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Thursday, July 29, 2010

CSA - Week Five

The gardens have exploded in the last week and we are reaping the bounty!


Top row: Chives, Parsley, Broccoli (some bags got cucumbers instead), Cabbage, Mixed Greens, Kohlrabi
Bottom row: Beets, Summer Squash, Zucchini, Onion, Potatoes

CSA - Week Four

Here's the box contents (a week late, but here nonetheless):


Top row: Turnips, Mixed Greens, Shell Peas, Onion
Bottom row: Snow Peas, Basil, Cilantro, Beets

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Oops! and You'll Never Guess Who!

There are a couple of blogs I read on a regular basis, a couple of them dailys and others weeklies. One of my favorites, "Ask Jackie" on Backwoods Home, hasn't posted yet this week and I was getting anxious. I said as much to John when he asked, "When's the last time you posted?" Ummm, let me check...

YIKES! I didn't even post last week's box photos!

Boy, am I sorry about that. They'll be coming up shortly...

But I really wanted to share a great little story with you. A story about how small our world really is.

Last week after CSA deliveries, John and I went on an excursion with our beloved small group Bible study people. We love these ladies and gents like a hippo loves pond scum! We used to meet weekly with them to study and share in the Word, but with two small children who have an early bedtime...well, it just wasn't working this year. Thankfully, they did not kick us out but rather just the opposite...They invite us to all the fun stuff!

This time it was a pontoon ride on a beautiful lake hosted by a couple from their church (the church we don't go to but wish we did, very long story and there is an entry limit on these things) that we had never met. The host couple introduced themselves with a handshake and "Hi, we're Chip and Sue!" "Nice to meet you, we're John and Annie."

The pontoon ride proceeded with much food and merriment, our small group is known for two things: copious amounts of food and loving to laugh. I'll just highlight the food because it's what I do:
Blackberry Bruschetta - oh...my...goodness!
Cheese & Crackers - I was sitting nearest the cheese and crackers and inhaled them...I blame the baby in my womb for this.
Shrimp Cocktail - we are a high class bunch, but then we came down to earth as we tossed the shells overboard
Deviled Eggs - scrumptious!
Chippers from Widman's Candy - a pregnant lady's dream come true, thankfully we had to pass the box around or I would have ate the whole thing. I had to substitute the cheese and crackers.
Grapes - a light palate cleanser that made us all feel like we were "healthy"

We heard all the stories of the lake, got the history of the cabins and campsites and thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful views and great water. Ahhhh, what a relaxing evening.

But wait! It got better!!

We didn't just end with food on the pontoon. Oh no! We came back to shore, waddled off the boat and proceeded to throw down a potluck around the campfire. Brats, baked potatoes, salads, salsa dip, a disappointing chicken dip made by yours truly (it overcooked in the crockpot) and a 50 year old brownie recipe!

As we were eating yet again, Sue says to me, "You look so familiar, did you grow up around here?" "Nope, tiny little town north of Bismarck called Mercer." And she says, "Oh my goodness, I used to show cattle with you at the McLean County Fair!"

OK, you've got to go way back at least 15 years to have that kind of information. Then I put it all together, Sue...hmmmm, Sue....Suzie?? and then it came to me! I knew exactly who she was and it was a blast from the past.

This gal was awesome, I mean AWESOME, in everything she did. She was a couple of years older than me, and boy did I look up to her. She had a passle of brothers and sisters, the majority of them younger, and she mothered them all. It was so great to connect with her and share memories of the "old" days. When I told my sister and brother about it, they both yelled, "NO WAY!!!"

So here's to Sue, a big part of my youth and hopefully (after exchanging email addresses) a part of the future as well!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

CSA - Week Three

Here's the contents of this week's box:

Onions, Mixed Greens (kale, swiss chard, beet greens), Basil, Parsley, Turnips with greens, Snow Peas, Beets


In case you need help identifying your herbs: Basil on the left and Flat Leaf Italian Parsley on the right

And then a fun picture of Kiddo1 wearing her dad's flannel shirt...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

OGT, Yeah you know me!

WARNING: This recipe is dangerous. Dangerous to your arteries, your tastebuds and your relationship. If you have never made a recipe of mine, you must make this one. That's not a threat, that's a fact.

The first time I made this dish, I delivered my husband's plate and then went back to retrieve his beverage. When I returned, he said, "We're going to call this OGT!"

"O--G--T???" I asked.

"Yup, Olive Garden Topper!" And then he ate his body weight in pasta.

Here's what we need for the plate of heaven:
Mushrooms, Milk/Cream/Half&Half, Bacon, tube shaped pasta, Butter, Parmesan Cheese and Hot Sauce...That's it!

Start your water boiling for the pasta.


Bacon, to dice or not to dice. As a rule, I'm not a before-cooking-bacon-dicer. I prefer to cook the strips whole and then chop them up. But in this case, I made an exception. First, because my sister might read this recipe and she HAS TO do it as the recipe says. Second, because this was thick-sliced bacon, it would stay together when I chopped it up.


Diced bacon in pan, cook over medium heat to crisp, but not burnt.


Remember to salt your water as it flavors the pasta. A couple of teaspoons or a tablespoon is fine.


