Thursday, May 17, 2012

Organic Harvest Box for May 17, 2012

Happy Victoria Day weekend!  The weather is looking fabulous so it should be a great weekend for bbq-ing, gardening, or just enjoying the outdoors.  We are headed to the cottage and are hoping the blackflies don't eat us alive.  And though I didn't get there last weekend, we are hoping to go see Joyce and Wayne at Belle Terre Botanic Garden in Otter Lake, QC on Sunday.  I can't wait to bring back some tips, ideas, and photos.

Guess what - haven't used my cabbage yet, but I am going to use it to make the Japanese Coleslaw (from last week's blog) this weekend when we have a large group of friends visiting at the cottage.  I call those types of salads my weekend salads, as they do well to sit for a couple of days and can be a dinner side and then part of lunch the next day.  I am also going to make a Quinoa Salad that can last as well for a couple of days in the fridge.  Here are 3 absolutely fantastic quinoa salad recipes that are versatile and can be used with the tomatoes, peppers, cucumber and/or apples in this week's box: Summer Quinoa Salad, Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas, Feta, and Apples, and Vegetable Quinoa Salad.  My other favorite "weekend" salad that I often make is a Broccoli Salad, which you probably have had in some form or another:

1 1/2 c. broccoli, cut up into florets
1 c. celery, chopped
1/2 c. chopped red onion or green onion
1 1/2 c. grapes, red or green, halved
Any combination of:
handful of sunflower seeds, unsalted
handful of bacon bits
handful of raisins
handful of slivered almonds

Dressing (this is my aunt's recipe - it can be a bit sweet):
1 c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. white vinegar
Dressing (a little healthier with no sugar):
1/2 c. low fat plain yogurt
1/4 c. light mayonnaise
1 tbsp. lemon juice

I went to my recipe box to grab the broccoli salad recipe, and found this one that I need to share, Broccoli Salad with Oriental Flavours.  And I found one that is a great summer salad and a good use for the romaine lettuce, Romaine Lettuce Salad with Spicy Blueberry Salsa.  Do try making the raisin bread croutons, they are so yummy.  Just a few salads later, and there's not much left in the veggie box except some fruit, asparagus and avocado.

Did you know that in some parts of Europe, people won't eat the green asparagus and will only eat the white asparagus?  White asparagus is grown the same way as green, but the plants are covered up with mounds of dirt to prevent light from getting to the plants.  The white asparagus tends to be milder and more tender and restaurants across Spain, France, Poland, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland will prepare special menus for asparagus during the season.  In Germany, asparagus season has it's own name, Spargelsaison or Spargelzeit and often regions have their own celebrations.  Our "lowly" green asparagus doesn't always get that same status, but in order to treat your asparagus best, you might want to consider:

  • eating it soon after purchase,
  • store it as you would a bouquet of flowers, trim the ends, and store standing up in a small amount of water to keep the stems fresh,
  • small asparagus stems can have just a little bit cut off the end,
  • larger stems can be more woody so should have their ends snapped off or the stalk can be laid flat on a cutting board and peeled with a vegetable peeler,
  • asparagus can be prepared a number of ways, boiled, steamed, sauteed, or roasted
Our favorite way to have asparagus is to roast it with some olive oil and parmesan cheese, either in a roasting dish in the oven or wrapped in tinfoil and done on the barbecue.  

A little late for Cinco de Mayo, but our avocado is going to be used to make guacamole this weekend, served alongside some quesadillas grilled up on the BBQ.  I also came across this recipe for Kale Salad with Apricots, Avocado and Parmesan which led me to read some of the links from and their posts about avocados.  What I learned was that avocados that are not ripe can be stored on the counter, but if you want to halt the ripening process, put your avocados in the fridge so that they don't get over ripe.  To keep a partial avocado from going brown put the cut avocado in a 500ml plastic container (ie. leftover yogurt or sour cream container) with a chunk of onion.  Apparently the onion acts as a preservative and keeps the avocado from going brown.  The fun part of an avocado is removing the pit, in fact if I am cutting an avocado, I usually get an insistent look from my husband that he wants to do it.  Why?  Because the easiest way to get the pit out is to slice the avocado in half lengthwise and then strike the pit firmly with the heel end of a  good chef's knife so that the knife lodges into the pit and then give it a gentle twist and it should pop out nicely.   Just be careful getting the pit off the knife, as it is a slippery little thing.  (Photo credit from


I am looking forward to some time at the cottage and since we are entertaining friends up there, I know that the contents of my veggie box this week will be gone by the end of the weekend.  But I may have some of those salads left for lunch on Tuesday when we're back to work.  Enjoy your long weekend.

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