Sunday, February 21, 2010

Box #4: Complaining and Needing Ideas

I have to say that as skilled as I am as a complainer, I don't complain as much as you'd think. I'm not one of those people who's always on the warpath with customer service representatives. I'd like to be, but I have other things to do. This week was an exception. In my lovely produce box, I found a nice bag of sprouted potatoes and 6 heads of bolted bok choi.

Now, I'm not all that sad about the bok choi. I'm pretty sick of it at this point. However, I don't like paying for spoiled produce. The sprouted potatoes really get to me. This is the 2nd batch of softish, eyed potatoes. You can argue over whether to eat sprouted potatoes, but I won't. I certainly wouldn't buy them in a store, so why am I paying to have them delivered to my house?

So, I complained. I got a note back saying that they'd put some extra stuff in my box to make up for it. If it's extra bok choi, I'm going to lose it.

Until then, I will certainly be able to make due with what's left in the box:

1 head of red butter lettuce
1 acorn squash
1 bunch of celery
1 bunch of carrots
2 heads of broccoli
more frigging bok choi
3 avocados
5 apples
1 grapefruit
3 lemons
3 onions
1 bunch ruby chard
1 bunch dino kale
4 leeks
3 pears

I'm feeling a bit sparse. I've been especially sleep-deprived this last week and the culinary creativity has been noticeably absent. Notice that this is Box#4. Box#3, while lovely, was largely eaten plainly or left to feed the compost because of a stomach bug that ran though the house. So I'm not quite back in the game yet. If any of the 2 people who read this have any inspiring ideas, I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Potato Masala

This is Recipe #1 from Box #2.

We love potatoes. I mean REALLY love potatoes. We both grew up in potato-loving families, and hope to pass on our potato-loving nature to our little red-head. So I was happy to get some small, red potatoes in this box. I'd call them 'new' potatoes, but they weren't quite so 'new'. A few eyes and a few rubbery ones didn't please me, but the rest of the produce was great, so I'll allow for a misfire once in awhile.

For this supper, I considered just having plain boiled potatoes, but at the last minute, I wanted something a little more interesting, so I made it a little Indianesque.

Potato Masala

8 small waxy potatoes, boiled until tender, NOT falling apart
1 roma tomato, chopped
pinch asafoetida
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried curry leaves
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tbsp oil
salt, to taste

1. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat and add the mustard
2. Add mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, turn the heat down to medium and add the cumin seeds.
3. Add the asafoetida and curry leaves and fry for a moment or two.
4. Add the tomatoes and mix well. Fry for a moment.
5. Add the turmeric and chili powder and mix well.
6. Add the cooked potatoes and stir to coat with the masala.
7. Cover and cook for a few minutes until the tomatoes are mushy.
8. Salt to taste.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Noodle Salad

This is recipe #6 from Box #1.

1 pkg rice noodles (mei fun)
1/3 bag of baby spinach, shredded
1 small savoy cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, shredded
1 c soaked wakame seaweed


3 tbsp soy sauce
sesame oil
rice vinegar

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ethiopian Greens- Gomen

If you haven't spent any time in an Ethiopian restaurant gorging yourself into a bloated hog, you're really missing out. Though I've tried my hand at making injera-the traditional bread eaten at every meal, I've given up. I can't get the batter to be the right consistency, and there are good enough places around my greater neighborhood where I can pay for the pleasure of not getting disappointed.

So anyway, this is recipe #5 from the contents of Box #1, using up the bunch of collard greens. It wasn't quite enough to go around, so I added a package of frozen spinach to fill it out. It's usually spicier, with the addition of green chilies, but I wanted it kind of plain (perhaps too plain) to go along with some spicier mesir wat (lentil stew).


1 bunch collard greens
1 box frozen spinach, thawed
3 big cloves of garlic, minced
5-6 scallions or a medium onion, minced
2 c water
vegan margarine or oil

1. boil the greens in some water until they're just tender
2. saute the onion in the margarine or oil until limp
3. add the garlic and saute for a few minutes
4. add greens and saute to thoroughly mix the greens and onion/garlic
5. add the 2 cups of water and salt to taste and simmer on medium heat until the water is absorbed.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Protein Shake

Recipe #4
I feel kind of silly writing a post about a breakfast shake, but it is using up the bananas we got in Box #1.

1 Banana
2 tbsp soy protein
2 tbsp hemp protein
2 tbsp flax
enough soy milk to make it drinkable

Blend it all.
Nothing fancy here, except maybe the hemp protein.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Box #2

I should note that the things not used up in the recipes for the last box were generally used as baby food or just eaten as is. I originally thought I'd keep meticulous track of how everything was used up, but I just don't have the time or brain power for that right now. It should suffice to say that the Box is helping me meal-plan and seems to be a good price for what we get, especially considering that it's delivered to my door and it's all good quality stuff.

For Box #2, I ordered a different selection. This one comes as a mix of fruit and vegetables. I like the high volume of veggies, but I didn't really want to go out and buy fruit on top of it, so I thought we'd mix it up. And, honestly, who among us doesn't need to work on getting those 3-4 servings of fruit. And no, unfortunately, even free-trade, home-schooled chocolate doesn't count as a fruit, though it is derived from the seeds of the fruit of the cocoa tree... No! Never mind.

Box #2

5 kiwis (Put on the BOTTOM of the box! C'mon, guys. Really?)
5 apples
1 cucumber
1 pint cherry tomatoes
4 mangoes
4 lemons
2 pears
1 bunch dino kale
1 bunch collards
3 leeks
1 head green-leaf lettuce
1 bunch of carrots
2 heads of broccoli
more frigging bok choi
2 yellow onions
2 red onions
1 small butternut squash
1 bunch of radishes


I know I've written about fattoush, but it really is the cure for the 'I know I should eat a salad, but I really want to eat potato chips for dinner' problem.

1 sheet of lavash or very thin pita
green-leaf lettuce
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 large cucumber cut into slices then quartered
4 large radishes, sliced
2 small carrots, shredded

Quick Onion-Pepper Pizza

This is recipe #2 from Box#2.
Tired, cranky and hungry. That is the behavioral triumvirate that generally leads to bad dinner choices. What I really wanted was crappy Chinese take-out, but instead, realized that making my own pizza would take less time and it was already paid for. It's sad how time and money fuel so many of our decision, eh? Well, that aside, I was smart enough to have picked up some circular Persian bread from the bakery down the street. I'm not sure if it's meant to be used as a pizza base, but their typical bread is a very long rounded-edge rectangle and this round one was the perfect size for pizza, so maybe they're branching out.

1 onion, sliced very thin
1 small bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
2 baseball-sized cauliflower florets,
tomato paste, or pizza sauce
4-5 mushrooms, sliced very thin
1 pizza base/crust, pre-cooked

1. Preheat your oven to 425F
2. Carmelize the onion in a few tablespoons of oil on medium heat. This may take awhile. I aimed for a medium-brown. They could've gone longer, but I was getting impatient.
3. I shredded the cauliflower with a vegetable peeler. This served to make it about the consistency of couscous.
4. I mixed a few table spoons of tomato paste with a few table spoons of water, salt, oregano and basil, to taste. Don't you hate recipes like this? How could I expect anyone to re-create anything with such vague instruction?
5. Spread the sauce over the base, add toppings at will. I put the onions down after the sauce and then the peppers. The cauliflower was sprinkled on top.
6. Bake until the peppers are a little done.

Vague? Yes. Fast? Perhaps. Tasty? Indeed.

Sesame Noodles and Tofu

I'm hoping this is the last of the bok choi for a little while. I like it, sure, but I'm ready to see something else in the box.
I found the basis for this recipe from Robin Robertson, author of vegan such great vegan cookbooks as "Vegan Planet" and "Vegan Slow Cooker".

180 g dry udon noodles or fettuccini (enough for 2 people)
7-8 cups shredded bok choi
2 small carrots, sliced on the diagonal
1 small yellow bell pepper, sliced into matchsticks
4 green onions, minced white and green parts
3 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
2 tbsp roasted sesame oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp minced ginger
1/2 brick of tofu, cut into thin strips
2 tbsp oil

1. Cook the udon until al dente. You can cook it just as you would Italian pasta, or use the Japanese method: bring water to a boil, add the noodles and once the water re-boils, add a cup of cold water. Once the water re-boils again, add another cup of cold water. Once the water re-boils, the noodles should be done.
2. When the noodles are done, drain well, toss with 1 tbsp of the sesame oil and set aside.
3. Fry the tofu strips in 1 tbsp of the oil until done to your liking and set aside.
4. In the meanwhile, mix the tahini, soy sauce, and lemon juice until thick and well combined.
5. Heat the remaining oil and stir-fry the vegetables in the following order: garlic, ginger, scallions, carrots, peppers, bok choi.
6. When the vegetables are done to your taste, add the noodles and heat through.
7. Take the pan off the heat and add the sauce, making sure to coat all the noodles.
8. Add the tofu and drizzle with the remaining sesame oil.


Recipe#3 from Farm Box #1
I've never had kohlrabi before and was excited to be presented with a big purple one in the Box. I was origionally going to use it to make a kootu, but I didn't have time to get things ground etc. So, I decided on ANOTHER STIR-FRY. Yes, I know, but this one was much tastier.

1 large kohlrabi, peeled, diced into 1/2 x 1/2 x 1 in rectangles
1 medium carrot, diced as above
1/2 brick of tofu, diced as above
5 scallions, sliced diagonally
grape-seed oil
handful of cilantro
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp ginger paste
1/4 c soy sauce
few pinches of cornstarch
1/2 c crushed roasted cashews
sesame oil

1. Fry tofu in the oil until desired doneness.
2. Add scallions and kohlrabi and cover. Cook for 5 minutes.
3. Add sauce and cook another 5-10 minutes until kohlrabi begins to get tender. Add additional water if sauce gets sparse.
4. Add carrot and stir-fry a few minutes.
5. Add cilantro and cashews and drizzle with a small amount of sesame oil after turning off the heat.

This was a more interesting stir-fry than the last one. The kohlrabi was an interesting combination of broccoli-ness and root-vegetable. All in all, it worked and the red-haired vegan even liked it a 2nd time for lunch.

Ok. I promise, something different next time. Not that I don't like the stir-fry, but it's just not that interesting to write about...