Boxes 11, 12, and 13 – Coming Soon(ish)

Just a quick post to say that things have been a little hectic of late, plus we had to get the camera sent off to be repaired, so I’ve got a little behind with the box posts (Box 11 roundup, Box 12 opening & roundup, and Box 13 opening). The good news is that our now fixed camera arrived back this afternoon, so I’ll get working on the backlog as soon as I get a few hours to spare over the next few days, hopefully!

Box 11 – Opening

What’s inside our half box #11?

  • New Potatoes – 2lb plus another 2lb from the extras box
  • Green Beans – 1/2lb bag
  • Lettuce – one huge head
  • Bunched Spinach – one bundle
  • Celery – one bundle
  • Green Peppers – one, swapped for the extra new potatoes
  • Grape Tomatoes – one pot
  • Italian Parsley – one bundle (flat variety)

Initial thoughts:

All very mainstream stuff this week, more so than any of the previous ones I think, so that should mean that finding uses for it all shouldn’t be a huge challenge… if we keep the momentum going and cook at least every other day.

Usage ideas:

  • New Potatoes – As can be seen from the photos, half of the potatoes are large, almost “normal” size, the others are definitely more “new” sized. However, since it’s all potato, I know we’ll find uses for it – we both love taters after all!
  • Green Beans – We’ve only just finished the remains of the previous batch of beans, but since they kept very well in the fridge, I’ve no qualms about letting these wait for a latter opportunity. In other words, we’ve eaten too much green beans lately, and probably won’t eat this bag until at least next week.
  • Lettuce – Salads, sandwiches, wraps, and so forth… again πŸ™‚
  • Bunched Spinach – This is the only really new thing in the box for us, so I don’t quite yet know what we’ll do with this… but we’ll definitely do something, if only a salad!
  • Celery – The possibility of me snacking on these are high, since as before, June isn’t a fan, which rules out most cooking applicactions.
  • Grape Tomatoes – Yes, these could easily be used in salads or sandwiches or the like, but I’m hoping we’ll find something a little more original this time around.
  • Italian Parsley – We’ve still got the remains of the parsley from Box 9, so we’ll be using that before hitting the new bundle I suspect, so nothing on the cards from what I can tell.

Photos are awaiting processing, will update once available.

Box 10 – Roundup

Actual usage & thoughts:

  • Komatsuna – Monday night was the inevitable stirfry, featuring the komatsuna along with five spiced beef, and the spring onions. June didn’t blog about it, even though it was pretty tasty, as she’s getting a little bored of constantly writing about very similar stirfries… but I’m not complaining.
  • Baby Rocket/Arugula – As a quick lunch on Saturday, I threw together some turkey, rocket & radish sandwiches, which worked surprisingly well together. The rocket wasn’t as potent as I expected (even though I put probably excessive amounts of it on the bread), but the radishes helped add that heat as well, which boosted the normally flat taste of turkey into something far better. There’s still just under half the bag left I think, but they’re holding up, so should keep for another week without problem.
  • Spring Onions/Scallions – We managed to make a reasonable dent in this huge bundle, but there’s plenty left. The major hitters to use it were the beef & komatsuna stirfry, followed by a chicken fried rice the next day using the remaining cooked rice.
  • Radishes – The majority of the radishes went in the sarnies with the rocket, the remaining ones somehow managed to get munched while the sandwiches were being prepped. If anything, these ones were a little spicier and also a little moister (well, you know what I mean) than the french breakfast ones of previous boxes, but that’s just how I like them!
  • Thyme – As mentioned previously, June made the Lemon-Thyme cookies and they turned out surprisingly well. I say surprisingly, as I really didn’t expect a cookie (which should be sweet) to work with a herb (which should be savoury), but these cookies have opened my eyes. The thyme had a mild citrus kick, which works perfectly with the lemon, and the sugar of the cookie helped balance out the tartness of both into a well rounded final taste. Definitely highly recommended!
  • Carambola/Starfruit – I ate the smaller of the two at the tail end of the week, and it was either still not ripe enough, or just not a very sweet example. The larger starfruit is still out on the counter, as I don’t think it’s ready yet (especially going by the other one), so hopefully next week it’ll be good.
  • Ponkan Tangerines – As mentioned in the week 11 newsletter it appears we weren’t the only ones for whom the tangerines rotted away in less than two days, which meant that unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to eat these ones.
  • Canistel – Still sitting out, slowly ripening…

Ratings:

  • Hits – Komatsuna, Rocket, Spring Onions, Radishes, Thyme
  • Near Misses – Carambola
  • Total Flops – Ponkan Tangerines
  • Not Rated – Canistel

Final Opinion:

Apart from the tangerines which rotted on us, and the slow-ripening canistel, this box lived up to its promise of being one we could easily use everything in there, and while we haven’t used everything completely, we got to try it all, which is an important first step. Given that we’re still reeling from the frosts, the quality of the items we did get to try was for the most part still excellent, which is always reassuring.

