Friday, April 13, 2012

Organic Harvest Box for April 12, 2012

I have a confession to make - do you remember the last time we got a cabbage in our box?  I don't remember when it was, but I just cooked it last night.  The outer leaves were dry and I discarded them but the rest was fine so I made a Bacon Braised Cabbage recipe from Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Cookbook that was fantastic.  Finely slice the cabbage and 6 slices of bacon.  Saute the bacon in a large saucepan with some olive oil until mostly crispy.  Add 2 pats of butter, some garlic, 2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce and cook a little more, then add your cabbage and 1 1/4 c. of broth.  Cover and cook that for 5-10 minutes until the cabbage is soft, remove the lid and cook for a few more minutes until the juice is mostly cooked off.  Season with salt and pepper.  I ate more of this at supper than main dish of Maple Hoisin Glazed Salmon - it is in the Spring Food and Drink magazine and is a great way to use up any extra green onions from last week.  Very easy, very delicious, I will post the link once it gets on the LCBO website.

Another confession, I still haven't made anything with my Roma's, I just keep having them sliced on toast with mayo and salt and pepper or with leftover ham from Easter.  Toasted tomato sandwiches are my staple in the late summer when we have an overabundance of fresh tomatoes in our garden so they feel like a bit a treat right now before my garden is even in.  However, I am trying to convince myself that I will use my tomatoes to greater effect this week.  In the back of my head I keep thinking that I am going to make a lovely pasta with a fresh tomato sauce, I have all sorts of recipes, and the spinach, red pepper and broccoli would really round out a nice pasta sauce.  This simple Penne with Tomato, Basil and Olives would be a great way to use the tomatoes, and you could add part of the red pepper and some broccoli to roast along with the tomatoes to make the pasta sauce.  Or maybe I'll use the tomato, lemon and some leftover green onions for this Best Tuna Burger (also by Jamie Oliver) that I've been wanting to try as it was highly recommended to me by a friend who makes it regularly for his wife and daughter who both love it.  Serve the burgers with some fresh cut up cucumber, the corn on the cob and you have a great backyard BBQ meal.

Last confession, I didn't make any strawberry shortcake at all last weekend, those strawberries were so delicious on their own that we ate the whole container one night for dessert, just plain.

This week's box really makes me feel like summer is coming, lots of fresh veggies, many that can be eaten raw, and Corn on the Cob!  My favorite way to have corn on the cob is on the BBQ.  We have found two ways that get that nice roasted flavor on the cobs.  When you have extra time, use this method where you soak the cobs first and then grill them in the husks.  An easy way to do them when you are more pressed for time is to remove the husks and silk from the cobs, make as many tin foil squares as you have cobs, rub some butter onto the tin foil, sprinkle with a bit of seasoning (right onto the tin foil), place the cob in the middle of the tin foil and roll it up.  Place on a medium to medium high grill for approximately 10-15 minutes.  We mostly eat the corn right off the cob but if you want to do something a little more with it, you could make this Roasted Corn and Red Pepper Salad (make about a quarter of this recipe).

I think that we all have our favorite recipes for cucumbers, broccoli, spinach, red peppers, even just put together like that in a salad makes a great side dish for any meal or cut up as veggies to munch alongside soup and a sandwich so I was trying to find "10 things I didn't know" about: whatever vegetable.  The most interesting that I found were these 10 things that I didn't know about cucumber (adapted from :
  • Cucumbers contain more vitamins than I knew; Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6,Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc,
  • Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and carbohydrates that help give that pick me up instead of a sugary snack or drink,
  • Tired of your  bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower?  Try rubbing a Cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance,
  • Place a few cucumber slices in an aluminum pie tin in your garden to help keep garden pests out.  The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to keep off a scent undetectable to humans but that makes pests flee.  I will try this out this summer,
  • I'm a little skeptical about this one but -  looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes (I think that my problem areas might take more than 1 or 2 slices), the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!
  • Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache,
  • Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don't have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water,
  • Stressed out and don't have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams,
  • Looking for a "green" way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel?  Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface that you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine but it won't leave streaks or harm your fingers while you clean,
  • Lastly, you may know this one, but if you slice up some cucumbers, sprinkle them with just a bit of salt, it's a great snack replacement for chips or crackers when you get the munchies (that one I did know).

The last item from this week's box that I will touch on is kale.  If you don't already know, kale is a superfood with so many health benefits as outlined in these 9 Reasons You Should Eat More Kale.  I usually don't have a problem finding something to do with it, but do admit (veiled confession!) that I have passed a handful off to a friend every now and then who really loves it.  But, the last time we got kale, I made a Kale, Potato and Chickpea soup that was fantastic.  I froze some of it and had it reheated in lunches over the weeks and it was still good.  Tasha sent me a recipe that she tried last night for Lemony Kale Salad.  She noted that she used the whole lemon and was generous with the olive oil and that it was very yummy.  I would love to hear if anyone has made their own kale chips as they are quite popular and visually appealing.  It doesn't look difficult but I would be interested to know if they get crispy?  Are tasty?  Most importantly, will my kids eat them?

I am off to indulge in some seafood this weekend at a curling bonspiel in Cumberland so won't even get to my veggies until Sunday but at least it won't be the two months that it took me to use my cabbage.

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