Tag Archives: CSA

Saving the Last of Summer: Slow Roasted Tomatoes

The tomato crop this year was simply glorious!  It was such a relief because last year the tomatoes were almost nonexistent and it was a mournful summer as a result.  Despite not being able to personally attend the farmer’s markets this summer I was happily able to order from a few nice farms using Good Eggs.  I have indulged myself completely and filled my orders with heirloom tomatoes of every color.

One week Good Eggs was offering Monsanto-free Early Girl tomatoes at a pretty cheap price per pound so I bought 4 pounds, plus 3 pints of cherry tomatoes in various hues. I planned to make a fresh salsa-like tomato sauce but got tired, so I decided to slow roast them.

It feels like everyone on social media and my recipe swap has been slow roasting tomatoes, so despite being very late to the party I began roasting them and was so pleased with how well they came out.

Slow roasted tomatoes, done!

After a quick rinse I quartered the tomatoes and left the cherry tomatoes whole, dumped them into my favorite jelly roll pan, slivered in a clove of garlic and scattered handfuls of basil leaves and a light scattering of oregano. I used a light hand with olive oil, salt and pepper and then at the last minute added a good hunk of butter over everything. The oven was on at 250 F, I set the timer for three hours and promptly took a long nap.

After three hours, voila, the perfectly roasted tomatoes and my nap were complete. It was far beyond dinner time by then, so I slid them into a plastic container, scraping every last bit of juice and butter into the container, and bung it into the fridge.

I pondered a bit on what to do then. One week, I heated up the batch of tomatoes gently and tossed them with pasta and some leftover chicken. Another time I pureed them with my immersion blender and added a slosh of vodka and a dash of leftover cream and warmed this while the pasta cooked. Another time I pureed half of them and left the other half whole and added dollops of ricotta to each bowl of pasta. Another time I made goat cheese stuffed meatballs and seasoned breadcrumbs and poached the meatballs in the pureed sauce. The last time I pureed the whole batch and added more butter. It tasted just like Marcella Hazan’s butter tomato sauce, and no stirring required!   If I made these on the weekend I napped and if it was after work I was done well in time for an early bedtime (being gimpy and healing is very tiring).

Kind of a humble dish, homey. Slow roasted tomatoes, ricotta.

(with ricotta)

Goat cheese stuffed meatballs, in progress

(goat cheese stuffed meatballs)

Goat cheese stuffed meatballs, pappardelle, Crumbs Yo!

(the finished meatballs topped with seasoned breadcrumbs)

Each time I slow roasted a batch of tomatoes I wanted to save some in the freezer for that dreary part of January through March when all of the tomatoes are pasty pink nasty mealy things.  After making a packet of pasta I would use up an entire batch of tomatoes. I kept buying more tomatoes, four pounds, then six, then eight pounds and still had no leftovers for the freezer.

Last night I succumbed to a wild impulse and bought an entire case of San Marzano tomatoes from Good Eggs, I think it will be about 20 pounds. It will take me a while to slow roast them in batches but surely this time I will have some leftover for the freezer.   I will have a bit of summer in my freezer for the rest of the winter, or at least, for the rest of the month.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes (for Sauce)

 

IMG_6112.JPG
That’s a lot of tomatoes!!!

The Finale: Slow Braised Pork with Squash and Orzo

It was worth the wait.

Over the past few days, the slow braised pork medallion had marinated in orange zest, garlic and cumin and cooked to utter tenderness in a savory broth with onions and butternut squash and a dash of balsamic vinegar to balance the sweetness. I deglazed the Dutch oven with a tablespoon of dry sherry and added this to the meat.

Did you know that those small silicon basting brushes are great for deglazing sides of pots like this one?  You just dab it into the liquid and wiggle the brush along the sides and all that lovely fond comes off and enriches the broth. Brilliant.

20130205-000153.jpg

I pulled everything out of the fridge and preheated the oven.  I had tried to return to work after a long bout of flu and secondary infections but was still quite unwell. I really needed some good nutrition. I had to finish this dish despite a lack of appetite and the ability to taste anything but I knew I would enjoy it regardless.

