30 May 2010

pool is open, summer is here

the temperatures have certainly indicated summer for some time, but we'll mark the "official" start to summer with the long awaited opening of our community pool.  chopsticks is already sunscreened up and ready to go... ojp is staring up at me with those puppy dog eyes that just scream "dad, can i go too?!"  

time for some much needed vitamin d with a light meal to follow.

the menu (24may10):

    27 May 2010

    week 6: excited about beets

    first sign of beets in this week's box and i'm excited.  chopsticks on the other hand?  not so much.  however, she can relish in her new job as household photographer.

    another surprise box, you say?  well, i'll be, it is.

    clockwise from top left: beets, texas "sweet" onion, zucchini, summer squash, tomato, cucumber, red skinned potatoes, blueberries, snow peas

    26 May 2010

    a ball, annihilation, a racquet.... and a chicken

    i sense the start of a really bad joke forming... or just a lot of things to do with squash.  well, minus the chicken, he just made an appearance to bulk up the meal a bit.

    the menu (24may10):

    25 May 2010

    the misadventure of mr. turnip

    the "big white things" in the box this week prompted enough questions to warrant an email to everyone introducing us to mr. turnip.  it's a pleasure to meet you, mr. turnip.  i can't say i'm all that familiar with you.

    and, so, mr. turnip sat for a while gazing at me awkwardly every time i walked into the kitchen.  sorry buddy, i'm still not sure what to do with you.  

    i could have (and looking back on it, should have) gone with the lightly spicy turnip fries recipe that we were sent.  heard on good authority that these turned out very well.  instead, decided to get fancy... let's spruce mr. turnip up with some spring onions and truffle oil...  

    unfortunately, mr. turnip didn't quite make it out of the oven...  i'll spare you the gory details and just say, burning things does not make them taste better.  i think the concept would have worked if i would have paid attention.  so, here's to hoping mr. turnip decides to drop by again in the future... 

    21 May 2010

    week 5: i've been fired

    donald trump may have made it famous, but chopsticks can certainly hand over the words with a certain gusto.  turns out, i'm not that good at the photo taking... or at least not up to chopsticks' standards (looks like she's earned herself a new job!)

    keeping with the surprise boxes as they are giving us some great variety and introducing us (or challenging us depending on how you look at it) to some new things.

    clockwise from top left: snow peas, new potatoes, broccoli, turnips, spring onions, lots of space showing the box, cucumber, blueberries, maple butter (add on), summer squash

    19 May 2010

    week 4 roundup

    i truly get a kick out of the word "roundup."  like i should be donning a cowboy hat and wrangling something...

    instead here's a quick recap of the remainders of this past week's box:

    • strawberries were used to make some smoothies.  still need to perfect the recipe a bit, but the new, finally upgraded blender is amazing!

    • sweet potato is still waiting its little turn to be transformed into something yummy... keep you posted
    • sadly, the collards died.  just didn't find a place for them this week.  we'll do better next time.

    17 May 2010

    a story about pickles

    imagine that you're craving a pickle...  you are excited knowing you had just bought some the other day.  you open the fridge, wade through the mess in there and find the jar.  you open it... wait.... what is this?!  a pickle with a bite out of it?!


    true story... needless to say, i didn't get my pickle that day...

    but i do have a cucumber this week.  i'm not going to venture into the world of pickling, but, with the heat today and, given that it was a friday, i'm want something summery, light and refreshing.

    the menu (14may10):

    15 May 2010


    as in "keep it simple, stupid."  ojp looks up, "dad, did you just call me stupid?"  no, ojp, but you could get out from under my feet in the kitchen!

    nothing special here tonight.  nice day, time to grill.

    the menu (13may10):
    • bbq chicken -- sorry, no real recipe here.  season and brown the chicken (set aside).  throw a ton of stuff (tomato paste, beer, onion, garlic, seasonings, jar of  bbq sauce) and simmer in the le creuset.  put the chicken back in for 20 minutes, remove and put it on the grill for another few minutes.

    • zucchini & squash  -- same here.  garlic, zucchini, squash, salt & pepper.  grill.

    12 May 2010

    week 4: holy giant sweet potato, chopsticks

    chopsticks calls...  she's got the box....  what's in the box?!!  "it's definitely chocolate butter... and a sweet potato as big as your head,"

    she's spot on for the potato.  i mean, look a the thing!  i'll have to give her a pass on the chocolate butter since she did her official "taste test" with a sinus infection.  was actually maple butter  (i'm thinking pancakes).

    why ruin a good thing.  another surprise box this week with an addition of some cheese

    clockwise from top left:  collard greens, spring onion, cucumber, the bread shop three seed bread (sample), red potatoes, nancy foss' maple butter (sample), strawberries, zucchini, tomatoes, squash, chapel hill creamery raw milk cheese (add-on), sweet potato

    11 May 2010

    an addiction & a dog

    let me tell you, i'm addicted to my google reader (i can hear chopsticks chuckling).  great, now ojp is up and wanting to play...

    i digress.  i'll save you having to hear from me much today.  so, here's an article that came through serious eats by way of carolyn cope (umami girl) about making the most of your csa: the crisper whisperer:  10 secrets for making the most of your csa

    oh great... red ball... neighbors are going to love me... this is for you, ojp!

