Farmshare, Week 14

gardening
Ha-HA! Thursday! We're clawing this thing back to schedule. I also wrote over 2,000 words today, so consider it victory time.

And I even took pictures.


Last week's share was, as you recall:

Basil
Sweet corn (4)
Mixed baby greens
Winter squash
Kale
Hot pepper
Fingerling potatoes
Cucumber

Chanterelle mushrooms
Cheddar crackers

And it is chilly, as you recall, so we basically started roasting things right out of the gate.

Chicken, part one
This was kind of quintessentially fall.


Friday night we were basically running low on staples -- dry goods, meat, cheese, etc. -- but we did have two chicken legs left from when I wanted to do Moroccan chicken. So out of the freezer they came, and were turned into quasi-herbed roasted chicken thing, with this week's basil and that older rosemary, and a lot of pepper and garlic.

Setting off the smoke alarm with the oven is, ah, also a rite of autumn passage.

The beets were the orange-glazed beets we did a few weeks ago, reprised with a different kind of orange. They still hold up, even when you aren't putting honey tangerine all over them. And the greens were our last bit of swiss chard, which I have finally found a go-to recipe for.

It's a Martha Stewart recipe, and I feel a bit weird about that (prison chard!) but eh: It had almonds and garlic and raisins and it is good without drowning the actual chard in things, and without being too bitter and bitey. It was kind of the surprise of this week, actually, and I think that's going to come around again.

Saturday, after I got off work, we finally did our trip to Kensington Market, and among the 3,000 things we hauled back (really; we go serious grocery shopping maybe every month or so) was local-made roast beef. So we made this:

Cheesesteak
Honestly with all the snacking we did between groceries I don't know how we were hungry.


The bread is more currant challah -- we've kind of been on a roll with that -- and the rest is roast beef, provolone, mustard and horseradish from yet another small cannery in the market, and then there's spinach and some caramelized chanterelle mushrooms and onions. Sandwich went in mouth. Sandwich perhaps needed a less sweet bread, alas, but it was a solid dinner.

Sunday, since we were on a roll with the cooking thing, we finally used that cauliflower:

Vegetables
The lone vegetarian dinner this week.


The plan had been to steam the cauliflower, and then pour a bunch of cheese sauce over it -- and the plan was working until we realized there really wasn't much cauliflower left. So we took the rest of the yellow beans and steamed them too, and made the Whitest Dish.

The cheese sauce was awesome. The leftover beets and chard were there to liven the place up. And then the leftover cheese sauce got stirred into my potato-leek soup for lunch the next day, and that was amazing too.

Monday, since we'd been to the butcher's on the weekend, we did my Official Fall Thing and roasted a chicken:

ChickenCloser
I do this every year.


This is the meal that wiped out a lot of our leftover CSA ingredients in one fell swoop: rosemary! Shelling beans! Delicious white pasta-like mushrooms! Eggs (in the walnut cake, alas not pictured). Also note: Purple potatoes! We get a few of those every year. They're super weird looking.

The deadlines caught up with us after that, but we did pull off one more this week: a quasi-Greek fettucine.

Pasta
Note degradation of photography when I am tired.


We were missing an ingredient for what we actually planned to make, and so we just started pasta and threw everything in: basil, half the kale, chanterelle mushrooms; feta, olives, sundried tomatoes, the leftover roast chicken, and some olive oil. It might be a variant on that chard pasta we tried a bit back, and didn't do so well with. And it had a similar problem, in that I always make too much pasta for the topping. But all in all, not bad for seat of the pants. The flavours melded, and it wasn't too salty, and all's well there.

So. Kind of a lot of meat this week. I will say I'm storing protein for my eventual hibernation.

And no pictures of the squirrels this time, alas. I've been face down in the manuscript.


The leftover roster is standing pretty tidy right now:

New Zealand spinach (half)
Spicy dal crackers
Pancake mix
Sweet corn (4)
Winter squash
Kale (half)
Hot pepper
Fingerling potatoes (Three, in reserve for corn chowder.)
Cucumber (meagre third)
Chanterelle mushrooms
Cheddar crackers

And this week's takings were more varied:

Roma tomatoes
Grape tomatoes
Carrots
Sweet corn (2)
Yellow and green beans
Garlic
Savory
Watermelon

6 duck eggs
Mushrooms
Semolina crackers

Glad there was garlic this week: We absolutely ran out. And I missed my eggs when we spent a few days without them.

We have a few plans in place for this week: The aforementioned corn chowder, some good sandwiches with those tomatoes, ginger carrot soup. I still don't know what P. wants to do with that pepper. I might steal it for watermelon salsa, if we can think of something appropriate to put watermelon salsa on.

Soup and meat is where it's at right now, I think. This might be the week we start putting things up for winter.

Farmshare, Week 13 (late)

gardening
I swear I will get back to Thursday afternoons on this. The combination of being full-out on revisions, in the don't-get-dressed-or-go-out way, and me just crashing into bed hard last night spiked the post. But! We are cooking!

I just don't seem to have taken a lot of pictures of it.

Last week's box was:

Swiss chard
Red potatoes
Parsley
Grape tomatoes
Leek
Yellow beans
Mixed greens

Mushrooms
12 duck eggs
Whole grain pancake mix

And the temperature's been doing that slow dive into fall, so we've been cooking warm things. Thursday night's dinner was beef chili, with some last-year dried farmshare beans and two weeks' worth of mushrooms, and what was actually a really epic salad:

Doom Salad
Sometimes you just elevate the form.


This was the lettuce from last week, grape tomatoes, shelling beans, this week's mushrooms (P. is calling them pasta mushrooms; they could be al dente pasta, just very delicious and in vegetable form), green onions from the store, and chopped dates. And a little bit of fancy salt, I think. It was...yeah. Wow.

I mean, we do a lot of salads around here, but. That was something. FYI, salt + dates = something good, always.

That was also the night we learned that when you make a peach crisp and put all kinds of coconut in it, that's a good life choice.

Another something that was stupidly good: We took some swiss chard and made a quiche with it.

Quiche
This is a different salad. Actually, we treated the salad bowl like a communal soup pot all week, and just kept adding things every night.


Swiss chard is one of my problem child greens -- it's just a little too bitter for most of my leafy greens solutions -- but we had lots of eggs, and I'd made that beet quiche a few weeks back, so the thought occurred. We did something very specifically right with this recipe, and it was on a whim: we put a handful of chopped sundried tomatoes in.

They were kind of sweet and salty and savory, and it just balanced everything out into stupid perfection. Italian sundried tomatoes I got at the cheese store to have a high enough total to use debit 'cause I was out of cash? You are today's hero.

We got our first full-grown leek of the year this week too, so. Potato-leek soup:

Soup
Looks boring, tastes awesome.


This is one of my staple foods for Getting Rid of Farmshare Groceries. Luckily, P. kind of loves it. We'd eaten the last container of frozen-in-early-spring soup for dinner Friday night, and kind of wanted fresh, so we made a big pot Tuesday night with our leek and all the potatoes, and all the parsley, and some of the rosemary. It was basically that, a bay leaf, some pepper, and water, and it turned out really hearty in a solid way, and just...nice. We also melted some smoked gouda into it, for a little more body. Good life choice!

And the last notable thing I didn't take pictures of is that yesterday morning, we tried the cracker share pancake mix. To, ironically, mixed results.

The blend of grains itself is really nice: it's buckwheat and red fife and cornmeal and stuff and things and evaporated cane juice instead of sugar, and it tastes like something that has nutrition. We followed the recipe on the back -- add two eggs and a two cups of milk, fire away -- and maybe it was that we halved it, and maybe it's that we were really skimping on butter because we had thismuch left, but...

Wow runny. Really, really runny. To the point where it scorched a bit in some places, didn't cook through in others, and turned into scrapy fail pancakes.

Which were very tasty, but. Peachy tasty shame.

We have more butter now. I'm going to give this another run sometime this week, and see if I can't get that batter consistency a little thicker and better.

And...here's a picture of squirrels, since I didn't take pictures of food this week:

Aww


They live in our back yard. They're friends.


So what's left in the aftermath:

Cauliflower (still that last smidge)
Rosemary
Beets
Shelling beans
New Zealand spinach
Spicy dal crackers
Swiss chard
Yellow beans
Weirdly delicious white mushrooms
6 duck eggs
Pancake mix (shaaaame!)

And this week's takings:

Basil
Sweet corn (4)
Mixed baby greens
Winter squash
Kale
Hot pepper
Fingerling potatoes
Cucumber

Mushrooms
Cheddar crackers

We have made a good head start on this -- tonight's dinner especially was just really kickass -- but I have notions of corn chowder and kale-cucumber fakeout seaweed salad (improvised once, with Dr. My Roommate, two years-plus ago, and so I know it can be done). The hot pepper has been claimed by P., and I don't know what he plans to do with it. I do know what he plans for the squash, which is squash curry -- he made it for a friend's housewarming once and it sounds amazing.