You want to use a tube-shape pasta for this recipe as it allows the sauce to take refuge in the cavity. But, if in a pinch, any pasta will do.


Mushrooms!! Hello fungus, how I've missed you! I tend to go on fungus streaks, where I'll put mushrooms in everything. Then the hubby has to talk me down from the ledge and say "Really, I think we've had enough mushrooms for a while." I don't rinse these as the remaining water will spatter in the bacon grease. Just brush off any adhering dirt.


Give 'em a rough chop. I like to see my mushrooms in the pasta.


Scamper on out to your herb garden and grab some fresh parsley. What? You don't have fresh parsley? Well, I suppose dried will do. Barely, but it will do.


When the bacon is almost done, remove it with a slotted spoon to drain on some paper towels. The bacon will continue to cook even after you remove it from the pan, so err on the side of not-quite-done.


Carefully add the mushrooms to the bacon grease, we don't want any spatter burns.


Drain your pasta, give it a good toss or two to get out all the water hiding in the tubes.


Measure out your cream/half&half. Add it to the pasta pot.


The mushrooms continue to sizzle...don't they look wonderful!


Add the butter. If you use margarine, you'll regret it, I promise.


Add the garlic. I had fresh green garlic from the garden!


It hasn't formed full cloves yet so you can cut it like an onion! Plus, use the green part!


Here's my favorite kitchen gadget...the kitchen shears! I use it all the time in place of a chopping knife and cutting board.


Flat leaf Italian Parsley. I like it better than that pompous curly stuff.


Add the hotsauce. Now, with such a small amount, you may be tempted to forego the hotsauce. And that would be the "Fatal Mistake" (to quote an NDSU professor).


Add the noodles back in to the pot.


Retrieve your bacon from the hiding place. Hiding place? Yes, the hubby and Kiddo1 are bacon fiends. Kiddo1 calls it "Baca" and cries for it at night.


Ahhhh, Parm, I love you!


Add the mushrooms.


Then give the pasta a good toss, working that delicious sauce into noodles.

Grab your green onion and the kitchen shears and snip, snip, snip your way into pasta bliss. We add the green onion at the very end so that it doesn't cook, just adds the onion flavor.


Here's the steamy money shot...pun intended!


Now, if that doesn't just make your heart pound, your mouth water, and your knees weak, I don't know what will.

And as the nearest Olive Garden is 90 miles away...we'll be dining on this again.

Thank you Simple & Delicious for this recipe:
Ingredients
2-1/2 cups uncooked mostaccioli
8 bacon strips, diced
1 jar (4-1/2 ounces) whole mushrooms, drained
3/4 cup half-and-half cream
1/3 cup butter, cubed
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
6 to 8 drops hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sliced green onions
Directions
Cook mostaccioli according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels to drain. Brown mushrooms in drippings; remove to paper towels. Drain drippings from pan.
Add the cream, butter, parsley, garlic, pepper sauce and salt if desired to the skillet; cook and stir over medium heat until butter is melted. Drain mostaccioli; add to cream mixture. Stir in the bacon, mushrooms and cheese; heat through. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle with green onions. Yield: 4 servings.

CSA - Week Two

This week in your box:

Mixed Greens, Cilantro, Chives, Radishes, Lettuce, Bok Choy (in some boxes), Green Onion

The mixed greens are, from the left:

Beet Greens - tender tops of beets, they are all green with a red stem and red veining in the leaf
Kale - light green with a lavender stem and veining
Swiss Chard - medium green with a different colored stem, some are white (like above), others are red, yellow, orange, pink. Chard is one of my most favorite greens!

Just in case you need help identifying your herbs:

The chives are the long narrow ones and the cilantro is the leafy one!

Enjoy the season's bounty!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

"He Ain't Bright"

Normally, our dog, Duke, doesn't say much.



Really, he doesn't bark or howl or whine or anything really...except slobber and bring me countless items to throw for him. As a result, he isn't much of a guard dog. He'll just drool when someone comes to our yard (unless you're the rural water guy, that's the only person he's ever barked at).

The reason for describing in such detail Duke's vocal habits is that two nights this week he has started a furious barking session. This is a signal that something is definitely amiss and John should come running with the shotgun.


Which he does. They have a great "man and his trusty dog" vibe.

And two nights this week, our loyal canine companion has found skunks in our yard. Waaayyyyy too close for comfort.

John quickly disposes of them and Duke returns to his normally quiet state. His quiet, tiny tail wagging incessantly, happy just to be alive state.

We've always said, "He ain't bright, but he is loyal." Which, in the two plus years he's lived here, has been completely true.

However, in light of recent events, I'm starting to rethink the "bright" part.

Thanks, Duke, for keeping my gardens, my kids and my nostrils safe from skunks. And yes, I'll throw your shingle another 5000 times because I know that's the only thing you really want out of life.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

CSA - Week One

In case you need some help identifying your vegetables, or you just want to feast your eyes on the produce, here is the contents of your bag for week one:

From left: Spinach, Radishes, Basil, Dill, Onion, Lettuce

A close-up of the herbs: Basil on the left and Dill on the right.


The kiddos enjoying radishes in the shade!