2016 CSA Series- Week 1

2016 CSA Series- Week 1

Can’t believe it’s almost time to pick up our next CSA box! If you missed our latest post about how we are participating in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share this year, check it out here.

So since we are about to pick up our next box, it’s about time we share with you what got in our first box and what recipes and fun things we did with each of the items!

So here is the haul we received in week 1:CSA WEEK 1 BoxThink you know what each item is? Let’s take a look:

  • Asparagus
  • Fresh breakfast radishes
  • Buttercup Lettuce
  • Bok Choy or Pac Choi
  • Green Garlic
  • Shallots
  • Rhubarb
  • Herb Pack (Thyme, Basil, Oregano, Sage)
  • Pea Shoots
  • Large bag of Spinach in the middle!

I love that we get such a wide variety of stuff in our boxes! It’s fun to experiment with different ingredients and never feel like you’re “drowning” in something and not sure what to do with it all.

Ok so lets get started! I’ll just list out each ingredient and post what we did

Asparagus I honestly love raw asparagus as a snack and the stuff I got was so skinny and beautiful and tender that I was half tempted just to snack on it. But that’s not very fun to share with all of you so I decided to try fermented “pickled” asparagus spears. If you want to learn more about the benefits of fermented foods and the amazing impact they can have on your health, check out our past post, here.

These asparagus spears are fermented and not pickled. What’s the difference? Pickled foods are preserved in an acidic medium, where fermented foods are preserved in salt water with a starter culture. These are sort of quasi pickled because as you’ll see below I used about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (make sure it says “with the mother” & here’s my favorite brand) to act as my starter.

If you’ve been wanting to dip your toes into fermenting your own foods but are a little hesitant, this the perfect recipe because it’s so simple, you don’t need any special equipment (just make sure to burp your jar occasionally).Fermented Asparagus 2These bad boys are good on their own but probably even better as a garnish in a bloody mary! 🙂Fermented Asparagus Spears RecipeFermented Asparagus 1 Fermented Asparagus 3Radishes & Spinach Confession- I’ve never had cooked radishes before. I have always eaten them cold, preferably with a hefty sprinkle of sea salt too. But when I was researching something out of the norm to do with radishes, I came across this Radish & Spinach Pasta dish that looked too good not to give it a try.

If you think cooking radishes is weird, STOP IT! It’s delicious and you won’t be sorry. They turn a soft pink color and it sort of enhances their peppery flavor. Plus I mean the recipe also has bacon in it sooooo how can it be bad?CSA WEEK 1 RADISH SPINACH PASTA 1We used the breakfast radishes (ok we ate a few cold too) and the beautiful spinach as well as a few of the shallots from our box. It turned out delicious. Not heavy at all and surprisingly light for it being pasta and all oh, and containing bacon but it really made for a delicious light summer dinner!CSA WEEK 1 RADISH SPINACH PASTA 2Radish & Spinach Pasta RecipeCSA WEEK 1 RADISH SPINACH PASTA 3**Don’t get rid of your radish greens! They are very nutritious and can be used for any number of things. In salads, in smoothies, in stir frys…I happened to be making some homemade chicken bone broth and threw them in there with it. I’m all for being resourceful and reducing waste!

Butter Lettuce Recently I posted about how much I love salads and how they’re the best super fast and healthy dinner for busy weeknights…aaaaand I still think that 🙂 Butter lettuce is so soft and yet crisp and delicious. I think that these would also be PERFECT for a lettuce cup but this time we opted for the traditional salad route. However the salad we made was anything but traditional.CSA WEEK 1 QUINOA BUTTER LETTUCE SALADTopped with quinoa, loaded with veggies and dressed in THE most delicious “creamy” avocado dressing ….. you’ll find it hard to believe it’s “just” a salad!Qunioa Veggie Salad with Avocado Balsamic RecipeThe dressing isn’t pictured above but it truly is amazing.

Bok Choy/Pac Choi & Green Garlic So another confession (you guys are really making me wear my heart on my sleeve today!) when I saw my farm list Pac Choi on the list for the box, I had no idea what it was. And then when I saw the picture I said to myself, wait…that’s BOK CHOY! Well it turns out, from what I was able to conclude, that Bok Choy and Pac Choi are one in the same. Now you know 🙂

I was very tempted to try to grill the pac choi but it was pretty large and I think that might work better with smaller more compact heads. So I settled on a Ginger Stir Fried Bok Choy & Green Garlic over Turmeric Rice. I had been wanting to try a rendition of some turmeric rice I had come across lately but didn’t know what to pair it with. These stir fried greens were perfect with it.CSA WEEK 1 PAC CHOI & Tumeric Rice 1My husband doesn’t really do well with meals that don’t have a lot of protein so I threw some nuts, and seeds on top and we were both happy! I used sliced almonds, pistachios, and some hemp seeds. CSA WEEK 1 BOK CHOY & Tumeric Rice 2Bok Choy Stir Fry with Turmeric Rice Recipeand of course if you’re like me you are addicted to spicy and you top it with chili sauce (& some nutritional yeast 🙂 )CSA WEEK 1 BOK CHOY Tumeric Rice 3Rhubarb I am obsessed with rhubarb. My mom and I have a matching cookbook that is dedicated solely to rhubarb. There’s so much you can do with it! I actually already had some more rhubarb just chilling in my fridge waiting to get used up so when I got some more in by box, it was the motivation to finally make something with it.

A coworker of mine had recently gifted me a hunk of her mint plant and seriously it’s growing like crazy in my pot. So I needed to use some of that bad boy and what better way to do that than with mojitos! And what’s better that regular old mojitos? Rhubarb Mint Mojitos ❤Rhubarb Mint MojitoWe made a rhubarb simple syrup and then put that in some mojitos. But good news is that if mojitos aren’t your thing or drinking alcohol isn’t your thing, the syrup makes a delicious spritzer with just sparkling water as well! These will have their own special post coming soon, but you get sneak peek 🙂
CSA WEEK 1 RHUBARB SIMPLE SYRUPRhubarb Simple Syrup RecipeCSA WEEK 1 RHUBARB MINT MOJITOSUse the syrup as you would in a “normal” mojito. Make sure to check back for the recipe post coming soon!

Pea Shoots If you’ve never tried pea shoots, you need to. They are such a fun ingredient. They taste exactly like freshly shelled peas and yet are a leafy green! I love the way they taste so I didn’t really want to cook them or drown out their taste with other ingredients.

I tried to make cauliflower steaks (big fail people, big fail) and needed a simple salad to go with. I used these to make a Pea Shoot & Arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette and needless to say, it was the highlight of the dinner and we wished there was more of it to drown out our sorrows of the less than delicious cauliflower 😉Pea Shoot & Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette RecipeCSA WEEK 1 Pea Shoot Arugula Salad

Shallots CSA WEEK 1 SHALLOTSThese were so adorable, if you are one who agrees food can be adorable.  I mean look at them, they’re so little and cute! We used some in our radish pasta listed above, some in our stir fried bok choy also listed above, and still have some saved to use in the future.

Herb PackCSA WEEK 1 HERBSThis might have been my favorite thing in the box! I was so excited to get these goodies. We planted them to let them grow and hopefully (I say hopefully because if you saw my thumbs, they’re black as night) we can use to make various things, maybe they’ll even grow big enough so we can make our favorite chumichurri sauce!

Whew! That’s it! That’s what a week (plus a few days) of food looks like in our house. What do you guys think? What are some of your favorite things to do with the ingredients we got?

Thanks for hanging in there and reading along. Tune in again in two weeks to catch what was in our 2nd box and what we did with it all!

xoxo

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Beet & Green Bean Salad

Beet & Green Bean Salad

Beet & Green Bean Salad

Ok. TIME OUT. Tell me I’m not the only one..but my life is FLYING by! We moved into our house a little over a month ago and it’s basically been a blur since then. We’ve my husband has been weeding like crazy, we moved our fire pit, spent wayyyy too much of our savings and income at Home Depot, quickly learned how annoying painting trim is, wasted a LOT of time picking out counter stools, oh the list goes on and on and the “to do” list keeps growing.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s exciting and I love it but it can be overwhelming. We are practicing mindfulness, trying to take our time, and doing our best to remember there is no rush.

Needless to say, quick and easy has been the name of our food game in the house lately.

A few weeks ago we went to the 2016 Burgers and Brews event in Middleton, WI and we had a blast! So many delicious and unique burger and beer combos, but the next day I was craving veggies in a very big way.

I’m a big fan of salads for their versatility and simplicity. For me they can be great ‘clean your fridge out’ meals, no rhyme or reason, just throw in all the veggies! 🙂

For this particular salad I had some beets that were waiting to be roasted and used up. So they were the starting point of inspiration. The dressing is one of my go to’s. I first shared it when we made this delicious salad and it’s just been a favorite since then. ❤

Beets are one of my favorite foods, I know people either love em or hate em but this house definitely loveeeeeeees the beets. It’s hard to not love something this beautiful -> A20160605_142016Am I right? So pretty! A20160605_182501Beet & Green Been Salad Recipe20160605_182100

Salads are the ultimate in flexibility so pass on the things you don’t like and add in your favorites, I’d love to hear your favorite salad ingredients and your variations on this one!

Hope you are enjoying life one day at a time and making the most of summer so far! Next weekend we leave for vacation and I can.not.wait. Tune in next week to find out where we’re going!

xoxo

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Beet & Green Bean Salad Pinterest

Creamy Lentil Stew

Creamy Lentil Stew

Creamy Lentil Stew Blog HeaderYou might be thinking, it’s April, it’s not “stew season” it’s starting to get warm! I want to see fun fresh veggies and salads and grilled foods.

And to that I would say hold your horses. I hear ya, I reeealllly do but the fact of the matter is that I woke up to snow this morning.

SNOWWWWWWWW. Onemoretimefordramaticeffect. S.N.O.W.

So yes, while I have me eyes on some delicious spring and summer inspired dishes like this and this; please excuse me while I curl up into a ball, shed a tear, and eat this comforting and oh so delicious stew

I’m ready for spring. I really actually appreciate each season and love what each one offers but I start to get antsy in April when it’s 70° one day and snowy the next. In the words of the Backstreet Boys, quit playing games with my heart. 💔

But on the bright side, because there’s ALWAYS a bright side, the colder & cozier temps allow me to share this seriously good stew with you.

It’s a breeze to whip up, makes a LOT (who doesn’t love leftovers?), it’s great for you, and most importantly tastes GREAT too!Creamy Lentil Stew 4Creamy Lentil Stew 6Creamy Lentil Stew RecipeCreamy Lentil Stew 3Creamy Lentil Stew 8Creamy Lentil Stew 7Creamy Lentil Stew 5Creamy Lentil Stew 2Creamy Lentil Stew 1So there you have it- easy and delicious soup!

If you are lucky enough to live somewhere warm and sunny and you just can’t possibly think of soup……please get off my site! Kidding. I’m jealous. It’s a hard emotion to control.

Send some of that sunshine and warm temps over here!  If you are still subject to the winter blues like me, I promise this stew will make you feel better. 🙂 Enjoy!!

xoxo

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Creamy Lentil Stew Pinterest

Homemade Mayo

Homemade Mayo

DSC_9957 copySoooooooo full disclosure here, I have never been a fan of mayonnaise. You’re probably thinking “Um, what? Isn’t this post dedicated to mayo?”

YES. But hear me out.

I think it all started from an attempt to do a Hellmans mayo hair mask when I was around 13 years old. The smell you guys. Mayo heating up on your head, you can’t escape it. ughhhhh. So gross. Ever since then, even the whiff of mayo makes me lose my appetite immediately.

But then a little while ago I tried my aunt’s homemade lemon tarragon mayo with some bbq chicken wings (thas a whole other post to talk about how good that was) in short, it was sooo good. TOTALLY different flavor than the stuff on the store shelves. I decided I’d give making my own a try.

Not only was I surprised how easy it was to make, but also totally surprised how delicious it is! There are so many flavor combo’s you can think up. I wanted to try a spicy one.

Of course last week you caught a glimpse of it on these great tacos that we shared. DSC_9996Spicy, creamy, delicious. It’s the perfect way to get some healthy fats and tons of flavor to the tacos, or sandwiches or whatever else you put mayo on (I told you I’m new to this mayo world) 🙂
DSC_9947 copyThe possible best part of this, is that you make it right in the wide mouth jar that you store it in. NO DISHES!!!

Entire process is about 30 seconds.
ALWAYSSUMMERDSC_9939 copyTA-DA! Done. And all with ingredients you can name and recognize (unlike store-bought). I suggested a few flavor add ins but basically you could do anything you wanted!
DSC_9934 copyDSC_9953 copyThis spicy sriracha one is so good. Next on my list I want to try a curry mayo, & do a curried chicken salad of some type.
DSC_9963 copyA few action shots so you can see how thick and creamy it is. And of course, perfect on these delicious caramelized pork tacos with pineapple cucumber salsaDSC_9989

Have any of you made mayo before? Do you have any outstanding flavor combos I should add to my list? I’d love to hear from you!

xoxo

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Butternut Squash

All Whisked Up! {Choripán Recipe}

 {Choripán}

Our fave (1)This week’s post is extra special!

Also a little longer than normal (bear with me)….let me explain!

Recently I became a member of a blogging group called Wisconsin Whisk. It’s a group of food bloggers in the great state of Wisconsin. The main goal is to connect bloggers in Wisconsin together with each other as well as with local producers, sponsors, advertisers to really nuture a community of support. As of right now, there are close to 40 blogs that are members! The majority are located around the Madison, Wisconsin area but there is certainly an impressive footprint of Wisconsin covered, from Eau Claire all the way down to Milwaukee and everywhere in between. Here is a list of members. Check them out! And if YOU are a food blog located in Wisconsin, consider joining!cropped-banny3_1A month or so ago, we had a first sort of ‘meet and greet’ event where some of us close to Madison got together to meet each other face to face and briefly cover what the goals of Whisk are and brainstorm ideas and discuss what members wanted to see Whisk help them accomplish.