A lot of the rest will depend on what we pick up in Kensington tomorrow. We are out of oatmeal and cheese and meat and raisins, and I badly want to roast a chicken, and it is time to go to the market.

And really, I will try to get this back onto Thursdays next week.

Farmshare, Week 12 (late)

gardening
So, first off: This is late, and apologies for the absence of Week 11. We basically did not cook for a week: P. came home and promptly got German Con Crud, and then I got it too, and so. To add to that, last week was the mid-season break week, and so it's been more than a bit of a gap, but I haven't missed reporting a delivery.

So, that said:

Last (two weeks ago) delivery contained:

Beets
Carrots
Shelling beans
Grape tomatoes
Lettuce
Cucumber
New Zealand spinach

Mushrooms
1/2 dozen duck eggs
Spicy dal crackers

After a week on-and-off under the weather, we felt like making some proper dinner but weren't quite up to photography, so Saturday's dinner and the giant potato salad we made for a Labour Day picnic Sunday evening are lost to time. But the Russian carrot salad I made Monday evening isn't:

Carrot salad
Da.


This was a really basic way to use up carrots: grate them up, put in some raisins, walnuts, chopped garlic, and mayo, and, well. Done. It's a side dish, I think, but I ended up eating most of it on bread as a sort of open-sandwich snack object.

Monday night was an experiment; stir-fry with Polish sausage:

Meatfry
It was basically the only protein we had in the house.


It was basically a case of Throw In Everything: Spanish onion, grape tomatoes, the last of the green beans, sweet pepper, some elephant garlic we got in Kensington Market a bit back. Meat Stirfry seems to soak up sauce pretty heavily--the sausage was spicy, but had a soy-sweet thing going too--and while it was interesting, not precisely my favourite outcome.

I also made bread Monday, though--currant challah--which meant Tuesday I got to do this:

Tuna
It did turn into a sandwich post-picture.


Currant challah, tuna, mayo, pile of New Zealand spinach. Sometimes simple is just what you want.

By Tuesday we'd got back into the swing of things a little better, and made something proper:

Fish
Look at all those food groups!


The fish is the same recipe we made a few weeks back: cooked in a pan with a bit of salt and pepper, and all that sour cream/horseradish/dill/lemon sauce on top. We've fallen back on that one a few times, actually: it's pretty resilient, no matter what kind of fish happens to be on sale down the street (this week, it was trout).

The potatoes were all that was left after the Great Potato Salad Incident, with a bit of rosemary, garlic, and pepper; the salad is a salad.

So not a hugely inspiring week, but with that? I feel like we're back up to speed on this thing.


We're left with a surprisingly small suite of leftovers:

Swiss chard
Cauliflower (a smidge, stubbornly waiting for a cheese sauce)
Rosemary
Spanish onion
Beets
Shelling beans
Grape Tomatoes
Lettuce
Cucumber (a third or so)
New Zealand spinach
Mushrooms (bag and a half)
1 duck egg
Spicy dal crackers

This week's takings are somewhat more of the same:

Swiss chard
Red potatoes
Parsley
Grape tomatoes
Leek
Yellow beans
Mixed greens

Mushrooms
12 duck eggs
Whole grain pancake mix

The dozen eggs are a bit of a mixup, but one that I don't mind: since I'm revising as fast as my little hands will go right now, we shelled out the eight bucks to get this delivered, and there was a miscommunication about how many eggs. I'm just going to square it with them next week--either not take my share then or just pay the difference--but since we had one left, I don't mind having extras now.

The pancake mix is a nice surprise, and kind of fun: I'm going to see what that works up into, probably on the weekend.

Otherwise, we've already been decently industrious today and last night (but that's for next week's reporting), and I have some plans: Potato-leek soup with some cheese melted in, which P. really enjoys; another appearance of that orange-glazed beets recipe; maybe a roasted chicken. It is the right kind of weather to roast a chicken: cool and bright and clear.

Otherwise, just given how much greens we have all of a sudden, I suspect it'll be a lot of salads with things. I can already feel the fall coming in, and so. I don't quite mind.

Farmshare, Week 10

gardening
On time, this week! But sadly, probably boring: This has not been a big cooking week. Last week's big question was what I'd do in the kitchen, having been returned to my single-ish ways, and the answer is apparently "Eat leftovers."


Last week's takings were:

Sweet pepper
Red potatoes
Green and yellow beans
Mixed greens
Sweet corn
Rosemary
Spanish onions

Mushrooms
1/2 dozen duck eggs
Spelt crackers

-- and they have been used somewhat unevenly. Saturday night we cooked a mega-ultra-ridicu-meal. And were eating it for days after.

Pink soup!
BEHOLD THE PINKNESS OF MY SOUP.


The Jem-coloured soup is the summer borscht I mentioned a bit back, with some slight modifications (as in, no recipe needs that much sour cream, thank you very much, and I am speaking as a charter member of the I Love Sour Cream Society).

So, having probably halved (at least) the sour cream? It was good.

The next day, though? It was delicious.

It also made about 9836720893469243857234 servings, so I just kept ladling it out of my big mixing bowl, and I think I ate it until Tuesday. The potato salad, seen right beside it, was likewise giant, and lasted just as long. Five hard-boiled duck eggs and a whole week's worth of potatoes in that thing, people.

Banana boat
Angels, guys. Choir of angels.


P. also made us banana boats, since he is the best person ever.

Pancakes
I have one pancake recipe, but damn, it's all I need.


In the spirit of returning that favour, and because we had one (1) good peach left, I made pancakes for breakfast Monday morning. These were experimental, and contain said peach, chopped; what blueberries were also left over in the fridge; coconut flakes.

The concept here is really, really good; thing is, it needs more than one (1) peach. I have a new basket of peaches (!!!) that I picked up from the fruit market on my way home tonight, and we're going to re-run this piece of science later this week. Maybe next Monday, when said P. will be returned to me, just more jet-lagged.

I did do some cooking Tuesday as well, when the leftover parade ran out: a loaf of bread with the rosemary from last week's share and mushroom-leafy greens quiche.

Quiche
There were like six pieces this size.


One of the good things about this summer's experiment is that I finally remembered how quiche is basically the easiest dinner. I have eggs, I have cheese, I have plant matter. Go!

This one has one of the Spanish onions from last week; most of last week's mushrooms; and, in place of the usual spinach, some Swiss chard and the beet greens that were left after the borscht affair. Duck eggs make good quiches: they taste like more, somehow. And they make big quiches, so I basically ate this Tuesday, yesterday, this afternoon for lunch.

Right. That's what I do when I'm living just-me. I still cook, but I eat boringly.


So, needless to say the leftovers pile got bigger in Make Big Things And Eat Them Forever Week:

Pesto Mix - garlic scapes
Swiss chard
Cauliflower (miniscule amount)
Sweet corn (six)
Sweet pepper
Red potatoes
Green and yellow beans
Mixed greens
Rosemary
Spanish onion
Mushrooms (just a bit left here)
1/2 dozen duck eggs
Red fife crackers (thought these were spelt last week; I was wrong)

And this week is:

Beets
Carrots
Shelling beans
Grape tomatoes
Lettuce
Cucumber
New Zealand spinach (which is what I traded for the more corn I was supposed to get, because dammit, corn!)

Mushrooms
1/2 dozen duck eggs
Spicy dal crackers

Wildflower honey

So I've been really good about not doing too much trading this year -- the CSA is usually cool about doing trades if you keep it to one item a week -- but...corn. Already so much of it. I could not take home five more in any good conscience, and salad greens are always welcome in this house.

The honey was a lucky break: They don't always have it, and this is the week we inexplicably ran out of all of ours (I mean, we had three jars in progress: buckwheat, dandelion, and rosemary). It's a half-litre, and should keep us covered for a decent while.

First thoughts: Beets! I don't know when beets became my friend, but beets. Beets! Also, I'm glad the dal crackers are back. I missed those.

And tonight I have gotten takeout, because if I don't I will wake up from my scary protein-lust fugue state in a field somewhere, surrounded by the disembodied remnants of innocent cows.

Um. I'm gonna take care of that protein thing now. Later, guys.

Farmshare, Week Nine (late)

gardening
--and I'm sorry this is late. Thursday night's get-vegetables-and-write-post routine was disrupted by dinner with Dr. My Former Roommate and tickets to an indie rock opera about predator drones falling in love that one of her friends wrote, and then we all got home very late indeed.

But yes. Vegetables!


Last week's inventory was:

Slicing cucumber
Sweet pepper
Beets
Swiss chard
Garlic
New potatoes
Cauliflower
Sweet corn

Lobster mushrooms
1/2 dozen duck eggs
Cheddar paprika crackers

Green onions

...and while we didn't cook as regularly as the week before -- in truth, we couldn't; we caught up so hard on our fridge that there weren't that many meals left in it -- this was one of the quality weeks.

Cucumber saladCurry
My stove is a den of filth and iniquity.


