Tuesday, June 5, 2012

CSA Week One- Meal One

After years of wanting to join a CSA we finally did it and although it was a bit of a financial stretch to come up with a lump sum to pay for our share it will (hopefully) be worth it. For those who have not heard of a CSA, don't worry, I didn't know about them until I watched Food, Inc. and started researching fair and organic farming. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, which is basically a prepaid membership into a farm- you pay for a share of the seasons produce ahead of time and you get a percentage of the harvest. I researched many CSA's in our area and found one that I am so happy to have joined, Red Hill Farm in Aston, PA. RHF uses organic practices, though they do not have certification they are very open with their farming practices. This is so major for us as I strive to feed my boys organic, and that can be really expensive! On top of picking up produce and getting the experience of u-pick with herbs, flowers and berries there is the experience of my sons getting a connection of where their food comes from and social events like outdoor movies, happy hours and just the weekly visit to a farm. I am going to do a weekly post of the weekly bounty as well as some recipes on how we utilize our food.

CSA Week One

The Experience
We were greeted by head farmer Angela who is super friendly, and makes you feel very welcome- she got a good laugh out of Canon with a cute song. Canon had a blast playing in the children's garden while we picked up our food.
It was also really cool watching the farmers work the fields- knowing that just hours before they harvested what we were about to bring home, doesn't get any fresher than that!

We picked up:
    Healthy looking fridge :)
  • Scallions
  • Bok Choy
  • Head of Lettuce
  • Salad Mix
  • Arugula
  • Red Skin Potatoes
  • Kale
  • Fennel
  • Garlic Scapes
I decided that we would eat in order of what I thought might perish first- so meal one utilized the salad mix and arugula for a salad and we used some pantry items to make veggie nuggets for a hearty accompaniment. For those who have followed along, my four year old decided a few weeks back that he is a vegetarian just like mom and so far is holding to it- he is even starting to eat a more diversified diet, making his transition to being a vegetarian a blessing.
We kept the salad simple- just the greens and a creamy balsamic vinaigrette- so, so good! There is something about eating just picked produce that is so very delicious and cleansing! Below is the recipe for the nuggets- very easy and turned out great!

Veggie Nuggets (Chickpea Nuggets)- makes about 16 nuggets- dependant on size, mine were largish

  • 1 Can of Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 - 1 cup of bread crumbs- I used whole grain
  • approx 1 tbs. oil- olive would be good- I used canola
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • approx 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 garlic scape- CSA
  • 1 scallion- CSA
  1. In the food processor process the chickpeas and a bit of the liquid they were packed in until smooth.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients and process to make a thick paste- adjust liquid or dry ingredients as needed- water or the liquid from the beans if too dry and bread crumbs if too wet. *You will want it to be a thick paste- do the blizzard test- turn it upside down, it shouldn't budge. Should not be so dry that it crumbles.
  3. Drop by the spoonful into a preheated pan with a low layer of oil- I used canola. Don't crowd the pan. *size matters- use a heaping tablespoon, if you make them too small they tend to fall apart. I used a heaping soup spoon.
  4. Brown each exposed surface of the nugget. Don't turn too soon, otherwise they might flop, about 3-5 minutes should do it.
  5. Put nuggets in the oven (325- 350 should be good) while you finish up the second batch. About 10 minutes in the oven should set the center.

CSA Meal One- Chickpea nuggets and Creamy Balsamic Salad of Mixed Greens and Arugula

Here was Canons plate- hey, it's progress  :)

Update: My husband made meal two- we missed a photo op but it was delicious- He grilled some burgers- veggie for Canon and me and turkey for himself- he made a potato, fennel, bok choy gratin on the grill and it was delicious! I honestly didn't think I would like the fennel since the smell is very much licorice but it was great!

Tonight will be Asian inspired- I slow baked some tofu last night and will use it with the bok choy, scallion, garlic scape and other veggies in wonton with a side of brown rice.

*I almost never measure, follow recipes and if I do it is very loosely and I just go with what I have or feels right- follow the recipe, change it up or improve upon it.
I would love if you would share your variations of these recipes or thoughts on how to use our CSA picks :)

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