Michelle's Front Page

Resolution(ish)

February 9th, 2012

I don’t really do new years resolutions. Neither does Steve. But we did make a goal for the year – we want to do what we can to eat more local food. We’ve been visiting the Nashville Farmers Market in the summers but we’ve been kicking around the idea of joining a CSA (community support agriculture) for a number of years. I’ve been a little nervous about doing it because there are A LOT of vegetables I don’t like. Seriously, a lot. Let’s just start with the basics: tomatoes – hate, peppers – hate. See? Those aren’t even weird items. BUT. Over the past 5 years of being a stay at home momma, I’ve been cooking a lot more. I make a mean salsa and guacamole with tomatoes in them.  And peppers? Green peppers are foul. But recently, I’ve learned that I don’t mind a red pepper (diced small) in some dishes. I always liked cooking but I really enjoy it now. While I’m never going to cook like a pro, I’m pretty good at it. I’ve been learning to like other things that I never thought I would like. Onions? I now buy them by the bag. I’ve always hated onions but not as much now. Zucchini…I’m still luke warm on but I don’t hate it. That is huge progress for me. I’ve discovered that a lot of things I thought I hated were just cooked badly in my childhood years when I was forced to choke them down try them. Have you seen what passes for a pea in the school cafeterias? *Shudder*

That brings me back to the CSA. We had been picking up pamphlets about various CSAs for a couple of years. But we couldn’t commit. Now that Steve is home, we decided to make it a priority this year. We are committed to finding local sources for proteins and produce as often as we can. It can be more expensive – especially the meat. But we feel (for a variety of reasons that I won’t bore you with) it is important. We aren’t being militant in our efforts. Whatever we can do this year is better than what we did last year. And there are still cans and boxes of things packaged who knows where in my pantry. A friend of mine joined a local CSA last year and had good things to say about it. We decided to go with that farm since we knew someone personally who had done it.

I know the local food movement is growing in popularity. And I know a lot of people have the same fears about CSAs and not using all of the food that I had. So I thought I would use my space here to document what we receive and how we use it. Our farm largely raises animals and eggs. They work with over 40 Amish families which provide produce, baked and preserved goods. This allows our CSA to offer a large variety of items to its customers.

Our winter portion is a 1/2 bushel of winter vegetables and preserved items – delivered every 2 weeks. Our summer portion will be 1/4 bushel of produce, 1/2 dozen eggs, and 2 shares of meat (at least 2 meals worth) delivered every week. This week was our first box. Unfortunately, there was a mix up and our box wasn’t on the truck…but the guys threw together some extra stuff for us so that we weren’t completely left out.

Week 1: 2 bags of swiss chard, 1 bag of lettuce, 2 bunches of carrots, 1 loaf whole wheat bread

Pretty non-scary/weird. Neither Steve nor I had ever tried swiss chard before but were willing. I went to twitter to ask what I should do with it. Red Pen Mama said pair it with cannelini beans. Vanderbilt Wife shared a recipe using the stems and bacon. I thought the 2 needed to come together into 1. It was quite yummy – both Steve and I had seconds. The girls were less impressed but did eat the beans.  Here is what I did:

Swiss Chard with white beans and bacon

1 bag swiss chard

2 -3 slices of bacon

2 cloves of garlic

1/3 cup chicken broth

1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed

1 T peach basalmic vinegar (or other vinegar on hand)

Salt & Pepper to taste

I decided I didn’t want to use the stems. Mostly because I tend not to like them in lettuce or spinach so it seemed like a good bet I might not like them here. So I cut off the stems and washed the chard. It looks like a lot but it cooks down like spinach.

Chop the bacon into small pieces. Cook it in a large skillet.  Once done, remove the bacon to drain on a paper towel but leave whatever fat is in the pan. Add the minced garlic cloves, allow to saute for a minute and then add the chicken broth. Once the broth is hot, add the chard.

It will cook down in 1 or 2 minutes. Then add the beans. Stir often – allow to cook for approx 7 minutes (this apparently helps the chard not be bitter). Just before time is up, add vinegar and salt & pepper.

The peach vinegar is nice but I think red wine vinegar or whatever else you have would work.

So our first foray into the world of CSAs and new veggies was a success. Steve was a huge fan and I thought it was very good too.

As for the rest of our box, we’ve been using the bread for toast. The carrots will be part of dinner tonight (raw with dip because I dislike cooked carrots) and another night (cooked for Steve and the girls…I’ll try them but not promising anything). And we’ll do a salad with the lettuce and either this side dish again or something else new with the other bag of swiss chard.

 

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 9th, 2012 at 5:03 pm and is filed under csa, food. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “Resolution(ish)”

  1. Meredith Says:

    I love that your CSA includes meat and eggs. Ours is just vegetables from the Amish, but since it delivers to our neighborhood, there’s the convenience factor for me.

    I’m not sure I could handle the CSA concept without the internet and all its advice and recipes!

  2. Shannon Says:

    We have bought locally grown grass fed beef and pork and eggs before and will do it again this year. We go big and get an 1/8 of a cow at a time, but we also have a big deep freezer so it’s not a problem for us, storage wise. It tastes MUCH better than what you can get at the grocery store.

    I’ve never tried swiss chard, but this looks like something i would actually like, so maybe I’ll get brave one day and try! :-)

  3. Mari Says:

    I like to use chard in a frittata – great if your family likes eggs

    http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/09/swiss-chard-frittata-recipe.html

    The stems are good – you just have to cut them up small and cook them a little longer than the leaves.

    How can you hate tomatoes? There is seriously nothing better than a ripe heirloom tomato with fresh basil and fresh mozzarella cheese…

  4. Lisa Says:

    We are going into our 3rd year with a share at our local CSA. I was initially reluctant also because I am not always excited to try new and unusual (well, unusual to me) veggies and then figure out tasty ways to prepare them. Three years in, I am a complete convert. I even have a turnip casserole recipe that my 6 yr old likes. I look forward to reading about your experience and seeing what you are cooking.

  5. Heather Says:

    Sounds fabulous!!! I do love swiss chard! Yum!


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