Sunday, November 9, 2008

Betting the Farm

Kale and pumpkins are two items you would not typically find in my grocery cart. Neither are potatoes, for that matter. However, Farm Fresh to You delivered these items, plus a bunch more, to my house. Each delivery of produce contains a different assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables, but you don’t know what the contents will be until the box arrives, so paying for unknown produce in advance is a bit of a risk. I enjoy cooking, Mr. Penpen likes to gamble, and we both love to get things in the mail, so I figured getting a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box would be ideal for us. In addition to the excitement of getting a bi-weekly produce delivery full of surprise fruits and vegetables, I also like the idea of supporting local organic farms and eating seasonally. I try to do this anyway, but there are certain vegetables that make it into my repertoire far more often than others.

The CSA box is giving me the opportunity to experiment with otherwise-ignored vegetables and appreciate simple, healthful food. I did not know what to do with kale or
rapini (also known as broccoli raab) until I consulted my copy of Chez Panisse Vegetables. I extracted tips from a couple recipes in the book to turn the two greens into a fast weeknight dinner. Basically it just consisted of sautéing the greens with onions and garlic, adding a little water and vinegar, and tossing them with pasta. This meal rated 7 for D and 2 for E, giving it an EDR of 3.5—excellent marks!

After serving as a cute fall decoration for over a week, I decided to turn the two mini sugar pumpkins into pie. I had only used canned pumpkin pie filling before, and I found it was very satisfying--and not that much more difficult--to make the entire pie from scratch. I gave the pie a 7 for D and a 4 for E, giving it an EDR of roughly 1.7. Okay, but definitely room for improvement. Perhaps by Thanksgiving?

I haven’t yet figured out if this is the most cost-effective way for me to purchase produce. (I do have to supplement it with other purchases.) I think I will take it box by box for now, and enjoy the challenge of finding recipes for the contents

No comments: