Week 6 Progress

July 21, 2013 10:57 am by Pooja

This week, we had a lot leftover from our gloriously bountiful CSA share, so we only spent $72 on food! We spent $50 (69%) at the markets and $22 (31%) at the grocery store. That’s not our best percentage break down, but when we consider that we consumed TONS of yellow squash, broccoli, cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, garlic, green onion, carrots, and cabbage that were all left over from last week’s CSA share (thus not factoring into this week’s spending total), I think we did pretty well at eating local this week!

This week’s big success was the Spicy tomato, cabbage, and pinto bean stew. I took one of my old, over-processed recipes and adapted it to use local and whole food ingredients.

We ate a huge variety of veggies, and tons of them, and cut down on our fatty dairy this week, so I’d say we did some pretty healthy eating. You know, to balance all the drinking we (I) did this week. (Hey – we were celebrating!)

We did not tackle the meat goal this week, to give our tummies a break after a few weeks of travel. We focused on vegetables and feel back to normal, finally!

I think we’re finally getting the hang of this 🙂

goat cheese pasta with squash and broccoli

Goat cheese pasta with sauteed squash and broccoli, a Friday night dinner with Maia and the Doctor

Roasted Squash and Broccoli Pizza

July 19, 2013 5:18 pm by Pooja

roasted veggie pizzaHomemade pizza dough, leftover tomato sauce, CSA broccoli & squash, and farmer john’s parmesan cheese.

Cooked at 450 for 13 minutes on our pizza stone.

Delicious.

Spicy Tomato, Cabbage, and Pinto Stew

July 15, 2013 10:00 am by Pooja

What could I call this soup? Cabbage soup? Blah. Bean and Cabbage soup? Double blah.

cabbage chili 1Highlighting the tomatoes and spice? Sure. That will work.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a very precise recipe for you on this nutritious and delicious way of using up a smallish sad, unwanted CSA cabbage. But, here’s a play-by-play of what I did.

In the pre-market days, I used a adaptation of this recipe for my cabbage stew, using rotel for picante, lightlife soy crumbles for beef, and water for beef broth. I figured I’d use it as a rough guideline, but needed a way to replace “ranch-style beans”. What are ranch style beans anyways? For that, we ask an expert. After reading through homesick texan’s recipe, I remembered that I had an enchilada sauce sitting in the freezer which tasted strongly of ancho chilies… so strongly that I used it once for chilaquiles and never again! Time to shine again, baby. So, in the future, I may follow homesick texan’s recipe more closely, but for now, here’s how I made the beans.

The Beans

On Saturday, I cooked 1.5 c of dry pinto beans. Having never cooked dry pinto beans, I had no idea about the specifics. Soak or not? Salt or not? Simmer forever or a 30 minute boil? It turns out that pinto beans are more like lentils than black beans. I couldn’t have soaked for more than an hour, and it was probably too much. I will still soak them, but for no more than 30 minutes in the future. I didn’t salt them, but I probably could have. Then, I let them boil away for IDK how long (I know, super useful). But they couldn’t have taken more than 2 hours to cook, and probably were done in 1, again with not a ton of soaking. They were probably done earlier, since mine were mushy when they came off the stove. Then, I stirred in a few tablespoons of my enchilada sauce, added some brown sugar and chile vinegar (Savory Accents!).

The Cabbage

From there, I took a simple approach to the stew. My beans were already overcooked, so I just need to cook my cabbage to the texture I wanted and add in the beans. I sauteed an onion and some garlic and added two cans of tomatoes (leftover from the old days, a jar of salsa would have been a nice substitute), some chili powder, cumin, and oregano to taste, and the cabbage. I simmered until the cabbage was all wilty and buttery and just the way I like it.

Add the beans in, added more chili powder and salt to taste and voila! A spicy, but fairly light, cabbage and bean stew!

I hesitate to give nutritional info on this, since I measured almost nothing. But, beans are a great lean source of protein and are the only contributors of carbs, and the only fat is the oil for the onion (and in my case, the oil in the enchilada sauce). That makes this a filling but very low calorie meal. We each ate a big bowl of it, so I think this will make 4 servings for us. If we’d added meat, it would have easily been 6 servings. So, where did the beef/soy go?, you might ask. I toyed with adding some ground beef or lamb. Neither of us felt like eating meat this week, so I did not. But perhaps next time, now that we know it is a success!

Ricotta dumplings and summer squash sautee in a tomato sauce

July 14, 2013 10:00 am by Pooja

Here it is. Ricotta dumplings with quick-sauteed summer squash in a homemade tomato sauce.

Ricotta dumplings

Don’t let the lack of color fool you. This was a perfectly well-rounded summer meal.

Now, I’ve used a recipe very similar tomato sauce to this many times in the past. So, here’s the big question in my mind: Is using fresh tomatoes better than using canned tomatoes?

Of course, our Canopy tomatoes are not only local and fresh, but also grown in a body-healthy way and free of any dangers of canned tomatoes. But, for less than $7.30, surely I could have found organic, glass bottled  or “BPA-free” tomatoes at the grocery store?

Maybe you’re thinking: don’t the fresh tomatoes taste much better? Well, they taste different, that’s for sure! (I mean, look at how orange that sauce is!) This fresh tomato sauce was just cooked for a mere 45 minutes. And it still tasted of fresh tomatoes – sweet and just a little tart. I added little to it – not even salt and pepper, just a bit of basil. It was a great accompaniment for the summer squash and light, fluffy dumplings. My only complaint is that is sure was a lot of work… and it was a totally different sauce than the rich sauce that I typically make with the canned stuff. So, I don’t know that I can really say that it was “better”, just another delicious sauce.

But wait! There is perhaps an even yummier alternative. Thus far, I have shunned the $6 and $7 market marinaras, except for the one time I bought one that I decided was better as a tomato curry (weird, but true). However, since the total cost of my sauce was more than that anyways, it looks like it’s time to rethink market marinara!

At any rate, this was a delicious meal. The ricotta dumplings were a lovely alternative to pasta (and a great way to use up a bit of leftover ricotta!) and the summer squash was salty sweet and wonderful. We grated just a little bit of fresh parm on top and it was perfect for a summer Saturday.