The oven was hot so I scooped out the meat and veggies and pulled off about a cup and a half of solid fat from the surface of the cooled broth. I was glad I took the extra day to remove the that thick layer of unctuous pork fat!

Everything went into my new lidded Le Creuset casserole dish and I popped it into the oven to get bubbling and hot. I added a half of a package of orzo to the broth and put it back into the oven to cook and absorb all the great flavors from the braising process. A final sprinkling of salt and it was ready.

20130204-235817.jpg

The orzo had absorbed just the right amount of the broth but still had a pleasant brothy aspect. The meat was so very tender and yet not over cooked or stringy as one often finds in slow braised dishes. The onion had almost caramelized and the squash was tender and yet whole.  Succulent is a wonderful word for this dish.
All I can say @4505_Meats is mmmmm and I <3 pork #meatCSA

I untied the twine around the pork medallion and it fell apart into perfect hunks.  I wish I had some parsley but it was just wonderful without it.

This is quite a rich and hearty dish, despite the defatting, and the 1.75 pound of pork would have easily fed six people.  After eating a cat sized bowl and a small glass of wine (which I shouldn’t have had but it tasted wonderful), I portioned up the rest for work lunches.

On the 3rd day I realized suddenly that I could taste the nuances of orange and cumin from the marinade.  I am so glad the flu etc. had ebbed enough to allow me to appreciate how these lovely flavors mingled together.

Printer friendly recipe

Baked Salmon in Parchment – Fish CSA

In San Francisco we are lucky to have access to some of the nicest seafood in the world.

Even here, buying fish from the grocery store is always slightly perilous, you really have to trust your fishmarket and you really have to know what is sustainable, what is okay to eat when and what is fresh. Even the best fishmarket will sell fish that is on Monterey Bay Aquarium’s watchlist for seafood that are endangered or that should not be eaten due to health reasons a.k.a. too much mercury or grown in a fish farm that uses unhealthy fishmeal and contains unsanitary conditions. Recent articles have depicted the horror stories of farmed shrimp from Asia being cooled in ice made from local bacteria-laden water, or fed meal made from pig feces.

I carry the Monterey Bay Aquarium seafood watchlist in my wallet, and now have their app on my phone which helps me when I go shopping for seafood.

Lately I have circumvented all of these issues by buying directly from fishermen through the Siren SeaSA. A CSA or Community Supported Agriculture is more commonly known as a way to buy produce directly from farmers and growers. Anna Larson of Siren SeaSA has developed a network of fisherman that fish sustainable seafood off of the coast of California using responsible methods and delivered fresh, often the same day it is caught.

Every other week I go to pick up my fish share from a nice lady who waits inside of a local market for just one hour with a cooler of ice and beautifully fresh seafood. This week I received black cod, which is currently marinating in a miso, ginger, garlic, and miren marinade. Last time I had a beautiful piece of King salmon from Bodega Bay.

I decided to have the King salmon for lunch and preheated my oven and prepared a piece of parchment paper with which to bake the salmon inside.

20121111-113139.jpg

Isn’t it a beautiful color?

I topped it with a pat of butter, a sprinkle of dill and a little salt and folded it up inside the parchment.

20121111-113308.jpg

Traditionally the parchment is cut into the shape of a heart and folded in half and pleated around the edges to make a little half-moon, but I was hungry and in a hurry so I just did a rectangle and it worked out perfectly. The benefit of cooking fish in parchment is that you have virtually no cleanup, a quick wash of your baking sheets and there is no residue to scrub off. The parchment can be folded up and thrown away, a compostable container that holds all of the juices and aromas inside for your olfactory enjoyment and gustatory pleasure.

The packet is slipped into the oven for a quick bake for 15 minutes at 425 F and after a short rest the salmon is perfectly cooked, slightly rare in the middle, with a pleasant puddle of melted butter and dill flowing around the edges.

20121111-113831.jpg

With a little salad and a small glass of wine it was a delightful weekend lunch. And I did not feel guilty at all about eating salmon, which has become increasingly endangered along the western US coast.

Next up: a recipe for miso black cod!

Snacky Food – Padron Peppers

20120730-132337.jpg

In just about every high end bar in San Francisco this time of year you will find padron peppers on the menu.

Padrons are mostly mild frying peppers, sautéed until blistered and limp then showered with sea salt and eaten while warm with your fingers, preferably sipping something high octane.

I saw mostly mild because there is always one sneaky pepper that is h-o-t, zippy enough to make you yelp and throatily say, “Whoo!” and reach for your glass. What clever bartenders, eh? Round two coming right up.

Padrons are also nice snacks before dinner at home or for lunch with goat cheese and crackers to quench the heat.

Today for lunch I did just that, I warmed up my skillet to medium high, sloshed in a bunch of olive oil and sautéed the peppers for a few minutes.

20120730-132433.jpg

Spooned out onto a plate to cool a minute and sprinkled with Maldon crunchy salt, the padrons glisten invitingly, begging to be picked up by a tiny stem and chomped in one bite.

(Recipe here)

20120730-133431.jpg

Padrons are also full of Vitamin C so I felt no guilt devouring the whole bowlful.

20120730-133849.jpg

Chiles are like sunshine for your soul.

Bridging the Seasons: Eggplant and Squash Gratin

Summer in San Francisco decided to not show up this year (again) and fall is decidedly here.  I am pretending that the beautiful clear weather outside equates to Indian summer and that the balmy air I feel isn’t coming from the radiator.

Happily for us fog-bound people we still have an abundance of summer vegetables coming in from the farmer’s markets.  It was quite the treat to see a fat, tissue wrapped, perfect eggplant and the last of the  heirloom tomatoes  in my produce box and a few squash – pale green fat and stubby zucchini varieties – and pretty red bell peppers.

Pinnochio lives, or rather did...
(no comment…)

My mind instantly flashed to a new porcelain baking dish my dear friend A___ gave me for my birthday.  I am quite partial to Royal Worcester and the beautiful harvest fruit design is one that makes my heart sing.  It is an inherited passion.   It is also the perfect size for the quantity of vegetables I had on hand and was time for it to be christened with a beautiful eggplant and squash gratin, so I invited A___ over for dinner.

While A___ and I sipped red wine and caught up on the past few months, I sliced the eggplant and squash.  The eggplant was briefly fried in a touch of olive oil in my non-stick skillet and the squash was liberally sprinkled with salt and set out to drain in a colander in the sink.  As the browned eggplant came out of the frying pan I stacked up the floppy slices on a clean cutting mat to rest briefly.  In between flipping the eggplant around in the frying pan and drinking wine I quickly minced up a fat shallot and grated a clove of garlic and tossed them together in a small bowl.  The bell pepper was thinly sliced and set aside in a pile next to the cooked eggplant, and several of the tomatoes were roughly chopped and set out on paper towels to dry out a bit.  The preheating oven warmed the room, as the wine and conversation warmed our hearts.

Finally the eggplant was done frying and the salted squash had exuded some liquid and had drained sufficiently.  I began an assembly process in my new pretty dish.

I laid down a layer of eggplant in slightly overlapping circles, then tomato, a sprinkle of the shallot/garlic mixture and bell pepper.  I topped this with salt and pepper and about half of a 4 ounce log of goat cheese flavored with lemon zest.  Honestly it was all that the grocery store had that day and I am very happy about that now.

I repeated the process until I ran out of vegetables and cheese.  The final coup de grace was fresh mozzarella, sliced thickly and the discs spread over the top of the gratin and finished with a dash of Maldon salt and a few grinds of pepper.

It slid into the oven while we sat around munching on those crazy bright green Spanish olives and some Rainforest crackers.   We talked over all the goings-on over the past few weeks since our last dinner, opened another bottle of wine and relaxed in the perfumed air of the Roost as the gratin bubbled, sizzled and melted under its soft blanket of gooey cheese.

Finally the timer went off and then began the torturous wait for the gratin to cool and firm enough to be scooped out of the pan.   We admired the beauty of the gratin and completely forgot to take pictures!

Sometimes it is just nice to enjoy the company and enjoy the food without having to wait to photograph every step and every spoonful, it is called living in the moment, and we did just that.

Despite our precautions of draining the tomatoes and salting the squash the gratin was still a bit watery, but the leftover gratin the next day had completely absorbed the liquid which makes me think I should have made this dish the day before my pal came over for dinner!

The flavors of the vegetables really shone and the touch of lemon zest in the cheese was wonderful.  The best part, of course, was the richly browned cheesy mozzarella blanket covering the dish and we fought like pumas over bits of the cheese.

Making Evelyn's briami, with @damnfibebacon, because I can
(a version with potato)

Eggplant and Squash Gratin

1 eggplant, sliced thinly
1/2 pound zucchini, sliced thinly lengthwise
1/2 pound tomatoes, sliced thickly
1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
4 oz goat cheese (I used goat cheese with lemon zest, if you cannot find this add 1 tsp of grated lemon zest)
6 oz fresh mozzarella, thickly sliced
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 F and oil a baking dish with olive oil.

In a skillet, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil and fry a few slices of eggplant at a time until they are browned.  Set aside.

In a colander, arrange a layer of sliced zucchini and salt them well, and repeat; let the squash exude liquid and drain for 30 minutes or so.  Pat the slices dry with a paper towel and set them aside.

Arrange the tomatoes on a paper towel to drain.  Mix together the bell pepper slices, the shallot and the garlic in a small bowl.

To assemble, lay down a layer of the eggplant, followed by the squash, then tomatoes then a sprinkling of the pepper/shallot/garlic.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cover with slices of goat cheese.  Repeat until you have used up all of the vegetables and cheese, and top the final layer with the mozzarella.  Add salt and pepper to the top of the mozzarella.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until all of the vegetables are very tender and the cheese is browned.   Let sit 15 minutes to allow the gratin to firm up.  Better if made the day before and brought to a bubbling temperature in a 300 F oven for 20 minutes.

Serves 4 as a main course or 6 as a vegetable side.

This is a very forgiving dish, if you don’t have bell peppers or want to substitute an Anaheim chile or add potatoes anything goes!

Moray eel potato
(Moray eel potato)

Feel free to play around!  I have also made this with smoked fontina as the top cheese and mozzarella as the “inside” cheese.

Fall Produce Explosion

My CSA delivery today was an explosion of all the bounty that is Fall…

photo.JPG

  • A Sugar Pie pumpkin
  • Curly kale
  • Ruby red beets with greens
  • Nantes carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Garnet sweet potatoes
  • Yellow onions
  • Fennel
  • Red radishes

My brain is swirling with ideas for this produce. There is so much of it that I have to take it home in two batches!

For the Sugar Pie pumpkin, it will grace the counter in my day job’s reception area until after Halloween next to the cauldron of Sees Candy halloween treats. We do Halloween right at the office!

But after Halloween I think I will make my favorite chicken pumpkin soup with Marsala. The broccoli is dinner tonight with cauliflower left over from last week; a quick stir-fry with some hosin sauce should do the trick.

The kale and beet greens sauteed together with garlic and ginger will make a nice side dish to a roast chicken. The carcass of the chicken and the leftover meat will become the soup.

I am also in the mood for a Thai curry so perhaps some of the pumpkin will be used for that, thinly sliced with the rind on.  Many salads will be created given the size of this head of lettuce and I have some lovely Italian tuna packed in olive oil and the fennel for one night.  Carrots will  be put into everything.  There are never enough carrots.

But now I’m running out of ideas…

What on earth am I going to do with two large bunches of radishes?   Help me please!

photo.JPG

The Simplicity of Pears

This time of year the pears are coming in from the orchards, beautiful green Comice pears and red shouldered Bartletts, they are so lovely. It’s pear custard tart season!

20111007-122756.jpg

Did you know that pears do not ripen on the tree? They are one of the few odd fruits that are unripe when picked, then they need a few days of rest on your counter to ripen and transform from rock hard to sweet, tender lusciousness – like avocados!

They can also go from perfect ripeness to a mealy nasty thing if you don’t keep an eye on them, so don’t forget to keep checking them.

At the office we receive a nice fruit CSA every week and all the staff get excited for Fruit Wednesday. I also receive my fruit and veggie box every other week and last week there was an abundance of pears, slowly ripening everywhere.

I mentioned to my colleague that I have an excellent pear tart recipe and perhaps I should make something from the office pears to bring in to work. I also had three perfectly ripened ones from my personal box so my date in the kitchen was set.

I managed to bring home the ripe work pears on the bus without them getting mauled. It was quite the feat, involving bubble wrap and many reprimands to rude bus people who were determined to rest their backpacks on my lap. City life!

Safe in my apartment the pears lounged on the counter while I preheated the oven and assembled the pantry items for a fast and delicious pear custard tart.

Years ago when Martha Stewart’s star was still in the heavens and not yet sullied by federal investigations and various shenanigans her staff published a cute recipe booklet for the grocery store called Everyday Food. My sister gifted a home subscription to mom and me and it had some great little gems like this recipe. They published quite a nice cookbook too, and this recipe is also in that book. My late beau loved this tart so much he would eat at least half of it in one sitting.

The prep for the tart is simple. A tart pan or pie plate gets well buttered and more butter is melted for the filling. For each tart you need three ripe pears, peeled, halved and cored, then sliced thinly and fanned out in the tart pan. I cut up the pears while the butter was melting in the microwave.

For the filling I like to use my immersion blender and my silicon 4-cup measuring cup, but a regular blender is fine or if you have a normal working shoulder you can use a whisk and a bowl. But for me, the immersion blender is the way to go while my stupid shoulder finishes healing.

In the measuring cup I broke open pretty pullet eggs with yolks the color of marigolds, gorgeous! The rest of the filling ingredients went in the container in no particular order: sugar, salt, vanilla, melted butter, flour, milk. A quick blitz with the blender until smooth and voila! Done!

I poured the filling over the pears and slid the tart pans in the oven for 40 minutes. In no time my pad started to smell really good, heady scents on vanilla and sugar and the sweet fragrance of pears, ahh, I could hardly stand it.

When the timer went off I peeked in the oven and the tarts were gorgeous, puffed and golden on top and the center was set. While they cooled I had an aromatherapy moment, inhaling deeply.

20111007-125346.jpg
(one for me, one for the office)

After the pear custard tarts had cooled I showered them with powdered sugar, a blizzard of sugar to mimic the monsoon pounding against the window. Rain! In early October? Seattle, are you missing some weather?

I wrapped one up to take to the office, tucked away in my silly butterfly-patterend farmers market bag to keep it dry, and again braved the bus.

My colleague and I had a slice of the pear custard tart with our morning coffee while the storm whirled by outside. Suddenly the sun broke through lightening up our workspace to match the pleasure of eating such a lovely tart for breakfast.

Pear Custard Tart

3 ripe pears
3 eggs
1/2 stick of melted unsalted butter (1/4 cup)
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c sugar
1/3 c flour
3/4 c whole milk
more butter for buttering the tart pan
powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a  tart pan or pie plate.  Peel and core the pears, and slice thinly vertically (top to bottom) and fan out the slices in the tart pan.  (note: you can also use canned pears!)

In a blender add everything else (except the powdered sugar) and blend until smooth.

Bake 40-45 minutes until the top is golden brown and the center is set.  It will be puffed but will deflate slightly as it cools.

Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm, room temperature or chilled.

Makes 4 slices.  Realistically it could serve up to 8 but I have never met anyone who did not want their full quarter!

This is also a great item for brunch!

Source:  Everyday Foods Fast

(printer-friendly recipe)

Playing with Pistou

One of my favorite things to make in the spring is a vegetable soup with a dollop of pistou, a country French type of pesto using tomato, garlic, basil and cheese.

Pistou is a zap of flavor, a bold hit of color and a zing to the tastebuds and an essential part of the spring menu.

This spring, however, my ability to use the mortar and pestle was out of whack, and so was using a knife so I had to miss my annual ritual. However, this summer, it has finally warmed up enough in the outlying boroughs to permit ripening of tomatoes. Yay! Tomatoes!

My CSA box has been overflowing with tomatoes and yesterday I was pondering what to make for dinner that would be simple and help me use up my bounty.  I thought of pistou over pasta.   And, given I am still not up to mortar work, I thought of making pistou in my food processor.

My dinner was ready in 10 minutes and it was fantastic.

I had the great luxury to use some incredible local goat cheese from Achadinha Farm.  Donna Pacheco is an incredible craftsman and her aged goat cheese is heady stuff. I was lucky enough to catch the staff at their stall at the end of the day and since they were packing up I got a tiny deal on a nice wedge of Capricious.  It’s interesting stuff, contrary to intuition you are not supposed to refrigerate it!  I like using it in lieu of Parmesan or serve it in rough chunks on a cheese plate or grated over vegetables or eggs.  It’s a little luxury.


photo.JPG
(
(keep the Capricious in waxed paper on the counter – not in the fridge!)

But last night I decided to get splurgy and use it in my pistou and I think I will never use Parmesan again.

Although using a food processor and aged goat cheese are quite non-traditional for a pistou I can heartily endorse their use.

While the pasta water was heating, I peeled some garlic and minced in the food processor.  Then, I added a cup of the Capricious cheese, broken into small chunks and pulsed until the cheese was well ground.  Next in went a medium-zized bunch of basil and when it was smoothly ground I tossed in a small tomato.  The processor whizzed away turning the normal pesto-green ingredients into an incredible sunset hue.  My tomato was a pink/golden heirloom variety and I added it “seeds, peel and all”.   After scraping the bowl and adding a bit of salt and pepper I thinned out the pistou with a small slug of olive oil and, voila! Pistou in 2 minutes.

photo.JPG

I dressed the drained spaghetti with the pistou and let it heat gently in the saucepan to mellow the raw garlic a little.   Mounded in a warm bowl the pasta coated with pistou glowed with warmth and flavor.  I perched on my chair and slurped away and watched Casablanca feeling rather content with life.

photo.JPG

HAL’s Pistou

5 cloves of garlic
1/2 c Parmesan or other aged dry cheese (I used Capricious by Achadinha in Marin)
1 bunch of basil (or 2 cups packed leaves)
1 small tomato
1/2 tsp salt or to taste (depending upon how salty the cheese is)
a few grinds of black pepper
2 T extra virgin olive oil

In a food processor, blend the garlic, then add the cheese and pulse until smooth.  Add the basil and pulse until the leaves are finely pureed. With the motor running add the tomato and puree until smooth.  Taste for salt and add if needed, add pepper.  With the machine running add olive oil to make a loose paste, like the consistency of jam or sour cream.

Serve in vegetable soups, dressed over cooked pasta, spread on bread in lieu of mayonnaise or drizzled over cooked vegetables.

Makes approximately one cup

(printer friendly recipe)

CSA Salad

Every other Wednesday I receive my produce box from Farm Fresh to YOU, and it is always fun to see what I will be eating in the coming week.

Since I have the box delivered to my office I decided to leave a good portion of the produce in the fridge there so that I can make myself a wonderful salad for lunch. I like bringing my lunch to work in the summer when the weather is a little bit better to eat outside. Of course, with our San Francisco summers dining al fresco is a lot like dining in the middle of a fogbank. Bring a coat!

SF weather report, a la @herbguy
(There’s the fog, pouring in between the buildings)

Fortunately we have had a brief respite from cold weather this week and despite the fog hovering over the Bay it was a nice day to eat at one of my favorite sunny spots in FiDi.

Today’s produce box is the epitome of summer:

  • Romaine
  • baby bok choy
  • baby carrots, with their leafy tops
  • ruby beets with their greens, perfect for sauteeing
  • cucumber
  • radish
  • beef steak tomatoes
  • Gypsy peppers
  • peaches
  • apricots
  • A giant green fleshed yellow skinned melon
  • pastured eggs

What a feast, right?

