Monthly Archives: September 2009

Local Box Meal Plan: Sept. 14-18

I’m back! I’ve got loads to share about my trip, but in the meantime, I’ll tide you over with my plan for our Greenling Local Box this week.

This week, we’re getting pickling cucumbers, yellow squash and yellow onion from Naegelin, green Meyer lemons from G&S Groves, green peppers, portabello caps from Kitchen Pride, sweet corn, okra from Bradshaw Farm, herb/basil from Pure Luck, Bibb lettuce from Bella Verdi, tomatoes from McCall Creek Farm, and Texas pears from Lightsey.

I’m making:

Breakfast:

  • Omelette with sauteed green peppers and portabellos

Side dishes:

  • Grilled sweet corn with herb compound butter

Dinner:

Dessert:

Meyer lemons are sweeter than normal lemons, so they’re great to use in desserts. How are you using yours?

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Local Box Sept 14-18

Here’s what’s in the Local Box this week as well as what’s available on our website:

This Week’s Box Contents & Local Items

Here’s what’s available from local farms on our website this week (the best selection of local produce in the state – guaranteed):

In Local Boxes ($34.99) this week (September 14-18):

  • Okra – Naegelin
  • Summer Squash – Bradshaw
  • Meyer Lemons – G&S Groves
  • Pickling Cucumbers – Naegelin
  • Sweet Corn – Lightsey Farm
  • Yellow Onion – Naegelin
  • Asst Sweet Peppers – Tecolote
  • Bibb Lettuce – Bluebonnet
  • Pears! – Lightsey Farms
  • Basil or Herb – Pure Luck
  • Radish
  • Portabella Mushrooms – Kitchen Pride

Order Here

Last Week’s (Sept 7-11) Local Box Video

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In Farmstead & Local Produce Boxes ($49.99) this week (September 14-18):

  • Tortilla Chips – Brazos Valley
  • Tabouleh – The Med. Chef
  • Dip Mix – Brazos Valley
  • Sourdough Bread – Texas French Bread

No gluten-free box this week, sorry

Order Here

Produce from Local Farms

  • Arugula, Baby – Animal Farm
  • Herb, Asst – Pure Luck
  • Herbs, Basil, Live – Bella Verdi
  • Lentil Sprouts – Groovy Greens
  • Sunflower Sprouts – Groovy Greens
  • Anaheim – Arnold Organics/Lundgren
  • Elephant Garlic cloves – Green Gate
  • Lettuce, Baby – Animal Farm
  • Lettuce, Bibb – Bella Verdi
  • Purple Hull Peas – Lightsey
  • Meyer Lemons – G&S Groves
  • Okra – Bradshaw Farms
  • Pea Shoots – Bluebonnet

Order Here

Produce from Local Farms

  • Limes – G&S Grove
  • Microgreens, Arugula – Bella Verdi
  • Microgreens, Broccoli – Bella Verdi
  • Mushroom, Crimini – Kitchen Pride
  • Mushroom, Portabella – Kitchen Pride
  • Mushroom, Shiitake – Kitchen Pride
  • Mushroom, White – Kitchen Pride
  • Onion, Yellow – Naegelin
  • Potatoes, Red – Naegelin
  • Shallots – Lundgren Farm
  • Jalapeno – Lundgren
  • Serrano – Lundgren
  • Eggplant – Ringger
  • Pickling Cucumbers – Naegelin
  • LARGE Watermelon – Lightsey
  • Texas Hard Pears – Lightsey

Order Here

Melon Agua Fresca

[Printable Recipe]

We’re lucky enough to live in an area that’s rich in culture and loves to celebrate that culture with street fairs. This past Labor Day weekend, we came upon a street fair with not just 1, not 2, but 3 kiosks selling agua fresca. They had so many flavors, from the traditional horchata to the summery watermelon and lemon.

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When we got a huge canary melon in our Greenling box, I tried my hand at making agua fresca. It was a refreshing addition to our Labor Day barbecue.

A 3 lb. melon yielded ~4 large drinks. If your melon is larger or smaller than the one I used, simply adjust the ratios of the remaining ingredients.

From Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb. canary melon, seeded and chopped into 1″ chunks (my melon was quite sweet, so I didn’t add any sugar. If yours isn’t as sweet, you might need to add some.)
  • 1 c. water
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Chilled selzer

Directions:

  • Add 1/2 of the chopped melon and 1/2 c. water to a blender and puree. Transfer the melon-water mixture to a colander lined with cheesecloth set over a large bowl. Repeat with the other half of the melon and remaining 1/2 c. water.
  • Let the melon-water mixture drain in the cheesecloth for 1 hour. Squeeze any remaining juice from the cheesecloth, then discard the solid melon inside of the cheesecloth (or use it. Not sure what you would use it for. Let me know if you have any ideas!).
  • Add the lime juice and salt to the liquid in the bowl and pour the liquid into a pitcher.
  • Serve in tall glasses, topping off with the chilled seltzer and garnishing with a slice of lime.

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Verdict:
The name speaks for itself; this drink is so refreshing and flavorful! We all really liked it. If you’re looking for a bit more of a punch, I bet it would be a good base for a cocktail.

The jury’s still out on the correct ratio of agua fresca to seltzer. I preferred 1:1, while my friend preferred 2:1 (agua fresca:seltzer). Traditionally, seltzer isn’t even added, but I like the fizzy factor that it adds.

