Posts Tagged ‘asian mix’

Boxes 1 to 5 – Followups

Since we’ve got a habit of not using the entire box each week, but then (sometimes) using things in the following week(s), our verdicts on the missing items tends to get lost in the weekly cycles. Therefore, this post is a catchup for all those “we’ll eat it next week” things so far.

Box 1:

  • Roselle – This was used in the Roselle Experiments, which were both not very successful and a revelation that neither of us particular like the Roselle taste.

Box 2:

  • Green Pepper – sliced and frozen.
  • Yellow Squash – still at the back of the fridge somewhere, getting pretty elderly now so I suspect it’ll end up as trash unfortunately.
  • Black Sapote – these took forever to ripen, and when they did we were off in Mexico. They were overripe by the time we came back, to the point of leaking juices and getting mouldy, so they had to be thrown away. However, we did manage to salvage a little bit, which was enough for both of us to taste it – June thought it was very similar to a sweet avocado-ish flavour, whereas I thought it was fruitier than that.

Box 3:

  • Green Peppers – sliced and frozen.
  • Piper Betel Leaves – we used one of the leaves from the Box 6 selection, so we now at least know what it tastes like (very smoked sausage-like), and it appears the leaves are keeping well, so there’s plenty of time to come up with other ideas for this.

Box 4:

  • We missed Box 4 completely due to being in Mexico!

Box 5:

  • Asian Mix – added to the Beef & Aubergine curry that was ultimately abandoned (see Box 6 roundup).
  • Beets – we pondered using them during this week, but June’s reluctance meant we went with something else, so they’re still sitting there waiting. I just minutes ago mentioned the possibility of a cabbage & beet soup of some kind to June, and her response was “YERK!”, so we’re going to need some ingenuity to get a palatable use out of them.
  • Roma Tomatoes – we left them on the counter all last week and all this week, and they’re definitely looking ripe now. I still think that a stew of some sort would make good use of them, but no specific ideas yet.
  • Black Sapote – after learning from bad timing with the Box 2 black sapotes just how quickly they can go from underripe to overripe, we kept a much closer eye on these three. The smaller of the two ripened very quickly (just over a week), so we put them in the fridge to slow the process until the larger one had got to the same state. The larger one is now pretty much ripe as well, so I’m looking to find a use for them this week if possible.

Box 6 – Roundup

Actual usage & thoughts:

  • Green Beans – I think we must have forgotten about these this week, since we had one or two meals that could have used them. They’re still looking good in the fridge, so I’d be surprised if they’re not all eaten in the coming week.
  • Bok Choy – As I predicted, we had a stirfry last night that used the Bok Choy and the Komatsuna, details of which are in June’s blog posting about Hot & Sweet Chicken and Noodles Stirfry. The Bok Choy hearts were firm and sweet, giving a nice crunch to the overall dish, and the greens helped round out the noodles.
  • Green Peppers – As before, we haven’t used a single one of these yet. They’ll probably end up in the freezer sometime this weekend unless I get creative, but they’re definitely not going to go to waste.
  • Komatsuna – Used in the Hot & Sweet Chicken and Noodles Stirfry, along with the Bok Choy. The Komatsuna lived up to it’s alternate name of ‘mustard spinach’, with the general taste of spinach but with a definite warm kick very akin to mustard. It added a nice heat to the stirfry (bolstered by our homemade hot & sweet chili dipping sauce that June added), and I’m definitely hoping we get more of this in the future.
  • Radishes – As recommended in the newsletter, I sliced them up and ate them on buttered bread, which worked surprisingly well – I’d never thought of radishes on bread before, but now I’m thinking about it I guess it makes just as much sense as lettuce or tomato. The radishes were crunchy and crisp, with a good warming aftertaste. Unfortunately, we waited until too late in the week to use the tops, which started wilting very quickly.
  • Aubergine/Eggplant – Earlier in the week, June decided to make an Beef & Aubergine curry, adding the Asian Mix from Box 5 that we still had. However, the quality of the meat was poor, and the aubergine turned into a goop, so we ended up abandoning the dish – the aubergine bits didn’t taste that bad, it was the texture that killed it. There’s still half of the aubergine left over, but we’re now hesitant to use it, since both this and a previous dish using aubergine failed to be edible. Given that the Aubergine & Chard gratin I made last month worked out well, I suspect it’s more a case of our needing to find a use for the aubergine that suits our palettes (and doesn’t turn it into mush).
  • Piper Betel Leaf – Since we’re rapidly accumulating these leaves, I finally took a chance and tried a little bit. My goodness, I’d read that it was supposed to taste similar to smoked sausage, but I didn’t realise how strong it was! Wow! Since we were making a stirfry anyway, we used just one leaf as an aromatic, and it added a slightly meaty element to the overall taste. We probably could have used more than we did, but since the little tastes we had were so strong we decided to err on the side of caution, as obviously the last thing we wanted was to swamp all the other flavours. Now that we know what it’s really like, I’m definitely going to look for ways to use this leaf more.
  • Canistel – We’re not 100% sure if these are actually ripe or not yet, so we’ve not touched them this week. My idea of roasted vegetable soup still sounds doable, so hopefully that’ll happen this week.

Ratings:

  • Hits – bok choy, komatsuna, piper betel leaf, radishes
  • Near Misses – aubergine
  • Total Flops – none
  • Not Rated – green beans, green peppers, canistel

Final Opinion:

An interesting week, with a good percentage of things all working fairly well together in the stirfry, and only one thing being abandoned. However, as always there’s more things left than there really should be, so we’re going to have to start planning our meals to use them more in the coming weeks.

Box 5 – Roundup

Actual usage & thoughts:

  • Cabbage – Given that we had two heads, it was always going to be a challenge to use all this, and as expected we’ve still got one head left. The one head we did manage to make use of was chopped up for salads, firstly as a side for the Arroz Con Pollo, and secondly as part of my put-random-things-together salad meal yesterday evening. For the latter I added carrot, some of the lettuce, ranch dressing and bacon (of course), so it was kinda a cross between salad and coleslaw 🙂 The cabbage itself is nice and crisp, and surprisingly good raw. June’s been reluctant to cook any yet, but there’s still the other head to go, so I might persuade her to try adding some to a stirfry or similar in the coming week.
  • Asian Mix – We’ve not had a clue what to do with this yet, so it’s still waiting in the fridge.
  • Lettuce – As noted above, we both made salads yesterday evening, with June’s featuring the lettuce also. Since we keep our fridge a little on the cold side, and we put the lettuce in there after a quick rinse, the centre of the head was partially frozen when we took it out! Luckily, it was such a huge head that we had more than enough leaves from the outer edges for our salads that we didn’t need to defrost it. As for the lettuce itself, this particular variety is quite nice, as it’s fairly leafy (which June prefers over crunchy), but with a good sweetness too.
  • Beets – We (well, June) pondered making a soup featuring the beetroots earlier this week, but the recipe she found called for a chilled soup rather than hot, and given we’ve been in a cold spell here in Florida, something hot was preferred that day. Therefore, the beets are still sitting there awaiting either improved temperatures that would warrant a chilled soup, or another recipe idea.
  • Roma Tomatoes – These have been sitting on the counter all week, slowly ripening. We tried one with our salads since they were definitely looking riper yesterday, and found it to be firm but not bitter (not unlike the Cherry Tomatoes from previous boxes in that regard), but they’re definitely more suited to cooking applications than salads, so we still need to find a use for these now they’re nearly ripe.
  • Black Sapote – Once again these are things that have had to sit on the counter all week. The two smaller ones have ripened fairly quickly, and are probably about ready to eat this weekend, but the larger one is still green and might need another week yet. I’m still looking for ideas for using them, which is made trickier by the fact that any recipe we find will need to either be scaled down or designed to only use a small amount of sapote.
  • Parsley – Unfortunately, it appears the parsley is going the way of the thai basil from Box 3 – we trimmed the stalks and put it in water shortly after the unboxing photos were taken, but the parsley has been slowly wilting and dying all week, and there’s probably only 1/3 of the bundle that’s still usable now. Parsley has always been an afterthought of a herb in my mind, something that’s added as a garnish or final hit of colour to a dish, but none of the things we’ve eaten this week have really warranted it’s use, so it’s hard to know what to do with it, especially when it has an apparently short shelflife (well, in-vase-on-counter-life anyway).

Ratings:

  • Hits – cabbage, lettuce
  • Near Misses – none
  • Total Flops – parsley
  • Not Rated – asian mix, beets, roma tomatoes, black sapote

Final Opinion:

This was a pretty bad week for us, with not very much cooking going on, which is reflected in our lack of use of nearly half the box contents (although some of that was due to waiting for things to ripen). On the plus side, what we did manage to incorporate into our meals was consistently good, so it’s just a case of rebuilding the inertia that was lost over the Mexico/Christmas gaps and getting back into routine.

Since there were so many items from this box that still remain, I’ll post a followup later this week or next once we’ve actually used a significant amount of it, so that they’re not omitted.

Box 5 – Opening

What’s inside Box 5?

  • Cabbage – two heads (one from the extras box)
  • Oyster mushrooms – one bag, but we left these in the extras box in exchange for the extra cabbage
  • Asian mix – one bundle, taken from the extras in exchange for the dill
  • Lettuce – one (huge!) head, not sure which variety
  • Beets – 9, all topless
  • Roma Tomatoes – 6, not fully ripe
  • Dill – swapped for the Asian Mix
  • Black Sapote – 3, green and unripe
  • Parsley – one bundle, from the extras box
Box 5

Box 5

Initial thoughts:

After a couple of swaps, we’ve got a fairly balanced selection that I can see us eating without too much difficulty.

Usage ideas:

  • Cabbage – June likes this raw, so perhaps a salad, or added to the late stages of a stir-fry. Plenty of it though, so we’ll probably have to be a little inventive here.
  • Asian mix – I suspect this will become either a salad or stir-fry as well.
  • Lettuce – given that there’s so much of it, it’ll have to find multiple uses, but I suspect salad and BLT are in our future.
  • Beets – June’s not eaten beets (or beetroot as I’d call them) for many years, and I’ve only ever had them when pickled, so really no ideas for this yet.
  • Roma Tomatoes – the newsletter states that these were picked a little early due to the threat of a frost, so they’re a little under-ripe still. Once ripe, if they’re sweet they’ll be salad material, otherwise a pasta sauce might work.
  • Black Sapote – As per last time, these are still green, and will take several weeks to ripen, so plenty of time to think of uses for them.
  • Parsley – it’s a large bundle, so I suspect that we’ll only use part of it when fresh, and the rest will end up being dried for later use.

Photos, by June:

Cabbage

Cabbage

Asian Mix

Asian Mix

Lettuce

Lettuce

Beets

Beets

Roma Tomatoes

Roma Tomatoes

Black Sapote

Black Sapote

Parsley

Parsley