Choose Your Own Ending

What a fun experience the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture, a.k.a fresh farm produce) has been, only week two, but it has been such an adventure! It reminds me of those “choose your own ending” books we read as kids. There are so many endless possibilities and we get to choose the delectable treats, or endings, for all the food. The first week we received the normal lettuce and spinach but also parsley, garlic florets, beans, rhubarb and even sauerkraut. This week we received beets, more spinach, leeks, beans and cilantro.  What to do with all this fresh food – that is the question!  So we started cooking up some new delights…here are just a few of my favorites from the first two weeks – time to choose YOUR own ending!

Green and White Delight – we made a fabulous pizza (using Chebe crust).  We used an alfredo sauce (I am working on a healthier version of white sauce) and then piled the pizza high with an entire bag of fresh spinach from the CSA. (Spinach bakes down and dramatically reduces in size) We sprinkled the top of the spinach with Italian spices (oregano, basil, etc) and then topped with just a dash of parmesan cheese.  The spinach baked down with the pizza and resulted in the BEST pizza I have ever eaten.  Next time we are going to add some tomatoes and grilled chicken.

Sweet Tart delight – I found a recipe on the The Gracious Pantry for Strawberry Rhubarb Apple crisp with no added sugar.  I made the filling from this recipe and omitted the recipe topping and instead used a cinnamon walnut crumble from Elana Amsterdam’s Gluten Free Cupcake cookbook.  The result was a delectable and tart treat that when topped with a dollop of ice cream was superb.

White Chicken Chili – we have an abundance of cilantro and it is so fragrant that we cooked up a batch of white chicken chili and froze it for days in the future that we need a quick meal or in the fall when the weather starts to turn crisp and cool.

Spinach balls – the CSA provides recipes each week using the fresh produce for that week. They posted a fabulous spaghetti and spinach balls recipe complete with a “spaghetti sauce” that is a white sauce and not a red sauce…great recipe and if you are thinking what I am thinking a great and much healthier white sauce to try with our Green and White Delight recipe above.

This is just the beginning to our food adventures – here’s to choosing your own path – a healthy path!

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Cornucopia of Summer Fun

This is our first summer as CSA members…we are newbies! We are very excited for our deliveries – they start today! CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. We have chosen Grant Family Farms as our CSA because they are an organic farm and they grow all their food locally as well as exchange for additional foods that are grown on the western slope of Colorado (mmm peaches and cherries).  All food comes from the state of Colorado. It is a great way to build local, fresh produce into your menu each week, support local farmers and not have to set foot in a grocery store to do it. Here’s how our CSA works:

  • You choose the size bin you want each week – small, medium, large
  • You can choose from vegetables bins, fruit bins, free range eggs and organic cheeses (interesting to learn the difference and standards required between cage free and free range eggs)
  • Each week you get a “share” of the local produce (your bin)
  • You choose your pick-up location – we have enough people participating from our work place to serve as a pick-up location
  • The Farm provides recipe ideas each week, especially for the “unique” items – I will be experimenting with lots of fruits and vegetables and posting exciting new recipes this summer – first week will be a strawberry rhubarb tart
  • There is an exchange bin where you can swap out items you won’t use
  • Work for your food – we earn a discount on our shares by choosing a time over the summer to work on the Farm

Check it out. Find a farm near you so you can support local and have your fresh produce delivered to you each week.  Share your recipe ideas. Share stories and pictures of the most unique fruit or vegetable you meet this summer. Let’s have some fun and optimize your health at the same time…if you run across any cornered tomatoes…let me know!

p.s. – make sure you plant plenty of basil even if you only have a porch or deck get some planters and plant away. I will be sharing pesto recipes with you during the summer and fall and you will want plenty of fresh basil to make fresh pesto for the summer and enough to stash to last you through the winter!