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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Getting "Out of the Box" With My Veggies

This summer I joined a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group.  This is a project where someone in the agriculture business (produce, livestock, whatever) sells “shares” of what they raise.  It ensures the shareholder knows exactly where their food is coming from and what conditions it was raised in. 

In my case, it is a vegetable share.  It is through Doalnara Organic Farms ( ). 

On Monday, they send a newsletter showing the main things that will be in the box that week so menus can be planned.

There is also a substitution option so you can swap for something else.

Then on Wednesday they bring the produce to town.  They set up the boxes, one table is labeled for those who requested a substitution and the other has the basic assortment. 

There is usually an “extras” box where you can take one or two additional items.  Last week there were FOUR extra boxes.  The bounty of the garden was very good. 

My brimming half bushel box full of different vegetables picked that morning.  

Here are a few weeks of what was in my boxes.

Is it making you hungry??
One of my favorite things about my boxes of produce is that I am getting ‘out of the box’ when it comes to cooking.  The farmers at Doalnara are Korean and therefore we get some veggies that are not so commonly used in American kitchens.  Things like the perilla leaves I wrote about earlier, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, slender Chinese eggplants and last week a Kabocha squash.
Since it IS summer in the South, that means the zucchini and yellow squash are going crazy.  So we’ve gotten quite a few in our boxes… with more in the extra box!  So I’ve been searching out different ways to use them.  Here’s a quick and tasty recipe I found.  The beauty of this recipe is you don’t have to measure your ingredients!  Just keep the proportions and you are good to go.  It is a good recipe to add your family’s favorite seasonings to also.  I’m thinking next time some chipotle would be fantastic.
Parmesan Squash Bake
2 medium zucchini
2 medium butternut/summer squash
1 medium sweet yellow onion, diced
1/2-1 c. grated parmesan
1/4c. extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
(I added some slices of fresh mozzarella on top)
1. In a small pan, heat about 1 T. of olive oil. Fry the diced onion until it's soft, about 7 minutes. Add in the garlic and fry for another minute or so. Pour the onion mixture into the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish.
2. Slice the zucchini and squash into thin slices. Layer them into 4 rows across in the dish, over the onions. Slowly pour the olive oil over the pieces until they are evenly coated. Sprinkle with sea salt.
3. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, uncovered. Pour the parmesan over the top of the dish. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the veggies are soft and slightly golden brown.

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