Tuesday, February 2, 2010

CSA Delivery and Clean out the Fridge Day!

Every other Monday I get my CSA Package from Be Wise Ranch http://www.bewiseranch.com/. I pay $30 for a large box every other week.  Here is some of last night's shipment. It included strawberries, oranges, carrots, cherry tomatoes, bok choy, some interesting greens, radishes, turnips, sweet potatoes, limes, lemons, cabbage, and an avocado. This shipment was a little bit smaller than they usually are and I am guessing that is because of all the crazy rain we have been having... I hope their crops aren't too badly damaged. Regardless, I think it's such a great deal! This is all organic, locally grown produce that is delicious and my biweekly payment helps support a local farm....and I just think that is really cool! The shipments usually last about a week and a half (the fruit runs out quicker) but this is where the majority of my produce comes from. If you are interested in finding a CSA in your area, check out this site:   http://www.localharvest.org/ The site also lists farmer's markets. I can't stress the importance of buying local produce and goods....The CSA has been great in also trying to come up with recipes for different things than I usually buy. Like turnips...anyone have any recipe ideas for those?

Here is another shot....the strawberries were surprisingly good....very sweet for being pretty early in the year for them...
And another.....

Usually on Sunday's Aaron goes to work on his car (he is rebuilding a 53 Chevy, "Rat Rod" Style) in Lakeside which is about 40 miles from our house. His dad, Vito, lives out there and has lots of cars, property, and equipment to work on cars.  Aaron and Vito get to bond and Aaron gets to work on this cool car under the expert supervision of his dad. In the past few years Aaron and I have been together, I have learned far more about cars than I EVER wanted to or expected to. But I have to say it's been really fun to watch Aaron work and car culture is surprisingly fun. Just don't ask me to tell you the difference from a 53 to 54 to 55 Chevy.... I still can't remember! It's a really nice way for us to spend time with Vito and his wife Nathalee, whom I absolutely love. They are great fun.  We are going to Yuma, AZ, for a show called "Midnight at the Oasis" in March.  Aaron and I are always the youngest people there by about 20 years.  It's a whole weekend of cars and car culture. Check out the website... http://www.caballeros.org/ It's kind of funny that I like to go, if you knew me well you would know I like France and fine food and shopping and girly, fancy things. (In all honesty, I spend most of the time reading out by the pool!) But I really think one of the best aspects of our relationship is that we have our own hobbies to focus on.  I will have to post some pictures of the car... I think it will be pretty fun to cruise around in the rat rod once it's done....people will definitely be looking. 

While Aaron spends Sunday's on his car, I get a whole day to myself. I didn't really love it at first because Aaron and I really work a ton during the week and the weekend was our time. But now I don't mind it because I usually spend Sunday's with my friends, or by myself, doing yoga, going to the farmer's markets, taking long hikes, reading, catching up girly tv shows, etc.  

I also usually spend a few hours on Sunday cooking some basic foods to have ready for lunches and dinners for the week. I usually make a big dinner on Sunday like soup, risotto, etc, that we can have lots of leftovers from. I also like to cook one kind of dry bean or dry lentil to add to things like salads or bowls during the week. And I also cook up one kind of whole grain or rice for the week.  I find if I keep a few of these things on hand already cooked, I can just add in some veggies and have a complete meal in minutes. When you work 10-12 hours a day like me and Aaron, it's important to plan ahead, or you will just have tons of crappy, non homemade food!

Since we were in LA all weekend, I really didn't have time to do that this weekend. So last night I made it a priority and after cleaning all my produce from my CSA (another great time saver I learned from Raechel Ray) I had tons of veggie trimmings and other leftovers in the fridge to deal with. I used the veggie trimmings to make a large pot of home made vegetable stock. You can just save all the leftover bits of the veggies you use for a week, put them in a large pot with water, a dash of salt, and any fresh herbs you want. Boil for 1-2 hours until the broth tastes good and then strain it out.  Keep in the fridge for a week or freeze for? a couple months? It's such a cheap and healthier version of store bought stock...it's actually free because I normally would throw these veggie bits away. (I wish I had a compost pile, but that's another story.)

I also juiced all the grapefruits from Rosemary and a big bag of tangerines that were too seedy to eat. I bet I only got about 2 cups of juice from about 20 pieces of fruit! It sure tastes good though. 

I also made two big pots of soup. One was cooked with a variety of beans and grains. Basically, I chopped garlic, onions, carrots, and celery and sautéed them with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. I used 1 cup of mixed beans and lentils and added about 8 cups of watered down stock. I also threw in two bay leaves and some dry thyme (although I think fresh thyme would have been better). After about an hour and a half of simmering when the beans were nice and soft, I added about 2 cups of tomato puree, salt, and pepper. I also had a rind of pecorino romano cheese so I threw that in. The soup was good but a little too tomato-ee. I think I will add some honey or agave when we eat it again so they taste more like baked beans than soup.  Here is our dinner with little vegan cheese and arugula sandwiches. The sandwiches are on a pretty new Japanese tray I bought this weekend in LA in Little Tokyo.  It was a good little dinner and I love my new dish. So pretty. 

The last thing I made last night was the second pot of soup...again a real mish mosh, clean out your fridge kind of soup. I had made a spoof on a tomato gratin from Barefoot Contessa last week. It was basically whole grain bread, fresh tomatoes, olive oil and dried herbs baked together. It was good but we had left overs. I have seen a couple of varieties of Italian soup cooked with bread to thicken it, so I thought, why not make the leftovers into soup? Again, I used carrots, celery, garlic and onions and sautéed them together. Then I added about 2 cups of baked fresh tomatoes and 2 cups of the bread. If you don't have the leftovers like I did, you could just chop up some tomatoes and day old bread.  Then I added in about 2 cups of mushroom broth and 8 oz of sliced crimini mushrooms. I also added the rest of the pureed tomatoes from the other soup...maybe 1 cup? I let it simmer for about 15 minutes until it thickened. We just ate it for dinner tonight after reheating it on the stove...OMG! It was so good! Aaron scarfed it up. I sprinkled some fresh parsley on top for some color and it was amazing. Really great, simple, earthy food. And now I have two portions for lunch or last minute dinner.

And I think that does it for a long post. LA update coming soon. Good nite! 


  1. So jealous about your fruit and veggie box....We don't have CSA out here but we do have "Kula Fields" however, the prices are wayyyyy higher and not organic. Bummer...

  2. Gosh their website looks cool but I can't believe it's not organic! What the? I think its really cool you have so many friends that give you free produce...we definitely don't have that benefit here. And it also seems you just "happen across" little fruit stands too....that is pretty cool! :)