Well, we had our very first CSA pick-up yesterday!
J and I had physicals that afternoon, and there wasn’t much of the work day left after, so all four of us went to the farm.
We signed in and bagged our vegetables in a reusable bag. A bunch of this, a half-pound of that. We traded our collards for kale. We grabbed a pint container, trooped out to the field, and picked the strawberries that were part of our share. F was very interested in picking dandelions.
We came home needing to make dinner for 5 adults and 2 preschoolers. Though we had a fair number of veggies, we didn’t have enough of one (or it turns out, two) things that would feed so many. So I made flash-cooked kale with garlic scapes and some simply sauteed spinach. And a ton of rice and chicken thighs.
J kindly wrangled the dear, if slightly possessive, under-4 sweeties while I cooked in peace.
Then we threw together scratch brownies (slightly underdone, as usual) and served them after dinner with the field-fresh strawberries. Heaven!
Looking forward to bok choi and tatsoi this evening!
…with basil fresh from the deck
…enough for us to eat for dinner
…enough to freeze some for a future meal
…with a couple summer squashes that have been kicking around the fridge for a week
I planned this (and our other meals this week) on Saturday morning, as usual. That routine is about to change because:
Our first CSA pick-up is this afternoon! Greens, greens, and greens. And strawberries. Looking forward to a harvest-centered meal plan strategy!
Still trying to make good use of our farm-fresh strawberries, and reveling in having cleaned the house the day before, F and I made this strawberry cake. I didn’t do any recipe research or evaluation – it was just the first hit on Google.
It came out pretty nice despite a couple of challenges.
First, I had no cake flour. So I mixed in some cornstarch (with no fussy sifting, in part because I’m lazy and in part because I don’t own a sifter).
Then, I could not find my 9″ round cake pans. This turned out to be a good thing because I found this lovely pan substitution chart which will certainly come in handy again sometime. I ended up using a silicone bundt pan that I miraculously found kicking around the basement.
Lastly, I ran out of powdered sugar for the glaze, but only just. My solution here was to ignore it. It tasted phenomenal, but was very drippy, and my cake plate has no rim so there was some goo to wipe of the counter.
We had our local family over for dinner that night, and it was fun to surprise them with a random cake!
My supermarket basil seems to be recovering and flourishing! I got an Italian basil and a Thai basil (because I’m obsessed with homemade pho).
Almost as soon as I brought it home a month or so ago, it flopped over and looked dreadful. I planted it in a container immediately, and it was so pathetic that I took a bunch of cuttings in hopes that at some point I’d have something to show for having purchased two basil plants.
Then a bunch of leaves on the original spindly plants started turning kind of white. Powdery mildew, maybe? I plucked the icky leaves off, figuring that I’d end up just plucking all of the leaves off.
But the disease seems to have gone away, or is at least gone for now. And the plants are growing!
Thinking about taking more cuttings and growing basil all over the place, because free plants and because yum.
We had a nice dinner, and for a treat (to go with fresh strawberries) I made a Dutch Baby for dessert. Not the exact one I linked to, but it’s pretty close. And yes, it’s supposed to be breakfast, but it was quite fantastic after dinner too.
F was super excited about dessert. We told her we’d serve it up after we finished cleaning up dinner.
What we meant was clearing the table. But then I found myself washing up all the pots and pans, loading the dishwasher, etc. It didn’t take long at all, and I had the promise of dessert to keep me on task.
It was so nice to come back to the kitchen after dessert to a kitchen that was 90% cleaned up! This should become a more frequent strategy – bribing ourselves with dessert.
We drove out to a farm and picked strawberries!
It was a gorgeous day and there were plenty of ripe berries for the picking. Even though it was hot and sunny, the breeze and fluffy clouds helped keep us very comfortable. Plus I had packed an unreasonable amount of water.
Highly recommended outing for a 3.5 year old!
I got some time in the garden today! A friend took F from afternoon through evening, J came home a little early, bagged up some heavy brush, and then took Baby C. And then hauled our last homemade lasagna out of the freezer and baked it up because I tossed my big plans for making dinner tonight unceremoniously out the window!
I planted our blueberries, which involved digging, amending the soil, planting, watering, mulching, and watering again. Then I “planted” our two new trellises and sowed runner beans at their bases. Then I realized that I had just cleverly used shredded oak leaf mulch right next to our neighbor’s yard, and in this neighborhood we spend most of November, December, and March (and April?) raking up oak leaves. So I plopped down an old bit of 18″ wire fencing that we found behind the shed to (hopefully) keep any stray leaves off their lawn.
And then I planted our $1.68 bag of 15 bright red gladiolis right in front of the house, and pulled some weeds, and uprooted some annoying ornamental grass.
And then I put things away! I didn’t get dinner till 8:30, but the garden is going. Phew.
Last week was hard. Nothing even happened – it was just hard.
One problem was that even though we meal planned, made a grocery list, and grocery shopped the weekend before, cooking was a fiasco. J actually ended up coming home from a full day at work and then and cooking us dinner twice last week. He said he was happy to do it, and he probably really was. That’s just the kind of person he is. (<3)
But I’d like to re-take the cooking this week.
My parents were in town this past weekend, and I seized the free childcare time to put the week’s recipes Mise en Place. Which in this context means the veggies are chopped and labeled through most of the week, and the beans are soaked. I might try to cook the spaghetti sauce ahead too.
So even if it’s another hard week, I stand a better chance at successfully cooking. And if I fail again, I’ve at least taken steps that will make it less work for J when he bails me out.
F and I made these cookies from Simply Recipes on Friday morning. They’re fabulous.
I’ve never deliberately browned butter before, and as per Elise’s directions, I followed my nose and waited for that delicious nutty butterscotch scent. It’s worth washing out the extra pot and single-mindedly stirring butter just for that smell. But then you get to eat it, too. I think this is my go-to recipe now. Note: I omitted the cinnamon and used dark chocolate chips.
A quick website search got me a whole list of Simply Recipes goodies that use browned butter.
Also, did you know that Deb of Smitten Kitchen lists Brown Butter as one of her food groups and also has a long list of recipes that use it?
I have to admit that this is a selfish post, because when I find myself in my next food rut, I’m going straight back to this post to find these lists. Brown butter shall fix all of the things.
I’m so pleased to report that none of us is horribly ill! F has a runny nose (that I really really really don’t want Baby C to catch…), and J and I have sore throats. So far, Baby C has no symptoms and is happy as a clam.
Also, the basement freezer didn’t close right last night, and so all of a sudden we have quite a bit of cooking to do on our sick day! Frozen pizza, soup, more pho broth, and two sausage recipes (sausage and peppers, and this one with kale and spaghetti squash) will minimize the waste. Bye bye to my small stock of frozen breast milk though.
We’re also planning to rent Frozen! None of us have seen it yet, and today seems like the day. F is beside herself that special movie plans are in the works.