This was Thursday's dinner, before we realized we were probably going to run out of vegetables (!) for the first time ever since we started this and were still going at everything full-tilt. A good amount of mushrooms, garlic, sweet pepper, green onion, and chard went into P.'s shrimp curry to fill it out (plus: cashews!) and the salad used up the last of the New Zealand spinach (sob) as well as some cucumber and yellow beans, which are our new Endless Vegetable.

The dressing was a bit inspired, actually: We're getting a little bleh on endless balsamic vinaigrette -- it's a thing we do because it's mostly good and easy -- and so made a yogourt dill honey mustard etc. thing after a little comparison Googling (using up, conveniently, our dill!). I thought there would be leftovers of this for later, but there surpisingly wasn't.

Which meant the next night was all-out again:

Chicken night
Canada Food Guide, mofos.


So a while back we were at the butcher shop and I got some chicken legs, with the specific intention of making the Moroccan (?) tomato honey chicken thing I make when I have those. And then I put them in the freezer and forgot about that. And then Friday, in terrible want of protein, I remembered.

The chicken is basically stewed in tomatoes, garlic, ginger, and a bit of butter and olive oil. You put honey in at the end, and almonds and sesame seeds, and then it goes into your mouth. We made this a little healthier by adding on some rosemary-garlic roasted red potatoes (courtesy P.) and that green thing there, which is sauteed mushrooms and beet greens. Beet greens are basically a bonus free vegetable, and do just fine when you chuck a bit of oyster sauce and sesame oil at them.

This is the meal that made us actually, no-foolin', seriously run out of garlic. Which is when we realized we might be in trouble.

So we went somewhat light on things for a few days (and took advantage of having a whole lot of social plans this week to have some dinners out). After a bit of flailing at trying to match things into meal formations, I just gave up and went to Kensington Market for provisions, marking the first time I have bought a vegetable from a non-CSA source this whole summer.

But that did equip us to pull off the unqualified win of the week:

Cauliflower nom
I wish I had five of this.


Cauliflower macaroni and cheese.

We had the cauliflower, and we don't like cauliflower, really, and so we figured we'd do what we do with vegetables which aren't our favourites: Cover them in delicious cheese. Which somehow turned into steamed cauliflower half-and-halfing it with elbow macaroni, and a milk roux/pepper asiago/mustard sauce, and Why not stick the rest of the mushrooms and some sundried tomatoes and that parsley we have on it while we're up, and...damn.

The most satisfying thing about this is that it was pure Science (tm). We made this recipe, such as it is, up as we went. And it was basically just the best ever and we ate leftovers for lunch for two days.

And then we didn't cook for a bit and had street-stand hot dogs for dinner here instead:

Movies
They were showing Sense & Sensibility. Hugh Laurie was so angry at everyone all the time.



So even though we were out with people for dinner a lot this week, the leftovers are kind of tiny:

Pesto Mix - garlic scapes (the basil and parsley have gone to better places)
Yellow beans
11 duck eggs
Whole grain oat cakes
Slicing cucumber
Beets
Swiss chard
New potatoes
Cauliflower (like thismuch)
Sweet corn
Cheddar crackers
Green onions

And this week's additions are:

Sweet pepper
Red potatoes
Green and yellow beans
Mixed greens
Sweet corn
Rosemary
Spanish onions

Mushrooms
1/2 dozen duck eggs
Spelt crackers

Corn again. Sigh. Note how deftly I avoided it last week.

The other interesting wrinkle in next week's plans (this week's plans?) is that P. is going to be away: He's on a work trip for most of this week and some of next. So we're going to be back to Me Cooking For Me for a bit starting Tuesday, and I'm curious how that'll affect normal operations. We're both infamous for eating things out of cans when it's just us, and then putting up banquets when someone -- anyone -- else is at the table. But I have a few months of good habits in place now. I wonder if they'll hold.

FarmShare, Week Eight

gardening
We ate a lot of vegetables this week. We are in the running for the Vegetarian Life Achievement Award, which is the award I just made up for people who eat so many damn vegetables that they cooked themselves.

For you, readers, I have pictures.


Last week's inventory was:

New Zealand spinach
Red potatoes
Cucumber
Red potatoes
Yellow beans
Pickling cucumbers
Swiss chard
Dill

Lobster mushrooms
1/2 dozen duck eggs
Whole grain oat cakes

We basically commenced destroying almost immediately.

Sausages preciousCrisp
I have no idea why that first picture is so blurry.


This was a joint and deliberate effort: What could we do to kill off some CSA backlog? P. made the roasted potatoes and carrots (contains: rosemary, a bit of olive oil, and some of those herbes de Provence I filched for bread the other week) and I did up a quick New Zealand spinach-cucumber-green bean salad, and then the sausages were sausages, and the cherry crisp was cherry crisp. Pitting cherries in front of Black Adder Goes Forth is fun. Ice cream from Greg's on top is funner.

Friday we did something lighter, for a reason that I'm not remembering at the moment (late lunches?):

Veggie time
Thus began a rather surprising streak of vegetarianism.


These are honey roasted potatoes, which were nice but nothing to write home about, really, and a slightly modified raita salad -- we threw in sugar snap peas and green beans along with the cucumber because reasons. This, I think, I'll make again: the raisins and garlic and yogourt combine to this really nice, spicy-sweet-smooth thing, and also cucumbers. I really, really love cucumbers.

I seem to have missed photographing Sunday's festivities (potato curry, courtesy P.), but since it was a long weekend, we had the luxury of Monday morning breakfast:

Pancakes
Basically this is how I wish I could start all my days.


Since we didn't have much fruit left after the cherry adventure (still don't, actually), we kind of used what was at hand for the pancakes, and thus were Cinnamon Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes Where the Bananas Are Sliced In invented. I thought this was going to be a cluster. They were great.

The greens are just more New Zealand spinach and some of those green beans again -- we've been whittling them down all week -- and some dressing P. did up with balsamic vinegar and buckwheat honey.

I was sugar high off this until at least five in the evening.

Since it was a holiday Monday, we did some puttering in the kitchen: cinnamon raisin bread, and a zucchini orange loaf (I don't like zucchini, but encasing it in cake improves that situation), and what I feel was the serious win of the week.

Beets!
I cannot convey just what you're looking at with these beets here.


I said a few weeks ago I needed new and interesting things to do with beets, and this was one of the things I googled up: brown sugar-glazed beets. My personal preference was actually to try a summer borscht thingie, which may be on the docket for this week, but P. voted for glazed and I am so glad he did.

Because whoa.

It's a really simple recipe: steam some beets, cut 'em up, stick 'em in a pan with some butter and sugar and orange juice (conveniently, the juice of the honey tangerine we bought to zest for the zucchini loaf. Use the whole animal!). Stir them until your liquid has turned into deliciousness.

I licked the plate. And then the serving bowl. And then I asked P. if he was using his plate, and he went "Yes, hands off."

Beets, I am suddenly in love with you.

Tuesday night's dinner was not as wildly successful:

Chard pasta
This actually does not do the thing credit: There were more veggies in it than are visible.


Last week sevenravens suggested a Swiss chard garlic pasta as a destination for the Swiss chard we found ourselves suddenly owning. I'm not sure if I didn't balance the ingredients right, because we did cut the recipe in half (we are not four to six people), but this just didn't cohere for me: you had salty flavours (feta, olives) and garlicky flavours, and sweet currant flavours, and they mostly seemed to stare at each other. And as they say on Iron Chef, I don't feel like chard was the star of this dish.

This may also have to do with my infamously low bar for too salty. I dunno.

It was actually better in leftovers the next day. But this one didn't quite fly for us. Ah, well.

Aside from what P. termed "Fail Eggs" for breakfast yesterday (and bah, they were delicious: all brie and basil and spinach and garlic and rosemary) we kind of just took it easy: pierogies and a quick cucumber-dill-rice vinegar salad that mrissa mentioned as a standby at her place.

Dinner for bums.
This more resembles our pre-CSA dinners.


In a fit of genius we also took some of the cocoa and buckwheat cookies from cracker share the other week, put our vanilla ice cream between them, and had baby ice cream sandwiches for dessert. There are no pictures of this. Eating happened too fast.

At that point we basically realized we'd done a whole week vegetarian, without...really noticing. Maybe this is how you slide into vegetarianism: There just keep being potatoes to use up.


Leftovers have been vastly, vastly reduced:

Garlic scapes
Pesto mix - basil, scapes, parsley
Garlic
9 duck eggs
Cocoa Royale cookies
New Zealand spinach
Red potatoes
Cucumber
Yellow beans
Dill
Lobster mushrooms
Whole grain oat cakes

Nothing on that list has gone untouched, too: it's all bits and bobs of stuff left over. I'm all we have fought the whirlwind.

And this week brings us:

Slicing cucumber
Sweet pepper
Beets
Swiss chard
Garlic
New potatoes
Cauliflower
Sweet corn

Lobster mushrooms
1/2 dozen duck eggs
Cheddar paprika crackers

Green onions we bought as extra because apparently I have Stockholm Syndrome for green onions now.

