Make Things Easy When You Need To!…plus CSA & mkts 6.16.2018

Sometimes you need to make things all the way from scratch…sometimes you need to make things easier. We’re a busy family, and good, healthy food is important to us. That can mean some Sundays we make more elaborate meals, and it can also mean that a lot of summertime meals are simply our vegetables plus olive/coconut oil and salt and garlic, in combination with a protein and some carbs. But can a family experience more flavor/seasonings, while also keeping it healthy and getting everyone to where they need to be, and on time? Here are some tricks that we use. Feel free to weigh in with comments about your favorite tricks in this category.

Herb blends. We only recently discovered how valuable these are. They totally change a meal!
Suddenly, sauteed greens with eggs becomes conversation-worthy with the addition of one of our favorite herb blends. In fact, simply our Salad Mix with olive oil plus a sprinkling of an herb blend is making our kids crazy happy! Our favorites currently are Fox Point, Sunny Paris, and Sate by Penzey’s Spices. (Order online or visit their store in Carytown.)

AND – if making your own salad dressing seems like too much, you can use an herb blend to take the mystery out of seasoning it. Check out the Italian Dressing Base, Buttermilk Ranch Dressing base, and Green Goddess Dressing Base, also by Penzey’s Spices. This is smart.

Likewise, our Tomatoes are perfect for fresh salsa and pico de gallo. You can season it quickly and well by picking up Mrs. Wage’s Salsa Seasoning, available at local grocery stores. (See the canning section.) You don’t have to can it to enjoy it! And you get to enjoy that it is seasoned quickly enough for you to make it to soccer/baseball/swim/choir practice, or bridge/knitting/study group.

Pre-made Sauces – This category is the one with a lot of unhealthy options, so choose wisely. Whether you reach for marinades, simmer sauces, or some other form of a pre-made sauce, there are options where the ingredients are real, simple, and tasty. Some dear CSA members have introduced us to Calcutta Kitchens and we have loved each sauce we have tried! And it’s the help we need sometimes to get a healthy meal prepared in the time that we have. Dice up a load of our veggies, put in a pan with the jar of the sauce, and cook for ten minutes. Serve over rice or quinoa or barley or farro or wheat berries, etc. Add beans or tofu or meat or cheese as you like. This week we really loved their Makhani Tikka Simmer Sauce cooked with our scallions, summer squash, cabbage, kale, okra, and broccoli, served over pearled barley.

Frozen Carb/Protein Additions – We don’t use this option very often, but we hear from CSA members and customers that a bag of frozen ravioli (Bombolini in the Fan makes the best) or potstickers (organic, vegetarian ones available at Costco), combined with our vegetables, can make a great meal without tremendous thought or fuss. What other options are there? Tell us. We’d love to share the news.

Grill It – Whether we’re talking Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (that’s what’s on our menu for tonight…with sides of a Hearty Kale Salad with Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette and a dice Tomato Salad with Olive Oil and Garlic) or grilled squash, eggplant, okra, garlic scapes, or broccoli, there’s magic in grilling. Perhaps in combination with the herb blends or marinades mentioned above (yes…we now sprinkle our grilled cheese sandwiches with favorite herbs/blends), grilling is simple, takes no creativity, and is delicious. We pair it with a salad, ideally with some crunchy vegetables on top of the greens, and protein, and carbs for those who eat them. It’s seriously tasty and takes more time than other forms of cooking, but gets included here for the simplicity and universal taste bud approval.

Saturday’s Farm Share will most likely include: 

Salad Mix, Scallions, Cucumbers, Summer Squash, Cabbage, Broccoli, and Tomatoes {both slicing and Cherry Tomatoes}

Vegetable Notes & Recipe Suggestions…also cataloged on our Recipe Page and see our Pinterest Page  
Scallions – Make Pho! A delicious Vietnamese soup, you can make it vegetarian or with meat. It’s best to make your own vegetable broth for it (with the veg scraps you’ve been saving in the freezer!) but you can certainly purchase broth. The vegetables that you can add to it are flexible and numerous. Try including our Napa Cabbage. See this Easy Vegetarian Pho recipe or try this simple Beef Noodle Pho.
Cabbage – Cabbage is a staple around our home. We could eat it for months and months. Don’t be intimidated by the Chinese Napa version! It is just a different shape and texture than traditional smooth leaf cabbage. Make stir frychinese cabbage slawstuffed cabbage leaves (sub vegetarian protein as preferred), or simply cook it down with the fat or liquid of your choice to make Cabbage with Caraway seeds. More daring but very addictive is to make Kimchi (don’t tell a traditionalist, but you can leave out the radish!). Most of these recipes also include Scallions. These two veggies are great together.
Broccoli – Note that sometimes there are broccoli worms within the florets! Break apart and soak in salt water for 20 minutes before preparing your meal if you’d like the worms to die and float out of the broccoli. (Thank you for prioritizing Organically Grown Broccoli!) Make Roasted Broccoli or Korean Broccoli (broccoli with asian barbecue sauce). And eat the greens! They are even tastier than Kale. Enjoy raw or cooked as you would Kale
Summer Squash – Have we mentioned how delicious this is grilled? Our grill is broken and we are contemplating getting a new one just because of how much we love Grilled Summer Squash. (If you are upgrading your grill – perhaps for Fathers’ Day – and want to hand off your old one to us, just let us know.) 🙂  We also love Summer Squash and Quinoa Salad (with or without Walnuts). We’ve also been relying on the veggie/grain bowl approach to meals recently, and thus recommend this Farro with Summer Squash Bowl recipe. Remember – you can sub out the grain and even the types of veggies and cheese. Or find another recipe with a sauce/dressing that resonates with you.
Tomatoes – If you aren’t going to just eat them as a sandwich or like an apple, we recommend chopping the tomato and tossing it with olive oil, sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and maybe also diced garlic (still have some Green Garlic around?). We call this our Tomato Relish and serve it alongside most meals during tomato season.

Cabbage – Keep refrigerated in an air tight bag or container, or simply loose. They don’t lose moisture very quickly.
Broccoli – Keep refrigerated and dry in an air tight bag or container.
Cucumbers & Summer Squash – Keep refrigerated and dry in a container, perhaps with a towel to absorb any liquid as they “sweat.”
Scallions – Keep refrigerated in a sealed bag or container, or loose. (They don’t loose moisture very quickly). For any of the green part that you don’t use in a dish: include them in a batch of Vegetable Stock.
Bagged Greens – Keep refrigerated in the bag in which we pack them.
Tomatoes – Keep at room temperature. Refrigeration compromises their flavor and texture.

Our harvest for Saturday’s farmers’ markets will include: 
Arugula, Beets, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Cabbage, Rainbow Chard, Cucumbers, Garlic, Curly Kale, Microgreens, Onions, maybe some Okra, Parsley, Salad Mix, Scallions, Summer Squash & Zucchini, Tomatoes (both slicing and cherry tomatoes)…plus our Organic Hearth Baked Bread (Sunny Greens, Whole Rye, Raisin, & Seed loaves for this weekend) and Tomato Chutney.
{Our farmstand is open Thurs & Friday with most of the above items…see here for updated inventory.}Anything remaining after CSA shares are distributed and our farm stand is shopped (plus the bread we bake Saturday morning)… we’ll bring on Saturday to the Brandermill Green Market or the Farmer’s Market @ St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in the West End of Richmond. Keep an eye on what we have available via the online farmers’ markets: FallLineFarms.com and Local Roots Food Coop.

~Market Share CSA member? You’re likely looking for this link here.

Enjoy ~
Janet, Dan, & the whole Broadfork crew

Want to follow along during the week, including Farm Stand updates? Visit us on Facebook or Instagram

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s