Posts Tagged ‘fennel’

Box 3 – Roundup

Better late than never, here’s the roundup of Box 3:

Actual usage & thoughts:

  • Aubergine (Eggplant) – firm and tasty, and was cooked in the gratin posted previously.
  • Green ‘Suntan’ Peppers – sliced and frozen, since we weren’t going to be able to use it in time. It’ll probably be added to a Cuban-style black beans dish at some point in the future.
  • Green Beans – donated to June’s Mom, who seemed to enjoy them.
  • Fennel (bulb and tops) – half the bulb and some of the tops were included in the Italian stir-fry, the rest is still in the fridge. While the tops and bulb smelt very aniseed-like when raw, when it was cooked the flavour mellowed nicely, and really complimented the rest of the dish.
  • Green Chard – two leaves were used in the gratin, the other two were used in the Italian stir-fry. The leaves were a bit on the floppy side (which I’m not sure is normal for chard or not), but the taste of them and the stalks were both fine.
  • Piper Betel Leaves – we’ve yet to find a use for these, so they’ve been slowly drying out in the fridge. It’s added to the stash of “use when we can find something good to put them in” herbs and spices in there.
  • Thai Basil – unfortunately, we weren’t quick enough in getting these into a vase, and it ended up shrivelled and dead dry, and had to be thrown away. I’m hoping we’ll get these again, since the smell of them when fresh was wonderful, but we’ll definitely have to get them into water quickly next time!
  • Cucumber – as I originally thought, this was all mine, and I had it sliced in a couple of sarnies (one pb&c, one just c). Given the look of the cucumber, I was expected a very … artisan style, with lumps and huge seeds, so I was pleasantly surprised by it having what I’d consider the right texture and fairly small seeds – very similar to the “english” cucumbers I’m used to. It was both crisp and slightly sweet, which is about right, and was excellent when fresh from the fridge.
  • Cherry Tomatoes – these were the same as the previous pot, with the same good points (firmness, lack of bitterness), but also the same bad points (not very sweet). We didn’t manage to eat all of them before Mexico, and they’d gone by the time we came back, so we lost probably half to two thirds of the pot.

Ratings:

  • Hits – aubergine, fennel, green chard, cucumber, green beans
  • Near Misses – cherry tomatoes
  • Total Flops – none, woohoo! 🙂
  • Not Rated – green peppers, thai basil, piper betel leaves

Final Opinion:

Apart from the tomatoes, this was a pretty good box, even though we didn’t manage to try everything yet. The impromptu trips to Mexico threw the spanner in the works, which is why we didn’t finish everything (and why we had to skip box 4), but that won’t happen in the future, so we should have a good run from now to the end of the season.

Box 3 – Opening

What’s inside Box 3?

  • Aubergine (Eggplant) – one
  • Green ‘Suntan’ Peppers – one
  • Green Beans – 3/4lb bag
  • Fennel (bulb and tops) – one, from the Xtras box
  • Green Chard – one bunch
  • Piper Betel Leaves – one bag, approx 5-6 leaves
  • Thai Basil – one bundle of stalks
  • Cucumber – one
  • Cherry Tomatoes – one pint pot
Box 3

Box 3

Initial thoughts:

Plenty of non-unusual items this week, so finding recipes shouldn’t be too taxing. The only real unknown is the Piper Betel leaves, but they look like they’ll keep for a while, so no rush yet!

Usage ideas:

  • Aubergine (Eggplant) – we had Aubergine Parmesan a few nights ago, so revisiting that is a possibility, but June mentioned an aubergine & tomato recipe she’d found, so it could go either way.
  • Green ‘Suntan’ Peppers – another one to put in the fridge and ponder a usage for. I’ll need to be twice as inventive now!
  • Green Beans – combined with the last few remnants of the Box 1 green beans, these are probably going to go to June’s mom.
  • Fennel (bulb and tops) – no ideas yet. While the bulb itself is fairly small, there’s a forest of tops to use, so we need something that’ll use lots of tops as well as the bulb.
  • Green Chard – again, no ideas, but the stalks look very similar to celery, so perhaps something that normally uses celery? The leafy parts might make for good cabbage substitution? Have to think about this one some more…
  • Piper Betel Leaves – the CSA newsletter has many suggestions for this rather unusual leaf, including Tempura-fried Betel Leaf with coconut crab sauce, Betel Leaf Drizzle (for garnishing), seasoning for boiled vegetables when combined with onion slices, adding colour to scrambled eggs, and as a seasoning wrap for baking fish fillets. The only question is which one do we want to try? 🙂
  • Thai Basil – the aroma from the fresh leaves is very strong, so this will definitely add a good basil flavour to anything we use it in … which is another way of saying no ideas yet 🙂
  • Cucumber – since June doesn’t like cucumber, this one is mine. I think the classic peanut butter & cucumber sandwiches are on the cards, or maybe even canned fish & cucumber (it’d normally be Tuna, but since I’m not a fan of tuna when tinned, I’m hoping to find something like mackerel).
  • Cherry Tomatoes – I suspect that June will snaffle a few now and then over the weekend, and either cook the rest with the aubergine (see above), or add into a salad.

Photos, by June:

Aubergine

Aubergine (Eggplant)

Green Pepper

Green Pepper

Green Beans

Green Beans

Fennel

Fennel

Green Chard

Green Chard

Piper Betel Leaves

Piper Betel Leaves

Thai Basil

Thai Basil

Cucumber

Cucumber

Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes