Find A Local CSA

One of the best ways to incorporate more vegetables into your diet is to sign up for a local CSA, also known as Community Supported Agriculture. Depending on your community, you may choose from a variety of farms in which to invest. Prior to a season–generally spring, summer or fall–you buy a “share” (or half share) of produce from a local farm, and they deliver in-season produce weekly. The upside for the farm is that it receives a steady income regardless of growing conditions and output. For you, it means a steady stream of vegetables every week. You must eat them!

For Berks County, I know of a few farms offering CSA shares this year, though this list is not comprehensive and I cannot guarantee availability at these farms. Visit their websites and see what’s going on for 2015:

B&H Organic Produce, LLC
Eckerton Hill Farm
Taproot Farm
Valley Run CSA
Rodale Institute

If any local readers know of additional CSAs, please let me know. I’ll gladly update my list. In many cases, it’s not too late to sign up for summer shares, although some fill up quickly. Keep an eye out.

I picked up my first spring vegetable share from B&H Organic Produce, LLC yesterday:

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This was my order:

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Each week I can choose from a list, depending what’s in season.

The challenge is using all those veggies!! Springtime means greens, and tonight I began with the spinach. Here it is, washed and most stems removed.

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I decided on carrots too.

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With the spinach, I made a vegetable curry, which I adapted from a cookbook recipe by 500 Vegan Dishes.

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Vegetable Curry

(Serves 8)

Ingredients:

One and one-quarter cup vegetable broth, divided
One medium onion, chopped
One zucchini, sliced
Two tablespoons minced ginger root
Two garlic cloves, minced
One four-ounce can chopped green chilies
Two tablespoons ground cumin
One-half teaspoon ground turmeric
One-half teaspoon coriander
Two-thirds cup soy sour cream (I use Tofutti brand)
One head broccoli, cut into florets
One cup fresh peas
Seven ounces fresh spinach leaves
sea salt
One-quarter cup chopped, fresh cilantro

Instructions:

1. Place one-quarter cup vegetable stock into a frying pan with the onion and cook over medium heat for three minutes.

2. Stir in the zucchini and cook for another three minutes.

3. Stir in the ginger, garlic, chilies and spices and cook for one minute.

4. Add the broccoli, peas and the rest of the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmering for about six minutes until the broccoli is cooked.

5. Place the whole pile of spinach on top and cook until wilted. Stir the spinach into the mixture as it wilts.

6. Add the “sour cream” and heat it through.

7. Season to taste with salt and add the cilantro.

Cook’s Tip:

You may serve this as is or over rice.

No-Oil Oven Roasted Carrots

I prepared the carrots using a no-oil roasting method that I found from the Vegan Coach. This works very well! I seasoned my carrots with parsley, dill, salt and pepper just to taste.

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Pretty simple! Pete and I ate all the carrots!

And that’s the challenge. You’ll receive a lot of vegetables from your local CSA, and it would be a shame to waste ANY. I’ll try and post recipes, depending what I receive each week so you can get an idea what you might do with YOUR veggies.

Now eat up!

Growing Uncertainty

I enjoy gardening.

(When it’s nice out. And when there are no bugs. And, no weeds.)

I don’t know much about gardening, but I do know there is great reward in not knowing what you are doing while also forging ahead and doing it anyway.

Like parenting.

Here was the extent of my parenting knowledge the night my husband and I decided to have kids:

  • I figured people have been doing it for generations.
  • I was aware other people in my social circle were doing it.
  • I may have had a little too much wine.

On the gardening front, I decided to add a raised garden to my bed this season. I’ll see how it goes and maybe next year I’ll add more. Here’s my garden pre-construction:

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I bought a kit for the raised garden:

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It went together easily:

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I received a load of dirt:

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Next up: building a rabbit fence around the whole garden, because we all remember what happened to my green beans last summer.

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Rabbits ate ’em.

I’ll let you know how fence construction progresses.

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Just another thing I’ll do even though I don’t know how.

Like pet training.

Louie: I hear there's fresh dirt in the yard. Kelly: Let's run through it!

Louie: I hear there’s fresh dirt in the yard.
Kelly: Let’s run through it!

Spicy Peanut Ginger Kale Salad

This is a quick version of Spicy Peanut Ginger Kale Salad from HealthyHappyLife.com, one of my favorite salads of all time.