Meat Sauce with Herbs

[Printable Recipe]

Adapted from Simply Recipes

This recipe takes a bit longer than my quick and dirty meat sauce recipe and I make it a day in advance, but it’s much more flavorful.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 lb. ground beef (we use 96% lean)
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 28-oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Handful of fresh basil, chopped, or 1 tsp. dried basil
  • Handful of fresh oregano, chopped, or 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and a pinch of salt and saute for ~4 minutes.
  • Turn the heat up a bit and add the beef, breaking it up into smaller pieces. You want it to brown, not steam, so don’t go mushing it around in the pan the whole time. Let it hang out.
  • Once the beef is mostly (but not fully browned), break it up into really small pieces and add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute.
  • Add the remainder of the ingredients and turn the heat to low. Adjust the seasonings for your taste. Cover the pan and simmer for about 1 hour, but it can go for longer. If the sauce reduces too much, add water; if the sauce needs to be thickened, add a bit more tomato paste.


Before it reduces.

  • After the sauce has reduced, remove from the heat and let cool. Serve the following day over pasta with plenty of parmesan (I guess you could serve it the same day, but the flavors won’t be as complex).

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Verdict:
I love meals like this that take about 10 minutes of actual hands-on cooking time, yet yield such flavorful results. This is also a great meal for when you don’t feel like going shopping — I keep all of these ingredients in my pantry and freezer.

Champagne-Poached Pears

[Printable Recipe]

We got some beautiful Texas pears in our Greenling box last week. They’re a bit less juicy than a Bosc pear, but they’re quite firm and hold up well to many cooking techniques.

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I also had a ton of leftover sparkling wine from Theresa’s shower, so I thought I would make good use of it as poaching liquid. Cooking with champagne makes dishes much more glamorous, right?

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One bottle was perfect for 2 large pears. If you want to serve more than 2, you’re going to need more champagne.

Also, use a pot with a small surface area so that the champagne comes high up on the sides and the pears can be completely submerged.

From Epicurious

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of champagne or sparkling wine
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (I substituted 1/2 tsp. vanilla)
  • Zest of 1/4 lemon
  • 2 pears, peeled

Directions:

  • Combine the champagne, sugar, vanilla bean and lemon zest in a small pot and bring to a simmer.
  • Submerge the pears completely in the simmering liquid and cover. Cook for ~15 minutes for small pears and ~30 minutes for large ones (mine needed 35 minutes).
  • After the pears are tender, remove the pot from the heat and let the pears sit in the poaching liquid for at least 30 minutes before serving, or store in the refrigerator for no longer than 1 week.

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Verdict:
This was an easy, set-it-and-forget-it dessert that was visually beautiful and tasted great. It seemed rich, but certainly is one of the healthier desserts I’ve made lately. The pears really took on the lemon and vanilla flavors, so make sure you use good vanilla for this! The original recipe calls for rosewater, which I didn’t have, but I’m anxious to add next time I make this.

Local Box Meal Plan: Sept. 7-11

We’re actually going to be in Napa and Sonoma this weekend, so we won’t be getting a Local Box from Greenling this week. But I still have a few ideas for ways to use this week’s box contents, so I thought I would share them anyway.

This week, we’re getting cucumber melon and lettuce from Bluebonnet Hydroponics; eggplant and long beans from Animal Farm; canary melon, edamame and a variety of peppers from Tecalote; Texan pears and black-eyed peas from Lightsey Farms; basil or herbs from Pure Luck; shallots from Lundgren; and okra from Naegelin.

Here’s what I would have made:

Lunch:

  • Chicken salad with herbs and lettuce

Side Dish:

  • Quinoa salad with edamame and black-eyed peas
  • Sauteed okra with pancetta and shallots

Dessert:

Dinner:

I’m bummed we won’t be getting a box, but I can’t say that we won’t be eating and drinking well!

Lime Frozen Yogurt

[Printable Recipe]

I found a recipe for frozen yogurt on 101 Cookbooks a few years ago. It’s really easy and a great base for so many flavors.

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We’ve been getting limes for the past few weeks in our Greenling box, and although I like using them in so many dishes (and in Dos Equis!), they’re usually an accent flavor, rather than the star. This frozen yogurt really highlights the fresh lime flavor.

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I can get away with eating an entire batch of this myself. Maybe it’ll stretch to 2 people, if you’re feeling particularly generous. For more than 2 servings though, I’d double the recipe.

Also, the original recipe calls for using Greek yogurt. In an effort to save some money (because those big containers of Greek yogurt are pretty expensive!), I strain regular yogurt for a few hours in some cheesecloth to create a thicker consistency that’s similar to Greek yogurt. If you’re using Greek yogurt though, you can use a little less, since the water makes up about quarter of the 32 oz. container of regular yogurt.

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Ingredients:

  • 4 c. (1-32 oz. container) plain regular yogurt (strained in cheesecloth over a colander to remove the excess liquid) or 3 c. Greek yogurt (regardless of the type of yogurt, I usually use fat-free for this and it works wonderfully)
  • Zest and juice from 2 limes
  • 1/4 c. sugar (I don’t like mine too sweet. Add more sugar if you do.)

Directions:

  • Combine the yogurt, lime zest, lime juice and sugar in a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • When chilled, freeze the ice cream in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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Verdict:
I love how unlike frozen yogurt you buy at the grocery store or at TCBY, this tastes like actual yogurt. It’s tangy, not overwhelmingly sweet, and really highlights whatever you choose to flavor it with. The lime was quite refreshing and because the limes we received were rather yellow, the zest blends in nicely with the yogurt.

I’ve also made this same recipe and added fresh strawberries, blueberries (actually, it was blueberries and lime), ginger, and vanilla extract. It’s been wonderful everytime. I hope you’ll use this as a base to experiment with new flavor combinations!