Friday, June 24, 2016

CSA Farm Share Chopped Salad

This salad is filled with a variety of colors, flavors, and textures. A mixture of raw and cooked vegetables with grains, proteins, and herbs, this hearty vegetarian salad can be eaten as a main dish or used as a side salad.

a plate of CSA farm share chopped salad with kale, purple cauliflower, kohlrabi, Hakurei turnips, bulgur, eggs and feta

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Today I want to talk about maximizing time.

Do you bring reading material, knitting, or your laptop with you when you know you'll be sitting and waiting somewhere? I do--either my Kindle at the doctor's office, or my knitting in the car, or my laptop while waiting for my daughter's sewing class. I like to be prepared when I know I'll be stuck somewhere for a while.

It's amazing how much focused effort I can accomplish toward a task when I am free of the distractions of laundry, the dogs wanting out (and in and out and in and out and in), or the lure of social media.

This recipe came about precisely because I was stuck without preplanned waiting materials. We'd dropped the car off for routine maintenance first thing in the morning and decided to swing by the dealership eight hours later, en route home from an errand.

The car wasn't ready.

a close up shot of CSA farm share chopped salad

Monday, June 20, 2016

Grill the farm share vegetables. It's what's for dinner.

Got a lot of vegetables in the crisper? Next farm share due soon? Throw the veggies on the grill.

If I'm unsure what to have for dinner, I'll start with what vegetables are on hand.  One of the lovely benefits of participating in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share is that we always have vegetables on hand.

Grilled butternut squash, grilled napa cabbage, and grilled asparagus in a collage

In the Fall/winter, that means I gather vegetables from the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve in the basement, turn on the oven, then start peeling and chopping while I figure out what will go alongside a pan of roasted vegetables.  Examples of a Roasted Farm Share Dinner and Roasted Potatoes with Squash and Peppers are two recipes I've shared using this technique.

In the summer, I swap out roasting in the oven for throwing the farm share on the grill.  I use the same preparation as if I'm roasting, and the results are equally flavorful.  Examples of grilled vegetable recipes I've shared on the blog are Grilled Garlic Scape Pesto Smashed Potatoes, Grilled Green Beans, Grilled Mushrooms, and Grilled Butternut Squash and Peppers.

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There's no limit to what you can grill. In addition to the usual suspects above, I've grilled Bok Choy, Kohlrabi leaves, and Napa Cabbage. I've grilled naan bread for pizzas. I've grilled pineapple for pasta salad and next week I'll be sharing a recipe for Grilled Cherry Muffins.

Grilled vegetables can be used as is, or put up for later meals by freezing. I use grilled vegetables in salads, spaghetti sauce, lasagna, and on pizza. I'll toss them with pasta served in both warm and cold preparations. Having a pile of mixed grilled vegetables is an excellent building block in your What To Eat For Dinner arsenal.

Grilled peppers, grilled summer squash, grilled green beans and grilled eggplant in a collage.

I have no official recipe, just a technique.  I try and make the pieces as uniform in size as possible. I toss them with cooking oil (vegetable or olive) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. I've got a basket and a perforated pan for vegetables that are too small to lay across the grill grates.

Typically I've got the grill set at medium heat and covered during grilling.  After about 5 minutes I'll check on the vegetables and flip or stir them. Small items in a basket, like peppers and cubes of squash, will get multiple stirs. Larger pieces like eggplant and zucchini will only get turned once.

Grilled summer squash, grilled salad turnips, grilled naan bread and grilled green beans in a collage.

After the vegetables are tender, browned, and/or crisp I'll toss them with additional flavors. I really enjoy a dressing made from Garlic Scape Pesto thinned with olive oil. Depending on the eventual use of the vegetables, tossing the grilled vegetables with soy sauce or balsamic vinegar adds an additional layer of flavor over the salt and pepper.

If you've got a grill, try throwing the farm share on it this summer!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Grilled Eggplant & Chicken Parm Pizza

Take the classic flavor combination of eggplant parmigiana or chicken parmigiana and turn it into a pizza! This grilled pizza keeps the kitchen cool during the summer months.

close shot of grilled eggplant and chicken parm pizza

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eggplants in the farm share box

When I mention that eggplant is often one of the summer vegetables found in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share box, I hear 'oh I love eggplant parm'.  So do I. However, I hate to bake a hearty casserole in the summer when the eggplant is ripe. I've had success this past winter with using frozen (but already grilled) eggplant in baked dishes, but that's a recipe for another time.
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