Thursday, August 30, 2012

CSA Share Week 12

We have had a very busy and unusual week.  There is a kindergartener in our family!  I am working with him through a virtual school, so our schedule is in a major upheaval.  That while managing a toddler and helping out friends with two other toddlers makes for quite the challenge to properly use all of these vegetables.  I do not like to waste anything, and so far have not.  

I managed to used most of this share in the first evening with the spaghetti sauce.  It's been helpful to make larger portions of everything and eat more leftovers.  That way I am not standing in the kitchen as many days of the week.  It may not work every week, but it has been a huge relief this week!

Still do have cabbagettes leftover, but I have plans for those...

Week 12 Bounty: 
Photos courtesy of Scotch Hill Farm, Broadhead, WI
Summer Squash
Bell Peppers
Hot Peppers
Sweet corn
Ice Box Melon

Meal #1: onions, garlic, green bell pepper, tomatoes, oregano, basil, parsley, carrots, eggplant, squash, radishes
I have made this in years past and I love to add whatever extra vegetables I've got.  This time around it was carrots, eggplant, radishes (with greens) and squash.  I cheated, too.  I have small children who won't eat chunky sauce.  So I cut everything into sizable chunks and threw it all in the blender.  Then I cooked it for 3 hours on low in the slow cooker.  It is really absolutely delicious.  

Stephanie's Freezer Spaghetti Sauce
4 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup vegetable oil
16 cups chopped tomatoes, seeds squeezed out
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried basil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
In a slow cooker saute together the onion, garlic, green pepper, and vegetable oil. Cook until onion is transparent. Add the chopped tomatoes, oregano, basil, parsley, sugar, salt, and ground black pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 hours on low heat. Stir frequently. Let sauce cool. Pour sauce into quart size freezer containers. Store in freezer. When ready to use sauce, stir in can of tomato paste. [I only did 1/8 c sugar and 1.5 Tbsp salt, and after having made this with pasta would double the tomato paste] Recipe adapted from by Stephanie Lane

Meal #2: broccoli, garlic scapes
Stir-fry with Broccoli and Chicken
Bunch of broccoli, florets diced (I diced them quite finely and also used the leaves, but ground them in the Magic Bullet with some olive oil so the kids would eat them)
1-2 tablespoon canola or olive oil
1 tablespoon diced garlic scapes
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 - 2 tablespoons soy sauce, to taste
2 large chicken breasts, but into bite-size pieces
6 servings of cooked brown rice
Rinse the broccoli and trim the ends. Heat the oil in a preheated wok or skillet on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the finely chopped garlic. Stir-fry briefly until it is aromatic, then add the chicken. Cook until they appear fully cooked on outside, then add broccoli and salt. Stir-fry briefly, then add the soy sauce. Stir-fry for another minute and then add the cooked rice to mix and serve. 

Meal #3: sweet corn
Corn on the cob and burgers 

Other uses: ice box melon
This melon was the most delicious melon we've ever had.  My son couldn't stop eating it.  We're not quite sure what it was.  It looked like watermelon on the outside and had the same seeds.  But the meat was orange.  And it was so juicy.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

CSA Share Week 11

The CSA experience is perfect for our family.  We get great, healthy food options delivered weekly in a bag.  For me, it is a fun puzzle to try to make it all work and stretch it out over the next year as well.  We eat far better and more diverse foods than we did before starting this adventure.  Each year we learn more and have gotten better at planning ahead.  

When my husband, Allen, arrived home tonight with the week 12 share we still had broccoli, tomatoes, and green bell and hot peppers left.  I just finished making a batch of freezer spaghetti sauce combining week 11 and 12 bounty.  The recipe to be shared next week...

Greysen, our five year old veggie lover, assisted in making the spaghetti sauce this evening.  As I laid all of the cut vegetables out during preparation, he commented on how many colors there were.  "Red, orange, yellow, green, purple... Almost like a rainbow."    Thanks to our CSA from Scotch Hill Farm our "Rainbow Diet" keeps us healthy!

Photos courtesy of Scotch Hill Farm, Broadhead, WI

Week 11 Bounty:
Sweet corn
Summer Squash
Hot Peppers
Green Bell Peppers

Meal #1: Summer squash, eggplant, zucchini, patty pan, peppers, onions, garlic

I used 2 Summer squash, 2 eggplant, 2 zucchini, 3 patty pan in the ratatouille.  I followed the recipe directions this time and it is quite lengthy, but the flavors are better.  When I made this last I threw it all in a slow cooker at one time.  That worked, but sauteing the vegetables really brings out some great flavors.  I also just used four tomatoes (not roma) from our share.  This recipe is really delicious served over whole wheat pasta.  It is a lot of work, but after eating some we still froze three more meals worth.

Summer Vegetable Ratatouille
2 onions, sliced into thin rings
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium eggplant, cubed
2 zucchini, cubed
2 medium yellow squash, cubed
2 green bell peppers, seeded and cubed
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 chopped red bell pepper
4 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup vegetable broth
2 cans garbanzo beans
2 dashes of Creole spice
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft. In a large skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and saute the zucchini in batches until slightly browned on all sides. Remove the zucchini and place in the pot with the onions and garlic. Saute all the remaining vegetables one batch at a time, adding 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet each time you add a new set of vegetables. Once each batch has been sauteed add them to the large pot as was done in step 2. Season with salt and pepper. Add the bay leaf, vegetable broth, garbanzo beans and thyme and cover the pot. Cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and parsley to the large pot, cook another 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove the bay leaf and adjust seasoning. Serve over cous cous, pasta, rice, savory crepes, etc. * Adapted from by Rani

Meal #2: Beet greens 
Beat greens washed, steamed and pureed, added salt and seasoning.  Enjoyed with pasta and hot dogs.  The kids ate this as if we hadn't fed them all week!

Other Uses: Oregano, basil, chard, beets, sweet corn

Oregano/basil - hanging to dry

Chard - washed, chopped and frozen

Beets - scrubbed, roasted in tinfoil at 400 degrees for nearly 1 hour, pureed, frozen

Sweet corn - boiled, cut from cob and frozen

Thursday, August 16, 2012

CSA Share Week 10

Halfway through our 20 week share and I must admit, we're behind on our vegetables now.  Vacation messed up our great rhythm.  So now I play catch up.  We've got plenty of Healing Cabbage Soup in the freezer, so we only used half the head of cabbage and used the other half for coleslaw.

This was a great week with fantastic weather here in southern Wisconsin.  The perfect temperature and a nice amount of rain and sunshine.  We made a lot of our favorite things, much of it now frozen to be enjoyed during the winter months.  The Black Bean Chili is a staple at our house.  The Ligurian Stew is something we made a few years ago that was delightful.  These two and the Healing Cabbage Soup are fine to freeze and use at a later date.  

Have not yet used chard, beets and summer squashes.

Week 10 Bounty:
Photos courtesy of Scotch Hill Farm, Broadhead, WI
Red onion

Green Bell Peppers
Hot Pepper
Summer Squash - patty pan and madga

Meal #1: cabbage, onions, garlic, tomatoes
Healing Cabbage Soup
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 quarts water
8 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 head cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
2 cup Italian-style stewed tomatoes, drained and diced
2 cups quinoa
In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic; cook until onion is transparent, about 5 minutes. Stir in water, bouillon, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then stir in cabbage. Simmer until cabbage wilts, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and quinoa. Return to a boil, then cover and simmer 15 to 30 minutes, stirring often. Done when quinoa is tender but still chewy and white spiral-like threads appear around each grain. Serves 16. *Recipe adapted from JGCase at

Meal #2: tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, parsley
I boiled the tomatoes for 30 seconds and peeled them.  I squeezed seeds and juice out.  Then they were pureed with the bunch of basil from the share.  I used this in place of the Italian tomatoes.

Ligurian Fish Stew
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Kosher salt
3/4 cup white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
1 (28-ounce) can crushed or pureed Italian tomatoes(recommended: San Marzano)
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus extra for garnish
1 1/2 pounds whitefish fillets, halibut, cod or arctic char, skinned and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 (1-pound) loaf ciabatta or rustic bread, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch thick slices
Olive oil, for drizzling, plus 3 tablespoons
1 garlic clove, halved
For the stew: In a 6-quart, heavy bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven, heat 1/3 cup of oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrot, onion, and garlic. Season with salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 to 8 minutes. Turn the heat to high. Add the wine and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, water and red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 18 to 20 minutes. Season the fish with salt and add to the stew. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 5 to 8 minutes. Season the stew with salt, if needed. For the Crostini: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until light golden, about 12 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes. Rub the warm toasts with the cut side of the garlic. Ladle the stew into serving bowls and garnish with parsley. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle a few red pepper flakes on top. Serve with the crostini. *Recipe from Giada De Laurentiis at

