Tuesday, June 21, 2011

CSA Adventures 2011: Week 2

Greens - CSA 2011, Week 2

Week 02 Produce:
1/2 pound Quelite or "Red Root," a sort of Mexican wild spinach - CHALLENGE VEGETABLE
1 head of Lettuce
1 bunch of Scallions
1 bunch of Parsley

1. Sauteed Quelite
Notes:  Prepared with mushrooms, olive oil, cumin, garlic, lime, chicken chorizo, and red pepper flakes.  Rich flavor.

2. Pretzel Salad
Notes: Pretzel sticks, cheddar cheese, sunflower seeds, homemade croutons, grape tomatoes, scallions, lettuce, parsley.

3. Scrambled Eggs with mushrooms, scallions, parsley, and cheddar cheese.

4. Everything in the Fridge Salad (not pictured)
Lettuce, scallion, onion, red pepper, mushrooms, lime, tortilla, pepperjack cheese, tomatoes, Caesar salad dressing, Cholula hot sauce, parsley.

There's a little parsley left over, so we'll just continue tossing it in things until it's gone. 

Week 3 may feature garlic scapes!  Whee!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Once Upon a Clementine

1 2 3


CSA Adventures 2011: Week 1

Greens - CSA 2011, Week 2
Sneak a peek at week two's veggies, above!

Hello!  After disappointing myself, and perhaps some of you, with last year's CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) coverage, I'm back for a third season and determined to improve my game.  If you've forgotten why my follow-through was so abysmal in 2010, it was because I got pregnant in July and developed an aversion to vegetables that left me uninterested in cooking most of the items in my share during the height of the season.

I had to join a new program, as the one I'd been a member of for the past two years wasn't an option this year.  Now, I'm a shareholder in Local Roots, a new CSA in the neighborhood.  They've split the season into two halves (12 weeks each), so for now I've paid for the first 12 weeks of produce.  If all goes well, I'll buy a share in the second half of the season, too.

Dan and I actually got a half share, as the "whole share" was described as being for larger families.  So far, the amount of each type of produce seems good for the two of us (the baby is not eating solid foods yet), though there aren't a lot of different items yet.  I'm hoping that the variety of vegetables we receive each week will increase as the growing season gets underway.

The other piece to this blogging-my-CSA-adventures puzzle is taking photos to share with you, and so far I've been trying to put the baby to bed during prime "golden light" hours.  Eating in the dark doesn't make for nice pictures, either.  But I'll work on getting you some shots of what we're receiving and eating.  Can't be worse than last year, right?  Right?

Tonight begins Week Two, so I'll share a brief wrap-up of last week and look forward to filling you in on what follows. As in past years, items I mark as "challenge vegetables" are ones we're cooking with for the first time.

Week 01 Produce:
1/2 pound of Nettle - CHALLENGE VEGETABLE
1 pound of Spinach
1 bunch of Radishes
1 bunch of Scallions

Local Roots linked to this helpful video about cooking with nettle.  Don't get stung!

from Local Roots NYC on Vimeo.

Nettle pesto

With the produce from week one, Dan and I were able to make just two dishes:
1. Stinging Nettle Pesto
Notes: Dan prepared this with pine nuts, walnuts, nettle, oil, garlic and parmesan.  We ate it over pasta one night, and also had it on toasted bread.  It had a fairly mild flavor, so the garlic was a good addition.
2. Big Salad

Notes: I do like a big salad.  We used the spinach, radishes, and scallions for this one and dressed it with left over arepa sauce from Caracas Arepa Bar.

Coming Up in Week 02 Produce:
1/2 pound Quelite or "Red Root," a sort of Mexican wild spinach - CHALLENGE VEGETABLE
1 head of Lettuce
1 bunch of Scallions
1 bunch of Parsley

Did you join a CSA this year? What was in your first week's share?


Tuesday, June 14, 2011



Spotted in a bodega: one tiny, adorable kitten.

I would imagine this must be good for business.  I know s/he makes me want to buy at least twice as many Nutter Butters.


Poetry Tuesday: Barcelona, Eaten


Barcelona, eaten by the Pope
Familia spires served well to pick his teeth
Pillars there? Why, white asparagus.

No bikini* on the beach is safe, they say
Rovellons for buttons? Gobbled down
Patatas Bravas? Papa, Brava! Way to eat the streets!

Barcelona, eaten up by me
Every paving stone, a pastry
Each ounce of sea to wash a dish.

Paella, small plates, salads -- all are gone
The landscape's stripped, we ate it
The city's tapas? Tapped.

Not Gaudi! The Pope! And me!


Tuna 2






White asparagus

Temptation Fruit. 2 Euros 50! Inside


Ham; Asparagus


Emergency snack Sunflower crackers

Apple and cream

Surprise lemon


Wrapped Clementine Clem wrapper So as to not get scurvy

Chocolate sticks



* bikini = Spanish grilled cheese with ham sandwich

Another city view


Monday, June 13, 2011

No Line? So Fine.


The problem with the original Shake Shack in Madison Square Park is that the lines are almost always ridiculously long.  When it opened in 2004, I was working nearby and managed to get in on the ground floor of the phenomenon.  The frozen custard "concretes," which are like Blizzards, and cheese fries were my special loves.  But as the lines grew longer, I stopped going.  I wasn't going to give up most of an hour-long lunch break waiting to place my order.  The food is good, but not good enough to justify the wait. 


Now, Shake Shack is expanding across this city and into others.  Until today, I had yet to try any of the new locations.  I guess I assumed the long line in Madison Square would be replicated at each.  But, happily, I see that I was wrong.  After an early afternoon at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (closed to the public on Mondays, but I have a hook-up!) seeing, among other things, the Alexander McQueen retrospective, we walked over to the Shake Shack on 86th Street.  It was about 4pm, so perhaps the time was a factor, but there was no line at all!


Dan's burger was good, he reported. My fried mushroom burger, filled with gooey melted cheese and topped with crisp onion and tomato and lettuce and pickles, was excellent.  The cheese fries were fresh, warm, and swell.  Dan's root beer didn't disappoint.  My lemonade was perfect. Our Coffee Bean Brownie (coffee-caramel-brownie-vanilla) concrete was sweet and smooth.  And, to make things even better, there was outdoor seating in a public plaza adjacent to the restaurant.  And the bathroom had a changing station.  Golly! What an afternoon of happy flavors and thoughts!


So maybe I won't wait in line for it, but I will take the train.


Sweet Industry


My friend Melissa threw her visiting mom a brunch this past Sunday (Yum! Spanakopita!), and Jeannine, Melissa's mother, took the opportunity to talk to us about Xoçai chocolates. Jeannine is a distributor and a believer in the company's claims that the candies deliver antioxidants to and improve the health of those who eat it.

We got to sample four of the products, all solid chocolates, as well as a health shake.  I can't speak to the healthiness of any of the items, but they do have a dark chocolate flavor -- and Jeannine said she's seen real benefits, including weight loss, since making them a part of her dietary lifestyle.

I liked the original "nuggets" and the "Mega Squares," which have an orange flavor, best.  Chocolate and orange are a favorite of mine. I also found their slightly grainy texture comforting somehow.

If you'd like to try it yourself you can see all of their products and/or order online.  I wouldn't advertise for just anyone, and I can't endorse anything about these personally (beyond their flavor), but Jeannine is a real person who wasn't just selling me a line.  I'll vouch for her sincerity! She believes in the product, and you might, too.

For further reading on Xoçai, here's a New York Times article from 2009.


Vital Information


I like Coconut M&M's better than Pretzel M&M's.


To elaborate, I think Pretzel M&M's were a good concept, but the pretzel inside actually emphasizes the sugary candy shell, rather than the chocolate.  It makes the chocolate taste fake and too-sweet.  You're better off with actual chocolate-covered pretzels.


There was this one time?


This one time? We had a fairly new baby? And Rusty brought us muffins from Variety?

Much appreciated!  Especially pumpkin cream cheese.



Compost Cookie

I haven't yet made it to Smorgasburg, Brooklyn Flea's all-food market in Williamsburg, but I was happy with the food options at the flea market itself, which I visited well before Smorgasburg opened.

Told I had to try one of the Compost Cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar's stand, I obliged.  It was tasty, but not as exciting as I was hoping it would be.  Perhaps the texture was too homogenized.  I'm looking forward to making my own version.

While there, I also enjoyed my favorite Asia Dog -- the Mash (not pictured).  Potato chips, spicy ketchup, jalapeno mustard? I have no complaints.  I've now had Asia Dog's food at a bar (where they originated), a flea market, a wedding (which they catered!), a pop-up soccer clubhouse (oh, the wasabi potato salad!), and their restaurant in Nolita.  I'm a fan.


Edible Tourism


Everyone's abuzz about the High Line park's newly opened section.  The park is so lovely and unique (it's built along a decommissioned elevated train line).  For me, it's a "must-see" in NYC.

A few weeks ago, when Angela was visiting, we walked along section one -- all that was open at the time -- and visited nearby Chelsea Market, another classic New York City destination, for gelato from L'Arte del Gelato.  I had my selection (mint chocolate chip) made into a shake.  Perfection!




I was too scared to try these.  Or maybe "worried and suspicious" would be more accurate than "scared."

Since when can one buy cheesy fries at Burger King, anyway?  If it's not for sale at the "restaurant," why brand it and sell it at the bodega?


Berry Good!


Kate first turned me on to Brookside's enrobed goodies by bringing a pouch of dark-chocolate-covered goji berries to a welterweight championship viewing at my house.

Lest you get the wrong impression, I don't particularly enjoy boxing -- but, as it turns out, I DO enjoy chocolate-covered goji berries!  I also sought out the brand's pomegranate and açaí with blueberries (not pictured).  The pomegranate were slightly disappointing; I wish Brookside had captured the juicy crunch and tart, fresh flavor of pomegranate seeds, but they didn't.

I enjoyed my taste of the açaí/blueberry chocolates (a gift from Angela), but they didn't measure up to the goji, which remain my favorite.

Pomegranate Goji

Something about the bright chewiness of that berry meshes best with the dark chocolate they've used.

They're a little more expensive than I like to see, if I can be candid, but officially delicious.


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