COUGAR Member Diary

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In the five years we’ve been Southside CSA members, we’ve frequently planned a fall dinner party in order to share some of our haul and try out some more ambitious dishes to share in our blog post.  This year we did have a party, but one of an entirely different sort. Since we welcomed Elias, our seven month old, into our family, our meals need to be fast and ideally sharable with a baby. We still like to entertain, though, so our recipes this week will feature two meals from the beginning of the weak meant to take us through a few days, a few lightning fast meals, baby friendly treats, and some party food from the Halloween bash we threw for Elias’s buddies and their parents.

This week’s share

We pick up bi-weekly, and we have the veggie, orchard, berry, egg, and meat shares.  We began the week with several (still fresh!) leftover items from our previous week’s pickup due to some busy schedules, stomach viruses, and time spent out of town with our families. So, some items featured in this week’s meals are from the prior week.

Included in this week’s pickup: Apples, apple cider, red and yellow onions, decorative gourds (‘tis the season), popping corn, Swiss chard, two bunches of spinach, mustard greens, and a head of cabbage.

Beginning of the week meals

We began each of the last two weeks with soups.

Last week, we used up some of our CSA veggies with a corn chowder.

For this chowder we used:

  • Olive Oil
  • 3 strips of bacon
  • 2 onions (CSA)
  • 6 cups of chicken stock (we used a stock made from the scraps of a Northwind Farm chicken, veggie scraps, and some CSA lemongrass for kick)
  • 4 ears of corn, kernels off the cob, and two ears reserved for the soup
  • 3 waxy potatoes (store bought)
  • 2 Cups of Cream
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. We cooked the bacon in a bit of olive oil, then took it out of the pan.
  2. Then, we sautéed up a few small onions
  3. When those were soft, we added the stock and the corn. We threw in the cobs for extra flavor
  4. Then we added the potatoes. When everything was cooked through, we added cream and salt and pepper to taste.

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This lasted us through three dinners!

This week was frigid! We figured it’d be smart to start the week with another soup. This one was inspired by the menu at a Hale & Hearty we visited recently.  We realized that we had everything except some tortellini, which we grabbed at Target while buying diapers. Ah, the glamourous life!


Tortellini Florentine Soup

  • Olive oil (a glug)
  • Bacon (3ish pieces)
  • 1.5 Onions (CSA)
  • Carrots (we used baby carrots left over from our party)
  • Garlic
  • 1 tablespoon-ish tomato paste
  • 4 cups chicken stock (from Northwind Farms chickens)
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans (white beans would be better, but we didn’t have ‘em)
  • 1 bag of frozen tortellini
  • 1 bunch of spinach, torn up
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Optional, Parmesan or Pecorino, grated finely
  • Optional, Basil

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  1. Start with olive oil and some chopped bacon. Brown.
  2. Add the onions and carrots. Soften
  3. Garlic. Stir for a minute.
  4. Add tomato paste and stir in.
  5. Add chicken stock (we tossed ours in frozen). Bring to a boil
  6. Add beans, tortellini, and spinach. Cook until tortellini is cooked through.
  7. Turn off heat. Serve with torn up basil, cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

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Quick weeknight food

Last week we were able to make it through the week on our big pot of soup, our party meal, and two quick meals (OK, and one box of Halloween-themed Kraft mac and cheese.  It was an impulse).

Meal one, which we ate with a leftover arugula (CSA prior week) and cherry tomatoes  (from our garden) salad:

Radishes with butter and pink sea salt on bread. This isn’t fancy and the recipe is in the title, but it’s so good with fresh radishes and bread. This week we got a half of a micca from Saraghina Bread. Their bread is amazing and worth a trip to Bed Stuy (OK, maybe go next door for pizza too if you’re coming out here.)

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Meal two: Veggie frittata

  • Butter
  • Eggs (CSA)
  • Cream
  • Onions (CSA)
  • Chard (CSA)
  •  Salsa (made from cilantro, tomatillos, onions, and serranoes from a few weeks ago)
  • Turkey (leftover from roasting turkey leg from the meat share)

Sauté up the veggies and pieces of turkey, add the salsa, beat up the eggs and some cream (or milk) and pour in the pan.  Heat for a few minutes, then throw in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350.

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This was great because it lasted us for two nights and was baby friendly.

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Baby Food

One concern when we plan meals is what we can share with Elias.  We don’t puree.  We’re trying something called Baby Led Weaning, which simply means that we’re allowing Elias to feed himself rather than us feeding him.

In order for this to work, we had to do a few things:

  1. Wait for Elias to turn six months old.
  2. Make sure he could sit up straight unassisted
  3. Make sure he could grasp food
  4. Make sure he lost his tongue thrust reflex
  5. Make sure he wanted food (this was easy: he really, really wanted food).

Now, we give him food that’s cut into French fry sized pieces and somewhat soft. We also avoid foods that are too salty or are processed (including processed sugars), though sometimes he talks us into sharing the inside of a Dough doughnut.

Some CSA favorites from this year were: broccoli florets, green beans, apples (cooked and skin off), blueberries (frozen and given in a food pouch), eggs, squash, chicken, ground pork

Elias had some frittata and eggs this week. He also really enjoyed gnawing on this corn cob!

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Party food

We live in Bed Stuy, and our neighborhood gets a lot of trick-or-treaters. This year we got around 600!  Since we knew we’d be home all night handing out candy, we decided to throw a party for some of our friends and members of a local parents group.  We had a lot of dips (George personally believes one can never have too many dips), but we featured a few CSA ingredients in our spread as well.

Deviled eggs with Sriracha (using our eggs and cilantro from last week’s haul) This is always a crowd pleaser

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A mummy calzone with spinach and onions.

We used this recipe with a whole wheat crust from Whole Foods, a simple tomato sauce (can of tomatoes, half a stick of butter, half an onion, simmer for a half an hour, remove onion, puree), and some mozzarella:

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We also offered our apples and our cider to guests!

On deck for next week

Since we pick up bi-weekly, we’re planning out next week’s menu as well on deck is:

-Pizza with chard and onions

-Some roast meat (duck, turkey, or chicken) from our Northwind freezer stash with an apple and mustard green salad and cabbage sautéed in cider and butter

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