Initial thoughts: I think I want to try that summer borscht now; everything for it is already in my house and beeeeeeets. I also want a bit of a mulligan on Swiss chard recipes, and will have to go digging. And given amount of potatoes, beans, etc., a Nicoise salad may be in order.

I have no idea what to do with sweet corn, and thoughts past "boil it!" appreciated.

...I am finding it more and more interesting, also, that I don't like that is sort of expunging itself from my vocabulary. I don't particularly like zucchini. Or chard. Or corn. Or a few other things we'll get more of later on. And...the focus in my head seems to have shifted, definitively, to well, what can we make that will make it delicious?

This is an interesting outgrowth of the Iron Chef experiment; kind of a wanted one, actually. And...it actually feels really good.

Farmshare, Week Seven

gardening
It seems the posts I'm doing are the food posts lately. Writing is happening, just not in ways tidy enough to put into metrics posts. And food is happening: although this week, it was mostly P.'s doing.


Last week's inventory was:

Red potatoes
New Zealand spinach
Slicing cucumber
Snow peas
Zucchini
Baby leeks
Garlic
Mushrooms
1/2 dozen duck eggs
Cocoa Royale cookies

It had been a while since there was P.'s cooking around the house. We both cook together most nights, but some dishes are me dishes and some are P.'s; for example, I am Minister of Salads and he's Minister of Stirfry. And what we hadn't been having lately was stirfry.
Stirfry
The plates were made by P.'s parents who are, among other things, potters.


This was last Thursday's dinner, which was all him: shrimp stirfry with green onions, snow peas, garlic, mushrooms, eggplant, green beans, and a tamarind/curry/oyster sauce thing to cook it in. That was really good, so we did it again. This one is from Sunday:

Stirfry the sequel
That one shrimp is like Oh god freedom--


Similar deal, but we threw in yet more things: baby leeks and a different spice mix that the Minister of Stirfry refuses to divulge the makings of. I also made Fancy Water:

Fancy water!
Oh and then we can meet Mitzi at the spa and get a mani-pedi--


I had cucumber, and I had basil, and I had some limes that were going, and I got the pitcher for two bucks at Ikea for precisely this kind of purpose. The Fancy Water was good. I'm gonna try the basil-lime thing with some brewed iced tea. It'd probably do some lovely things to iced genmaicha.

What we are agreeing was probably the crowning achievement of This Week In Cooking was Tuesday's dinner:

Salmon
Just looking at this again frankly makes me want to lick the screen.


This was kind of a backwards-planned meal: We wanted to do some roasted potatoes, and I wanted to try a roasted leek recipe I'd found just googling about, and so we thought fish might be the thing to go with those and make a proper meal.

We dropped the potatoes due to time, but...whoa.

The baby leek recipe worked really, really nicely: sweet and tender and the splash of red wine vinegar gives it a bit of guts, and I have an appreciation for Jamie Oliver in general for the no-bullshit, seasonal, caviar-free recipes he puts out. We'll be doing that again, for sure. The fish was amazing: somehow P. got the time in the pan exactly, precisely right. The sauce was mostly just green onion, garlic, sesame seeds, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and a bit of ginger.

The rice was rice. Hey, simple is good.

Wednesday night was mine, and we had a lot of peas to use, and as such: FAKE LOBSTER MACARONI.

MacaroniMacaroni 2
BEHOLD MY FAKE LOBSTERY MACARONI BUT THE MACARONI IS REAL.


I have a weird, torrid passion for fake lobster. Yes, specifically fake lobster, although I like the real kind too. I don't know why. It's just one of my favourite things. And there was some on sale at the corner grocery store this week, so: macaroni.

The recipe we used was pretty basic but kind of burner-intensive: at one point I had three pots going. It's a milk-based roux sauce, rather than cream or anything, so it was marginally healthier than it could have been. We doctored it up pretty nicely with some herb gorgonzola spread that we got from the cheese store a few weeks back, and some caramelized spring onions (thus killing the green onions once and for all) and a truly monumental amount of shelled peas, and...

It was really, really good.

The surprise in that meal, though, was the salad. I've stopped photographing salads at this point, because salads, but...this one was made with the New Zealand spinach we got last week (and cucumber, and green beans, and snow peas, and yes), which is clearly a varietal of spinach, rather than spinach that's been on a long trip. And it's kind of amazing. It has a flavour: sort of tart and full and basically excellent. We got more this week, and I am surprisingly really happy about that development.


I still feel like inventory's a little ahead of us:

Strawberries
Garlic scapes
Pesto mix - basil, scapes, parsley
Beets
Carrots
Red potatoes
New Zealand spinach
Slicing cucumber
Snow peas
Zucchini
Garlic
Green beans
Mushrooms
1/2 dozen duck eggs
Cocoa Royale cookies

--and this week's additions are:

New Zealand spinach
Red potatoes
Cucumber
Red potatoes
Yellow beans
Pickling cucumbers
Swiss chard
Dill

Lobster mushrooms
1/2 dozen duck eggs
Whole grain oat cakes

I'm all mehhh, Swiss chard but I'm sure I will find a decent thing to do with it (suggestions appreciated). And I'm all yayyy, lobster mushrooms! because those are great.

Already, plans include probably another potato salad -- gotta kill those potatoes somehow -- and something involving lots of small chopped cucumbers and oil and vinegar, and New Zealand spinach going in my face.

Farmshare, Week Six

gardening
A much more interesting post for you this week! The weather broke, and so did my sicky inability to do things, and so. This week I cooked.


Last week's inventory was:

Pesto mix - basil, scapes, parsley
Beets
Mixed baby greens
Sugar snap peas
Snow peas
1 head garlic
New potatoes
Mushrooms of a type I didn't check today
1/2 dozen duck eggs

--and a whole bunch of leftovers from the Still Sick No Energy wasteland of early and mid-July. We started off easy, with salad (which I didn't photograph, because frankly you've seen all my salads already), but Sunday the fit came upon me. And I wanted to cook. A lot.

When the dust cleared, there was:

PicklingFinished pickling!
THAT'S RIGHT GARLIC SCAPES SAY MY NAME, SAY IT--


That's a lot of garlic scapes, trimmed down and put in jars and pickled for the After Times. The jar on the right is chile and rosemary, and the jar on the right is with mint, because this is an experiment and we embrace things that might taste awesome or might taste awful. The brine was pretty easy: cider vinegar, water, salt, and a bit of sugar. I don't get to taste them until six weeks after canning, so in...about five weeks we'll find out if this worked.

There was also:

Beets beets beets.
Oonts oonts oonts...


I was saying I needed to find more creative things to do with beets, and I got it: beet and beet green gratin. This is a recipe I appreciate because it actually uses the whole animal: you roast the beets, blanch/saute the greens with garlic, and throw the whole thing in the oven with beaten eggs and green onions and a little bit of milk and a nice solid amount of grated cheese. This might be a keeper -- it was really, really good, with the way the cheese cuts/mellows the earthy beetiness, and it basically contains things that show up from CSA and go into my fridge anyway. And produced easy leftovers. Win!

Putting things in bread continues, too, and things on bread: I finally did something with the shell beans from Week 2 -- a shell bean and sage spread. For some reason this didn't photograph well, but it basically involved simmering said beans with sage and thyme, and then mashing the hell out of them to mix in olive oil, salt, pepper, chopped garlic, chopped onion, lemon juice, and more sage. It is Nice on Bread for a Snack, and made half my lunch (with interminable salad) for a good part of the week.

We were out for dinner more than usual this week -- Indian on a night P. had rec league and I had a volunteer meeting, within a few blocks of each other, and then yesterday afternoon we had a high tea Groupon to use before it expired, so scones scones scones -- but Tuesday night we got down to making the first 2013 potato salad:

Potato.
Boil 'em mash 'em stick 'em in a stew.


The success of my potato salad recipe is directly linked to how much stuff you put in it, so: potatoes, green beans (extra-CSA; we got them at the corner fruit market because they're green beans), hardboiled duck eggs, sugar snap peas, garlic scapes, green onions, and woohoo. The potato salad wins when there is more green stuff in it than white stuff. This potato salad won.

We had it for dinner with some rosemary-white bean soup I'd made and frozen some time this spring, and then it went into more lunches. We have been eating an awful lot of leftovers this week. Which...feels all right, really. They're exceedingly fresh leftovers, and even though I work from home, I still appreciate being able to have lunch ready quick so I can keep on with what I'm working on.


This all left us with a much better handle on the inventory:

Green onions (Almost there! End in sight!)
Baby leeks
Strawberries
Shelling Peas
Garlic scapes (I kept some out of the pickling expedition for salads and stuff.)
Pesto mix - basil, scapes, parsley
Beets
Sugar snap peas
Snow peas
Garlic
Carrots
Cucumber
Mushrooms
3 duck eggs

Look at that! Only three eggs left! It's full of stars!

This week's haul, picked up not two hours back:

Red potatoes
New Zealand spinach
Slicing cucumber
Snow peas
Zucchini
Baby leeks
Garlic

Mushrooms I again didn't go identifying
1/2 dozen duck eggs
Cocoa Royale cookies

Cracker share has, as you may notice, returned after the weird stealy interruption in service. I will still fight the person who took my crackers if I meet them, but for now the nice people at the pickup have put in measures to make sure my crackers get to me. We have, after some consultation, decided to extend the cracker share from its six-week experiment stage into the rest of the season. It's a little spendy, but not as spendy as buying the same crackers retail, and what it came down to was the simple fact that...we're eating them. It's created a better/healthier baseline for snacks around the house. So: Welcome to our household, cracker share. Keep being delicious.

Initial ideas for this week are already forming: P. wants to make some roasted potatoes, I'm going to finally do those roasted garlic baby leeks, and I still need to make that Every Pea and Green Bean Cucumber Raita Salad Thing before the peas start demanding trade concessions. But I'm finding it really pleasant that I haven't had one thing spoil on me since we started this year. My waste column is at zero. Perfect batting average. That feels...really, really good.

More pictures next week. My camera shall remain vigilant.

Farmshare, Week Five

gardening
Sick and heatwave temperatures: this has been another slightly unfun week for cooking (and generally the state here is not calibrated to winning at the mo'). But despite that, and a certain lack of pictures, a certain progress was made.

So.

Last week's inventory was:

1 Dancine lettuce
Rhubarb
1 quart mixed baby greens
Snow peas
Sugar snap peas
Shelling peas
1 Leaf lettuce
Garlic scapes
Beets
Black mushrooms, either chanterelles or oysters?
1/2 dozen duck eggs

--and there was a whole lot of backlog from my week of being on my back trying to keep plain rice in my tummy. But since solids were tentatively sitting, Thursday night I decided to use up a bunch of cascading duck eggs, a bunch of endless veggies, and make a dent in the green onions, and produced:

Quiche
Quiche, food of men.


The recipe for this is actually something from when I was a kid: my mom used to make a mushroom quiche and a spinach one the same night, and the leftovers would go on for ages. I don't have a froofy '80s quiche dish, so I just put spinach and mushrooms in the same quiche, and halved the recipe. This still used up a good chunk of mushrooms, five duck eggs (!), some Unrelated Spinach From the Store, and so forth. It barely dented the green onions. It was tasty.

It came with a nice salad, and, since we don't want rhubarb getting any ideas about our house and staying in it, a rhubarb-strawberry-blueberry crisp.

SaladNom
The smear on this plate is because I ate a piece of crisp before photographing this one. Priorities.


The salad was pretty simple: just some lettuce, peas, and green onions, and almond slivers and a grapefruit we had kicking around to top it off. The crisp is a crisp. I am remembering this summer how fruit crisp is basically the best thing on earth and I will just fling fruit madly into it until fruit runs out.

The other thing we've been experimenting with is putting stuff in bread. Since it worked pretty well last time (and since the heat rolled in on the weekend, and sandwiches are indicated), I did two loaves of bread this week: one challah with green onion and the herbs from the other week in it, and one with a generous heap of herbes de Provence (jar naturalized from P.'s old pantry). Putting stuff in bread is good and I highly recommend it. Since P.'s mom gifted us a rosemary and a basil plant a few weeks ago -- source of all that basil I've mentioned -- and I brought home a buttload of dried currants on Saturday, putting stuff in bread will keep happening.

Otherwise, mostly this week was sandwiches and salad: We did a huge grocery run Saturday in Kensington Market, for the things we've been running out of hard -- meat, cheese, and especially dry goods -- but it's been too hot to cook it. The salads and sandwich fixings, though, have between them used up a staggering amount of lettuce, some of the peas, and most of our available mushrooms.

There is still green onion. -.-




So not the most interesting or photo-rich of weeks (honestly, my heart just wasn't in it), but we've cut leftovers to:

Shell Beans
Green Onions (drums...drums in the Deep...)
Baby leeks
1/2 quart strawberries
Garlic scapes (current kudzu of my fridge)
1/2 bunch herbs
Rye and currant crackers (dregs)
1/2 quart snow peas
Sugar snap peas
Shelling peas
1/4 Leaf lettuce
Beets
Black mushrooms (negligible)
1/2 dozen duck eggs

Considering where we started, that's decent progress.

This week's haul, for which P. came along (partly to see where it is etc., and partly because, frankly, I'm still pretty embarassingly shaky here) was:

Pesto mix - basil, scapes, parsley
Beets
Mixed baby greens
Sugar snap peas
Snow peas
1 head garlic
New potatoes
Mushrooms of a type I didn't check today
1/2 dozen duck eggs

We added a bunch of carrots and a cucumber to that, because we wanted them.

We also found out what's been happening to our crackers, which is that some person has been taking them (!) so it's been noted as a credit with the CSA and I will fight this person with lasers at a later time. I miss my crackers.

Current plans, heat or not, include potato! salad! (I have a Methodology for epic potato salad) and just damn well pickling some of the garlic scapes for later, and turning a quantity of those peas and some green beans into a raita mint salad thingie. I need to have a thought about beets. I like beets; I am just not flexible enough about them.

I dunno. Cold things. It's hot.

And that was the week that was.

Farmshare, Week Four

gardening
...on the whole, a wash.  It was Friday evening I got sick, right at the beginning of the groceries calendar week, and life has been mostly wonton soup and rice ever since (although that's improving rapidly today, to the point where I'm actually planning a proper dinner for tonight).

But I did make like one thing, so we'll duly record.



Last week's load was:

Baby leeks
Strawberries
Sugar snap peas
Lettuce
Garlic scapes
Herbs (I think thyme?)
One lonely rhubarb

Chanterelle mushrooms
1/2 dozen duck eggs
Rye and currant crackers

-- and aside from the crackers, which came incredibly in handy when what I needed was flat plain things to eat, very little got off the ground. But I did start the week off right: By looking at all the garlic scapes invading my fridge and promptly making pesto.


Big pestoSmall pesto
Big pesto! Smaller individual potion!


So it happens that if you take ten thousand okay eight or nine garlic scapes, and blend them with some parmesan, walnuts, olive oil, pepper, and a bit of lemon juice, you get garlic pesto. Which is delicious; also like being punched in the mouth by someone wearing garlic-clove brass knuckles. I can only recommend eating this dish as a couple, because then at least you won't be bothering each other with the resultant vampire breath.

There are chanterelle mushrooms in this because Reasons.

We also did salad for that one:

Strawberry salad
There is nothing interesting about this salad, really.


And then I got sick and, while P. made me some scrambled eggs and a neat little green onion-duck egg omelette for himself the other day, that was mostly it.



We do have this week's groceries: Luckily, for the days I can't get out to the pickup (and P. can't get out of the office for the window) there is an awesome green delivery company, basically one cool lady and her cargo bike, which has a standing offer to bring you your share for about eight bucks.

So our leftovers just went huge due to the week of inactivity:

Those damned shell beans
Green onions
9 duck eggs
Baby leeks
Strawberries
Sugar snap peas
1/2 a head lettuce
Garlic scapes (there were inexplicably still some left)
Herbs (thyme or savory; one of those)
One lonely rhubarb
1/3 bag chanterelle mushrooms
1/3 bag rye and currant crackers

Plus this week's load:

1 Dancine lettuce
Rhubarb (damn. I already quit you.)
1 quart mixed baby greens
Snow peas
Sugar snap peas
Shelling Peas
1 Leaf lettuce
Garlic Scapes (my old nemesis.)
Beets

Black mushrooms, either chanterelles or oysters?
1/2 dozen duck eggs
(No crackers this week for some reason I will investigate in person next week.)

I'm starting to stick together tonight's dinner (quiche), and if my stomach keeps accepting solid food, even if cautiously, I feel like we should be able to catch up on all that.

Hell, if not, I'll have some people over for dinner. Hey friends: Come eat my produce.

And I'm still doing that thingie with the baby leeks.

Farmshare, Week Three

gardening
CSA day!  Food post!

Last week's haul was:

10 Garlic Scapes
6 pieces Rhubarb
1 quart strawberries
Green Onions
Lettuce
Dill

1/2 dozen duck eggs
Oyster mushrooms
Cheddar, paprika, and spelt crackers

--and we appear to be settling into a rhythm with it.  This week in feeding ourselves like adults was notably more successful than last, even if it meant a little repetition.

French toast
Mulligan.

P. tried the French Toast experiment again, with some better results: this is rhubarb strawberry toast, made with one of the duck eggs and homemade green onion bread (aka, Friday morning's breakfast).  Improvement!  Needs more eggs, we think!  Rhubarb is sadly still itself.

Friday dinner, though, knocked it out of the park:
FishMushroom salad
Aww yeah that's right.

Mostly it's that we had dill.  And in my world there aren't a lot of good things to do with dill, which I don't especially like, but there is fish.  And we had lemons.  And sour cream.  And horseradish.  And there was a recipe.

So what we have here is salmon with a
sour cream, lemon, horseradish, red pepper flakes, dill, and green onion sauce, courtesy our friend the Internet.  And brown rice with the rest of those herbs from Week 2 in it, as well as some dried roasted onion and dried parsley I got from CSA last season (dry goods occasionally last around here).  And a salad that pulled in our Week 3 lettuce, green onions, the last of Week 1's green garlic, and the mushrooms that were apparently not all oysters, and mostly chanterelles -- and topped it off with some leftover broccoli, blueberries, and almonds.

This basically rocked the house.  Fish was amazing.  Sauce was amazing.  Salad was epic.

Crowning touch, though: Friday afternoon I went on my first Not Far From the Tree pick of the season: mulberries, about three blocks from home.  And returned, sweaty and stinky and tree-climby and rained on, with this:
Mulberries
Hey there sexy mulberries.

I was somewhat exercised Friday night, and baking is one of the things that cools my temper down.  And we had all that pestersome, endless rhubarb.  So the mulberries, and all the rhubarb, and a little flour, butter, sugar, cinnamon, quick oats, became:
Crisp
Crisp!

I haven't made a crisp in a really long time, and I'm not really sure why.  Because this turned out just about perfect.  We finally made the rhubarb delicious.  Hail Dessertopia.

Better yet, there was enough of it for three full helpings each through the week.  And not a rhubarb remained that day.

Saturday was not a cooking day: We made the journey into the 'burbs to Ikea (!) to get ourselves a dresser, and thus have a place to put clothes that isn't the laundry basket, a shelf, or the floor (long story).  P. had never been to Ikea before this day.  I had to despoil his Ikea virtue with the full experience, and that meant meatballs:
Ikea!
Disgusting and awesome.  Awesgusting?
There are precious few greens in Ikea.  But the little dessert pastry thing was shockingly good.

Also I took a picture of the snack we made on Sunday night, because it has crackers in it, and we never show crackers for some reason:
Snack
Proof of crackers.
Probably the most fun thing we did this week was the Canada Day Hubris Omelette, a true testament to how hubristic I can get and how you can't just double some recipes.
HubrisOn plate
In pan, and then on plate.
The Hubris Omelette was supposed to be two omelettes, but I didn't want to juggle two pans, and thus our pride against the gods was set in motion.  It was also delicious, and it was one of the first things we've done this season that was pretty much all local ingredients: duck eggs, local/organic milk (I get that from the corner store, but it's a regional dairy), garlic scapes, green onions, some of those last bits of mixed herbs, chaneterelle mushrooms, and the goat milk cheddar we got from CSA as an extra last week.  The only not-local things in it were a bit of butter for the pan and some black pepper.

In the little game I am playing with myself, to try and keep my ingredients small and local and my carbon footprint low, this was an unqualified victory.

Most of the rest of the week was a series of repeat or leftovers actions (we did the fish thing again, and some bread-and-cheese-and-salad lunches) but the last thing I actually photographed was Tuesday night's dinner.  At this point we were getting low on stuff, had enough lettuce and fixings left over to do up an apple-and-almond salad, and P. had asked if he should bring home something, although he'd already got some brie and tomatoes--
20130703_002221
Result.

This sandwich was A Thing: the last bits of my green onion bread, brie, tomatoes, mayonnaise, balsamic vinegar, and a generous helping of basil from the basil plant P. brought home a few days before, to establish in our living room.  It was kind of the epitome of joy in simple things.  And a strong argument (besides the endless green onions) for making more of that bread.

--

The leftovers list is looking pretty reasonable:

Shell Beans from Week 2, which I still haven't touched and need to find a use for;
8 garlic scapes;
1/2 quart strawberries;
Green onions (endless);
7 duck eggs.

This week's provisions are a little more diverse:

Baby leeks
Strawberries
Sugar snap peas
Lettuce
Garlic scapes
Herbs (I think thyme?)
One lonely rhubarb

Chanterelle mushrooms
1/2 dozen duck eggs
Rye and currant crackers

We are still consistently running out of things that combine into actual meals by about Tuesday.  I need to plan some other shopping better, maybe.  And start thinking, on a different level, outside the box.

In the meantime, the baby leeks have a date with destiny.

Farmshare, Week Two

gardening
It is CSA day!  I am posting on CSA day!  A little late, mind, since there was a birthday party to attend tonight, but nonetheless this is two solid weeks of actual reportage.  Shocking.



As you may recall, last week's spoils were:

1 Dancine Lettuce
1 bunch assorted herbs
1 quart baby greens
1 bunch asparagus
1 bunch green Onions
1 bunch rhubarb
1 pint black shell beans

1/2 pound chanterelle mushrooms
1/2 dozen duck eggs
Pumpkin/sesame seed red fife crackers

--and while we are not as far through that as we were with Week 1 (due partially to it being stupid, stupid hot out most of the week and not really wanting to cook because it made heat), we have done credibly, if not always well.



Rhubarb soup
I look all pink and delicious, don't I?



This is where most of the rhubarb went: Week 1's, and over half of Week 2's, and then most of the asparagus and some green onion bulbs besides.  In fact, it made me feel downright housewifeian: Two pots going on the stove while I made croutons with some home-baked bread in the oven, and a whole timing thing that only worked out because P. made it in the door with the baby spinach just in time.

Alas, that for all that work, it wasn't very good.

I mean, it wasn't terrible: It just wasn't very good.  It had a strong rhubarb and slightly onion flavour that wanted for roundness and depth.  We dumped a bunch of Parmesan cheese in it to attempt rescue, ate our dinner, and kind of learned our lesson on that one.  Pink soup, you were meh.  We will not make you again.

Rhubarb failure continued with Friday's breakfast, rhubarb and blackberry french toast (we had decided we needed to start using eggs already).  This is not pictured, because I cannot be assed to photograph my food when I've just rolled out of bed, but P. apologized for it and deemed it FailToast, so I gather he was not happy with his creation.  Rhubarb is not kind, guys.  Also, when we're using French bread for this, we will henceforth use more eggs.

Things picked up Saturday night, which is also, sadly unphotographed.  Having worked a hot long day at the bookstore, I came home and promptly passed out face down for a nap, and P. put together a really very good stirfry out of the rest of the asparagus, green onion, green garlic, chanterelle mushrooms, baby bok choy (last of that fruit market stuff!) and some tamarind, oyster sauce, etc.  It was basically a veggies cleanout, and it was delicious because my head hurt and I was starving and yum.

The other thing we learned that night is that pink grapefruit drizzled with a touch of buckwheat honey is basically the best thing on earth.  Guh.

Then on Sunday we went to our local for brunch and didn't cook some more.  Here's my best-beloved P. performing the typical behaviour of his species while I harass him with a camera because he just looked very sweet that day.



Kitty
Serious tea is serious.



By the time we got back to cooking food it was Tuesday, and we had some eggs to use like a mofo, so I baked some green onion bread and made fancy egg salad (a whole whack of duck eggs, green onion, green garlic, mayo, honey, capers, and some of the herbs from the Week 2 batch).


Egg saladSalad
Open-faced sandwiches seem to be a thing now. Also, salad is good.  And I don't know why the cow looks like he's coming out of my sandwich.


The egg salad sandwich was another of those eight-minute super simple things that tasted really, really good: We piled some baby greens and tomato on top of those suckers and it was pretty much done.  The salad, which is what we did with the Dancine lettuce, the rest of the black morels, some chanterelle mushrooms, and a bunch of the baby greens -- plus some almonds and strawberries that were fading -- was also nice and cold and pretty simple.  I still have a bit left in the fridge.


20130626_23590720130627_000206
The laziest dinner.


Since we were continuing all lazy and leftovery: In going through the fridge earlier this week I discovered, among the various frozen food things my roommate left behind when she moved, a package of Loblaws hamburgers.  And well, they were frozen, and they were there, so we thawed them and Wednesday's dinner was hamburger time.

This did actually manage to use CSA food: the rest of the baby greens, more of the interminable green onions and garlic, and that's the last of the chanterelles up there caramelized, with some red onion.  The ketchup is actually CSA too: Made by one of the farm families and bought as an extra in Week 1.  The mustard isn't, but it's locally made at a preserves store in Kensington Market, and was worth the five bucks, as it is amazing.

Hamburgers themselves: strictly okay.  Toppings?  Awesome.  Next time we want burgers I'll just get some ground beef and make them, instead of eating things my roommate left in the freezer because they are there and free.

Dessert, however, was a highlight:


20130627_000217(0)
Heh heh.


Just some fruit that was about to go: mango, apricot, strawberries, and blueberries.  But I also poured some Chartreuse in, and let it soak for a while.  And...yo.  Also: Damn.

The crackers, again, got eaten in and around things.  There is no photo evidence of them as yet.  But they were good.



So for a kind of lazyfaced, too hot, low-maintenance week, we didn't do too badly.

The leftovers:

Assorted herbs
1/2 bunch of green onions
2 or 3 pieces of rhubarb
Shell beans, which I didn't even touch
1/2 dozen duck eggs

--and our provisions for Week 3:

10 Garlic Scapes
6 pieces Rhubarb
1 quart strawberries
Green Onions
Lettuce
Dill

1/2 dozen duck eggs
Oyster mushrooms
Cheddar, paprika, and spelt crackers

Goat milk cheddar, which was not included in our share, but they had some there and the price was right.

We are thinking fish.  And something to do with that damnable rhubarb that'll probably involve caving and making a pie.

And that has been This Week in Local Eating!

The Return of CSA Warblogging.

gardening
Given my track record for sticking to this, well.  We'll see if I do.  But two things have changed between this season and last:

1) I have a new phone, with a vastly, vastly better camera (see: one that works);
2) This is not just my farmshare now.  It's our farmshare.  And that, among other things, may well serve to keep me honest.

So, yes.  Farmshare started again last Thursday.  :)



Week 1, picked up Thursday last, was:

1 head Dancine lettuce
1 quart mixed baby greens
1 bunch rhubarb
1 bunch asparagus
1 bunch green onions
1 bunch green garlic

1/2 pound black morel mushrooms
6 duck eggs
1 package spicy dal spelt crackers

You may notice some differences here.  For one, I backed way off on the eggs, because you do not even want to know how recently there were still extra eggs sitting in my fridge.  Despite all my grand plans of baking and omelettes and whatnot, apparently I just don't use a dozen a week.  And for the weeks I do want extras, I can just buy them there, so it seemed prudent to dial it back.

For two, there's the crackers.  They're actually a cracker, cookie, and granola share, from Evelyn's Crackers, which uses local, heritage grains from a few specific farms.  P.'s changed my eating habits somewhat (and I his): at the tender age of 30, I started to regularly eat breakfast again (shocking, I know), and now we go through small oceans of muesli cereal and granola.  So we figured we'd give this a try.  We've only signed up for six weeks out of the 22 total on this one, with the plan to extend it if we like what we're getting.



That said: Holy.  We used almost everything. We used this stuff up, and then some.

If anything underlines the difference between doing groceries for one person and for two, this is it: I don't think I ever wiped out the list inside a week by myself.  I just wouldn't cook that intensively when it was just me.  Now that we can trade it up -- or cook together -- it gets done a little more, and we'll both do better dishes when someone besides ourselves is eating them too.  Go figure.

So, this week in pictures:
Tuna
Hello. I am delicious.

I made this tuna melt object for lunch a few times this week, for a very specific reason: I had a loaf of bread that wasn't quite behaving right (moral: apparently flour does go flat.  Do not use the flour that sat in your boyfriend's old apartment's kitchen for he won't admit how many years).  All the tasty stuff on top softened up the bread enough to make it good for eating.

This was also pretty basic stuff: baby greens, green onion and garlic from the CSA, tomatoes, and sharp Swiss cheese on top of tinned tuna and mayo, on top of bread that didn't rise right.  Quick, economical, and full of food groups.





Pierogies
Note increase in effort when we cook together.




This is Sunday night's dinner, on my stove which needs cleaning (I know, shush): P. brings to the fight the delicious St. Lawrence Market pierogies on the left, done with green beans, red onion, and some CSA green garlic.  My job was a vegetable, so I threw the CSA asparagus, some green garlic and onions, and black morel mushrooms in a pan with a little bit of olive oil, soy sauce, and oyster sauce and some spinach, baby bok choy, and shiitake mushrooms we'd got on the cheap at the fruit market at Bloor and Palmerston.  I think there was ginger in there too.

Verdict: Hot damn.  They were kind of fakey Chinese greens, but they were good fakey Chinese greens.  We did not have leftovers.

Not pictured is Saturday's very late dinner, in which I came home from reading at an event outside of Peterborough at 1am, exhausted, and P. made maple and five spice sausages with red onion! and dates! and a salad with the baby greens/mushrooms/blackberries/almonds/broccoli for dinner because he is a mad genius.  But that is where most of the baby greens went.

Also not pictured: The slow eating of the dal-spiced Evelyn's Crackers package, which went into a number of very delicious little snack plates with brie or sage derby, and cherries, and grapes, and blueberries, and whatever other fruit we had in the house.  The crackers are gone too.
Shrimp



My table is messy too. What? I was on deadline.



Final documented meal for this week is Tuesday's dinner, also a team effort, and where most of the edges of what was left went.  Finding myself in the utterly unprecedented position of running out of CSA veggies two days early, I started a salad with the Dancine lettuce, to realize I didn't have enough greens there.  So I threw in what was left of that spinach.  And the bok choy.  And the broccoli.  And some of that endless green garlic and onions, and the shiitake mushrooms to pad out the black morels.

What resulted was kind of a mishmash bitter greens salad that was actually really, really good.  It had a lot of variety and flavour, even if it was the variety of cleaning out your fridge.

The rice was likewise pretty experimental: I knew P. wanted some coconut milk for the curry shrimp (P. is Minister of Curry; I am bad at curry things) so I opened a tin and put some in the rice.  And then was all "Hmm," and threw in spices too: star anise, cinnamon, a bit of that fresh ginger left over from the greens the other night.  And then threw in our last handful of raisins, some almonds, and a chopped-up fresh apricot, because the apricot was getting up there and why not?

It was interesting.  I think if we try that one again I'll want to balance the flavours a little bit: This was Science! and we both knew it.  More spice, maybe, and less coconut.

And then we had very little left in the fridge, but luckily it was Thursday.



So, this having run quite long, our leftovers from Week 1:

Rhubarb (I'll get to this tonight)
2 green onions
1 spring garlic

a handful of black morel mushrooms
1/2 dozen duck eggs (didn't get to the eggs.  must bake.)

--and our provisions for Week 2:

1 Dancine Lettuce
1 bunch assorted herbs
1 quart baby greens
1 bunch asparagus
1 bunch green Onions
1 bunch rhubarb
1 pint black shell beans

1/2 pound chanterelle mushrooms
1/2 dozen duck eggs
Pumpkin/sesame seed red fife crackers

I have Plans for that rhubarb tonight.  Plans that go like this.

Tune in next week, for the thrilling continuation.  :p

Sep. 5th, 2012

gardening
September 4, 2012 Progress Notes:

On Roadstead Farm

Words today: 500.
Words total: 35,400 (wrong).
Reason for stopping: Bed.

Motivational Threat of the Day: None. I should start bugging people for them.

Darling du Jour: We'd sent for the Blakelys, and we got all of them. Everyone except the sheep.
Mean Things: Battlefield surgery. The fact that we needed that battlefield surgery like whoa.

Research Roundup: Parts of a feather.
Books in progress: Sean Stewart, The Night Watch


It having been Labour Day weekend, I didn't do any labour. Instead P. and I went to the CNE and rode the Ferris wheel and ate deep-fried butter. And then I took some nice naps.

However, it is no longer Labour Day, so: words. And a CSA pickup this evening, walking through the rain down to Dufferin and College, and then back. The CSA had smoked ducks this week, so now I have a smoked duck.

Tomorrow is going to be a fine, fine day. :)

CSA, Weeks the Three and Four

gardening
Missed a week, last week, but! I have good reasons! I was being a little too emo for my own good at the beginning of last week, and it was hot, and thus I did not post. We'll double this one up and do it a day early, since I have the feeling I won't be visiting the MyMarket farmer's market tomorrow. I already have too much stuff in the fridge, and I'm going out of town for Readercon in a little over a week.

So, when last we left our intrepid farmshare, we had started with:

5 rhubarbs
1 pint field greens
1 lettuce (bigger)
1 pint peas (woot woot)
1 bunch oregano
1 pint strawberries
12 garlic scapes

6 duck eggs
6 chicken eggs
morel mushrooms
shiitake mushrooms

--and the leftovers from week one.

Add to that week three's takings:

2 Dancine Lettuces (mini butterhead variety)
1/4 lb garlic scapes
1 pint snow peas
1 pint shell peas
1 bunch green onions
1 bunch radishes
1 pint of strawberries

6 duck eggs
6 chicken eggs
morel mushrooms

So for the first week, before I had my post-draft ennui with added dash of it's-too-hot and got super emo, I was mad creative:

Asparagus
Behold ye my side dishes.


Aside from salads the size of my face, of which there were several (note: chestnuts and horseradish cheddar are awesome together in face salad) and some strawberry smoothies, general eating of strawberries, etc., the things I was pretty proud of were a few departures. I had that bunch of asparagus from Week 1 to dispose of, as well as some Jerusalem artichokes, and hadn't actually cooked either very frequently before. But a friend was coming over for dinner and a movie (and helpfully supplying homemade green curry!) so I said I'd step up with the side dishes. And, well.

The asparagus is steamed, with fresh oregano from the bunch I got in Week 2, a bit of butter, and some of the fancy Murray River salt on top. This was pretty seriously amazing; simple and tidy and really good.

As for the Jerusalem artichokes, I did a little googling and got the idea for fries. Sort of.

They were steamed too, and cut into slices (see blurry picture in little bowl). For a dip, though, I stuck together some mayo, a few cloves of chopped garlic, a few teaspoons of wildflower honey from Week 1, and some capers I've had in my fridge for god knows how long. And it was sort of aioli in a really, really nice way.

