Citrus Salad

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Here’s another fruit salad that seems fancy but is simple as anything.  Pick out a variety of citrus fruits.  Here I have a grapefruit, a Cara Cara orange, and some other type of orange.  Here’s a handy-dandy article about peeling, or rather, not peeling oranges.  I thought it might only work on tangerines (which are easy to peel in any event) but it kind of worked for my oranges and grapefruits.

Peel the citrus and separate the segments and cut them in half.  Add a drizzle or two of honey and a few drizzles of balsamic vinegar.  Once I added some chopped tarragon because I had some on hand. It was good, but I prefer it unadorned.  Super refreshing.

 

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Stepped-up Fruit Salad

IMG_2805Over the Thanksgivukkah weekend, I had several family events to attend.  To counterbalance the loads of heavy food, I brought fruit salad.  Although fruit salad can be the dull dish that everyone passes over at a potluck, a few simple tricks can elevate it.

First, use whatever fruit is in season and looks good to you.  Forget the tired watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew unless it’s summertime.  In this salad, I used apple, pear, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and grapes.

Then for the coup de grace.  Squeeze a lime or two over the salad.  Then add chopped mint.  Everyone will come up to you and ask you what you put in the salad, or they’ll ask, “did you put mint in the salad?” like it’s the most original and clever thing to do.  Which of course it is.

 

Good Enough Gourmet Joins a CSA, Part 2: Obsession

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So I’ve been obsessed by my CSA.  As I said in my last post, my first delivery came on a Sunday and I panicked a little, wondering what I was going to do with all that produce.  Sunday is my meal planning day so receiving the produce, planning my menu, and shopping in half a day was stressful.  Then I got smart.  The CSA posts what’s going to be in the boxes on the Wednesday prior.  So first thing Wednesday, I check online and then proceed to check every, uh, two or three minutes until it was posted.  Once it was posted, I copied the list onto paper, separating the list into fruits, vegetables to be used in a main course, and vegetables to be used as a side dish.  And then spent pretty much every minute thinking about what to make with these ingredients.  It was like being on the TV show Chopped or Master Chef, where you get a basket of ingredients and have to use them all.  Seriously, I’d be sitting in meetings at work thinking, “swiss chard and parsnips, hmm.”

Later that day, I received an email with the contents of the farm box.  It was different from what was posted in my online shopping cart earlier!  Help!  How can I make the Salade Nicoise I was planning without green beans?  Which list was right?  So I called the CSA…..and didn’t get a call back.  They probably have me on a “do not call” list for being a crazy lady.  (About a week later they did call me back and apologized profusely for temporarily misplacing my message and said that I could call as often as I wanted.)  So I changed my whole menu plan based on the new list, and lo and behold, when I received the basket, the first list was right and I got my green beans, but too late to make the Salade Nicoise.

My obsession is the antithesis of what getting a Farm Box is all about.  It’s about working with what’s fresh and in season, being flexible, rather than constructing rigid meal plans.  However, I’m a full-time working mom and weekends are my only time to grocery shop.  If I don’t plan out our meals in advance, we don’t eat.  So I’m ok with my obsession. Plus, it’s like a game, figuring out how to use every piece of produce.  Here’s what we had in CSA week 2:

  • Roast chicken with roasted purple potatoes and heirloom carrots
  • Chicken caesar salad and citrus salad with tarragon
  • Butternut squash soup and artichokes with garlic aoili
  • Omelets with tarragon, shallots and goat cheese; roasted beets, and sauteed beet greens
  • Quiche with swiss chard, broccoli, and zucchini
  • Risotto with green beans and heirloom carrots; green saladIMG_2812

 

 

The Good Enough Gourmet Joins A CSA

Rhymes. Nice.

CSA stands for Community-Sponsored Agriculture, and by joining I get a box of fruits and vegetables delivered to my doorstep every week, sourced from local farms.

I’ve thought about joining a CSA in the past, but rejected the idea. I live within walking distance from a farmers’ market; CSAs can be expensive; and most importantly, I’m big on meal planning and thought it would be too complicated to work around what’s in my farm box. But when a friend posted a picture of her farm box on Facebook, I decided to give it a try.

My first delivery came on Sunday. I was excited when I unpacked, and then……mild panic attack. What was I going to make this week with all this random produce? After much scouring of my recipes, the internet, and my cooking muscle memory, along with a few deep, cleansing breaths, I made a plan. And went shopping, delighted with how little I had to buy (which would have been much less if it weren’t Trader Joe’s holiday specialty item season – hello dark chocolate star cookies and white chocolate peppermint bark-coated pretzel slims).

Here’s what I’m making this week:
1) lentil soup (uses the leek, carrots, and a bit of sweet potato) and salad (uses the baby mustard greens, carrots, tomatoes, and an avocado)
2) sausage and vegetable stew (uses the other leek, sweet potato, carrots, and parsnips)
3) roasted fish and salad with roasted heirloom beets and goat cheese (uses the baby mustard greens and the beets)
4) lamb burgers with sautéed beet greens and baked potato chips (uses the rosemary, the shallot, the lemon, the beet greens, and the potatoes)
5) rice and quinoa bowl with vegetables and tahini sauce (uses the shallot, the sweet potato, the kale, the carrots, and the other avocado)

You might think these vegetables sound boring, but when I say carrots, I’m talking tiny, colorful heirloom carrots that you don’t have to peel and are super sweet and have a more carrot-y flavor than other carrots you’ve had.

We’ll see how it goes. So far, I’ve made meal #1 and it was quite good. Pictures and possibly recipes to come.