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Blueberries

I recently got my hands on 20 pounds of frozen organic blueberries from one of my co-workers. I had to remove them from the box they came in so I could fit the bag into my freezer. So far I haven’t done much with them besides add them to my granola, to my ice cream and to a bottle of vodka. This weekend though, big plans are ahead – blueberry ice cream!

After that, blueberry cobbler and then gallons of smoothies. The funny thing is when I got them I was so excited to have some delicious berries around the house, but now that California strawberries are in season I’m a bit less excited. I almost added strawberries and rhubarb to my box for next week so I could make my favorite all-time pie. But one look in my freezer put that idea to rest; I never thought a bag of blueberries would take such dedication.

I mean they are frozen, so it’s not like I’m cheating. They’ll be as good a month from now as they are today, but I at least have to make a dent in them before I go carousing around with other berries.

In an effort to keep my tropical theme rolling I’ve added mangos back in again this week, as well as keeping in the tangelos and grapefruit, which are both super tasty and nearing the end of their peak season. Especially grapefruit which is winding down. Neither one of these really goes with blueberries too well, but I’ll give it a try anyway. This is what my box is looking like:

Cucumbers
Bunched Carrots
Eggplant
White Onions
Zucchini
Red Radishes
Red Leaf Lettuce
Kale Raab
Minneola Tangelos
Ataulfo Mangos
Ruby Grapefruit
Braising Mix (Cut Greens)

I also ditched my apples for some more braising mix. I love Full Circle braising mix! It really is one of my favorite things. I made some the other day with pan-seared halibut, pan roasted potatoes and mango salsa (recipe from last week’s post). It was the perfect bedding for the fish, great flavor and quickly finished.

Another great thing that’s in the box this week is kale raab. Cook the same way as kale or chard and add to stir fry, braising greens or just a simple side. Kale raab is easily dressed in lemon juice, shoyu or a bit of vinegar and olive oil after lightly wilting. Try mixing it into white bean soup or vegetable soup at the end, letting the heat of the soup wilt it softly.

Eggplant is finally back in the box and slated for a coconut green curry mix I got at Viet Wah. The zucchini and carrots will also get sliced thin and go in there over a bed of jasmine rice. The rest looks like the makings of a salad to accompany on or two of the meals. Hopefully the weather will turn around soon and we won’t have to barbecue in the rain for much longer.

Next week I’ll talk a little more about one pan cooking methods, including the pan-sear and easy stove top tandoori chicken. Until then have a great weekend and eat well.

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Mango Lassi

I have to admit that mangos, though one of my favorite treats, are on my permanent exemptions list. Initially I made this decision while in an ‘eating local’ phase, and thought it best to substitute other more-local fare for these Mexico-grown goodies. But the more I thought about it, the more my decision seemed to be about preserving a memory rather than eating in a locality.

I personally believe that organically grown foods are far superior to conventionally grown and GMO foods. I want to support all organic farms, big and small, and especially those in developing neighbor countries that have far less environmental regulation than we do. The abundance and over dependence on pesticides, herbicides and other -cides pollute water resources, harm peoples health and make farming dangerous.

There are great organic farms in Mexico and other countries that are leading the way in organic agriculture and showing other farmers that growing food can be safer, healthier and more cost-effective when done organically, and they deserve my support. The only way the culture will change is if there’s market demand and it is arguably as important for developing countries to learn the benefits of organics as it is for farmers here to realize the same.

So eating from our southern neighbor wasn’t really the issue for me, what I realized was that I have a specific association with mangos, and I rarely eat them for fear of diluting that association.

The first time I ever tried one I was about 12 years-old and vacationing with my parents in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. My dad bought me a mango, which the street vendor then stuck on a stick and in deft swipes removed the peel, sprinkled it with chili powder and topped it with a squeeze of lime juice.

Ataulfo mangoSliced mango

I soon had mango juice running down my face, over my hands and had tossed the stick aside to finish by gnawing on the hairy seed, salvaging the last vestiges of the fruity flesh. I’ll never forget that first mango, the exotic scent, the smooth, slippery flesh and the floral, bright, sweet taste. All other mangos have paled in comparison.

Initially, when I joined Full Circle and had not yet mastered the subtle art of substituting, recipe planning and adding Green Grocery items, I got a mango. It came as a default item in my order and I really had no idea what to do with it. Sure, I’d cooked with mangos in the past, used them in sauces, dressing, and salsas, but the culinary mango craze had ended years before and I hadn’t had one since.

So I went back to the basics—peeled, sliced, a dash of chili powder and a squeeze of lime. It was delicious indeed, but paled in comparison to my memory. So I added them to my exemptions list. Just recently, my co-worker, our Farm Foodie and Product Manager, told me that mangos were in season and if there was ever a time to try them again, it was now.

Ingredients for Mango Lassi

So I doubled my order of Ataulfo mangos. I ate one, straight up, no nothing and it was awesome.  It wasn’t the mango of my memory, but it was enough to give me a flash of salty shores, hot sun and the pure joy of adventurous eating. I’m glad I did it.

Here are a couple of other things to do with your mangos. Although my favorite is still briefly grilling them, dashing them with smoked paprika and a squeeze of lime. Perfect with flank steak or pork chops.

Mango Lassi

2 ripe mangos, peeled and cubed
1 cup honey yogurt
1/2 cup non-fat milk
1/2 orange, juiced

If you don’t have honey yogurt, just add one tablespoon of honey to the mixture. Place into blender and blend until smooth. Some recipe call for sugar, but I find the mixture of ripe mangos and just a little honey enough to sweeten it perfectly. If you feel you’d like yours a little sweeter, add a bit more honey. If it’s too sweet for you a touch of salt and a bit more orange juice should do the trick.

Mango salsa

Mango Salsa

2 ripe mangos, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup shallots, green onion or red onion, minced
2 jalapenos, minced
3 T cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
Salt
Chili powder or smoked paprika

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Salt to taste. Let sit for one-half hour for flavors to blend. Dust with chili powder or paprika before serving.  You can also add avocado, strawberries or red bell pepper for a variety of flavors.

Oh the darkness

This is what it looks like outside

My fiancé said this to me the other day, and I think I’d have to agree. I think we all have a case of the SADs. For those of you that either don’t live in the Northwest or Alaska, or maybe winter in more southern climes, SAD is Seasonal Affective Disorder; which basically means you become depressed when it rains too much.

Up here in Seattle we combat the SADs in a few ways: we complain, we become passive-aggressive, we drink copious amounts of coffee, we drink copious amounts, and we complain about how much everyone is complaining. This all works pretty well up until—well, up until about April. It is right about now that we feel generally entitled to just a little bit of sunshine, and very sad when we aren’t getting it.

To combat the SADs (which is a clinically diagnosed mood disorder first formally described and named in 1984 by Norman E. Rosenthal and colleagues at the National Institute of Mental Health; lest you think it’s some made-up Northwest thing) it is recommended to use light therapy, melatonin or anti-depressants if it doesn’t clear up on its own—somewhere around mid-July I think for us.

Tropical beach

This is what it looks like in my head!

I prefer a slightly different method. When I look at the forecast, as I did today during a beautiful late afternoon break in the clouds, and am confronted by not two, or three, but ten—that’s right ten days of rain and clouds I turn to two things. Barbecues and tropical fruit.

Put on some shorts, crank up the heat and throw on a little Israel “IZ” Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole. Then fire up the grill, get some steaks, or some portobello mushrooms, zucchini, peppers, chips, guacamole, anything that reminds you of islands, beaches, summer, sun and have at it. Throw a Hawaiian themed party, have everyone show up in lei and flower print shirts. Put on sunscreen just for the scent, wear your sunglasses indoors, put on your thongs (I don’t care which kind, we’re not judging here, this is a matter of survival), turn the lights up, drink canned beer and dance. Dancing is essential.

That’s why my box now looks like this:

Cucumbers
Fingerling Potatoes
Radishes
Yellow Onions
Zucchini
Cremini Mushrooms
Tomatoes
Braising Mix (Cut Greens)
Minneola Tangelos
Ataulfo Mangoes x 2
Limes

I’ve also added some ground beef, sirloin steaks, halibut, pork chops and two whole organic chicken legs. This will ensure a ready supply of barbecue materials. I know it’s a little meat-centric, but I’m a heartless carnivore—okay, semi-heartless as I believe responsible animal husbandry leads to tenderness and besides, we’re really loading up for some rainy days here.

The cucumbers, radish and tomatoes will be awesome in a light Greek style salad.

Zukes, mushrooms and onions will be taking their rightful place next to some kebabs.

The limes, mangoes and halibut will make a delicious ceviche dish, and since mangoes are at their peak right now (and part of my mirror-island life-SADs detox) I doubled up. I’m hoping to try making some mango margaritas, mango lassis or maybe just grilled mangoes as an appetizer for the pork chops.

Of course, I couldn’t have a box without my favorite greens and since I could sub out kale for the more colorful braising mix—why not?! SO, for those of you suffering silently, or even those hurling verbal assaults at every slow motorist out there, let’s get in this together. If you have a good remedy for SAD, let me know.

Until next week then, chin up. I hear it’s still snowing in the mountains.

No, seriously I am ready. Bring it. None of this ‘Oh, here’s a little break in the clouds for you’ or ‘How about a couple hours of sunshine?’ I want spring, now. I’m dieing here and even though I’ll be escaping to California for the weekend – cousin’s wedding – I may return excited yet even more disappointed than ever.

Because more rain at this point is not what we need. We need barbecue weather. We need picnic weather. We need sun. And our crops do to. Although spring has finally sprung in California, bringing with it a true spring like bloom of new veggies, our wet soil has hindered spring planting.

Take solace though – even if it’s not spring outside, thanks to our southern partner farms who are enjoying just a bit more sunshine than us, it is beginning to look like spring in the box. I’m not even changing anything this week, no substitutions and just taking what I get.

Here’s what my box is looking like –

Tomatoes
Klamath Pearl Potatoes
Snow Peas
Red Onions
Baby Spinach
Arugula (Greens)
Romaine Lettuce
Green Kale
Cara Cara Oranges
Kiwi
Mangos
Braeburn Apples

I’m willing to give tomatoes a try, the one I got in my last box is still sitting on my south-facing windowsill, and the Klamath Pearls I can’t wait for. This particular potato is only grown in the rich loamy soil of the Oregon-California border. Soil filled with the minerals from the eruption of Mt. Mazama and the prehistoric Lake Modoc.

These little pots are not to be missed. They are especially good roasted, just boil them first for about 12-13 minutes, toss roughly in coarse sea salt and roast on high, about 450 degrees. It’ll be the best roaster you’ve had, guaranteed.

The snow peas are wonderful just steamed and tossed with a little honey and mint. Or mixed, Sechuan-style, with sesame oil, sesame seeds and some ginger-chili paste. Yum.

Arugula is my favorite spring topping for pizza, or pizza bread, or just made into a salad with shallots, balsamic vinegar, pears and goat cheese. The Fromage Blanc from Mt. Townsend Creamery is awesome in this dish.

The romaine is an excuse to try out the original Caesar recipe in the member recipes section. Drizzled over a quarter of broiled or grilled romaine is a delicacy.

Leche de Mango for dessert, or maybe kiwi sorbet, I’ll let you decide. I’m going to do some research this weekend and explore the depths of my Grandmother’s culinary legacy while I’m down south. Hopefully I’ll come back with a jewel for us all. Until then, have a great weekend. Eat healthy and be well.

Unfortunately we weren’t one of the few that managed to order Full Circle’s Good Food Combination this week. Luckily, our local butcher in Columbia City makes a wonderful Corned beef and we did manage to add some cabbage to our box. Corned beef and cabbage is an annual favorite around here. An easy meal that makes wonderful leftovers, especially for breakfast.

I also added some Italian sausages to our order to taste my new batch of sauerkraut on. I added some fennel and mustard seed to this one and though the mustard seed didn’t come through as strong as I’d hoped the fennel seed did, giving it a slightly anise flavor mixed with the slight acidic and tart flavor of the fermented cabbage.

Homemade Sauerkraut

It was way easier than I thought it would be and can’t wait to try it with different varieties of cabbage, since my last batches were all made with green cabbage.

If you want to try making your own kraut their are many recipes on-line, but basically you just shred a head of cabbage and toss in two heaping tablespoons of salt. Place the cabbage in a large bowl and put a plate on top. Cover that with a clean dish towel and then put something heavy on top of that. The plate should be smaller than the bowl so it can press on the cabbage and help the salt extract liquid from the cabbage. This will allow the cabbage to create its own juices to ferment in. Leave it some place warm for a day or two. After that place into clean jars with loose lids and put them into a cupboard for about two weeks.

You are seriously well on your way. Just taste it every few days and when it gets to how you like it, as far as acidity and tenderness, put it in the fridge. It will last this way for a couple months at least due to the cabbages natural production of lactic acid which acts both as a preservative and a digestive aid. You can also mix in shredded carrots or various spices or other vegetables – beets, radishes, turnips, all make good additions.

Next week’s box has a few things in it I might use for the next batch. It also has a few things we have already, as we haven’t been as diligent with our salad eating these days as usual and the lettuce is building up. Also I’m just not ready to eat tomatoes, at least not until I have some sun on my windowsill to set them in. Mangos often are not as appreciated as the tangelos, especially since tangelos are delicious right now.

So that makes next week’s box look like this –

Roma Tomatoes – Purple Top Turnips
Bunched Orange Carrots
Broccolette
Shallots
Baby Spinach
Cremini Mushrooms
Green Leaf Lettuce – Austrian Crescent Fingerling Potatoes
Green Kale
Navel Oranges
Mangos – Minneola Tangelos
D’anjou Pears
Braeburn Apples

It’s been awhile since homemade pizza graced our table, and the mushrooms, spinach and shallots seem perfect toppings for this meal. The potatoes are going to be roasted along with some spare ribs, which if you haven’t order any yet, you have to. I’ll take some pictures of them after they’ve been dry-rubbed, oven-roasted and grilled – you won’t be able to resist.

The fruit these days, I admit are going straight into the juicer for morning drinks, or eaten with lunch. I haven’t been baking for some time and need to as I made someone a promise to make a French apple tart I found in the 100 Best issue of Saveur. I’ll wait till Granny Smith’s are in season, that will give me some time to prepare <wink>.

I’m going to use the turnips either for roasting, my personal favorite, or sliced thin, raw on toasted bread with a bit of aioli, pureed avocado and watercress. A transition snack from winter to spring. In the meantime, I’m going to start looking up some pesto recipes, ones that use things other than basil to create a tasty pesto for my pizza – like chimichurri – and some dough recipes, both healthy and delicious to create my fresh veggie pizzas.

Talk to you next week then. Eat well, be happy.

I’ve been sort of slacking on the whole turkey thing. We are going out of town this weekend so I’m postponing until next. Which means I’ll need a good three day thaw time and a good 24 hr brine before the big day next Saturday. In the meantime I’ve created the meat monstrosity above. Blue cheese and bacon meatloaf thanks to our partners at Heritage Meats and Fine Cooking and their handy meatloaf machine, which they also have online and is less useful than the magazine directions, but cool nonetheless. The little brown piles on top are melted blue cheese. I realized post broil that I should have put them on afterward, but alas, live and learn. Though they tasted great, it sort of ruined the aesthetic of the bacon slices. At least this will hold off the turkey cravings for a day or so – and make some awesome sandwiches!

By the way – for any of you readers in Thurston County, as well as anyone in Spokane, I just found out that Full Circle is now ready to take members for their community pick-up sites in both areas. No home delivery yet, but once the members come rolling in – it won’t be far behind. So let any friends and family living in those areas know that they now have access to the good food life!

As for next week’s box –

Cucumbers                Green Leaf Lettuce
Purple Top Turnips      Lacinato Kale
Broccoli                      Navel Oranges
Yellow Onions             Mangos
Spinach                      D’anjou Pears
Cremini Mushrooms    Gala Apples

I’m pretty happy with everything as it is, though I might lose the mangos for something else. Not that I have anything against them, they just don’t seem to fit into my meal plan until it warms up a bit more. True barbecue times. There’s nothing like grilled mangos. I think what I’m most excited about in this box is the turnips. With a culinary heritage both lengthy and diverse there are plenty of recipes out there, but I’d like to find something different than my usual roasted turnips, turnip au gratin or turnip potato mashers.

I’ve seen a few crunchy style turnip and apple, as well as turnip and radish salads. I’m interested to try a citrus based turnip dish, but we’ll see how that goes. The broccoli is going into the Cheesy Broccoli and Rice dish, and the Lacinato will make some wild rice salad or braised kale and apple dish. I’ve been really enjoying my pan roasted mushroom lately, especially as an appetizer. With the spinach in the box I might add them to a spinach and mushroom quiche, which is quick, easy and can be breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Also, remember that Full Circle’s Farm-to-Table Box Challenge begins Monday, February 7th at 9am. Check out the events tab on our Facebook page for details. Have a great weekend. Eat well, feel good.

I first got a juicer years ago in college. I grew wheat grass on my windowsill and juiced everything in sight. The juicer was of centrifugal design and involved intense cleanup, especially if allowed to sit. But I loved it anyway, it was fun and fresh and made me feel as if I were drinking liquid energy. Then I moved, and moved again. I put my stuff into storage to travel, cook and write and when I returned I no longer had a juicer. I think I loaned it to a friend and just never remembered to get it back.

Recently, I was gifted another one. This one of auger design, fit for making not only juice, but pasta (and sausage?!). And here I am, juicing again. Liquid sunshine in a glass, and the cleanup isn’t as hard as I remembered, or maybe I’m just a bit more responsible. I need to stop putting it into the cupboard after use. When I first received it the poor juicer languished in a cardboard box, waiting patiently for its day. Once on the counter exposed, part kitchen appliance, part workshop drill, it reigned.

In celebration of my lovely juicer and its healthy addition to my life in these dark, overcast winter times, I’ve come up with the following recipe – well, maybe not exactly a recipe, so much as a guideline:

Full Circle Vegetable Juice

3 carrots
2 stalks of celery
a small piece of ginger
a handful of spinach or chard
1 pear
1 apple

Cut into chunks, don’t peel. Juice it!

Seriously. That’s all I have. I mean, you can go crazy if you want. You can add potatoes, turnips, minneolas. You can make straight spinach juice or even the best, freshest Bloody Mary mix ever (but wait till summer when the heirloom tomatoes are fit for bursting), or you can just grab a few things, juice it up and drink it. It is awesome.

If you don’t have a juicer, I suppose you could use your food processor and then put it through a sieve or squeeze it through cheese clothe  – now that’s hard core. The only thing to remember is, there are no rules. Juice, juice, juice away. And don’t forget the ginger, aids in digestion, gives it extra kick and spice and makes the blood vessels tingle. Better than coffee, swear it. And if you happen to be watching Q13FOX Tuesday morning, February 1st, for 6am to 9am, you may just catch a glimpse of Full Circle’s founder and owner Andrew Stout sharing a glass of juice with FOX’s Kaci Aitchison!

As for next week’s box:

Celery                     Red Leaf Lettuce
Rainbow Carrots       Red Chard
Broccolette               Navel Oranges (sub minneolas)
Shallots                    Mangos (sub grapefruit)
Green Beans            Red D’Anjou Pears
Cremini boomers      Gala Apples

It sounds like stuffing is in order. I’ve got my hands on a nice free-range, organic fed turkey and since I wasn’t home for Thanksgiving, and it feels like enough time has passed that turkey sounds good again, it’s time for Thanksgiving in January! Not like you can ever give enough thanks. So if I’m making a turkey, I’m definitely making stuffing, and all the necessary starters are right here – celery, carrots, shallots and mushrooms. From there its just a little step to the oyster and hazelnut stuffing I wanted to make (but my sister vetoed). Plus green beans for casserole and some chard for a side dish, and all the fruit for fruit salad. Are you kidding? I better invite some friends over.

Maybe next month we’ll have another Christmas. I doubt you want to hear about stuffing recipes in January really, but I’ll come up with something exciting and give you a review of my try at grill smoking a turkey, which I’ve never done but always wanted to do. Until then, eat well and be well.

I was thumbing through one of the many cooking magazines I have recently and I came across an article in Fine Cooking on meatloaf. As we’d been trying to come up with a simple, basic, yet delicious meatloaf recipe for our Good Food Combination for this week, I couldn’t help but to get excited when I saw it. They had basically broken up meatloaf preparation into a few steps with seemingly endless choices.

You soaked your bread in milk, you picked your aromatics, what I have always termed my mirepoix – a mixture of base vegetables, usually celery, carrots and onion, though it could consist of anything from shallots and leeks, to ginger and garlic – and then you chose your meats, your accents, your spices, your glazes and sauces and that’s it, your done.

And it really is that easy. Where cooks get lost, where I tend to get lost anyhow, is starting without a plan. Not even a plan so much as a path, a flavor profile for lack of a better term. I tend to think of it as regional – though even this mindset can be limiting. Do I want a Mediterranean flavor, an island flavor, Asian influence, Latin, French or just hints of one or the other. It doesn’t get me all the way, but it tells me which direction to go at least.

A really good chef sees all this and can grasp those minute, simple flavors that bind those variant paths together, the Malaysian influence that brings the Thai and Chinese cooking together. Or the Moroccan flavor that can blend the West African spices with the Spanish flavors. But for us, the daily home chefs, the family cooks, the foodie turned kitchen scientist, it’s hard to know where to start.

Like the meatloaf, there are a few dishes that combine the best of what nature has to offer in one hardy dish. Meals that follow what the season brings, but have basic flavors that can be gently molded to fit any world flavor you care to test. Lately for me, this dish has been a mixture of grains, squash and greens.

Winter squashes are easily interchangeable, and even though they have their various subtleties they all have one thing in common – they all taste great roasted. So that’s where I start, roast squash. Last time I tossed them in a variety of fresh herbs, savory, thyme, and tarragon, dusted them with smoked paprika and honey, a little olive oil and that was it, roast to a nice soft brown.

The second step is the grain. I’ve used farro, barley, quinoa, short grain brown rice, wild rice,  and even millet. A pilaf of different kinds of grains is also a great way to go. These too can be flavored using spices or sauteed briefly with a mirepoix. The last step, the greens, is the easiest. Just a large skillet, some butter or oil and a brief saute of onion, shallots, leeks or other alliums along with ginger or garlic and then a quick toss of the greens and finish with vinegar, stock or citrus juice. Between the wide variety of different ingredients and the choice of spices and herbs, there are countless preparations. All easy, quick and amazingly different. I haven’t found one I didn’t like yet.

Here’s what my box looks like this week:

Cucumbers
Parsnips
Spinach
Red Onions
Eggplant
Bunched Carrots
Green Leaf Lettuce
Green Kale
Fairchild Tangerines
White turnips
D’anjou Pears
Cameo Apples

I think you know where the greens are going. And I switched out the kiwis for more white turnips. I plan to make a salad out of them with the tangerines. I can’t wait. I think it’s almost time to get the grill going again. I made some burgers last weekend and they were so good i might just have to grill up some eggplant this week. Although, i found a great recipe for an eggplant curry I’d like to try. The rest really says salads to me, I’ve been craving some different styles. And I might try my hand at creamed spinach come next week too.

I’m excited to try out some new recipes, and look for some new ways to bring old favorites back to life. Have a great weekend and I’ll talk to you next week.

I recently read this article in the New York Times by Mark Bittman about three simple recipes that can get people to begin eating at home again. He recommends a stir fry of fresh vegetables, a salad, and a bean or lentil and rice dish. With these three, Bittman suggests, a home cook can open the door onto a loaded pantry of styles and tastes. As I was reading Bittman’s article I began thinking about some of my favorite dishes, my go to meals when I’m hungry, but in a hurry.

My most often cooked meals are usually the easiest to prepare, but for their simplicity they are not lacking in flavor. They are also my favorite dishes because they highlight the ingredients, the freshness of the vegetables, the sharp bite of vinegar. Nothing hid, nothing unidentifiable. But full of the raw flavor of earth and rain. It happens that my favorite and often most cooked of all of these simple go-to recipes is sauteed kale.

When I first discovered sauteed kale I was astounded by the flavor, the sweetness of the green even when lightly wilted or brightly crisped in the oven. I began preparing it in a number of different ways, southern style braised, lightly wilted and tossed in a salad with rice and radishes, and just slightly sauteed with garlic, onions and finished with lemon juice.

Good food, doesn’t have to be complex. And all though I love my eggplant parmesan, I realize that a dish that takes a good hour and three pans might be too much for some people. In fact, it is often too much for me. Unlike some food bloggers that I admire and read religiously, I don’t spend my days skipping through the kitchen, my afternoons perched on the sofa reading old recipes, or prepare mid-week five course meals for my friends over a hardwood fire. I work like many of you do, eight hours a day and then come home hungry.

It is to this hunger that I offer up this recipe. A simple, quick and easy sauteed kale recipe that works in infinite variation. In fact, the last time I made this I used collard greens and frisee with country ham we brought back from Kentucky. I think the reason I like this recipe more than others is that it’s the best of both worlds. The sweet, silky texture of braised southern greens, with the crisp and crunchy texture of lightly sauteed greens. All tied together with your choice of cured meat, or none at all. Finished with lemon juice, or any vinegar and you have a great dish. Add on top of wild rice and you have a meal.

All in less then about 15 minutes. Enjoy.

1 bunch green kale, cleaned, de-stemmed and thinly sliced
1 bunch green chard, cleaned, de-stemmed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound sliced pancetta, bacon or ham, chopped
1/2 cup stock
2 T olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper

Start by heating the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or saute pan. Add pancetta, bacon or ham and saute until lightly browned, remove most of grease when browned if using bacon, leaving 2 tablespoons. Add garlic to meat and saute lightly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Do not let garlic brown. Add the softer of the two greens, in this case the chard, and saute until fully wilted, about 5-8 minutes. Add stock and cover until chard is fully wilted, about two-3 minutes. Add kale and mix in until just tender and bright green, about 2-3 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and finish with lemon juice. Serve as a side, over rice or with eggs for a healthy breakfast.

Christmas tenderloin anyone?

As excited as I am about every box, we won’t be around for this one. Not that it will go to waste, my parents are coming over to stay at our house while we’re gone, so hopefully they’ll be making use of all the great produce. In the meantime, we’ll be back east in Kentucky visiting my fiance’s family. And although organic farm fresh vegetables and fruit are a little harder to come by, they have quite the feast with what they can get.

It’ll take me some time to clean my body of the overload of sugar that invariably accompanies the holiday, but coming home and getting back into our routine of the box will be a good start. My Dad is a pretty good cook himself, and my Step mom usually makes this stuffed cabbage dish for Christmas. So, I’m going to leave them with my stuffed chard version of  her dish as well as a couple of my quick and easy sides to help them make good use of our box.

The box for next week looks great and we are nearing the empty mark in preparation for our departure. I don’t think I’ll change much out and just see what my Dad can do with the various veggies and fruits.

Avocados                      Green Leaf Lettuce
Yukon Gold Potatoes      Red Chard
White Turnips                Mandarins
Cremini Mushrooms       Pomegranates
Butternut Squash           D’anjou Pears
Baby Bok Choy             Pink Lady Apples

The butternut squash is perfect for roasting and soup, the Yukons for mashers with the turnips. The mushrooms are excellent roasted in the style of escargot, a recipe of which is coming in the box and the fruit can be sliced into salads or made into crisp or pies. I think I will change out the avocados for endive, it makes a great bed for seared tuna or sliced roast pork and goes well chopped into soups.

While I’m on the road I’ll try and keep my eye out for a Kentucky favorite recipe to share and get some picture to go with (maybe Derby Pie!?). People’s Christmas dinners are so varied and the Christmas goose is far less the staple celebration stand-by than the Thanksgiving Turkey. From stuffed cabbage to rib roast, each family’s tradition is as varied as the people involved. What is you family’s traditional Christmas dinner or if you don’t have a tradition, what are you making this year?