Thursday, April 16, 2009

An amazing week in produce

Last week my mom and her husband were visiting from New Mexico, and I took this opportunity to drag my mom around the house and pepper her with questions about my garden, what curtains to put in the breakfast nook, how to arrange the baby's room. While we were outside deciding where to plant my tomatoes, I pointed out some green stuff that, for the second year in a row, had come sprouting out of some ground cover that runs along the side fence. "Do you know what that stuff is?" I asked her. "I keep thinking I should get rid of it. It doesn't seem to be anything." She reached down and plucked one of the long green stems out of the ground and found A BABY BULB OF GARLIC. I have garlic! In my back yard! There are at least six or seven bulbs brewing back there, and I have no idea how or why. This house is so terribly exciting to me sometimes. Remember when I discovered a secret tiny rosebush? That thing is a good 18 inches tall now that I cleared out some space for it to breathe!

Last week I also picked up my first box of produce from the Community Supported Agriculture program I signed up for with Blue Moon Organics. I am bonkers for this idea: Every week, a box of fresh organic fruits and veggies will be delivered to me at school. What will be inside the box? That's the best part - WHO KNOWS?! It could be anything!

Here's what the first crop contained: a bunch of purple kale; three beets; seven giant carrots; three artichokes; three heads of red cabbage; four - waddayacallem, stalks? bunches? - of baby bok choy; and four cartons of strawberries that were so sweet, you'd swear they had been swirled in sugar. My goal with these boxes is to never let anything to go waste, which is going to be a real challenge. Especially since I'm not sure what to do with half of this stuff.

I already made a pretty good stir-fry with the bok choy and carrots, plus some shitake mushrooms, black bean garlic sauce and udon noodles. Last night I made a braised cabbage recipe that came with the box: cabbage, beer, mustard, bacon, carrots, and bunch of other stuff. I haven't tried it yet because it looks scary. I bet it wouldn't if it weren't so dang purple. But I will give it a go tonight for dinner, spooning it over some polenta or quinoa. The chard is also gone: In less than 20 minutes, my magnificent mother whipped that into the most amazing baked-potato topping using a bit of bacon, the garlic from my back yard, some flour, water and our favorite family seasoning, Maggi.

So all I have left is are the beets and the artichokes (the strawberries took care of themselves.) I found a recipe for beet risotto, but as for the pretty artichokes, I'm not really a steam-and-dip-in-butter kind of person, so I don't know what the heck to do there.

Finally, last week I planted a garden in a patch of the back yard that was previously just more of that viney ground cover. Even though I have no idea what I'm doing and the whole thing could be dead in a week, I feel very proud of this little garden as it took a ton of work, including a battle with a 3-foot tree root that cost me one hour, one screwdriver and a painful knock on my shin. Pictures soon!

1 comment:

Robyn said...

I was just looking at a similar program here just a few weeks ago, but I decided I am way too picky to risk what I might get in that box. Beets!? Yikes.