Melonhead
(melon head)

Our firm just finished a consulting project involving prepared foods so we kept the best selection of salad dressings for staff use. I picked out an organic balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing for my lunch. I also brought from home a log of herbed goat cheese and some leftover stale bread, cut into impromptu croutons.

I think the secret to a good salad is the ratio of toppings to lettuce. In my mind that ratio is 70:30 – so my salad had a small base of about 5 leaves of romaine and the remaining 70% of the bowl was filled with the good stuff. An entire tomato, a third of a cucumber, a Gypsy pepper, three radishes, two young carrots, the bread and a good chunk of the goat cheese all went into my bowl.

Now here’s a secret of mine: when I bring a salad from home I put the good stuff on the bottom of the container along with the goat cheese. The tomatoes get squishy and mix with the cheese to almost make a creamy dressing of their own. The lettuce stays on top and keeps crisp, you can put your croutons and nuts in a separate baggie and the dressing in a small jar for application at the time of dining.

The advantage to keeping your salad ingredients at work is that you don’t have to lug a huge bowl in your tote bag and who really has time in the morning to chop and mix up all of the fun things for a nice salad anyway? I just prepared everything up in the work kitchen and ran out the door to find some sunshine amist all the fog blowing around.

CSA day

After walking a few blocks the salad basically tosses itself but all the toppings fall to the bottom, requiring one to eat the lettuce first. After the top layer is gone, behold, fun city:

CSA day

The tomatoes, cucumbers, all the other veggies, the bread and the goat cheese with the balsamic dressing made almost a panzanella or Italian bread salad. So delicious!

It wouldn’t be San Francisco if something unusual didn’t happen downtown and today was no exception. In the plaza where I lunched there was a large group of revelers celebrating the summer solstice.

20110622-060208.jpg20110622-060233.jpg20110622-060253.jpg

Oh hippies… Don’t you love it? The Summer of Love might be back!

Hope you enjoy your summer produce and bring or make a salad at work!

Dinner Dilemma or CSA Delivery Day

Today my produce CSA was delivered and I always look forward to it. But today an odd thing happened, I do not have a clue of what to do with it.

It is a beautiful selection, Spring brings such variety and flavor. Thank goodness Spring is here at last.

20110511-115620.jpg

Everything is in amazing condition.

20110511-115739.jpg
(strawberries)

20110511-115808.jpg
(broccoli and cilantro)

20110511-115850.jpg
(green bell peppers, so fresh the flower is still attached)

20110511-115925.jpg
(zucchini and fave beans)

20110512-120007.jpg
(Fingerling potatoes, my favorite)

20110512-120708.jpg
(a dozen baby lettuces)

The CSA included apples, oranges, grapefruit and farm eggs. Also in the fridge is green onions, a giant yellow onion, garlic and celery.

Since my fridge is super tiny I decided to peel the fave beans. The plump green pods easily release from their furry pods.

20110512-120337.jpg

The beans themselves are in a thick jacket that usually needs to be loosened from the bean by a quick turn in boiling water, then shocked in ice water and peeled. When they are this young and fresh though, the beans just pop out after a quick nick of my thumbnail.

20110512-120836.jpg
(end result, 1/2 cup of peeled fave beans)

I decided to just cut up the berries, sugar them a little, add some Grand Marnier and vanilla paste.

20110512-121049.jpg

Then, for the first time in my life, I ate an entire carton of berries, all by myself.

I know, it’s silly but I feel like fruit is a special treat and despite not being raised this way I have felt for years that it’s rare and special and therefore it’s naughty to eat a whole box of berries. Then naughty became “not”ey and then not. I’m trying to correct this wrong thinking, one carton at a time. (A big thank you to A___ for this line of thinking tonight.)

I do know I need to eat a head of these lettuces and at least one piece of fruit each day, and I have more broccoli from two weeks ago which is still in pristine shape. I’m thinking broccoli soup.

So, what do I do with everything else? My creativity is tapped out and I am uninspired. That cupboard is empty and rattling)

If you have ideas for these other vegetables please please let me know. It’s a dilemma.