Saturday, July 12, 2008

Updates: My box is better than your box! and more books

I have now been a CSA member for an entire month and I am still really enjoying it. Since we were out of town for two weeks a friend of mine (Hi Danica!) picked up the box for me. She said we got a lot of lettuce and spinach and some herbs. The garlic scapes pretty much stumped her. When I picked up what was left of the second box there was a lot of lettuce (honestly, five heads a week! Not even rabbits eat that much!), spinach, mint, dill, and grilling onions. And the garlic scapes. I spent that entire night freezing the spinach and the mint (it's a waxy herb so it should be frozen. Read more about storing herbs here.) and hanging the dill to dry.

I had to pick up my next CSA box just a couple days later. Again, five(!) heads of lettuce, a bunch of spinach, mint, dill, and onions. As I was loading the stuff into my own bags and taking them to my car a couple other CSA members took a peek in my box. "Oh! Look at that! She got broccoli in hers," one said. "What? I didn't get broccoli in mine? Am I missing something?" replied the other. "Oooh and she got two kinds of peas and more grilling onions! It must be because she got the family share." I felt my face flush and I stood up a little taller. It sure felt good to be the envy of all the other girls. I never thought I'd feel so cool carrying produce.

Anyway, I spent that night (again) freezing spinach and preparing herbs (more cilantro!) for freezing and drying. I was little burned out on all the food preserving until my husband pointed out that we now have a good supply of spinach for the winter and at least our year's supply of dill (more like two or three years--I don't know what to do with it besides put in on fish). That made me feel pretty good about the whole thing. Besides my kitchen smelled like a pack of gum(thanks to the giant pile of mint). How can one not feel good about that?

For the mint I tried making mint syrup. I boiled a couple cups of leaves in about three cups of water with 3/4 cup of sugar and a little lemon juice for a long time--about as long as it takes to get a five year old, a two year old, and an 11 month old to bed. I pulled out the leaves and squeezed out all the liquid when I remembered that they were on the stove. If you add pectin you can turn it into mint jelly, but I'm trying to figure out a way to make my own mint extract for use in ice cream, brownies, or frosting. I'll let you know how my "mint syrup" works. I'm going to attempt ice cream on Monday.

Oh, I also got turnips in my box. Any good ideas for those? Let me know in the comments!

And a book update: I've been struggling this week to get through Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court". I'm enjoying it but I'm not enjoying reading it. I'm not sure what to make of that. I think it's because I'm burned out on reading. Horror of horrors! I haven't had that problem since college. (I took three survey courses in one semester. I had to read two or three books a week and write papers on them. I shudder just remembering it.) I also wonder if it's because my reading time and my writing time are competing against each other. I'm starting to get anxious about my book that is begging for revision. . . anyway, I think I'm taking a break from the reading. I'm not sure if I'll be able to make up the books later in the year. . . maybe that makes me a quitter. Or maybe it makes me good at prioritizing. (After all, the publishers said if I could get the book rewritten they'd read it again and be interested in publishing it. Vague and encouraging--in other words, par for the course in the publishing world.

Oh and keep your eyes on Segullah. Their summer issue is coming out soon and I've got an essay in it. It isn't out yet, but I thought you all might like to peruse their spring issue. It's free online and some of the poems are downright beautiful.


Anonymous said...

Hi Laura - just skimming through the web blogs. I'm at work, and I keep getting interrupted by guests, so I don't get much time to read. I did notice something about turnips, however, and I thought I'd post an idea.

There's a really nifty machine called a spiralizer. You can make long thin strands out of carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips.. anything you like. When I was eating raw food, that was my "spaghetti", and I'd have it with "marinara" or "alfredo" sauce.

If you don't happen to have a sprializer, just shredding the turnip and mixing it in with some carrots and beets over leafy greens would be delicious.

And this dressing is great: Annie's Papaya and Poppy Seed Dressing

Misty Lynne said...

Here's an idea for your dill: add it to cooked baby carrots with a little butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper. My whole family loves them (see recipe on Everyday Recipes).

It also goes really well in your dipping sauce for artichokes (dill, lemon juice, and butter).

Charlotte said...

Love your CSA box! We only get 1 head of lettuce, which is not nearly enough. But I tell you - garlic scapes are my new love! They're like garlic green beans but without all the work! As for turnips? I've boiled them and mashed them like potatoes and tried baking them but generally i just end up eating them raw.

Nurse Heidi said...

Turnips...hmmm. I think I'd cut them into wedges, drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle kosher salt, pepper and rosemary and roast them at 400 for 45 minutes or so. I love caramelized roasted root veggies! Add some carrots and sweet potatoes to the mix for more color.