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The only challenge with the original is that it contains a few “weird” ingredients not everyone has around in her pantry. These are: fresh ginger, pickled ginger, tahini, agave and rice vinegar. I keep a great variety of things on hand for vegan cooking, but I realize many people don’t.

The dressing for the original also has 12 ingredients, too many for the busy cook. I cut this version down to 6 ingredients.

I’ll continue to make the long version, because I LOVE it, but this will do in a pinch:

Spicy Peanut Ginger Kale Salad

Ingredients:

(Serves 6)

For the salad:

One very large bunch kale, cleaned, de-ribbed and ripped into bite-sized pieces
One half red onion diced
One-half cup chopped peanuts

For the dressing:

Three tablespoons chunky peanut butter
One tablespoon soy sauce
One teaspoon dried ginger
Two tablespoons vinegar
One-eighth to one-quarter teaspoon cayenne
Two teaspoons maple syrup

Instructions:

1. Place the kale, onion and peanuts in a large salad bowl.

2. In a small saucepan, measure–approximately–the dressing ingredients. In other words, just eyeball everything. There is no need for precision.

3. Melt the dressing ingredients over medium heat, stirring until everything is combined. (Thin the dressing with water if necessary.)

4. Let the dressing cool just a little, and then pour over the salad ingredients. Toss gently.

Warning: Don’t just pour ALL the dressing on top of the salad. Pour some, toss, and decide whether you need more. The amount necessary will depend on how much kale you have. Set extra dressing aside in the refrigerator for another time if you have it.

Vegan Fool

No, it’s not my new nickname, silly!

It’s a dessert, and I thought it would be a perfect post for today!

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I love it when the vegan version of a recipe is BETTER than its animal-based counterpart. Vegan fool is a prime example.

First of all, what is vegan fool?

You: You’re writing the post. You tell us. 
Me: Yes, but I always like to ask. It’s polite!
You: But you know we don’t know, and you know you know. We also know we don’t know and that you know, otherwise you wouldn’t write about it. You know? That’s foolish.
Me: First of all, who’s foolish? Second of all, I ALWAYS write stuff I don’t know about. 

OK, take a guess (a or b) which vegan fool am I writing about today? Is it:

a) a dessert made by folding pureed stewed fruit into whipped coconut cream (based on an English dessert, which traditionally uses custard or whipped cream?)

b) someone who writes a blog about vegan food expecting everyone to convert to a vegan diet ASAP based on how appetizing everything looks?

OK, stop making fun of me! It’s “a!” The answer is “a.”

I’m making strawberry fool, but you can substitute any kind of berries.

Vegan Strawberry Fool

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

2 pints strawberries (hold 4 strawberries back for topping)
One-quarter cup granulated sugar
Three tablespoons fresh lemon juice
One 13-14 oz. can FULL FAT coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
One teaspoon vanilla
One-quarter cup powdered sugar

Instructions:

1. Add the berries to a bowl, adding the granulated sugar and lemon juice, letting it sit or 10 minutes.

2. Add the berry mixture to a food processor, and process until smooth. Pour mixture into a sieve or strainer and drain thoroughly. Use a spoon to coax out the liquid.

3. Remove the coconut can from the refrigerator. Flip the can upside down. (Don’t look at me that way. Just do it!) Open the can and pour off the liquid at the top (previously, the bottom) of the can and reserve the liquid for another use. Place the remaining coconut milk (which will be the consistency of a very heavy cream) into a standing mixer. Whip the cream for 5 minutes or so. After five minutes, add the powdered sugar and the vanilla to the coconut cream. Whip for a few minutes more until everything is fully incorporated until things look fluffy.

4. Fold the strawberries carefully into the cream.

5. Spoon the fool into individual glasses. Top each serving with a sliced strawberry.

6. Feed it to the dogs.

7. Ha! Fooled you! DO NOT feed it to the dogs. They DO NOT deserve it.

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What To Do With Spring Greens (Part Two): Dandelion

Yesterday, I shared tips for preparing broccoli rabe, a spring green also known as rapini.

Today, I’ll discuss dandelion greens, also known as Easter Weed:

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OK, dandelion greens are NOT also known as Easter Weed; I just made that up!

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