So I’ve got some depressing news. Aside from the fact, I haven’t seen the sun in a while, which means my vitamin D must be low; hence everything seems depressing. The weather really is partially to blame for my sad little news. Instead of dragging it on, I’m just going to come out with it. I picked up our very last half-share from our winter CSA program. My season is done, and my CSA Finito. Damn Ohio, and its cold climates, non conducive to growing fresh fruits and veggies year round.
Then again, without the cold climates, we’d never look out into our backyard and see scenes like this.
Or have snow days or go sledding or have a need for drinking hot cocoa and roasting chestnuts by the fire (yes, I just wanted to say nuts). It’s a trade-off, I suppose. Snow, sleet and ice for fresh local eats. Seems a little unbalanced, but whatever.
What I really need to do is learn how to save my produce, so I can use it year round. I need to freeze it and stockpile it the same way squirrels stockpile nuts (again with the nuts). The only problem is I have no idea how to can or stockpile things, and I definitely don’t have the right equipment. I can’t even keep my frozen bananas from getting freezer burn, and I use the heavy-duty, specially designed for the freezer, Ziploc bags. It’s nonsense, although I still eat the bananas.
You know who is up on their storage game though. Kirsten over at Farm Fresh Feasts. Not only does she live somewhere in Ohio, but she also feeds her family all winter long from CSA produce she “put up” earlier in the season. She doesn’t know it yet, but I’m going to show up on her porch, one day this summer, as soon as I find out where she lives (minor detail) and begin an apprenticeship. I will stay with her and learn her ways, and I will pay her in candied nuts (it’s a sickness, I know) and homemade granola.
Before I become a stalker or truly a student, seeking to gain the talents of others, we need to bid a fond farewell and a formal adieu to my winter CSA. Let’s take a peek at what I got in my final share. Drumroll please.
My final half-share brought me a few more apples, a bunch (literally) of Romaine lettuce, more radishes (holy crap, I’m drowning in radishes over here) and some of the cutest and weirdest shaped sweet potatoes. I think the one on top looks like a little alien baby. Perhaps Ohio is the new Area 51, or maybe it’s just all the fracking, tainting our food supply. Whatever the case may be, I put our produce to use.
The apples I ate plain, or with my hand, if you want to get all technical about it. Truly, there’s nothing easier than eating an apple, and yes, they were quite scrumptious. Well, except the last one. He (of course, it’s a man) was a tad bit wrinkly and a little too far gone for my taste. I ended up tossing him partially because he was bad and also because I had recently watched Snow White and the Huntsman (save your money), and sometimes, an apple is not just an apple. Not that I’m claiming to be a princess or that my CSA is trying to poison me, although I wouldn’t object to the princess part, especially if a tiara was involved. Sadly, not every single piece of produce is a winner.
Speaking of Charlie Sheen (or really just winners), I made Parmesan Roasted Sweet Potatoes again, because they rock, and you get to pull the crispy bits off the bottom of the pan and eat them when nobody is looking.
You can also plate them up and pair them with some fried eggs if you’re trying to be more civilized. I could go either way.
The lettuce was a different story. I’m going to be frank. I love a good salad, but in the winter time…not so much. We actually had one day last week where the temperature was nine degrees in the morning, and on days like that or pretty much anything below fifty, I’m not dying to stick my face in a bowl full of greens. Beans and rice, oh yeah baby. A green smoothie, sure, but a salad….not even a little bit.
Yet, I had a full and beautiful head of romaine leaf lettuce and about a bazillion radishes, so I sucked it up and made a veggie version of a Cobb Salad. Rest assured, I threw some cooked bacon in the Hubby’s bowl; can’t have the poor fella starve to death on rabbit food, although I truly wouldn’t label this Cobb Salad as mere rabbit food.
Despite having zero interest in actually eating a salad, this one was The Bomb.Com. It was phenomenal, and absolutely worth ridiculous statements like the Bomb.Com and maybe even a Caps Lock OMG. Whatever the verbiage may be, I’d eat an entire second bowl if I had any lettuce left. Sadly, I don’t.
Into my Cobb Salad, I added a handful of chopped CSA radishes, which barely put a dent in my radish stash (it’s weird I have a radish stash, yes?), some shredded carrots, hardboiled eggs, blue cheese (mmm, cheese) and half an avocado. I topped the entire thing with a quickly tossed together dressing of olive oil, fig vinegar, lemon juice, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, vegetarian Worcestershire sauce and of course a little salt and pepper. Seasoning is important people! Unseasoned vegetables will be the downfall of the veggie kingdom, so get your spice on, and save the next generation.
While I didn’t actually get my Acorn Squash in this week’s CSA (he came from one of those other weeks), I decided to finally cook him this weekend. Isn’t he lovely?
I’m going to be honest here, and let’s be real, when am I not? If anything, I’m a little too honest and sometimes a touch crude, but the simple fact is, I’m not a squash expert. Up until this winter CSA, I rarely dabbled in squash and definitely never went outside the Butternut Family. I’m learning (and counting on my apprenticeship to teach me new skills), but I don’t entirely know what to do with an Acorn Squash. This one, let’s call him Fred, I cooked up over the weekend. Then, I dissected him, cutting him into melon type slices and small chunks from there. I placed the pieces of Fred into a Tupperware and stuck him in the fridge, which is where he now resides. I kind of envision sautéing him with some black beans (no surprise there), a bell pepper for color and flair, some kind of liquid so he doesn’t dry out and seasoning (see note above), but I’m not sold on this idea, which is where you come into play.
Any ideas what to do with my Acorn Squash? Are you sad my CSA is over? Do you know how to “put up” produce, and will you teach me your ways? I will pay you in food.
To check out other very cool, delicious, and local produce, be sure to head over to Heather at In Her Chucks and Kristy at Gastronomical Sovereignty to see what they’re doing with their fruits and veggies.