Posts Tagged ‘red round tomatoes’

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.
  • “Young” 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 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!

Colcannon at last!

Another productive cooking weekend means that we’ve made another dent on our burgeoning veg stocks. On Saturday, even before I’d had a chance to post the opening of Box 8, we’d used the mizuna and red round tomatoes for BLTs (well, BMT for June, BM for me):

Open BMT

Open BMT

Closed BMT

Closed BMT

The mizuna was an interesting change from the usual lettuce, since it was much leafier, like rocket/arugula without the kick really, and it kept the sarnies slightly healthier than the just ‘B’ they would have been otherwise (for me, anyway).

Yesterday, I threw together a simple salad using the rest of the mizuna, some more of the cabbage from Box 5, a few stalks of celery, a big handful of raisins, and pretty much our entire radish harvest (with a improvised dijonnaise-ish dressing). Delicious! Yes, I forgot about the green peppers (and the carrots we bought a few days back), so a slightly missed opportunity but no matter – the result was great, with the heat of the radishes and dijon mustard mixing with the sweetness of the raisins, and the contrasting textures and crunchiness levels all working well.

However, the star of Sunday’s dining was the Pan-Fried Mahi Mahi & Colcannon that June prepared in the evening.

Pan-Fried Mahi Mahi & Colcannon

Pan-Fried Mahi Mahi & Colcannon

The fish was great, perfectly done and the crusting was excellent. However, the star of the show was the colcannon. June decided to actually find a recipe (from one of her hundreds of cookbooks) rather than rely on my rather ad-hoc version, and then improvised a little on that with the addition of caramelised red onions. Oh my! I could have eaten the entire batch and barely noticed! It was easily the best colcannon I’ve ever had, and needless to say it’s henceforth definitely going to on our frequent cook-list. In fact, I think I’ll be making this version rather than my own from now on, which is saying something. It’s possible to say that it was the freshness (and quality) of the kale that lifted this dish, so I’m looking forward to trying this one with both future box contents and other types of kale.

Oh, and before I finish, a quick teaser… we’ve finally used 5 of our black sapotes, and the results are … impressive. More details on that another time!

Box 8 – Opening

What’s inside our half box #8?

  • Mizuna – one bundle
  • Green Chard – one bundle
  • Oyster Mushrooms – donated to another CSAer, as there’s no extras box still (due to the freeze damage) but we didn’t want them.
  • Celery – one large bundle
  • Red Round Tomatoes – two
  • Green Peppers – officially it’s one per box, but we ended up with two. If you see the photos, you’ll understand why they gave us two of them!
  • Cilantro/Coriander – donated to the same CSAer as the mushrooms, since June is passionately averse to the taste (and even the smell) of this
  • Canistel – two
Box 8

Box 8

Initial thoughts:

Another small box due to the frost damage reducing the harvests, especially once we’d given away the mushrooms and coriander. However, what’s left is all very easily usable, so I’m hoping that this will be our first box that we complete finish… apart from the green peppers of course 🙂

Usage ideas:

  • Mizuna – As mentioned in the Box 7 roundup, June had a BLT today. The ‘L’ was really not L but M, Mizuna that is. I skipped the T to have a BL (well, BM) as well. Still plenty left though, so we might do another stirfry at some point, or there’s always salads. Actually, since I’m going to be taking lunch to work with me this week, I might end up using some in the sarnies I make.
  • Green Chard – June mentioned a Potato & Greens soup recipe – a clone of the ‘Zuppa  Toscani’ from Olive Garden – earlier today, which sounds great to me, since that’s the soup I always go for when we go there. The chard will definitely be good in this, so that’s at least some of it covered.
  • Celery – The CSA newsletter features an ‘Ants on a Log’ recipe this time, which makes me laugh, as I can’t hear that phrase without thinking of the daft Playhouse Disney show ‘Tasty Time with ZeFronk’ which featured it. Blame El Nino for inflicting that upon us… However, I really like celery, so I’ll probably eat a fair amount of it raw (with mayo is my preferred), but it’s easily cooked with too, so there’s plenty of other possibilities.
  • Red Round Tomatoes – As with last week’s, these will need to wait most of the week to ripen up fully. Then, who knows 🙂
  • Green Peppers – Given the size of the peppers, I might manage to use the smaller of the two, but I suspect that the larger will end up in the freezer with the others…
  • Canistel – These will take a fair while to ripen, if the previous ones are anything to go by, so I doubt we’ll be able to use these this week.

Photos by me, edited by June:

Mizuna

Mizuna

Green Chard

Green Chard

Celery

Celery

Red Round Tomatoes

Red Round Tomatoes

Green Peppers

Green Peppers

Canistel

Canistel

Box 7 – Roundup

Actual usage & thoughts:

  • Cabbage – Apart from the one or two leaves that we used as props for the Dim Sum, this cabbage is still in the fridge waiting for us.
  • Lacinato Kale – About half of the kale was used in the meat & two veg meal, and was delicious. The other half we’re planning at last to use in colcannon, but June’s cooking so it’ll be a different recipe to the one I usually make – if the meal is successful it’ll be blogged about separately later.
  • Garlic Chives – We used these in most of the Dim Sum recipes, and as garnish on the Szechuan Clementine Pork. I’m glad we managed to use it all while still fresh, and it added that little something to both dishes. Definitely worth having, and I hope to see it in more boxes to come.
  • Red Round Tomatoes – These took all week to ripen, and so we didn’t get a chance to use them until today. June used half of the larger one in a BLT, but it was the same as all the previous tomatoes – firm, not bitter or acid, but not very sweet either. The problem is that we’ve both had very sweet tomatoes (homegrown by my grandparents) in the UK, and it’s hard not to compare all other tomatoes to those.
  • Clementine Tangerines – The little one managed to destroy one of the two by the time we got the box home, but the other we managed to use for the Szechuan Clementine Pork. The Clementine was full of flavour, especially so considering how tiny they were, but since they’re essentially mandarin oranges they’re still a little on the tart side, something that needs to be compensated for in a recipe.
  • Carambola – We left it all week to make sure it was fully ripe, and sliced and ate it this morning. It was nice and juicy, soft yet still firm enough to bite into easily. However, as may seems like a theme of this post, it wasn’t as sweet as previous ones we’ve had. In fact, the sweetest starfruit we’ve ever had came from the ‘Robert is Here’ store earlier last year, and no subsequent ones (from there or elsewhere) have managed to attain that level. That being said, it wasn’t unsweet, and I quite happily polished it off within a few minutes.
  • Black Sapote – Still not ripe, as expected. Three of the four are coming along nicely, but the fourth is still very green.
  • Avocado – This one is definitely ripe now, so June will probably use it in the next day or two.

Ratings:

  • Hits – lacinato kale, garlic chives
  • Near Misses – carambola, round red tomatoes, clementine tangerines
  • Total Flops – none
  • Not Rated – cabbage, black sapote, avocado

Final Opinion:

The carambola, tomatoes, and clementines all shared a common quality – tasty, ripe, but not as sweet as they could have been. Otherwise this was a surprisingly good box, particularly so considering the inclement weather that seriously damaged much of the crops in the area. We’re rapidly accumulating black sapotes though, so we’re going to have to start experimenting with those soon.

Box 7 – Opening

What’s inside Box 7?

  • Cabbage – one head
  • Lacinato Kale – one bundle
  • Garlic Chives – one bundle
  • Red Round Tomatoes – two
  • Clementine Tangerines – two very small fruits
  • Carambola – one (AKA starfruit)
  • Black Sapote – four
  • Avocado – one, the Brooks ‘late’ variety this time
Box 7

Box 7

Initial Thoughts:

There was a very long (for Florida) cold spell this week, with several frosty nights, so much of the plants being grown for the CSA have suffered serious damage, so the contents of this box (and the next 4 probably) is reduced from the normal selection – including no extras box for swaps and additionals. If we’d been given the choice, we probably wouldn’t have kept the sapote or the cabbage, and swapped for something else (like a different kale or some more green chard), but since we couldn’t we’re going to have to make the best of what we’ve got.

Usage ideas:

  • Cabbage – We’ve still got the cabbage left from Box 5, so we’re definitely going to need to think of a few more ideas for all of it. While picking up the box from the farm, Farmer Margie suggested we try making it into a soup, cooking it until just translucent (ie not boiling it to death), so that might be worth a try.
  • Lacinato Kale – I’ve had curly kale quite often when cooking for myself back in the UK, so I might try my usual dish with this kale, Colcannon. Quick summary of the recipe is steam the kale until tender, then add to mashed potato to make a bubble & squeak-ish side.
  • Garlic Chives – Last time we only managed to use a little of the garlic chives when fresh, the rest are dry in the fridge. This time I hope we’ll use more, but that’ll really depend on the recipes we come up with to use the other box items.
  • Red Round Tomatoes – These two aren’t quite ripe yet, so they’ll be on the counter this week for use either later this week or next.
  • Clementine Tangerines – You’ll notice from the list above that there are two clementines in the box, but only one in the photo below. El nino managed to get hold of one from the box as we were going through it at the farm, and we (foolishly) let him keep playing with it in the car during the short drive home. Halfway home we noticed a very citrus-y smell in the air, and twisting around I could just about make out that he’d bitten a chunk out of the peel and apparently eaten out all the segments from inside. On getting home we found he’d just squished it so hard that the peel burst and the segments and juices had gotten all over him. So that’s why we only have one clementine left 🙂 As for the remaining fruit, the plan is to tonight cook the recipe in the CSA newsletter (Szechuan Clementine Chicken), but with pork instead of chicken.
  • Carambola – If it’s ripe enough, and hopefully fairly sweet, one or both of us will eat this as is. If it’s not so sweet, then we’ll need to be inventive… in other words, I’ve not a clue yet 🙂
  • Black Sapote – Wow, four sapotes this week, and all nearly the same size. Going on past history, it’ll be two weeks before these are ripe and usable, so these will be sitting on the counter until then.
  • Avocado – I suspect that June will take care of this in her usual way (with rice).

Photos by me, edited by June:

Cabbage

Cabbage

Lacinato Kale

Lacinato Kale

Garlic Chives

Garlic Chives

Red Round Tomatoes

Red Round Tomatoes

Clem

Clementine Tangerine(s)

Carambola

Carambola

Box 7

Black Sapote

Box 7

Brooks Avocado