Sunday, June 21, 2009

What's in the (CSA) Bag?

What's in that over-stuffed bag?, my kitty was wondering last Thursday, as I hauled our 5th weekly CSA pickup into the house. Although we get a day's heads up of what to expect, opening our weekly bag is still like opening your stocking at Christmas. Well, we made a slew of great meals this week, courtesy of this weekly haul of local, organic veggies!

Here's everything out on the table including: fennel, cabbage, broccoli, 4 huge cucumbers, kohlrabi (purple this time!), onions, chard, salad greens, dill, and some big stalky green leaf veggie that I have yet to name (it's the one at the top, with the long white stem and big green leaves). It wasn't on the list, and while I thought it might be collard greens, I'm not sure that's what it was.

At any rate, last week's greens (chard) went into Fat Free Vegan's Savory Swiss Chard Pie. It was pretty easy and quick, and looked tantalizing as it came out of the oven, a few minutes early...

Turns out, it was delicious as well! The spices were rockin' and the chard was great, but the silken tofu was just a little too mushy for our taste. I think that regular firm tofu (the Chinese, water-packed kind) would have made for a firmer pie/quiche thing. At any rate, it was edible, and Mr. PLV even went back for seconds. Yeah! Three stars for flavor, two for texture **.

Alongside that, was this awesome Summer Corn Salad, from Rawvolution. This was easily my favorite recipe from the week - it was so sweet and fresh and even had some spice (curry powder)! It did get a little over-saturated with the dressing as the days went by, but it was a great, quick lunch. The corn wasn't in our CSA bag, but at least it was local and fresh from the farmers' market!

We also had some zucchini kicking around from last week's pickup, so I put my new Spiralizer to use! Yeah! So much fun!! This would be an awesome way to get kids to eat their veggies - just make these great, long, curly "noodles" out of them! Or fry or bake or dehydrate them for snacking on! Machine was easy to use and quick to put together/clean. Got a great deal on it through Amazon.

Here's a closeup of the zucchini pasta with a raw tomato sauce, from Rawvolution. Actually, the noodles were kind of crunchy - not watery as suggested in the book, so they didn't have to sit out. I wonder if I could have softened them up by letting them sit in the sauce for a while? The sauce was only OK- needed some herbs and spices to kick it up a notch. Three stars for the pasta (and only because it was fun - it was too crunchy to fool pasta lovers) and two stars for the sauce **.

Here are the noodles with our favorite jarred sauce, along with some Red Star nutritional yeast. Yum!

Last week also brought us some bok choy, and this Crunchy Bok Choy Salad from Cooking Light was refreshing and yummy and quick. Mr. PLV even commented how good it tasted and how good he felt, eating something so fresh and recently picked! No kidding! He really said that...I ate this as part of lunch leftover this week, and it was great except of course the Ramen noodles got soggy... Three stars and a half for sure, for this dish! ***.

Finally, we were ready to start cooking up this week's produce! First up, Roasted Fennel Salad with Roasted Shallot Dressing, Hazelnuts and Cranberries from Veganomicon. I'm too lazy to go check my recipe notebook for the exact title of this dish, but that's basically what was in it...except, I added LOTS of other veggies, to make it a well-rounded salad meal. I was just in the mood for salad that night! So, summer squash, radish, tomatoes, yellow bell pepper, and baby carrots filled up my bowl along wide the greens and roasted fennel (which was amazing!) and the roasted shallot dressing which was superb!!! Four stars for this dish ****. I loved, loved the warm dressing.
Three of those huge cucumbers ended up in a Cucumber Dill Salad from Rawvolution for lunch this coming week. I didn't have enough garlic and didn't have any red onion at all for this dish, so I think the yellow onion I had to use was a factor in my low rating of this recipe. I only give it two and a half stars. It was fresh and fun (I used a crinkle-cutter tool from Pampered Chef to cut the cukes), and a great way to use up the ginormous bunch of dill from the CSA bag, but I wasn't blown away.

Since I was up with the cats (and a head cold) this morning, I also whipped up a raw Eggless Salad, also from Rawvolution. This was way better than the cuke dish - and pretty, too! The creamy texture didn't taste like real egg salad, but I am years past trying to make meat-like meals. This was just plain good! Three solid stars ***.

I was blown away, however, by the BBQ Seitan with Crispy Coleslaw from Veganomicon, though. We made this just tonight, and wow! I served it up alongside sauteed chard and those mystery greens with a light agave-mustard dressing, and brown rice. The coleslaw was the perfect cool, tangy accompaniment to the sweet, hot BBQ seitan. A pretty quick recipe, too! Three and a half stars ***1/2.

Mr. PLV had his on a non-vegan sandwich bun, and it looked darn good!

The rest of the week looks to be leftovers and a Quinoa-Black Bean-Mango salad that has nothing to do with local produce and everything to do with just plain cravings. Who knows? Maybe I'll work some kohlrabi into it.

Only four more days till our next CSA pick up, but who's counting!


Anonymous said...

Everything looks soooo fresh and good!

Question about your spiralizer...I really want to get one, and there are so many options out there. If you had the chance, would you buy the same one again? Or would you chose a different model? Is it really easy to use and does it work well?

Thanks so much!

Peace, Love and Veganism said...

Courtney - I love this one! The three blade plates are easy to exchange and store, the whole thing is pretty small and very lightweight, yet strong! I thought about getting the smaller, cup-sized one,but this one only made angelhair sized pasta and I wanted the option of other sizes (although this one doesn't do angel hair). Great price, easy to use - I recommend it!

Al said...


We do a CSA too. I keep meaning to blog about it.

Oh, and that stalky green thing with the white stems is definitely bok choy.

Peace, Love and Veganism said...

yeah- found out that it was bok choy at this week's pickup, and what I thought was bok choy was really Chinese cabbage...