swiss chard and other csa things

i knew going into this whole csa thing, it would make us try vegetables we’ve never even  seen or heard of before. i decided early on to take this on as a challenge and hope for no fails. i have seen swiss chard at the market i buy produce at, i’ve seen people use it on cooking shows and i have seen it on menus, but i have never actually ate or cooked with it. so here goes nothing:

i made 2 dinners this week with swiss chard.

a veggie frittata

started by caramelizing onions, once a light brown color i added red peppers and zucchini, sauteed for a few minutes, then added the swiss chard to cook down a bit, only for a minute or so, then added the eggs (used a box of egg whites and 3 full eggs) and some fresh parm to the top, cooked until the eggs were pretty solid on the bottom and sides and then stuck it in the 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, served with whole wheat toast and was fantastic, i like the swiss chard how ever the onions were the total star of this dinner. (yes that is apple crumble in the corner, i will get to that… eventually)

crock pot bbq pulled chicken, with sauteed greens and corn bread muffins

this was that crock pot chicken with coke, i know not a healthy choice but i had a taste for it, so i made it, it is super simple and tastes awesome. i took a lb of chicken (breasts only) along with a bottle of bbq sauce (i used trader joes kansas style, i know i should make my own… i will get there… eventually) and a can of coke. throw it all in the crock pot 4 hours on high or all day on low, shred and serve. I usually serve this on whole wheat buns, but thought with the corn bread this would have too much carbs. i know those scary carbs….right?

speaking of the corn bread, i know, it looks weird, i used the white corn meal, and forgot to use baking powder, tasted good, but the texture was off. it wasn’t as sweet as cornbread i have had before, i did use a recipe that called for white corn meal, and it had an option to make it sweeter, i think i will do that next time. the greens- that is actually the swiss chard and tatsoi we got in our box this week. i thinly sliced 3 cloves of garlic, lightly browned them in a some garlic olive oil (did i mention we love garlic?) threw in the greens, cooked them down and added some fresh squeezed lemon. salt and pepper….. and some fresh parm too… mmmm parm…

second csa box

here we go-box number 2:

a day or few before pick up we get an email from our farmer, it contains what we will be seeing in our box along with happenings at the farm. i really enjoy this, it makes me feel somewhat more connected to our farmer, even if it’s just a story about a baby mole, snakes or even fertilizer. it’s definitly stories i’ve never encountered before. we also get a recipe idea from what’s in our box, haven’t made one yet, but saving for future use for sure.

so what’s in the box…

Tatsoi – anyone ever use this?
Apples
Cilantro
Asparagus
Green Garlic
Corn Meal
Swiss Chard
I’m linking up with inherchucks for what’s in the box. check out what others are getting in their boxes.
dinner tonight @ DMK burger bar– lombard! can’t wait!

csa asparagus

as mentioned before we got aspargus in our last csa box. my favorite way to eat aspargus is wrapped in prosciutto with lemon and basil and then grilled. probably not the healthiest way to eat it, but that was not the question. i tend to just throw asparagus into things like stir fry, frittas, pasta etc.

here is one the super easy, super fast ways to make asparagus pasta:

cook pasta according to directions, for the last 2-3 min of the pasta cooking throw the chopped up asparagus in the pot with the pasta. once those 2-3 min is up, drain the pasta and asparagus, in the same pot i added a lug of olive oil and squeezed in a whole lemon, then added some frozen basil (fresh works best, but it was all i had, and i think the frozen tastes better then dried, ok that should be a post all on it’s own.) after that i threw the pasta and aspargus back in the pot added salt and pepper to my liking, then the best part i added the parmesean cheese, about a quarter cup mixed in to get slightly melty, i’m sure that’s a legit culinary term… then plated and added more parm of course.

i did use whole wheat pasta. we don’t mind it, so for an everyday dinner i go with it, if i was making pasta for company,  or people i’d need to impress, i’d go to standard market and get the fresh made stuff. i hope to one day to venture into the pasta making world, but i haven’t gotten those attachments for my kitchen aid just yet…

our first dinner with the csa veggies

we recieved our first box last thursday, it was filled with boc choi, cilantro, celeriac, dried cayenne peppers, apples, asparagus, oats and gold beets. of course i was too excited to go through it that i forgot to take a picture. and also we are sharing our share with my mom, so when we divided things up, she took the beets and i got the boc choi.

and this is what i did with it:

modified from this recipe. i used vegetable broth instead, also added a 1/4 cup of veggie broth to marinade along with some white rice vinegar, and used 1/2 the cornstarch, doubled the garlic and it tasted pretty damn good to me.

i am not an oatmeal person, i’ve tried, i feel like i’m eating chunky paste, i just can’t do it, so i made these. wasn’t quite sure how they’d turn out since i wasn’t using quick oats. so i cut the oats to 1 cup, which i regret, i should have still used the full two, i kind of liked the crunchy and chewy together.

i was totally puzzled when i saw the celeriac… i have some vitamix plans for it though.

and yes-i got a new phone, it takes much better pictures but you have to endure me experimenting with instagram and camera+, any one recommend any other iphone camera apps?

we’re joining a csa

image source

i have been married for 3 months now, and there have been lots of conversations about our future. kids. our home. money. etc. something i’ve been thinking about is our health and how we eat. i think over all we’re pretty average, we eat out a few nights a week and i cook the rest. i like to cook fresh all from scratch but sometimes it just has to be something frozen i throw fresh veggies or meat into to.  i would ultimately like to move away from eating processed meals (i’m saying meals and not foods, sorry there are just some processed foods i do like, this is moving away from the meals being entirely processed). i’m not going to tell you we’re not going to eat process anything because we will, sorry but it happens. i am just a normal average, slightly nerdy human who is from chicago and will never give up hot dogs.

a few things first, i like to eat, i like to try new things, i like to cook and i like to cook new things. so i am trying to view this as a challenge taking me outside of my comfort zone. i also love sugar… some food bloggers are taking this healthy eating to the extreme, but really i want to enjoy my food and find the best ways to have a good and healthy balance. one of my biggest concerns is the cost of this healthy eating, my husband and i make a decent and comfortable living, but in no way could i afford to do all my shopping at whole foods. i do have a weekly budget of what we spend of food, it’s sometime a looser or tighter budget. but i try to stay around it.

some of the food bloggers i follow always talk about buying local and csa. i never really thought to look more into this, i mean i live in the suburbs of chicago, what can i get beside corn and soybeans? i decided we need to start researching more and just commit.  hence my csa search began. in the summers i would always try and get to the farmers markets and get fruits and veggies (often causing me to go over budget, but i felt it was worth it). so i started looking up farms i knew were at my local farmers markets. that really didn’t lead me anywhere. so i googled csa in il, and there was a ton of information out there, how had i not known any of this. there are farm fresh veggies and fruits available straight through local farmers… um WHAT??? you can pick up, get it delivered, even with some choose which veggies you want. also you can get meat and eggs. after reading and reading and reading most of the information. i narrowed our choices down to two places, triple a farms and genesis growers. emails filled with questions went out right away to their contacts. in no way am i endorsing either one, this is just my own personal experience.

after tallying up the pros and cons we decided to go with genesis growners. Vicki (the farmer) even put me in touch of someone actively involved in their csa program, so i got some insider info which was a big help. no one i know has ever done this before. we decided on a medium share being shared between us and my mom. genesis offers a grow chart of what’s in season and when, so we kind of know what to expect, also we get a weekly email about what’s going on at the farm and about the crops we will see in our box. with this csa we do get some fruits, not local but from still from partnered regional farms. all in all this seems to us like a good idea, we’re supporting local farms, we’re getting fresh off the vine/stalk/whatever veggies (mostly organic), i think the price is reasonable and there is a pick up point on my way home from work.

this is a new journey and experience for us. i hope you follow along. anyone else thinking of doing csa or have done or currently doing one? any advice? i can’t wait to get our first box!