Monthly Archives: June 2010

Local Box Meal Plan: June 28-July 2

First watermelons of the seasons are here, from ABJ Farms! Along with:

Carrots – My Father’s Farm
Swiss chard – Texas Naturals
Indian cucumbers – My Father’s Farm
Basil – My Father’s Farm
Mangoes or plums – G&S Groves or Purple Goose Farm, respectively
Garlic – Ringger Farm
Blueberries – Dr. Blueberry
Butterbeans – Just Peach Farm
Grape tomatoes – Acadian

So, I am making the following, many of which would be perfect for a July 4 cookout:

Watermelon – mango salad – I’m just eating any leftover watermelon by itself. It really is the perfect summer snack.

Blueberry-basil-lime salsa – This would be perfect on grilled chicken. You’ll probably have to halve the recipe to accommodate the amount of blueberries we get.

Carrot and cucumber salad

Sauteed chard with garlic

Hearty beans with beef – Use your fresh beans instead of the canned ones the recipes call for.

I’m probably just going to use the grape tomatoes in salads, but this recipe for sauteed grape tomatoes is great, too.

Salmon with Cucumber-Basil Sauce

I have to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of cooked salmon. Smoked salmon or sushi? I’m completely on board with that. But I don’t looooove the flavor of cooked salmon. That said, I appreciate its subtle sweetness and the health benefits it provides, so I work with it.

This recipe gives it a ton of flavor. The simple spice rub gives it a nice crust, and the sauce adds a bright, summery flavor (and uses a lot of basil, which we seem to be overflowing with lately). Greek yogurt is yogurt that has been drained for a bit and is extra creamy. If you can’t find it at the store, line a colander with several layers of cheesecloth or heavy-duty paper towels, dump in the yogurt, and let it sit over the sink for about 30 minutes.

Salmon with Cucumber-Basil Sauce


2 cups Greek yogurt
2 cups packed basil
1 tsp cumin seeds (or 1/2 tsp ground cumin)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 pickling cucumbers, peeled and seeded* (or 2 regular cucumbers)


1/4 cup olive oil
1 lb salmon fillet, cut into 3 or 4 pieces
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp red pepper

Roughly chop basil. Combine all ingredients except for cucumbers in a food processor and process about 30 seconds, until it’s pretty smooth. Roughly chop cucumbers, add to food processor, and pulse a few times until combined. Refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine cumin, salt and pepper, and coat salmon with cooking spray. Coat salmon with spice rub. You may not need all of it, but you at least need most of it — it’ll be pretty thick. That’s what helps get you that nice crust.

Place salmon skin-side up onto hot oil. Cook 6-7 minutes, resisting the urge to poke or move the salmon. You can tell it’s done with its bright pink color fades a bit. Serve with sauce.

You’ll probably have extra sauce. It would be great on grilled chicken or grilled veggies, as a dip, or just drank from a cup with a straw. Just kidding on that last one…kind of. It’s really good sauce.

*To seed a cucumber, first peel it. Then scoop out the seeds with a spoon, like so:

You’ll end up with nicely hollowed cukes, like this:

Local Box Meal Plan: June 21-25

This week, we are getting:

Peaches – Caskey
Blueberries – Berry Best Farms
Red valley tomatoes – Animal Farm
Summer squash – Naegelin or Ringger
Basil – Ringger
Red potatoes – Home Sweet Farm
Pickling cucumbers – Naegelin
Leeks – My Father’s Farm
Green cabbage – Naegelin
Cherry tomatoes – Naegelin
Garlic – Ringger

So, I am making:

Peach blueberry cake

Grilled veggie pizza – Preheat oven to 450. Spread your favorite sauce on a prepared pizza crust, like Boboli. I like red sauce, but pesto would be good, too. Slice squash and leeks, season with salt/pepper, wrap in foil, and grill over medium-high heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over sauce and top with grilled veggies, halved cherry tomatoes, and sliced basil. Bake 10 minutes or until crust is browned and sauce is bubbly.

Potato-cucumber soup with toasted corn — I’ve never tried this before, but I’m intrigued.

Cabbage-tomato pasta toss

Julia’s Green Beans

I picked up Julia Child’s fantastic Mastering the Art of French Cooking at the library last weekend, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that I needed my own copy. I slightly adapted this simple, delicious recipe from the aptly named “Vegetables” chapter. Now, normally I would not think myself so talented as to mess with one of Julia’s recipes, but the original uses 3 lbs of beans (I was trying to stick with one) and eight tablespoons of butter, which is a little rich for me. I went down to 1 lb of beans and 1 tbsp of butter, but feel free to up the amount to your taste.

Julia’s Green Beans

1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp butter
3 tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp chopped parsley

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add green beans, turn down heat slightly, and boil about 9 minutes, until tender. Drain immediately.

Warm a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add beans and stir for a minute, to dry up any extra water. Add butter, salt, pepper, and juice, and stir until butter is melted and everything is well combined. Remove from heat and sprinkle with parsley.

Local Box Meal Plan: June 14-18

First blueberries of the season are here, from Dr. Blueberry! Along with:

Carrots – Montecino
Swiss chard – Texas Naturals
Basil – Ringger
Watermelon radishes – My Father’s Farm
Corn – Acadian
Green bell peppers – My Father’s Farm
Green beans – Naegelin
Potatoes – Home Sweet Farm
Cucumbers – Acadian
Peaches – Caskey
Tomatoes – ABJ Farm

So, I am making:

Watermelon radish and cucumber salad

Peach-basil sangria – I imagine you can replace with wine with Sprite or club soda for a non-alcoholic drink.

Blueberry overnight oats for breakfast – Overnight oats are awesome – no cooking required!. Just mix equal parts regular rolled oats, milk (I use almond milk) and yogurt (I use vanilla) and let sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning, add some berries and zap in the microwave for 30 seconds, just to take the chill out. Yum.

Vegetable-beef soup – Sub your fresh corn and green beans for the canned and frozen ones in the recipe, and add a few handfuls of chopped chard.

Stuffed bell peppers

Orzo Salad with Chicken and Veggies

I love orzo salads for many reasons. For one, they are easy to make — just cook the pasta, chop the ingredients, mix, and you are done. They taste good warm, cold, or at room temperature. Also the leftovers keep well for a day or two. This one combines a mix of veggies with whole-wheat orzo and a white wine vinaigrette, and it’s highly customizable so you can cater to the likes/dislikes of your family.

Orzo Salad with Chicken and Veggies

1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
5 oz cooked chopped chicken (rotisserie is good, or some of those frozen, pre-cooked chicken breast strips)
1 chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped spring onion (or red onion)
1/2 cup chopped chard
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1.5 tbsp white wine or champagne vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil

Cook orzo in boiling, salted water until tender, 8-10 minutes. Combine all ingredients through basil and stir well. Add salt, pepper, vinegar, and olive oil, and toss until well combined.

10 Things to Do With Carrots

Behold the first 10 Things post! I picked carrots because, well, we get a crap-ton of carrots around here and it’s easy to run out of ideas for how to use them. Here’s a list of ways that ranges from basic to a bit more exciting. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but when you get your next batch of orange, carroty goodness and are drawing a blank, this list should help you out.

1. Finely chop them and add to pasta sauce to sweeten it up. Follow this basic recipe to make your own, or simply simmer with your favorite jarred sauce for a quick meal.

2. Cut into sticks to eat with your favorite dip, as a healthier alternative to chips. Some of my favorite carrot dips are salsa and hummus.

3. Roast and serve as a simple side dish, or add to salads. I like to roast a big batch of veggies on the weekend, then chill and add them to salads during the week. Try this recipe, and omit the maple syrup for something more savory.

4. Make them the focal ingredient of a quick soup, like this curried carrot soup.

5. Use them in a salad. Ok, before you roll your eyes saying “Steph! I know to put carrots in a salad! That’s not why I’m reading this post!,” just hear me out. We’re going to think outside the box here. The carrots could be part of the dressing like in this decidedly non-boring avocado salad with carrot-ginger dressing. Or, they could be in the salad itself, like in this Moroccan carrot salad.

6. Make dessert, taking advantage of carrots’ natural sweetness. How about this Indian carrot pudding, or something fancier like this carrot-buttermilk tart?

7. Forget pickled cucumbers. How pedestrian! Pickle your carrots, instead!

8. Cube and add to your favorite pot roast recipe. I’m partial to an Italian-style roast, similar to this one, using Italian-style canned tomatoes.

9. Eat ’em for breakfast, like in these carrot pancakes, or these carrot cake breakfast cookies.

10. Really, really can’t stomach another carrot? Just make chicken or vegetable broth with them. It’s a great way to use up other veggies you have lying around, too, and homemade broth tastes a million times better than store-bought.

How else do you like to use carrots?