Box 10 – Opening

What’s inside our half box #10?

  • Komatsuna – one large bundle, plus a smaller bundle from the extras box
  • Baby Rocket/Arugula – one bag
  • Spring Onions/Scallions – one huge bundle!
  • Radishes – one bundle of ‘Red Globe’ variety this time
  • Coriander/Cilantro – returned to the extras box for the komatsuna
  • Thyme – one baggie
  • Carambola/Starfruit – two
  • Ponkan Tangerines – four
  • Canistel – officially 1, in reality 2 (one large, one tiny)
Box 10

Box 10

Initial thoughts:

A box full of either repeats, or items that will be easy to use, so shouldn’t be too tricky to find uses for everything this time around. I’m not going to repeat last week and forgot to try anything, so expect to see real reviews of everything in this box!

Usage ideas:

  • Komatsuna – Since we’ve got twice as much as normal, there will definitely be at least one big stirfry in the near future with komatsuna as a key player. However, I’m hoping that we’ll also try a different approach as well, since we’ve got enough here to experiment with too.
  • Baby Rocket/Arugula – June doesn’t like the taste of rocket, so this will all be mine, and, since I’m not very exciting, I think you can guess how I’ll be using them… yes, in sandwiches and salads!
  • Spring Onions/Scallions – This is a *huge* bundle of spring onions, and they’re both numerous and very tall, so we’re definitely going to have some left over at the end of the week. As for what they’ll be used for, I’ve no idea, as they can play a role in so many dishes.
  • Radishes – Like the rocket, these are all mine, and like the rocket, I foresee salads and sandwiches. However, I’m hoping we’ll get to cook the tops as well (perhaps in the almost-guaranteed-to-happen stirfry), since it’s a shame to let those go to waste.
  • Thyme – June found an old cooking magazine that featured a recipe for Lemon & Thyme cookies, which sounded interesting. Since I’m very late with posting this weekend, she’s actually made those cookies already, but I’ll withhold my final verdict until the roundup ;). The rest of the thyme could be used for anything, since herbs are so versatile.
  • Carambola/Starfruit – We’ve left these on a counter to help ripen up some more, but since we’ve got two I’m thinking of eating the smaller one, and perhaps doing something with the juices of the larger one.
  • Ponkan Tangerines – Since we’ve got so many of these, I’m expecting at least one to just be eaten out of hand. With the rest of them, I’m thinking of juices, since the previous box’s ones were so low in pulp and high in juice. Maybe in combination with the carambola juice? More thinking needed on this one…
  • Canistel – You might have noticed that the canistels have been mentioned a number of times over the weeks since we got our first ones, and in all cases we’ve not yet used a single one. That’s not to say we can’t, as they’ve all been fully ripe for at least a week now, we’ve just not managed to commit to using them yet (June’s insistence that they’re getting rotten isn’t helping their chances). This means that these two are definitely going to just sit around ripening for at least the next week, but probably longer than that. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see πŸ™‚

Photos by me, edited by June:

Komatsuna

Komatsuna

Baby Rocket/Arugula

Baby Rocket/Arugula

Spring Onions/Scallions

Spring Onions/Scallions

Radishes

Radishes

Thyme

Thyme

Carambola/Starfruit

Carambola/Starfruit

Ponkan Tangerines

Ponkan Tangerines

Canistel

Canistel

Box 9 – Roundup

Actual usage & thoughts:

  • Broccoli – We used the largest of the three spears in the Beef, Broccoli & Green Beans stirfry (along with the green beans from a few weeks ago). The broccoli did a great job of trapping the sauces, and the taste of the broccoli itself wasn’t too bad (considering we’re not really huge fans of it). However, the remaining spears had to be thrown out, as they went bad very quickly, which surprised us.
  • Lettuce – A fair number of the lettuce leaves we used in sandwiches throughout the week, including my strange-sounding-yet-tasty PB/lettuce/radish wrap that I threw together almost at random at one point. We’re only about halfway through the whole head, but the leaves are keeping well, so it’ll be used in yet more sarnies this week as well. As expected, the leaves were crisp at heart, with not too limp leaf ends, which is pretty much the best compromise leaf for this household. They were also fairly sweet, which is always a good thing!
  • Rapini – June managed to find a reasonable recipe that used the raab, from which she made the Pasta with Rapini and Bolognese sauce. While the overall dish was great, the rapini was effectively relegated to being merely a supporting green, and didn’t end up lending that much flavour to the finished product. That’s not to say that it wasn’t good, it merely didn’t show it’s strengths in this particular usage.
  • Radishes – Most of the radishes ended up sliced and added to the aforementioned PB/lettuce/radish wrap (I used a huge wrap to fit it all in), with the rest just munched on while the wrap was being prepped. Once again, the tops started to rot very quickly, so we didn’t get any use out of that aspect, but the radishes themselves were as crunchy and warming as the previous batch.
  • β€œYoung” Onions – Along with the avocado (see below), and a red round tomato from a previous box, June made a guacamole recipe that she really likes. This only used one of the onions, so we’ve still got the rest of the bundle to go. However, they appear to be keeping fairly well, so there’s no reason not to use them in the coming week.
  • Italian Parsley – Last Sunday June made a pot roast for us and her family, which was okay but nothing special (hence no blog mentions other than this). The parsley was added to the pot during the cooking process, so was really just a supporting flavour, thus I can’t really say whether it was “good” or not. We’ve still got about half of it left, so maybe we’ll find a more prominent use for it in the coming weeks.
  • Ponkan Tangerine – Since there were two of these, I had one and June had one. We both agreed that while they weren’t super sweet, they were definitely sweet enough to be refreshing, and I was surprised at just how juicy they were. In fact, there was very little pulp in each segment, compared to the amount of juice, so it often felt more like drinking than eating them!
  • Red Grapefruit – I’ll be honest on this one – I completely forgot we’d got these as they’d been put in the basket with all the other fruit & veg, and their lack of distinction meant I mistook them for something else each time I saw them in passing. However, they still seem firm and ripe, so I’ll have to at least try them this week.
  • Avocado – Since I’m late posting the roundup this week, I actually say that we’ve used (2 of the 3) avocados now, rather than none which would have been the situation on Friday & Saturday. June made a variation on a guacamole recipe a friend of hers made, and from what she tells me it’s a huge success.

Ratings:

  • Hits – Avocado, Ponkan Tangerine, Lettuce, Radishes, Young Onions
  • Near Misses – Broccoli, Rapini, Italian Parsley
  • Total Flops – none
  • Not Rated – Red Grapefruit

Final Opinion:

Even though we didn’t finish everything, we managed to at least try everything (except the grapefruit), which is a good step forward. Obviously, we will not always pick the best use for various things, which is why the rapini and parsley didn’t get top marks, but its a learning process, and we’ll do better the next time we get those items.

Box 9 – Opening

What’s inside our half box #9?

  • Broccoli – three spears, of varying sizes
  • Lettuce – one head
  • Rapini – (AKA Broccoli Raab) one bundle
  • Radishes – one large bundle of the French Breakfast variety
  • “Young” Onions – one bundle of these onions which are halfway between spring onions (AKA scallions or green onions) and full onions
  • Italian Parsley – one bundle
  • Ponkan Tangerine – two
  • Red Grapefruit – two
  • Avocado – two, plus one from the extras box
Box 9

Box 9

Initial thoughts:

Of all the items in this week’s half box, only the rapini stands out as unusual, which means there’s still hope that we might finish an entire box in just the one week – especially since nothing seems to need to sit out ripening either.

Usage ideas:

  • Broccoli – Hmmm… I think it’s safe to say that we’ve both got mixed feelings about broccoli, and we’ll both eat it in small quantities, but rarely would we actually specifically chose to eat it, at least not on it’s own. Given that there’s plenty of it this week, our best bet is probably to combine and/or disguise it with other things, such as baking in a quiche with ham and cheese, or steamed then covered in sweet & sour sauce.
  • Lettuce – This will definitely feature in either salads or sandwiches this week, the latter of which I’m going to be eating plenty of, so that’ll probably use up this entire head.
  • Rapini – The CSA newsletter has a recipe for rapini polenta, but I doubt we’ll be making that. A quick search around teh intarwebs seems to hint that it works well with pastas, but since it’s of Italian and Chinese origin, this doesn’t really surprise me! This will probably be the one thing this week that we’ll need to really think about to find a good use for.
  • Radishes – The simple radishes on buttered bread recipe (if you can call something that simple a recipe) from the last time we had these is definitely in consideration, as is featuring in a salad at some point. However, I’m curious as to whether they’d work in a cooked form, so might experiment in that direction as well.
  • Onions – The tops of these can be used in any dish that calls for spring onions, and the bulbs could probably substitute for shallots in a pinch, or whenever only a small amount of onion is required. That being said, they might be good candidates for pickling, so I’ll have to look into that as well.
  • Italian Parsley – Obviously this can be very easily used as a garnish, and otherwise combined with meats and other herbs in any number of other dishes, so I can’t really think of anything in particular that this might be used in yet.
  • Ponkan Tangerine – If these are as sweet as the newsletter says they are, we’ll probably just eat them out of hand (or let el nino attack one again),Β  but they’d definitely work in a salad as well, as they’d make for an interesting contrast with the radishes.
  • Red Grapefruit – I’ve not eaten grapefruit in years, so I might just do the classic halves with sugar for breakfast one morning. Otherwise, I’m sure we can come up with something for these, perhaps adding them into a small batch of marmalade?
  • Avocado – These are likely to be the last of the season (according to the newsletter), so June will need to make the most of them. That being said, there are three of them, so I might try claiming one for myself (even though I’m not a huge fan of avocado, at least I haven’t been up until now). Thinking of which, I was catching up on my ‘Good Eats’ backlog yesterday, and in the latest episode (“Live and Let Diet”) Alton combined avocado and sardines on toast, which sounds like something I wouldn’t mind trying…

Photos by me, edited by June:

Broccoli

Broccoli

Lettuce

Lettuce

Rapini

Rapini

Radishes

Radishes

Young Onions

Young Onions

Italian Parsley

Italian Parsley

Ponkan Tangerines

Ponkan Tangerines

Red Grapefruit

Red Grapefruit

Avocado

Avocado

Box 8 – Roundup

Actual usage & thoughts:

  • Mizuna – Used in the BMTs and BMs, and in the adhoc salad, in both cases as a lettuce substitute. As I mentioned before, the leaves are very much like rocket (arugula), but without the peppery kick, and are fairly tasty. I’m not sure that just eating them raw brought out the best of the flavours though, so if we got this again I’d definitely want to try incorporating it into cooked dishes.
  • Green Chard – June made the ‘Zuppa Toscana’ clone using the chard earlier in the week, which was an okay soup, but nothing special – definitely not as good as the real deal from Olive Garden, hence the lack of blog posts about it. The chard also played a key role in the Five Spice Beef Stir-fry. In both cases, the chard added good flavour and in the case of the stir-fry some crunch, and is something we’d definitely be able to use easily should it appear in future boxes.
  • Celery – Apart from the adhoc salad, the celery has been a bit neglected, so I’m munching on a few stalks as I type, in lieu of a less healthy evening snack! The stalks (once washed, of course) are wonderfully crunchy, and have that sweet almost grassy taste that celery should have. Actually, thinking of washing them, for at least a couple of the stalks in the bundle, the lower ends appeared to have some soil (or something else very brown) up inside the inner walls of the stalk – actually inside the stalk, not just on the surface – so I played it safe and just trimmed those parts off. While I’m eating these last stalks, which are getting a little soft & flexible now due to age but surprisingly still retain their crunch, I’m noticing that they’re nowhere near as stringy with the fibres in the celery as some shop-bought ones are, which is a definite plus!
  • Red Round Tomatoes – These sat on the counter all week, ripening in the sun, and are now ready to eat (apart from one or two spots which are starting to get a little surface damage), so they’ll get used at some point this coming weekend I’m sure.
  • Green Peppers – As predicted, we couldn’t find a use for these, so they’re frozen along with the others now.
  • Canistel – For some reason, the canistels from this week’s box ripened much faster than the previous ones, which means that they’re all pretty much equally ripe now. June is fairly sure that some of them are actually rotten, but I think they’re still usable. However, I’ve not managed to convince her into try cooking them in a soup (with or without other roasted vegetables), so we might need to find another idea instead.

Ratings:

  • Hits – Mizuna, Green Chard, Celery
  • Near Misses – none
  • Total Flops – none
  • Not Rated – Red Round Tomatoes, Green Peppers, Canistel

Final Opinion:

This turned out to be an interesting week, since we used probably just as much from older boxes as we did from this box, but what we did have from this box was consistently good, so hopefully the remaining items will be equally satisfactory – I’ll definitely need to do another catchup post in the next few weeks! Also, unlike previous weeks, this was the first week in which we’ve been able to add our own home-grown veg into the mix, in this case the radishes (greens in the stir-fry, the rest in my salads), which is giving us yet another impetus to really use this great stuff. Next up on that front will be the baby bok choy in a few weeks time, so until then it’s back to using just what’s in the boxes!