Friday, July 18, 2008

I Love Summer

So we got our CSA share yesterday and guess what was in it? Raspberries! They are coming out of our ears. Our backyard berries are definitely slowing down though, so we won't be reaping the raspberries too much longer. Now when the heck are my apricots going to ripen?

Our CSA share also contained Baby Fennel! I have no idea what to do with it, but I'm super excited to find out. We also got some awesome looking Bibb lettuce, fresh garlic, green onions, rainbow chard, shelling peas, dill, and asiatic lilies. Oh! We also joined an additional Mushroom CSA!!!! So we got some delicious FRESH little Pioppino mushrooms! Yay.

We've been cooking more as the heat hasn't been so, well, hot lately. ;)

My final recipe test for Colleen Patrick-Goudreau came out really delicious - Scotch Broth. Which is actually more like a veggie soup/stew rather than broth - barley, split peas, lentils, leeks, carrots, etc. Oh and potatoes. Very hearty and filling, and subtly flavored. It would be great with something like seitan sausages or something in that neighborhood of strong flavors.

Here's Silas enjoying his portion:

After our first CSA box last week, I made up giant Vegan Dagwood Sandwiches with a side of Simple Chard from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan by Dreena Burton. So easy and so delicious!

The sandwiches consisted of:
Herb and Onion Bread from Great Harvest Bread Co.
Avocado slices (thriftway)
Tomatoes from the farmer's market
Chickpea cutlets
Bibb lettuce (CSA)
Home Sprouted Mung Bean Sprouts
Cashew Cheese


We also enjoyed a Tempeh Caesar Salad this week:
I just fried the tempeh with EVOO with a little grill seasoning, savory and tofu scramble spice mix from Yellow Rose Recipes. Then we topped it with Dreena's Living Caesar salad dressing (next time I'll use less lemon - it was very lemony), and some fresh tomatoes and mung bean sprouts and homemade croutons. Awesome!

Upon receiving my CSA bounty last night, I felt inspired to use up some of the older produce as well as featuring some of our new mushrooms - so stir-fry was the answer!
What I Did:
I got out my trusty wok, heated up some peanut oil over fairly high heat and fried up some of our most favoritest of all time Small Planet Garlic and Herb Tofu cubes. After removing those, I added some farmer's market broccoli and carrots from last week's box, as well as about 1/4 cup of water to steam fry. When they were pretty tender, I added about 1 cup of little mushrooms, 3 cloves of minced fresh garlic, 6-7 chopped green onion, and about 1 cup of sliced sugar snap peas. I added a couple of squirts of Bragg's and about 1 tablespoon of finely grated ginger and a bit of our cool new red celtic sea salt. At the very end I added the tofu back in and threw in 2 handfuls of mung bean sprouts (sprouted at home!). It was AMAZING!!!!! Maybe it's because I wasn't using any kind of recipe, maybe it was because everything was so fresh (and local and organic), or maybe it was the bottle of local chardonnay that we were well into.
I don't know, but it was fabulous. We had it over brown rice. (And that bottle was empty when Silas got a hold of it, I promise!)

Fresh Herburgers!

Ok this recipe has it's roots in Mark Bittman's Bean Burger recipe (from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian) but I changed it up enough that I feel ok about posting it here.

1.5 C of Cannelini Beans
1/2 C cooked brown rice
3/4-1 C old-fashioned oatmeal
3 cloves garlic
5 green onions, roughly chopped
1 small handful EACH (approximately 1/4 cup) of:
italian parsley
And a couple tablespoons worth of fresh dill
Large pinch of salt
Freshly ground pepper

I also added about 1 teaspoon of Bill's Chick'nish seasoning and a large pinch of my tofu scramble spice mix mentioned above, so just throw in whatever usual seasonings you like - it's an adaptable recipe!

Put EVERYTHING in the food processor, starting out with the smaller amount of oatmeal. Pulse and process until everything is combined. Check out your mixture - does it look too wet to form patties? Add some oatmeal and process some more.

When you are reasonably satisfied with your mixture (taste for seasoning - nothing in there will hurt you!) use WET HANDS to shape it into patties.

Fry up your patties on a pretty hot skillet with some EVOO (I use cast iron). Flip when it gets brown on the bottom, about 3-4 minutes and cook until the other side is browned.

We had ours with HOMEMADE (!!!) wheat bread, cashew cheese, ketchup and lettuce - they were awesome!
Local vs Vegan News

Ok, it's not really a competition, but I just wanted to post these links about greenhouse gas emissions and diet - in the Vegan vs. Local Omnivore Challenge, the vegan wins!

Do Food Miles Matter?

And the original report that is quoted above can be found here:
Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States

What I'm taking from this is that being a locovore is good, being a vegan is better, and being a locovore vegan is best! I'm personally recommitting to sourcing as much of my vegan diet as locally as possible.


jennycestcake said...

Hi, Chessa! I just found your blog today. I love it! Thanks for sharing what you got in your CSA. I love hearing about stuff like that! Our CSA starts on August 2nd and I CANNOT WAIT!

Silas is too cute! I look forward to visiting your blog more often.

Brooke Jones said...

Hi Chessa-
I just got fennel from my CSA today. So I was excited to see you got some to. I am going to roast it and add baked beets to it. I also got some green beans and they are delish. I keep reading your blog to get inspired----until I go back to work. Miss you, Brooke

Chessa said...

Jenny - Thanks! I know, I'm totally addicted to haunting people's blogs that describe their CSA haul! Wow, that's a late start for a CSA! How long does it last? I just check out your blog, too, and it's so great! Your little gal is adorable. And your photos are amazing!

Brooke - Fennel! I'm excited to hear how yours turns out. I'm still torn between a pasta dish with "creamed" fennel or this bulgar dish I read about...time will tell. And go you for eating your beets! Mine are pickling in the fridge right now...and they still taste like dirt to me. ;) Miss you guys, too! Silas is always saying, "Go see Brooke&Nolan!"

jessy said...

thanks for posting the information on the food miles! hooray for veganism! :D

and Silas is just too adorable! hooray for some CSA goodness, Chessa! and your sammies, stir fry, salad - all of it - looks soooooooo fresh, tasty, and awesome! superw00t! and homemade wheat bread, man - you're too good! that's one thing dan & i still buy - bread. i feel bad too 'cause it's wrapped in plastic. argh! i need to just stop being intimidated by bread and start making our own!

Chessa said...

jessy - Thanks! I, too, was totally intimidated by bread until I got Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. He just lays it all out for you - what each ingredient does, how much you can vary it, etc - it really gave me a lot more confidence for breadbaking because it took all the mystery and magic out of it. Well, it's still magical, but I feel more like the magician instead of the village idiot when I'm making it. ;) I also LOVE using my food processor (has a dough blade) for making the bread - it brings it all together in like a minute instead of having to knead for a long time, it's great. See if your library has Bittman's book - it's not 100% vegan but there's lots of vegan stuff in it and he gives a lot of "how to veganize" suggestions throughout. It's one of my favorite, dependable cookbooks.