Posts Tagged ‘lettuce’

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 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 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 πŸ™‚ 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

Box 2 – Roundup

Our second box, and the first that we’d have to try to utilise in just one week. So what did we do with it?

Actual usage & thoughts:

  • Italian Dandelion – The various other blogs by fellow members of our CSA all seem to agree on one thing – that the dandelion greens are very bitter. Therefore, we’ve not been bold enough to actually try doing anything with it for fear of making something we’d have to trash.
  • Garlic Chives – Added to the rice of the Lemon Chicken dish (see below). It definitely created an extra dimension to the rice, and there’s plenty more which I’m sure we’ll use in the coming weeks.
  • Lettuce (Romaine) – As covered in the previous post, I made an adhoc salad from it, and wished there was more of it!
  • Bok Choy – June cooked up a Lemon Chicken with Rice & Bok Choy dish (which I’m sure she’ll get around to blogging about eventually, since she took enough photos of it), which was excellent all round. The Bok Choy was very flavourful, and surprisingly sweet, so it make an excellent side to the dish. EDIT: June finally posted about the Bok Choy.
  • Green β€˜Suntan’ Pepper – I admit I haven’t done anything with this yet, partly from laziness (since I’d be cooking for myself), and partly from inexperience (since I don’t cook that often). It still looks fine, so maybe next week I’ll find something that’ll work.
  • Yellow Squash – Pretty much the same as the green pepper above, I’ve not found anything to make this into yet.
  • Avocado – June did her usual with at least one of the two avocados, so I’m guessing there’s no complaints.
  • Black Sapote (AKA chocolate pudding fruit) – neither has riped yet, so not much can be said about it. It’ll probably be another week or two before they can be eaten.

Ratings:

  • Hits – Bok Choy, Garlic Chives, Lettuce, Avocado
  • Near Misses – none!
  • Total Flops – Italian Dandelion
  • Not Rated – Green Pepper, Yellow Squash, Black Sapote

Final Opinion:

From what we actually ate, there were definitely no complaints. However, from a combination of lack of ideas and unriped fruit, there is still quite a bit of produce left for the coming week(s), so I’ll have to hold off on final judgment until a later post.

Hawaiian Ranch Salad

Getting hungry this evening, I decided to throw a simple salad together, using the romaine lettuce along with some other things in the fridge. I didn’t plan on blogging about it, so I didn’t think about taking a photo until it was already half eaten, sorry! However, it turned out reasonably tasty, so here’s a quick recipe:

Hawaiian Ranch Salad:

  • Romaine Lettuce – one small head, rinsed and drained
  • Ranch Dressing – as much as you want πŸ™‚
  • Pineapple Tidbits – half a small can, drained
  • Bacon – in this case bacon bits, since they were handy, but broken rashers would also work

Roughly tear the lettuce and chuck in a bowl. Add the pineapple bits, then pour on the dressing and mix (or should that be toss?). Finally, add the bacon on top and eat!

I originally planned to use the remains of a can of Spam (which had gone into an omelette for the little one earlier in the week), hence the combination of pineapple in this salad to make it Hawaiian – well, as Hawaiian as a pizza anyway – but the open can wasn’t still good, so a quick substitution of bacon saved the day here. The salad ended up being better than I expected, as the sweetness of the pineapple worked will in contrast with the savouriness of the ranch and bacon, and the lettuce itself was really fresh and fairly sweet as well. However, since we only had a small head, just this one salad used the entire thing… which left June a little miffed when she found out it was all gone already! Hopefully we’ll get more romaine in future boxes, as this one was excellent.

Box 2 – Opening

What’s inside Box 2?

  • Italian Dandelion – one bundle
  • Garlic Chives – one bundle.
  • Lettuce – one (small) head, in this case Romaine
  • Bok Choy – one head, complete with caterpillar and other bugs!
  • Green ‘Suntan’ Pepper – one
  • Yellow Squash – one
  • Courgette (Zucchini) – one, swapped for an avocado since neither of us are fans of it
  • Avocado – ‘monroe’ variety this time, one plus the swapped one
  • Black Sapote (AKA chocolate pudding fruit) – two
Box 2

Box 2

Initial thoughts:

Another good selection, with only the Bok Choy being unusual. Black sapote would probably also be considered unusual by many, but since we’ve had it before, it’s not such an unknown to us. See June’s blog post for her thoughts on the box.

Usage ideas:

  • Italian Dandelion – June has already told me she’s going to cook the recipe from the CSA newsletter, namely Dandelion Fetuccini, so I’ll have to see if that comes to pass. Otherwise, a simple salad might work, as would steaming or light sauteing as a side.
  • Garlic Chives – these can be used in pretty much any dish where (a little) garlic is required, so it’s just a case of picking one.
  • Lettuce – another salad is probably on the cards, perhaps filling for a BLT too.
  • Bok Choy – I’ve no clues about this, so will have to research some Asian recipes for ideas. Might work well in combination with the garlic chives.
  • Green ‘Suntan’ Pepper – June’s not a fan of bell peppers, so I’m going to have to think of something for myself here. I suspect it’s not sweet enough to eat raw, so I’ll have to cook it. Maybe if I find a recipe that uses with with bok choy and garlic chives, I’ll kill three birds with one stone!
  • Yellow Squash – it’s pretty small, so perhaps a Yellow Squash Parmesan (ie fried then baked with cheese etc) for a one person meal.
  • Avocados – June will do her usual avocado and rice with these, I suspect…
  • Black Sapote (AKA chocolate fruit) – these just need to be left to ripen (when they become black and very soft), and can then just be eaten with a spoon, oh… or perhaps with icecream? Hopefully they’ll ripen quickly!

Photos, by June:

Italian Dandelion

Italian Dandelion

Garlic Chives

Garlic Chives

Lettuce (Romaine)

Lettuce (Romaine)

Bok Choy

Bok Choy

Green Pepper

Green Pepper

Yellow Squash

Yellow Squash

Avocados

Avocados

Black Sapote (Unripe)

Black Sapote (Unripe)

Box 1 – Roundup

Seeing as there was no box for the Thanksgiving weekend, we’ve been eating from this box for two weeks rather than the usual one. That being said, it was a good introduction of what to expect, along with a good warmup for us trying to find ways to use the box contents.

Actual usage & thoughts:

  • Callaloo – after inspecting pictures of it online, we came to the conclusion that this particular bundle we’d got was well past it’s prime, so was not used. However, odds are we’ll get it again in future boxes, and hopefully it’ll be in a fresher state so that we can actually use it!
  • Lemongrass – used in the Thai dish as previously posted. The remains of the bundle are currently drying out in the fridge, so we’ve got the option of using it over the next few weeks or so.
  • Green beans – used in both the Thai dish, and steamed then mixed with onion to be a side dish for our Thanksgiving meal. On both occasions the beans were tender and flavourful, so the Xtras box swap really paid off for us this time.
  • Lettuce – used with the Cherry Tomatoes to make a side salad, also for the Thanksgiving meal. The lettuce stayed crisp and green in the fridge for much longer than we expected, and tasted like a leafier romaine. Another one to look forward to in future boxes.
  • Corn – boiled as mentioned previously, and won’t be boiled next time!
  • Cherry Tomatoes – a few eaten straight from the pot, the rest combined with the Lettuce for a side salad. The tomatoes were fairly tender while retaining a reasonable firmness, and the juices weren’t bitter like shop-bought ones can be. However, the flipside is that they were also not very sweet, which meant they worked best in combination with other salad vegetables, rather than eaten individually.
  • Avocado – half was roughly diced and served as a side for the Thanksgiving meal, the rest was eaten with rice by June at some point in the last week. I personally am not a fan of avocado, so I’m taking June’s word that it was a good one (although the shop-bought ones are not dissimilar, I’m told, since Publix sells local organic avocados as well).
  • Roselle – not used yet, so it’s slowly drying in the fridge. The problem with these flowers is that you need to plan to make something where they are the focal point, as they’re not easy to integrate into normal meals.

Ratings:

  • Hits – Green Beans, Avocado, Lettuce, Lemongrass
  • Near Misses – Cherry Tomatoes
  • Total Flops – Corn, Callaloo
  • Not Rated – Roselle (and Dill)

Final Opinion:

This was a good first box that we used a reasonable percentage of, although much of that was helped by the Thanksgiving meal and having two weeks rather than one. We’ll have to pick up the pace for the next box, since it’d be crazy to let this stuff go to waste. Roll on box two!

Box 1 – Opening

What’s inside Box 1?

  • Callaloo (AKA edible amaranth or pigweed), 1 bundle
  • Lemongrass, 1 bundle
  • Green Beans, 1lb bag
  • Dill – swapped for another 1lb bag of Green Beans, via the Xtras box
  • Lettuce, curly leaf in this case, 1 head
  • Corn, 4 ears in husks
  • Cherry Tomatoes, 1 pint pot
  • Avocado, 1 medium sized Florida variety
  • Roselle (AKA Jamaican Sorrel, or Hibiscus flower), 1 bunch

Initial thoughts:

  • Good basic selection, plenty of potential without too much strangeness (the full boxes had bok choy and mizuna)
  • Glad for the Xtras box, since none of us like Dill that much

Usage ideas:

  • Callaloo – no ideas yet, but the CSA newsletter recommends not eating it raw
  • Lemongrass – always good in stir-fries, possibly later this week
  • Green beans – boiled or steamed as a side, second bag will probably go to June’s family
  • Lettuce – salad!
  • Tomatoes – salad!
  • Corn – boiled for lunch today methinks
  • Avocado – June will probably eat this with rice during the week
  • Roselle – recipe included with the CSA newsletter for Sorrel Tonic, which is one option. The other option would be to make jelly/jam for resale via Etsy (and/or eating ourselves, of course).

No photos this week, but planning to include them in future posts.