Saturday, February 25, 2012

Seasonal Saturday

Saturday is usually the day when we don’t have to set an alarm. For that reason alone, Saturday is my favorite day of the week. Today we had to set an alarm but this Saturday is still my favorite day of the week. We had to be up reasonably early to run an important errand.

Last Saturday, when we did not set an alarm and were not up and out of the house early and were still in our PJ’s drinking coffee at noon, we decided to surf the Internet because that didn’t require us to get dressed or to stop drinking coffee. In our wanderings through cyberspace we did a google search for CSA’s, Community Supported Agriculture, in our area. Our hope was to find a co-op to join through which we could buy locally grown organic produce. Surprisingly, many opportunities exist. After discussing all of the options (over a few more cups of coffee), we signed up for a half-share with Urban Acres. All of their produce is organic but not all is locally grown. Supplementing the shares with some imported items allows for a little more variety than is otherwise available here in North Texas.

So, we had to be up this morning to go pick up our first bin of veggies and fruit. The pick-up point is very close to our house, closer even than the grocery store where we regularly shop. By 9:45 we were on our way home with 2 heads of green cabbage, 3 oranges, 2 crowns of broccoli, 2 bunches of spinach, a mango, 5 sweet potatoes, 3 beets with greens, a pound of strawberries, a head of romaine lettuce, and a container of shitake mushrooms. Unpacking the bin of produce was akin to opening your stocking on Christmas morning! Both are full of surprises. The one thing that was not a surprise was the dozen eggs that we knowingly added to our order.

The top layer of goodies
The oranges that were hiding underneath
This picture is here because orange is my favorite color. (Green and red are OK too.)

I never knew that sweet potatoes could be so photogenic.

The next task for today was to decide what we were going to do with all of these things. I poured over my favorite cookbooks looking for some new and different recipes. One of the reasons that we decided to buy our produce from Urban Farms is that there is a great deal of creativity in figuring out how to use what we get. It was not too difficult this week.

We eat fruit as part of almost every meal so the oranges and strawberries won’t last long. The mango may find its way into some sorbet. And broccoli, spinach and lettuce are staples around our house. I made a scrumptious cabbage salad tonight. It was sort of a cross between cole slaw and that carrot-raisin salad that makes an appearance at every church pot-luck. I know that sounds a little strange but it is really good!

I am a little stumped on what to do with the beets and the mushrooms - mostly because I don’t like beets or mushrooms. Well, that’s not exactly true; I like beet greens. I just don’t care for the beets themselves. And mushrooms . . .they are fungus. All I can think of is those gross pictures that they show in the ads for whatever that drug is that treats toenail fungus. In my mind fungus is fungus. I know, this is a seriously immature attitude.

Because it is Lent and because Lent is a time of self-denial, I am denying myself the choice of not eating the mushrooms. I am also denying myself the opportunity to prepare them. I found a recipe for a brown rice and mushroom casserole that sounds like a good way to ingest mushrooms if you are denying yourself the choice of not eating mushrooms. My mushroom-loving husband has agreed to prepare them. I’ll let you know how the fungus and I get along.

The beets are another story. Neither of us either likes beets or knows what to do with them to make them palatable. Weber did find a recipe for a romaine and beet salad with a tasty sounding dressing. It is the only promising prospect at this time. We are open to suggestions if any of you have a recipe that makes beets taste good.

We pick up another bin of produce in two weeks. I am looking forward to watching the seasons change through not only the trees and flowers as they bud and bloom but also through the changing harvest of fruits and vegetables that make their way home with us.