Meal #3: green bell peppers, onions, garlic, hot pepper
Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
3 cans black beans
2 red, yellow or green bell peppers
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
5 to 6 medium-sized garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon lime juice
two 4 oz. canned diced green chiles (substitute depends on the level of spice you desire: I used 2 tsp of finely diced hot pepper, this week's was HOT - it made my skin burn for hours after chopping)
2 teaspoons dried basil (or 1 tablespoon fresh basil)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
1/2 cup tomato puree
Heat oil in skillet. Add garlic and all other seasonings, lime juice, bell peppers, and chiles. Sauté over medium heat until peppers and chiles are tender (about 15 minutes). Add sauté to beans and tomato puree. Simmer covered over low heat for about 20 min., stirring occasionally. Serve with dollop of light sour cream, sprinkle of cheese, or without any toppings. We served with taco chips. *Recipe from 

Other uses: onions, cabbage, watermelon, blueberries
Sweet Restaurant Slaw
1 (16 ounce) bag coleslaw mix (or a fresh head of cabbage shredded)
2 tablespoons diced onion
2/3 cup creamy salad dressing (we use an oil based mayo)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
Combine the coleslaw mix and onion in a large bowl. Whisk together the salad dressing, vegetable oil, sugar, vinegar, salt, and poppy seeds in a medium bowl; blend thoroughly. Pour dressing mixture over coleslaw mix and toss to coat. Chill at least 2 hours before serving. * Recipe from by Sandi Johnson

Summer Fruits Salad
Watermelon balled or cubed tossed with rinsed blueberries.  Delicious!

Monday, August 13, 2012

CSA Share Week 9

Whew!  Finally got to posting this.  We were on vacation staying at a cabin in northern Wisconsin all last week.  We pre-planned what veggies to fix and freeze and what to take along.  Everything was delicious - mostly things we've done in years past.  We also had a very helpful friend pick up Week 10's share for us.  Now we've got to catch up on using those, too!

Week 9 Bounty:
Photos courtesy of Scotch Hill Farm, Broadhead, WI
Bright Lights Chard
Red onions
Green Bell Peppers
Hot Pepper
Summer Squash

Freezer Items: broccoli, tomatoes, green bell pepper, onion, cilantro, hot pepper, okra, basil, garlic 

The Best Fresh Tomato Salsa
3 cups chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 teaspoons chopped fresh jalapeno pepper (I used 4 tsp of hot pepper from share)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Stir the tomatoes, green bell pepper, onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno pepper, cumin, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Serve. * Recipe from by Cheryl Dressler

Easy Indian Style Okra
Just added the new to last week's bag. See Week 8 for the recipe.

Basil Walnut Pesto
See Week 7 for the recipe.  I tried making it complete with parmesan, added a little water and it went into frozen cubes quite nicely.

Broccoli Puree
Steamed and pureed, adding a little water, and put in ice cube trays to use later in sauces.

Meal #1: chard
Chard Omelettes
Diced chard leaves and stems, separately.  With some olive oil in a pan, cooked the stems until softened, then added leaves.  Removed chard from pan.  Added chard and cheddar cheese to omelettes as we made them.  

Meal #2: eggplant, summer squash, zucchini
Grilled Burgers with buns
Grilled Veggie Skewers
Cubed eggplant, zucchini and squash. Tossed with olive oil and seasoning salt.  Stabbed the cubes onto skewers.  Grill until cooked - timing depends on the heat of your grill and size of cubes. 

Meal #3: patty pan squash
Grilled Sausages with buns
Pan-fried Patty Pan Squash
Diced squash and fried in pan with olive oil and seasoning salt (our favorite that we use all the time includes: salt, rosemary, garlic, sage, basil, juniper and black pepper).  

We actually ended up with plenty of leftovers from the veggie skewers and the pan-fried squash, so I put it in the Magic Bullet and we had a delicious pasta sauce for the next day.

Other Uses: dill
Dried dill by hanging it

Thursday, August 2, 2012

CSA Share Week 8

We had a lot of hits this week.  The Benedictine Spread was scrumptious!  We shared it with friends and then froze the rest so we can enjoy it with family next week.  We would definitely use our cucumbers this way again.  The vegetable lasagna is always great and so easy to freeze and use again later.  

The Summer Squash Puffs, while not necessarily healthy due to frying, are quite delectable.  We tried the Easy Indian Style Okra last year and everyone enjoyed it.  The flavors are great and we had no problem with the texture of the okra.  

We have tomatoes and dill leftover.  I would like to find another dip or spread that would incorporate dill next week.  The tomatoes can likely be combined with Week 9's for a batch of salsa!

Photos courtesy of Scotch Hill Farm, Broadhead, WI
Week 8 Bounty: 
Summer Squash - Patty Pan and Magda
Long Cucumber
Short cucumber
Green Bell Peppers
Tomatoes (Jet Star, Juliet, Sun Gold)


Meal #1: cabbage, tomatoes
Black Bean Tacos
Can of black beans, seasoned for tacos

Shredded taco cheese
1/2 head of cabbage, chopped
Black olives
One tomato, diced
Whole wheat tortillas
Drain liquid from beans and heat in stovetop pot.  Warm tortillas in microwave, add ingredients as you choose.

Meal #2: carrots, zucchini, patty pan squash
We like this to be more like true Italian style, better balance of pasta to sauce. With true Italian pasticcio the flavor of the pasta is just as prominent as the flavor of the sauce. The original recipe was one that has been passed around the family for years.  It was only supposed to be one frozen package of spinach, but a few years ago I began adding other veggies.  It also called for two jars of spaghetti sauce and I only use one.  My homemade spaghetti sauce is full of more vegetables, so this is a vegetable delight.

Pasticcio di Verdure (Vegetable Lasagna)
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1.5 c shredded mozzarella
1 egg, beaten
10 oz. or 1.25 c chopped spinach (I used puréed cubes)
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp nutmeg
15 oz. jar spaghetti sauce (I used homemade)

Small bunch of carrots
1 cup grated zucchini - liquid squeezed out and reserved
12-15 lasagna noodles (I prefer "rolled flat like homemade," or to make the pasta)
1 c water (I used zucchini and spinach juices)
In a large bowl, mix ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, egg, spinach, spices, sauce, carrots, and zucchini. In a greased 13x9x2 pan, layer 1/2 cup of filling mixture, then three noodles. I usually do four to five layers depending on amount of sauce. Top with remaining filling mixture and sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella. Pour water (or vegetable juice) around edges and cover tightly with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. 

Stuffed Patty Pan Squash
6 pattypan squash, stem and blossom removed
6 slices bacon
1/2 cup diced onion
1 1/2 cups soft bread crumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring one inch of water to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add squash, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, or until a fork can pierce the stem with little resistance. Drain, and slice off the top stem of the squash. Use a melon baller to carefully scoop out the centers of the squash. Reserve all of the bits of squash. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Remove bacon to paper towels, and set aside. Saute onion in bacon drippings. Chop the reserved squash pieces, and saute them with the onion for one minute. Remove the skillet from heat, and stir in the breadcrumbs. Crumble the bacon, and stir into the stuffing along with the Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stuff each squash to overflowing with the mixture, and place them in a baking dish. Cover the dish loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until squash are heated through.

Other uses: cucumbers, onions, magda squash, zucchini
Benedictine Spread
3 small/medium cucumber
Bunch of spring onions, quartered
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon salt
Dash cayenne pepper
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Slice cucumber in half lengthwise; remove seeds with a small spoon. Place cucumber in blender/food processor and pulse about 5 times, until cucumber is minced. Place onion in the blender/food processor, pulsing until it is finely chopped. To cucumber/onion mixture add cream cheese and stir well with a spatula. Add salt, cayenne, mayo and red wine vinegar. Spread on crackers or bread for sandwiches.

Summer Squash Puffs
1 quart oil for frying
4 summer squash, cut into chunks.
1 medium onion, grated
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup dry corn muffin mix
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
Heat the oil in a deep, heavy skillet or deep fryer to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C). Place the squash in a pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain, and mash. In a bowl, mix 2 cups squash*, onion, and eggs. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, corn muffin mix, baking powder, and salt. Thoroughly blend the squash mixture into the flour mixture. Drop the squash and flour mixture by rounded tablespoons into the hot oil, and fry until evenly brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels.

Easy Indian Style Okra (for the freezer)

1 pound sliced fresh okra (about 1/2 inch thick)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garam masala
salt to taste
1 medium onion, chopped 
3 Tablespoons oil
Place the sliced okra in a large ziploc bag, add cumin, ginger, coriander, garam masala, pepper and salt. Freeze.  When ready to eat, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook until tender. Add frozen, spiced okra and stir for a few minutes, then reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover the pan. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until okra is tender. It may take longer depending on size of okra.  *Recipe adapted from CALIGAL76 at

Green Bell Peppers
Diced and frozen for future use in chili

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
This was so good that I made a double batch and froze it in two freezer containers.  When we are on vacation I will take out the night before to thaw.  In the morning, they will be ready to cook fresh in muffin or bread pans.  Nice and easy breakfast!  I actually used only 1 cup of sugar per recipe - I prefer less sugar. The recipe can be found in Week 6: