Thank you to everyone who took the time to fill out our surveys from last week. If you didn’t yet share your thoughts, find the links to our two quizzes here. We appreciate your feedback!
Like anything you do repeatedly, I was beginning to tire of writing these bi-weekly recipe roundups, mostly wondering if 1) Anyone was even reading them, and 2) If the content was at all a useful tool to help you eat your way through a CSA share. Well, turns out both are true. Again, thanks for your responses and also for the little ego boost they provided :). Sometimes a bit of external validation is all you need to feel freshly motivated, and so here we are! Another bi-weekly installment of Recipe Roundups!
Aside from warm fuzzies, a few more things I’ve gleaned from your feedback:
There were so many good ideas about the types of recipes you want to see. More specifically, I realized that it might be nice to sometimes structure these roundups based on recipe categories. Some of the categories you mentioned: recipes that work well for 1 person, recipes that make great leftovers, cheap recipes, recipes good for kids, vegetarian recipes, and recipes that lend themselves to batch cooking… the latter is a category particularly near and dear to my heart, which you might know if you’ve been following along since the Club Home Made days. Future Roundups will definitely be structured with these buckets in mind.
On a personal level, knowing that you guys are actually using these recipes has inspired me to keep looking for unique recipes, and new-to-me (free) recipe sources. The internet is large, and I usually stick to my tried and true sources for well-tested and quality recipes. But! Why stop there? A quick google for “best recipe blogs” led me to this list of “17 Best Food Blogs to Sate your Hunger in 2022.” It seems like an okay start as it includes some of my favorites like Love and Lemons and 101 Cookbooks.
Last, many of you mentioned creating a way for VRDNT customers to submit their own recipes/share links to recipes they’ve cooked with success. I created a new email address setup to collect these very recipes. Can I get a whoop whoop?
If you’ve cooked something awesome recently or discovered a new way to fry eggplant, we want to know! Email us a link to the recipe at our new Recipe Roundup address: email@example.com.
Did you take a picture or a quick video of the recipe? Send that, too. We’ll share any recipes you submit on our recipe roundups, and on social if we get around to it. (It’s hard to find time to Instagram when you’re a farmer!)
And now, this week’s Roundup:
You may get this melon and wonder what it even is. Speciality Porduce (dot com) describes them this way, “Lambkin melons are a hybrid Spanish variety, referred to as a Christmas melon, and are botanically classified as Cucumis melo. They are related to the canary melon and are known as a piel de sapo-type, or ‘toad skin’ for their mottled green rind. early maturing melons are popular with growers because they have a very long shelf-life, lasting well into the holidays, earning the seasonal moniker and nicknames like ‘Santa Claus melon’. Lambkin melons are a new variety, gaining in popularity among home growers, small farms and chefs.” Thanks, Becky, for expanding our melon library. I do not recommend waiting until Christmas to eat this one.
Piel de Sapo Melon Sorbet - Doubtful that you need inspiration on how to eat this melon, but in case you do, here’s a sorbet recipe.
Potatoes are a great anchor food adding body and heft to other dishes. Throw a potato in your celery and zucchini soup to thicken it up (recipe below), or mash them up to serve as a base for saucy things, like leftover ground meat or stewed okra.
Melting Potatoes - Julie8179 says, “These are amazing and were a HUGE hit with two casual dinner parties I had recently.”
Easy Shepard’s Pie - One of my favorite dishes to riff off and include whatever veggies I have that need using. The classic peas and corn that are mixed with the ground beef are great, but would be just as delicious with eggplant, zucchini, and carrots. Make a second, smaller serving in a small bread pan and freeze the whole thing before baking off for a quick and easy meal, later.
Potato Gnocchi with Cheese and Butter - Is this the year we all make homemade gnocchi? If so, I think this is the recipe.
Keep reading for instructions on how to make my stewed tomato and long bean pasta. If the long beans have you scratching your head - their tangling lengths can do that - just chop them into more manageable bits and think of them as regular ‘ole green baens, which you may be more familiar with.
Long Bean Stir Fry - This is a Thai recipe and includes a boiled egg.
Spicy Stir Fried Chinese Long Beans bacon, garlic, beans.
Green Bean Salad with Toasted Almonds and Feta In case you want to eat your long beans, blanched and cold.
Becky grows a few varoties of peppers at the farm that can be considered Italian Peppers, a distinction which basically means the peppers are mild (or even sweet), meaty, and thin-skinned.
Ramadan Recipes: Stuffed Peppers - Any stuffed-vegetable recipe is a labor of love. If you’ve got the time, this looks like a great version of a stuffed pepper. If I was making this recipe, I’d go ahead and double or triple the filling and stuff other things, too: zucchini, tomatoes, philo dough, my mouth.
I usually have trouble not eating the whole bag like popcorn, but if you manage to save some pea shoots, they’re great in a stir fry, or coarsely chopped for a salad.
Stir Fried Pea Shoots with Garlic - Sub the bulb garlic with your VRDNT garlic chives for a CSA-centric meal.
What I’m eating:
As some of you may know, VRDNT farm is located in Bastrop, and I - Ada - am writing from Doss…. About 3 hours west. On my way home from Galveston this past weekend, I swung by the farm to give Becky a hug, get a quick field update, and fill my cooler with veggies. You can see a video of the visit here. All this to say, this week I’m cooking VRDNT veg! I’m also cooking easy as I’m in a state of “I need a vacation from my vacation”. Watermelon for breakfast, and a quick pureed zucchini + celery soup for dinner the night of our return, making use of one out of the three large bunches of organic celery that someone just gave me.
Saute VRDNT onions, garlic, 1 VRDNT potato, and celery till soft. Add water, plus diced VRDNT zucchini. Simma. Season. Add herbs, like VRDNT garlic chives. Maybe some splashes of fish sauce. Blend. Add a can of coconut milk. Serve with emergency saltines. Call me crazy, but I love a hydrating soup like this in the heat of the summer, especially after a weekend of sun and sand. This soup would be delicious topped with poached shrimp, lump crab meat (who do I think I am?), fried tortillas strips, or fresh corn shaved from the kernel. Or with emergency-snack Saltine crackers that you try to keep ‘round for when your husband needs something, asap. It’s a truly empty pantry when I’m topping food with Saltines… they’re not my favorite but did the trick here.
Here is a recipe for a similar cream-of-celery and zucchini soup.
After coming home with VRDNT veg I was still without a grocery store trip, and so again turned to pantry staples to make something that was filling, comforting, healthy, and a big enough pot to stretch to lunches for 1-2 days. I had my eye on the long beans and planned for a stir fry served over white rice, but was out of rice. Darn, pantry. Pasta to the rescue. Pasta, after all, is the best catch-all dish for your CSA haul.
Is anyone else out there perplexed at the best way to wrangle the snakelike long bean cords on their cutting board? They’re so reasonable until you take off the rubber band that ties them together, and then it’s delightful chaos on your countertop.
The combo of these sweet green long beans, earthy green peppers, and canned tomatoes was filling and heartening, reminding me of a dish my granny might have cooked. Something about that green pepper + onion + garlic backdrop made the bowl feel like my Lousiana home. I topped the bowl with spears of fried eggplant, which is something my dad would regularly cook - a celebration of that summer's garden, so good it’s worth heating up the oil. As a kid, I’d dip eggplant spears in ketchup. As an adult, I dip them in mayo.
Saute VRDNT onions, lots of peppers (the ones I got were mild). Add garlic, and about 1-2 tablespoons of miso. Add cans of tomatoes. In addition to a large can of crushed tomatoes, I also added the small one you see in the picture; I’m a huge fan of this El Pato brand… mostly for the branding and vibrant mallard illustration, but also for the simple ingredients list and good flavor. For now, this sweet small can sits by my kitchen sink and holds my fingernail scrubber, but it may get moved to join my other duck cans which hold cacti. Back to the pasta. Simmer the tomato sauce for a while - longer if you feel like tidying your kitchen, shorter if you’re hungry, then add chopped beans and herbs. Somewhere in here, cook your pasta, stopping when there is about 2-3 minutes left on the pasta-clock. Transfer the pasta, plus a generous bit of pasta water, to the tomato pan, and simmer until the noodles are done, and the beans soft. Hopefully your timing is such that both the pasta and the beans retain a slight bite at the end.
My fried eggplant was simple… no peeling, no salting. Cut eggplant, dip in eggs seasoned with Tony’s, then firmly smoosh into a plate of seasoned (more Tony’s) panko crumbs. Fry in well-preheated, hot oil. Sprinkle it with salt, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
Fried egg just because. If you have backyard chickens like I do, you know the drill.
Related Recipe Links:
Eggplant Fries (I prefer to think of them as spears, but whaterver).
Baked Eggplant Sticks (Sticks works too. This recipe includes an air fryer version, also.)
Southern Style Spanish Tomato Sauce (includes green peppers)
Umami Tomato Sauce (including miso, like mine)
El Pato Products Admire, and order them here.
Thanks for reading! -Ada