After taking two summers off from gardening, I’m back to discovering how green my thumbs can be. I had considered doing a CSA at the beginning of summer and then decided to DIY with gardening and farmers market. I started out this spring with some container gardening – think super small planters, not a container box on the ground. The arugula, strawberries, butter lettuce, and basil did really well until June or July. And after moving mid-summer, suddenly I had a 75% volunteer garden! We’re still overflowing with tomatoes – cherry, sun gold, heirloom, roma… There’s a little bit of basil still hanging on, tons of rhubarb, mint, rosemary, sage. The blueberries were amazing, but long gone. Pumpkins – surprise! And the only thing that didn’t turn out well from our super volunteer garden was the corn.
As the summer ends, tons and tons of tomatoes are the only veggie we’re still juggling from our garden. So when a friend asked if I wanted to take over the last couple months of his CSA share as he moves to Seattle, I accepted the challenge.
I thought it would be fun to document here some of what we’re receiving each week and how I’m making myself actually use it!
This Week’s CSA bounty:
1. Roasted Eggplant, Tomato, and Feta Salad - I ended up combining a couple recipes and using what was available, for this salad. It was super tasty– eggplant, tomatoes, feta, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, and basil.
2. Dragon Tongue Beans with Butter and Garlic – While these purple and white beans are fun to look at — they ended up not being my favorite. I sautéed them with butter and garlic and added some basil. The purple color faded, which obviously doesn’t impact the taste – but I was more into the garlic, butter, and basil sauce than the actual beans.
3. Feta-stuffed Peppers – My sister had just sent me a quick recipe she created, so I knew exactly what I was going to use the mini peppers for when I saw them in the CSA this week. This is one quick and tasty starter. RECIPE: After halving, and de-seeding the peppers, boil or steam them for about 5 minutes. Mix 1/2 to 3/4 cup of feta, 1+ TB of olive oil, and salt and pepper. Then fill the pepper halves with the mixture, place on a baking sheet and broil on a lower rack in the oven for about 5-10 minutes. So good!
The only unused veggies this week were the few tiny spicy peppers – hot sauce maybe? And the small onions, which will go in almost anything next week.
After the first week, I’m super excited about getting out of my current cooking rut! I love cooking and trying new recipes, but all too often I get in little routines of making the same dishes on my meal plan. Another thing I noticed was that if I have something to use up, I’ll go searching for a recipe to make, but in the grocery store I usually just quickly run through my typical things. I wouldn’t have gone out of my way this week to pick up eggplant, peppers, or dragon tongue beans.
Photo by Schoolyard Farms
This week we welcome another autumn into our lives. As a thoroughly predictable human being, every September I fight the changing season, and then start warming up to the idea after reminding myself of all the things to love about fall. I finally give in (short of relocating, what’s a Portlander to do?). This years autumnal equinox is September 22, so as the rains arrive, I’ll be re-reading my annual fall list.
Ah spring – the worst is over! Every year it’s the same feeling, like by the end of February you begin to believe that the grey and rain is just not going to end this time. But it does and it’s always worth it. Seeing blossoms all across the city makes me a little giddy.
Here are some things I love about spring in Portland…
Summer, my friends, has finally arrived in Portland. I may have said summer is on its way a few times this year already, but it’s finally here!
Oblique Coffee Roasters – you would think it would be easy to find a coffee shop open at 5am, right? Maybe that’s just wishful thinking. My quest led me to Oblique, which opens at 6am. That’ll do.
Tubing on the Clackamas River – First river float of the year. Check! A fairly last minute and short trip to the river, but always worth it. There’s nothing like floating down the river in the sun. It’s like being a kid again, where all you have to worry about is whether or not you get to stop for ice cream on the way home.
Kit’s Organic – I received a little box of treats in the mail, which I promptly devoured. Attention PR companies, you can always send me food. In all seriousness, I’m happy to see Clif Bar come out with something like this. My go-to bar if I pop into Whole Foods after yoga, is a Luna bar, so always good to have more brands and flavors to choose from. My favorite thing about these fruit and nut bars, is the ingredient list: Organic Dates, Organic Cashews, Organic Almonds, Sea Salt. Four ingredients? My mom would even approve. (granola – it’s genetic)
Portland sunsets – stunning sunsets this weekend. “It’s 9pm, hurry! Run for high ground to catch it!”
Pyro in the sun – spent a sunny lunch break at Pyro Pizza enjoying my favorite pizza and the weather.
Ya Hala – still my favorite Lebanese restaurant in Portland. 8 years later and the veggie mezza still doesn’t disappoint (although I would not turn down extra baba ganoush)!
What are you happy about this week?
Happy Birthday, America!
Pok Pok grilled corn – It’s back in season folks — Pok Pok is serving their grilled corn again. A summer favorite. I could eat a cornfield of these.
coffee shop work – Crema, sunshine, iced coffee. This:
I appreciate working remotely 85% more in summertime!@ Crema Bakery and Cafe instagr.am/p/MZIPNDhg5Z/
— Olivia Raymer (@poweredbytofu) June 27, 2012
Firestone Walker “Wookey Jack” Black Rye IPA – I won a 22oz bottle of this at beer trivia night a few weeks ago, and then ‘randomly’ ordered it at Green Dragon this week. Doh. A new favorite, for sure.
Canteen – after continually passing by the almost-finished, new shop from one of my favorite Portland juice carts (Sip), they’ve finally opened! I tried the tasty Portland bowl, and the standard ginger berry smoothie. I’ll definitely be back in here.
Portland Dining Month at Brix Tavern – Every June, Downtown Portland puts on Portland Dining Month, where you get a 3-course meal for $25 at tons of Portland restaurants. I snagged a freebie on KloutPerks, and got a nice little gift certificate in the mail for Brix Tavern. It was fun to try out a restaurant I hadn’t been to, and they have a great happy hour menu!
Moonrise Kingdom – It’s been a while since I went to a ‘real’ movie theater. I finally used my $5 Fandango movie coupon to go see the new Wes Anderson film. Loved. Perfect way to spend a rainy June night.
Hawaiian Airlines 35,000 miles offer - I’m always on the lookout for credit cards offering miles deals, and since my bff moved to Hawaii, I decided to get the Hawaiian Airlines card, which gives you 35,000 miles. You just have to spend $1,000 in 4 months — pretty easy if you use it for bills, dining out, groceries etc. This will be my card of choice for the next few months. Plus you get a coupon code for 25% off 2 roundtrip tickets. Prepare the guest room, friend!
Oregon Humane Society kitties – I stumbled across my Oregon Humane Society cat adoption papers recently. Adorable to re-read
Emily Essa’s one-page sell sheet. :)
What are you happy about this week?