I think I snacked on those things all week.

Spinach
Pan shot, here. Magic about to happen.


The other thing that I was pretty smug about: the spinach.

I had some beets that I roasted in anticipation of Russian beet salad, which kind of has yet to happen, but it meant I had some beet greens newly free, and it felt like a waste to just compost them when they are food too. So for my lunch Thursday before last, I chopped up a sping onion really small, some garlic, all the shiitake mushrooms I got from that other market on Brunswick Ave., and sauteed them, along with some of Week 1's spinach, in butter and a little balsamic vinegar.

This was amazing.

I thought I'd made too much for one meal and the rest would probably go a bit slimy? But no. It was too amazing. I ate the whole giant bowl of greens for lunch and was exceedingly smug about it. That needs to happen again, seriously.

And then, well, I got a little deadliney and mopey, and then it was a long weekend and I spent way too much time and cash eating out of doors or at friends' houses (including tasty Indian buffet on Canada Day!), and have no more cooking to report.

Also, this is the first set of weeks where I've started to produce discernable leftovers. One of those face-sized salads lasted a couple days.


But since we're back on the wagon, the Week Four veggies, which I picked up a few hours ago:

1 lettuce
1 qt field greens
1 bunch baby beets
1 bunch summer savory
1 qt snow peas
1 head garlic
1 bunch radishes

6 chicken eggs
Hen of the woods mushrooms

And 1 jar organic yogourt from The Depanneur, which is, among other things, a quasi-restaurant/community food space, and where my CSA pickup is, and where I tend to stop in after picking up said CSA veggies for an iced coffee or homemade soda or something.

I did not get duck eggs this week because they were out. So I'm getting double next week.

And now sora_blue is coming over, and I'm going to make some peas and mint raita, and we're gonna eat it and watch bad movies.

CSA, Week the Two.

gardening
Week one! In retrospect, I ate out of doors a lot this week: a combination of NXNE, and it being very hot out, and preexisting food plans with friends, and having errands to run all over the city. This means I didn't do a bucket of cooking, but what I did I'm really happy with.

As we recall, we started with:

4 stalks rhubarb
1 head lettuce
1 quart field greens
1 quart jerusalem artichokes
1 kale
1 bunch spring onions
1 bunch beets
6 duck eggs
6 chicken eggs
1/2 pound chanterelle mushrooms

And bought as extras:

1 bunch asparagus
1 bunch carrots

...and bought, the next day, from the Bloor-Borden farmers' market:

1 jar wildflower honey
1 pint strawberries
1 pint raspberries
2 bunches spinach that are giant and lovely and ohgodspinachIloveyou
1 rack lamb
1 pint cherry tomatoes




This week was mostly good for salads as big as your face.
Salad
Salad, face-sized.


This one was Wednesday's dinner: that tiny head of lettuce, a 1/2 pint field greens, spring onions, strawberries, chanterelle mushrooms, a mead vinaigrette, and a bit of chevre on top. I did some even better ones, involving the rest of the field greens and getting into the spinach, later on into the week.

This was also a good week for Things We Put Vegetables In. For example, sauteeing a bunch of vegetables and putting them in pasta! Or sauteeing a bunch of vegetables and putting them in scrambled eggs, even better when the eggs are duck eggs (and I think I will be putting kale in omelettes in future, too; that was a good call).

I feel like I'm using the egg share a little smarter already, too: the scrambled eggs, which I needed very badly after four days of NXNE, used up four duck eggs; two more were hard-boiled and just eaten cold with my salads, to get some protein into the meal. And some of the chicken eggs went to a batch of avgolemono Friday night, when I also needed protein very badly. Last year I kept finding myself with leftover eggs every week, which just built and built. So far, I've used nearly my full dozen in the week this time around.

I find I'm already snacking better, too. Some of those cherry tomatoes, I just ate with a little salt. And the raspberries never really went into anything except my mouth.

I will take mo' better pictures this week.


Which brings us to the Week Two batch, picked up last night:

5 rhubarbs
1 pint field greens
1 lettuce (bigger)
1 pint peas (woot woot)
1 bunch oregano
1 pint strawberries
12 garlic scapes

6 duck eggs
6 chicken eggs
morel mushrooms (!!!)

--and some shiitake mushrooms I found at the little market on Brunswick and wheedled my way into getting to buy.

I'm not going to the Bloor-Borden market this week: I kind of want more of those tomatoes, but I have a lot of perishable veggies in the fridge, and at this point buying more would be an eyes-bigger-than-stomach situation. And also, before meeting sora_blue for cold noodles in Kensington last night, I ducked into the cheese store and got five or six kinds of cheese, so I'm probably in business for a while here.

Check back next Wednesday, when Dr. Strangepork asks: Will she actually make strawberry-rhubarb pie, or just talk about making it?

Mostly to do with food!

the dress
June 13, 2012 Progress Notes:

"Wild Card"

Words today: 600.
Words total: 5500.
Reason for stopping: Ice cream! We want it.

Books in progress: Ross Macdonald, The Chill.


So yes: mostly authoring today -- interviews, and some admin stuff, and then a bunch of words. And a small trip to the farmer's market at the foot of my street this afternoon, so let's add the following to our Week 1 groceries:

1 jar wildflower honey
1 pint strawberries
1 pint raspberries
2 bunches spinach that are giant and lovely and ohgodspinachIloveyou
1 rack lamb
1 pint cherry tomatoes

I have already been into said strawberries. Mm.

And now, yes, we're going to get some ice cream. Because there's lots of healthy things in this house, but none of them are ice cream.

CSA blogging. Really. Maybe.

gardening
June 12, 2012 Progress Notes:

"Wild Card"

Words today: 1400.
Words total: 4900.
Reason for stopping: It's midnight, and I was hit-the-ground-running by ten this morning, so I am kind of tired and going to bed to read noir books.

Books in progress: Ross Macdonald, The Galton Case.


Among other things, today was the first day of summer CSA (and the crowd cheers: CSA! CSA!). That means the season of fridge austerity, when I tried to eat my freezer soup and not buy groceries for a week or so, is now over, to be replaced by the season of:

4 stalks rhubarb
1 head lettuce
1 quart field greens
1 quart jerusalem artichokes
1 kale
1 bunch spring onions
1 bunch beets
6 duck eggs
6 chicken eggs
1/2 pound chanterelle mushrooms

And bought as extras:

1 bunch asparagus
1 bunch carrots

Yes, we are going to attempt CSA blogging again. Let's see if my attention span and my camera software hold out this time.

And...go!

Hold on; let go.

gardening
May 3, 2012 Progress Notes:

On Roadstead Farm

Words today: 1,350.
Words total: 24,400.
Reason for stopping: My ears are bleeding vowels and random bits of punctuation. And besides, I am awaited by someone who has ice cream and gin drinks.

Darling du Jour: I snuck a glance over to the smokehouse, sitting empty in the distance. It looked the same as ever: thick-walled and solid, a deep-planted anchor 'round which the whole world could turn.

Words Hallie Won't Admit to Knowing: N/A.
Mean Things: One's secrets not being so secret at all. Being so paranoid in one's family relationships as to have insurance on your property rights.

Research Roundup: The lifespan of plastic objects, which is unfortunately not long enough for our purposes. Country dances.
Books in progress: China Mieville, Railsea


Another day of lots of words but not quite enough forward: Buckets more taking of the subtext and making it text, explaining why things are important, letting air into the prose, and so forth. Which makes for a clearer read and is important for people who like good writing (ie, me), but is not necessarily getting me forward. I would like to be forward soon. Where soon = tomorrow afternoon at the latest.

In other news: It is good to know that when I told myself, When I am a full-time writer I will totally eat all the tasty freezer soup in the freezer, I was not lying. Stuff I pre-cooked is at an all-time low. Since most if it's soup/chili/stuff I make because I have CSA vegetables that need using quicker than I can eat them, this is probably extremely healthy as well as economical.

Okay. This took all day. I'm heading out for my promised deconstructed gin floats.

Gnar.

gardening
April 19, 2012 Progress Notes:

On Roadstead Farm

Words today: 300.
Words total: 22,250.
Reason for stopping: This is not a day that has been cooperating with me, and I have to head out to a prior commmitment. Back to this when I get home, maybe.

Darling du Jour: N/A.

Words Hallie Won't Admit to Knowing: N/A.
Mean Things: The inability to get uninterrupted work done.

Research Roundup: Hydrangea, and whether it grows in Michigan.
Books in progress: Patrick Ness, The Knife of Never Letting Go


This afternoon's lunch: spinach salad, with slivered daikon, strawberries, mushrooms, horseradish cheddar, and mead vinaigrette; grapefruit eucalyptus tea; carrot cake; small sweet clementines. It was a ridiculously late lunch, but it made up for that by being good. I've had a frustrating couple of days, and I'm minded to talk about good things instead.

Okay, consider this a bit of a placeholder. I might add a couple hundred more sometime ridiculously late tonight.

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