    10 May 2010

    to pea, or not to pea

    to pea, or not to pea, that was the question:
    whether 'tis better in the mind to serve plain
    the salt and pepper of small proportions,
    or to take a bolder approach against the ease of the microwave
    and by nuking end them.  to fry-to keep,
    no more; and by keep to say we eat
    the heart-ache and the thousand taste buds
    that taste is spreading to: 'tis consumption
    surely to be happening. to fry, to keep;
    to keep, not in this world - ay, there's the spread:

    the menu (10may10):


    pea and parmesan spread on bruschetta with ricotta
    pan-seared parmesan chicken with wilted spinach and lemon-thyme dressing

    and somewhere in the background i can hear chopsticks yelling, "peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa"

    a whole new wrap

    chopsticks has got the rap blaring in the other room (her new music of choice and certainly one i can't complain about) while i'm attempting another lettuce wrap with this week's bibb lettuce.  i just can't, however, bring myself to venture into the world of chicken wraps after the last experiment.   even the faux-pf chang recipes out there can't even come remotely close to persuading me.

    so, i'm thinking shrimp.  perfect day outside to skewer some shrimp and throw them on the grill.  trip to the grocery also produced some lobster tails, an addition my now rapping chopsticks surely won't mind.

    the menu (09may10): 

    i got 99 problems...  but this meal definitely wasn't one...

    this message has been mother approved:  happy mother's day everyone!!

    week 3: spoon takes an awful photo, gets scolded

    again with the surprise?!  well, why ruin a good thing, right?

    clockwise from top left:  strawberries, texas "sweet" onions, english/garden peas (in pods, under the onions), cucumbers, red potatoes (under the cucumber), great harvest cinnamon bread sampler, radishes (hidden below the massive onions... sense a theme?), another cucumber, bibb lettuce

    and, i promise, better pictures from here on out.  i have learned my lesson, promise....

    09 May 2010

    two weeks behind

    ok, ok... it was a new idea, so i'm a bit (two weeks) behind... and, well, i can't remember everything i've made with the first two boxes, so here's a quick recap from what i can actually remember:

    week 1:
    • we'll call this the "oh my god, what am i going to do with all of this" box
    • i know there were strawberries were in the box, i can see them in the picture...  but i don't remember really ever seeing them (glances at chopsticks)
    • grilled asparagus (brush with olive oil, salt & pepper and garlic powder and grill)... so, so good
    • sorry to report, but the cabbage did not find a home this week... it gave me a dirty look when i put it in the fridge... sorry buddy
    • didn't realize that spring onions were ever this big; but wow were they good.  they made their way onto the grill and then sliced into some salsa.  one made its way into the lettuce wraps
    • bibb lettuce = chicken lettuce wraps of course.  i'll spare you all the recipe... we ate it... but it wasn't the best offering ever.  we'll rack that one up to experimentation
    • beta sweet potatoes - these things were UGLY but delicious.  i diced these up into cubes and roasted them.  one batch chili roasted; one "plain" (little salt, pepper and olive oil).  i'm still holding out hope we see these come back in another box as the season progresses
    week 2:
    • more peanuts?  thinking maybe we should start one of those bars in our house and just throw the shells on the floor.  olive (our dog, aka ojp) would be in heaven.  went ahead and roasted a bag full and used them as a snack
    • romaine automatically meant grilled caesar salad 
    • one of the voices in my head says "grill. the. asparagus."  i quickly question if i should start cutting down corn fields and playing baseball... instead i oblige and grill up some asparagus and serve it with some pan seared fish
    • we're getting smart about the strawberries as they keep flowing in... hulled and into the freezer for later use
    • the voice is back telling me to roast the potatoes...  i resist the temptation and decide to launch myself into the internet to look for some inspiration (maybe i should be looking up something about voices in my head while i'm there too).  inspiration finds me (google, you have helped me once again) and my adventure with sweet potato salsa begins.  served with some pan seared fish and wilted spinach.  

    week 2: another surprise!

    week 2 was upon us before we knew it.  we decided, after the success of the first box, to go with the surprise box again this week.

    clockwise from top left:  strawberries, asparagus, cucumber, romaine, peanuts, sweet potatoes, fresh salsa sampler, red lettuce

    is it just me, or does that cucumber look suspiciously like a penguin?  thought you were clever trying to disguise yourself, didn't you?!

    week 1: surprise!

    it's here!  it's here!!  our first week "surprise box" sits so elegantly on our porch just waiting for us when we get home...

    clockwise from the top left:  cabbage, spring asparagus, bibb lettuce, spring onions, beta white sweet potatoes, strawberries, peanuts (not pictured)

    the adventure begins...

    something about local and seasonal has always completely intrigued me.  couple that with the, how do i put this mildly, “quality” of vegetables at our local grocery store and i had to do something. 

    a little online research (thank you google and girlfriend, aka 'chopsticks') and, in late march, we stumbled upon the produce box, offering to deliver “locally grown, farm-fresh produce to your door every week during our north carolina growing season.”  OH!  this is it!! 

     so… this is the story of the trials and tribulations, the recipes and anything else along our culinary adventure -- spoon eats