Member Diary Week # 5 – Jecca & Jay

Southside CSA Veggie Share: red leaf lettuce. kale. celery. zucchini. spanish onions. red onion. leek. rosemary. mint. lemongrass

Week 5: Jecca Barry & Jay Dunn

A bit about my eating habits — I’m a vegetarian with strong vegan tendencies. My exeption to the vegan rule is the eggs from the CSA. The way I see it…if the chickens have names, they’re probably pretty happy…so the eggs are ‘happy eggs’.

I’ve been loving all the amazing greens we’ve been getting, and this week was no exception. Kale happens to be one of my favorite veggies of all time. The only thing I was a little stumped about how to use the lemongrass… [more on that later]

I live with my boyfriend, but he’s working out of town for most of the summer, so I’ve been doing a lot of one-person meals, which I’m not really used to. So generally I end up making a lot, and then having leftovers for lunch the next day.

Hope you enjoy all my recipes!

Meal 1:  Vegan Caesar Salad with Rosemary Croutons

Ok, so this is the most amazing salad in the world and I’m thrilled to get the chance to share the recipe. Everyone I’ve ever fed it to (quite a long list of veggies & non-veggies at this point) can’t get enough of it!

Vegan Caesar Salad w/ Rosemary Croutons

CSA Share used:  Red Leaf Lettuce, Rosemary

  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I actually use very little olive oil, and sub extra water)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • Lettuce of any variety
  • Rosemary Croutons (recipe follows)

Tear the lettuce into small pieces and place in a large salad bowl.

Meanwhile, toast the sunflower seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat for about five minutes or until just barely browned and starting to smell nutty and fragrant. Put them in a blender with the remaining ingredients (except, of course, the croutons). Blend until fairly smooth.  Dress the lettuce with as much dressing as you’d like.

Rosemary Croutons

  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Any sort of bread (traditionally French bread, but I use whatever I have, usually whole wheat)
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the rosemary and cook for about a minute or until fragrant. Add the bread and toss together. Saute for about four minutes, or until the bread is lightly browned and has absorbed all of the delicious oil. Season the croutons with salt and pepper.

Meal 2:  Kale & Eggs

This is my quick go-to meal when I’m cooking just for myself.  It’s super quick, easy & delicious!

Kale & Eggs

CSA share used:  Kale, Eggs.

Kale — I  just heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a pan until it gets really hot (almost to where the pan starts smoking).  Throw in the chopped kale and quickly mix around so it’s all coated in oil.  Season with some salt and pepper, turn a few times until you see the first signs of the kale going brown… and that’s it.

Cook eggs however you like them (I’m a sunny side up girl!) and toast some good bread.  All done.

Ps:  This also works really well with beet greens cooked the same way as the kale!

Meal 3: Cold vegan celery soup


My apartment is hot.  We don’t have air-conditioning, and live on the top floor of a brownstone – so my boyfriend and I have been suffering through the past few weeks.  This means that generally, we favor meals that are cold.  I was looking for something to do with the celery and came across a cold celery soup recipe that seemed perfect… Only had to change a few things to make it dairy-free and voilayummy soup!

Cold Vegan Celery Soup

CSA share used:  celery, leek, spanish onion, mint

  • 1 medium leek (white and pale green parts only), chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 6 cups chopped celery (about 12 ribs)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small boiling potato, peeled and chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 veggie stock cube
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • ¼ cup soy milk
  • mint (for garnish)

Wash leek well in a bowl of cold water, then lift out and drain.

Cook celery, onion, and leek in oil in a 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients except soy milk & mint (vegetables may not be fully submerged) and simmer, covered, until celery and potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Purée in batches in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids), then return to pot and stir in soy milk.

Leave to cool (or if you’re short on time, stick in refrigerator).

Serve chilled or at room temperature, with finely chopped mint on top.

Meal 4: Taboule


Had a picnic in Prospect Park over the weekend, and this is pretty much the perfect picnic dish in my opinion.  Simple to put together – easy to vary based on what you have on hand, and totally delicious!