One of the things we discussed was a sort of secret santa recipe swap if you will. The idea would be that if you wanted to participate you could put your name in a virtual bucket and you would be then be assigned another blog to go and research and find a recipe of theirs you wanted to try. You would make the recipe and document and photograph in your own style. Then those participating would unveil their “secret” recipes at the same date and time! We decided to call the event, All Whisked Up!

None of us know who is assigned our blog until posts are published (that’s today!).

My ‘assignment’ was to check out Kristin over at Everyday Celebrations.

Kristin describes herself as : “A former teacher turned wife, mom of 5, and author of Everyday Celebrations. She shares recipes and tips for celebrating life’s memorable moments and everyday celebrations. Some days celebrate a certain food, idea, or activity. Sometimes a day is set aside to remember or to increase awareness of a need. Each and every day should be celebrated by spending time with family and friends enjoying whatever time we are given”

Personally I absolutely love the positivity and gratitude that is practiced through finding the good in every day and having little celebrations all the time! Not to mention my admiration for a mom of 5 finding time to blog!

While looking through Kristin’s blog one of her posts and recipes really stood out to me. Kristin had a post highlighting when she made Choripan and I couldn’t help but try to make it myself.

What the hellllllz is choripan you ask? Ohhhh, sit tight, you’re gonna want to pay attention.

Super high level: Choripan is a type of sandwich that is incredibly popular in South America, most notably Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Guatemala, and a ton of others!

It’s name comes from a combination of it’s ingredients chorizo (chori) and bread (pan). It’s basically an fancy adult version of the american hot dog. Chorizo sausage grilled to perfection, split down the middle and served on crusty bread with chimichurri and pickled onions (that’s the most popular method).

Through my research I found that while most recipes you will see call for Chorizo, not all chorizo is the same. Normally when someone says Chorizo you think of mexican chorizo which has that classic red color needs to be removed from it’s casing and ends up as ground meat. But there are many different kinds of chorizo. Spanish chorizo even has many version all depending on the locale. But most notably, Brazilian and Argentinian Chorizo is made with pork sausage which is very closely related to italian sausage and has similar flavors with more heat and less fennel flavors.

I looked at every.single.type. of chorizo that was available at my grocery store and tried to pick the one that was like what’s described above. I decided to give two of them try for comparison. Both were actually very good but I would pick the Usingers brand over Klements. Probably just personal preference but I like the consistancy (less crumbly, more sturdy) and the taste (more robust) better than the other. Both were great and totally tasty though!
Our fave

flag_of_brazil_heart_sticker-rd0816af7c62d425787003e4c3b1597b1_v9w0n_8byvr_1024I have a special place in my heart for Brazil (Brasíl  ❤ ) from my travels there when I was in high school. And actually had choripan while I was there! This brought back memories for me and the chimichurri was like a walk down memory lane for my taste buds. This post and recipe was fun to make and even more fun and delicious to eat.

Kristin is keeping her recipe for her chimichurri on lock down 🙂 so we made our own version but stayed true to her vision. So without further adieu, here is our take on choripán!
20151004_164217444444 ALWAYSSUMMER (1)I pan fried my sausages
20151004_162423and made the chimichurri
20151004_163058and the pickled onions & tomatoes
20151004_163226it was such a beautiful spread I couldn’t help but snap more photos!
20151004_163316
20151004_162912Then you put it all together!

I slathered both sides of the bread with chimichurri and then placed the sausage on top, garnished with pickled onions and tomatoes and squished together.
20151004_16393722222And take a big bite
20151004_16432533333My favorite part was definitely the chimichurri. I actually used the leftovers a few days later on a baked chicken. Just stuffed some under the skin of the chicken and rubbed it down all over. It seriously tasted so good. You might will have some left over of this so experiment, have fun, and find another use!20151004_162630Whew! Done with pictures 🙂 This was really super delicious and Jake loved it, I loved it, so unique and flavorful. You should definitely give this recipe a try.

Also make sure to check out all the other blogs and member of Wisconsin Whisk! You can click on the little blue frog link down at the bottom to see all the other members who are participating in the recipe swap!

Have a wonderful weekend!!

xoxo

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To view all the other All Whisked Up recipes, click here:

 

*Here is the inspiration post from everydaycelebrations