Thursday, March 6, 2014

Happy Box Week 1

And so it begins!  Yesterday I received my first weekly CSA “happy box” delivery from Fulton Farms.

Here is what my first box contained:
  • 1 big bag of spinach
  • 3 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 head of lettuce
  • 1 head of red cabbage
  • 3 stalks of broccoli
  • 2 green peppers
  • 3 red apples
  • 3 green bananas
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 mango
  • 1 lb. of strawberries
Later in the season my deliveries will consist of 100% locally-grown organic produce, but right now in the Ohio Miami Valley, the only things growing are a few really hardy cold-season crops like spinach.  So my first few boxes will also contain organic produce from a trusted wholesaler.  (I would have been okay with an entire box full of spinach, but it’s cool.) 

My mission this year is to utilize every bit of produce that I receive in my CSA deliveries all season long.  I hate to admit that this was not the case last year, which was my first year with the program, but you live, you learn. 

So last night I made broccoli salad to serve with skillet pork cutlets and balsamic tomatoes...

  • I blanched the 3 stalks of broccoli, boiling them until they were bright green and still somewhat crispy.  Then I plunged them in cold water to stop the cooking and retain the beautiful color and texture.  Then I chopped the broccoli into bite-sized pieces and threw them in a bowl.
  • I added 3 slices of chopped, crispy bacon.  (Tip:  I use kitchen shears to snip bacon into small, evenly-sized pieces.)  I also added ½ cup of golden raisins and ¼ cup of roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds.
  • I mixed up a sauce using 1 cup of homemade mayo, 2 tablespoons of citrus vinegar and 1 tablespoon of agave nectar.  (You can also use honey.)  Then I just tossed it all together. 

It was delicious.  I hope I get more broccoli in my happy box next week.  

As for the rest of the meal, I simply rubbed thick slices of pork tenderloin with my favorite all-purpose dry meat rub and browned them in a skillet.  In another skillet, I sautéed a large onion until soft, then added a 10 ounce package of grape tomatoes and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and cooked on medium-high heat until the tomatoes burst and it all got a bit caramelized.  Yum!

I'd say things are off to a great start.

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