Taboule

CSA Share used:  red onion, mint

  • 2 cups cracked wheat (bulghur)
  • 2 cups very hot water
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped (I used a box of cherry tomatoes)
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 cup fresh chopped mint
  • 1 cups fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

Soak the cracked wheat in the hot water until the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. When it’s ready, drain any excess water, if necessary, and squeeze dry.

Meantime, prepare the vegetables for the salad and mix the dressing ingredients together. Set aside.

Stir the prepared wheat, other salad ingredients, and dressing together in a medium bowl.

Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Meal 5:  Corn & Zucchini Fritters with eggs


An alternative to my quick and easy kale & eggs – this takes slightly more prep, but it really worth it.  Using really fresh ingredients makes all the difference!

Corn & Zucchini Fritters w/ Eggs

CSA share used: zucchini, red onion, mint, eggs

  • 3 zucchini (about 1 1/4 pounds), grated
  • 2 ears of corn, kernels cut off
  • ½ red onion, cut into thin quarter circles
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 large eggs, lightly beaten

Toss grated zucchini, onion and salt in large colander. Let stand 1 hour; squeeze as dry as possible. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Mix in remaining ingredients.

Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil into large saucepan.  Working in batches, pat zucchini-onion-corn mixture by tablespoonfuls into balls. Add to hot oil. Fry in batches until fritters are brown, turning once, about 3 minutes total.  Transfer fritters to paper towels to drain.

Once again, I had these with a couple eggs – but they would probably go with anything.  So good!

Meal 6: Pasta Stir Fry


This is one of my go to meals when I have various veggies left and I’m not up for being adventurous.  Basically, you can make it with anything – today I chose zucchini, onion, garlic and portobello mushroom.

Pasta Stir-Fry

CSA share used: spanish onion, zucchini


  • 1 zucchini, chopped into semi-circles
  • 1 onion, chopped into semi-circle
  • a few cloves of garlic (I usually use at least 3 – but I love garlic!)
  • chili pepper flakes
  • 1 portobello mushroom cap, sliced
  • spaghetti
  • olive oil
  • basil

Boil water, and start to cook the spaghetti.  In a large frying pan, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil.  When hot, throw in garlic, onion and chili flakes.  Toss in oil and leave for 15 seconds (they should be sizzling).  Then throw in zucchini and mushrooms.  Keep everything moving so it all gets cooked through – which should take about as long as the spaghetti takes.  When it’s looking pretty well cooked, season with salt & pepper (if you season mushrooms before they’re cooked, all the water comes out of them and they get soggy).

Drain spaghetti and rinse in cold water.  Let excess water run off and dump spaghetti into pan with veggies.  Toss everything together – add a couple more tablespoons of oil and season as desired.  As you turn off the heat, mix in a handful of chopped basil and serve!

Happy Hour!!!  Lemongrass ‘Gin’ger-ale


So, I was a little stumped about what to make with the lemongrass.  My boyfriend makes an amazing vegan thai green curry paste, but it’s fairly labor-intensive, and I really wasn’t feeling energetic enough.  So I looked around for something else to do with a large batch of lemongrass, and came across this recipe.  It was the perfect mixed drink for a picnic in the park, and was a total hit.  It’s super refreshing and really great!

Lemongrass Gin’gerale

CSA share used: lemongrass

  • 5-6 fingers fresh ginger, cut into thin strips
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, outer leaves discarded and bottom 6” roughly chopped into 1/2″ sections
    • (I basically took our share, and chopped the whole bunch, starting at the bottom and going up 6 inches)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 quart water
  • soda water
  • gin
  • lime wedges

1. Throw the ginger and lemongrass into a food processor and process until it becomes a consistency of a thick puree. You’ll have to stop the machine and scrape down the sides a couple of times or add a few tablespoons water.

2. In a saucepan over high heat,, add 1 quart of water, lemongrass/ginger and the sugar. Boil and immediately turn heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered. Strain with a couple layers of cheesecloth. Chill in fridge as long as you can wait.

3. To serve, fill a tall glass with ice. Add a shot of gin and ¼ cup of syrup in the glass. Top with soda water. A quick squeeze of lime, sip and pretend you’re on vacation.

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