply the stuff itself. It’s all well and good to have a beautiful summer squash fresh from the farm, but if I’m not cooking with it, it is simply a totem, a symbol, an idle trinket. I need to savor these weeks with my veggies. These weeks are fleeting and numbered, and besides, I need to learn to save a buck and stick to what I already have in my kitchen instead of going out to the grocery store in a moment of impulse.

Anyway, expect a bit more productivity from me in the coming days. Until then, here’s a look at the CSA goodies from this past week:

Radishes, sweet pepper, mint, and tomatoes (all three of them)

Summer squash, red onion, garlic, broccoli

Basil, salad greens

Russian kale, braising mix (kale, chard, radish greens, etc)


CSA #6, the Best 80’s Movie to Feature Nuns and Dance Competitions, and Putting Gravy on Your Veggies

I spend most of June not believing it’s finally summer, so July is when the feeling really sets in. That can be a good thing and a bad thing. While I love warm weather activities, I tend to get more lethargic as the season makes its steady stretch to the end of August. Maybe it’s the heat or the sunshine or the overall slower pace of things, but I just don’t get very much done this time of year. Summertime is just about the best time to make excuses for inactivity.

That’s my half-assed excuse for not being especially prolific with blogging these days. My other, more reasonable excuse is that I am moving, therefore any extra time that isn’t spent packing is time that I feel like I’m wasting. Which is never really true when that time is put toward something I love, like blogging, but is definitely true when that time is put toward something like watching Girls Just Want to Have Fun on Encore.

Wow, the Dog Days really have me so lazy and distracted that I’m filling out a post with a movie trailer when I’m supposed to be focusing on our nutritious and body-enriching weekly CSA. Which is a shame considering out great our yield was (again) this week.

Kale and carrots

Radishes, sweet peppers, garlic, onion

Summer squash and potatoes.

I’ve taken to including a recipe at the end of these posts, showcasing just how we’re incorporating the CSA into our meals. This weekend, however, we didn’t do anything particularly fancy with what we used. We just made our favorites that much better with the addition of farm-fresh produce.

Better tasting, that is. Not necessarily better for our health. Observe Saturday night’s feast:

Yes, that is gravy smothering the corn, the potatoes, and the Southern-fried tofu. You might remember the tofu and gravy from a prior post. The corn is, admittedly, canned corn, drained and seasoned with salt, pepper, and vegan margarine. The mashed potatoes are a mix of the yellow and purple potatoes that came to us in our CSA and two Russet potatoes I purchased at People’s down the street.

The only gravy-less item on the plate is the slow-cooked kale, which will serve as my humble half-assed recipe for today. This method works equally well for collard greens, as well as broccoli and cauliflower.

[On a side note, take a look sometime at the beneficial elements of kale. Thanks to its high levels of antioxidants, beta carotene, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and carotenoids, it’s a nutritional powerhouse and damn tasty to boot. It’s also fairly easy to grow, so if anyone is thinking of starting a garden or adding to their bounty, it’s a good crop to consider.]

Slow-Cooked Summer Kale

– 1 lb (or so) fresh kale, rinsed and dried
– 1 tbsp vegetable oil
– 1/2 cup vegetable stock
– 1 tbsp tabasco
– 1 tsp red pepper flakes
– Salt and pepper to taste

– In a large pot, heat the oil, stock, and tabasco. Add the kale (you can keep it on the stalk if you plan to cook it for a long time, or tear off the leaves if you’re only planning to cook it for an hour or so), red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir until all the leaves are well coated, then cover and allow to simmer on low heat for up to four hours.

Good Morning, Miso!

Of all the recipes in Sarah Kramer’s La Dolce Vegan, I make the “Cures What Ails Ya” garlic soup the most. In addition to being very easy to make and delicious, it also fully delivers on the promise of kicking the ass of any minor cold or illness that may be making its way into my own body or that of a loved one. That is mainly due to the large amount of garlic and the added boost of a few teaspoons of miso, which is incredibly good for your immune system, provided that you don’t boil out its curative qualities. (For example, a study conducted in 2003 found that women who consumed three or more bowls of miso soup a day reduced their risk of breast cancer by 40 percent.)

The Japanese traditionally eat a bowl of miso soup as part of breakfast. Considering that it is now December, and cold and flu season is already in swing, this may be a good item to add to your daily menu. Packets of instant miso soup are sometimes available in bigger groceries, but primarily in Asian groceries and health food stores. At Lotus Foods in the Strip, a package containing three packets runs about two bucks. A good deal when you consider how much it can do for your body. (It is worth noting, however, that miso does contain a large amount of sodium. If you have a dietary restriction regarding sodium intake, be watchful.)

I’ve made the “Cures What Ails Ya” recipe so many times, that I’ve developed a pretty solid variation. Try it next time you get the sniffles!

– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1 head of garlic, finely minced
– 1 medium onion, chopped
– 1/4 lb mushrooms (any type will do, but shiitakes are especially delicious), sliced
– 1/2 lb firm tofu, roughly chopped
– 2 cups vegetable stock
– 1/2 cup water
– 2-3 tsp miso
– 1 tbsp tamari

– Heat the olive oil and saute the onions and garlic until onions are translucent. Add mushrooms and tofu, then vegetable stock and water. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 10 minutes.

While the soup is boiling, mix the miso and tamari together, plus a few tablespoons of hot soup. Add this mixture to the simmering soup. Let the pot sit at low heat for up to twenty minutes. Serve with a crusty bread.

For a spicier variation, stir in a few teaspoons of chili garlic sauce to the finished soup.

(Recipe adapted from La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer)