Tell-tale signs of farm-share fatigue include a) resenting dinner invitations from friends because of the lost opportunity to work through some more of the share and b) selecting friends to invite for dinner based on their preference in vegetables (“we can’t have Jane over, I don’t care if it’s her birthday, she doesn’t eat beets”). I have experienced both of these symptoms in the past week. My vegetable overload is, of course, exacerbated by my own foolishness in being unable to resist supplementing the share with more market purchases (“but I have to have some more corn,” “those tomatoes are just too gorgeous to pass up,” and so on and so forth). By Friday morning, I could be found standing in the kitchen with the refrigerator door open, evincing clear signs of panic and agitation. After I closed the door, I shot an email off to Shana with the subject line “farm share pep talk”:
I love the farm share, but it’s starting to obsess me. I fret all the time over when we’re ever going to eat all those vegetables. Have you done anything interesting with them?
The kale, the beet greens, good god another beet.
Help . . .
I know, I know. I feel your pain. Maybe it’s time to start just blanching + freezing the surplus greens,as the newsletter suggests? I’ve been *gulp* throwing away leftovers occasionally. I haven’t been doing much interesting w/ mine. I made grilled pork chops the other night, with peach tomato salsa. That used up a good handful of basil, the anise hyssop, and peaches (not farm share!).Tonight is beef + broccoli stirfry, but the broccoli is not farm share either. Lunch today is yet another big bowl of yogurt + cucumber salad. Sigh.
Around noon, I decided to take charge of my fate and later that day wrote back:
I just spent part of my lunch hour mapping out A Plan, so I’m feeling in better control. I think I will pickle the carrots. And make a cucumber salad that can stew in its own juice for several days. The Plan also involves having a side of beet greens with pizza tonight which seems faintly ridiculous, but there you are. I supposed beet greens in the compost aren’t the worst thing. The summer squash are still unaccounted for in The Plan.
To which Shana kindly replied “You’re an inspiration.” I thought she was just being nice, but in fact ran into her at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday, list and menu planning notes in hand, looking highly organized. And supported by a couple of produce-toting fellas as well (note to self; inquire about availability of produce carriers). I exhibited great self-control at the market and only bought some peaches. And one tomato. Plus a few blueberries. Oh, and some plums, because, well, who could resist:
So Sunday night, I thought I should check in on how we were both progressing. For myself, I can report:
- Pickled carrots. To be featured in this week’s lunches.
- Thai cucumber salad. Also destined for the lunch bag.
- Yukon Golds in mashed potatoes
- Leeks in a mustard vinaigrette (more or less like this, although I skipped the pancetta; this and the potatoes went with a beef tenderloin with a gorgonzola and poblano pepper sauce . . .mmmm)
- Lettuce scattered throughout several different meals
- The rest of the potatoes and beans will go in a potato and haricots vertes salad to go next to grilled burgers.
- And the kale goes into a frittata on Tuesday, with a roasted beet and goat cheese salad on the side.
- That damn summer squash and humongo onion still need a destination.
I was pretty proud of myself. Shana was none too shabby either:
“I have cooked all weekend long. Still a ways to go, but I’ve made some progress. I’ve actually been able to turn on my oven and not curse about it!”
- Some of the humungonion was used in my Friday night beef stirfry and in a batch of refrigerator sweet + sour cucumber pickles, which are now gone. The leftover brine I used to pickle some carrots.
- I roasted all 5 (!) of my beets, to be used in beet “caviar” and maybe some pickles.
- I made tomato confit yesterday, and a blueberry-peach cobbler, to use up what I overbought at the market Weds am.
- Just made some of that chocolate granola a la orangette and some polenta in an effort to get rid of this + that in the pantry.
- Still tbd: Green beans will be sauteed with pancetta and smoked paprika.
- Greens will be braised with leftover carrots and the remaining onion.
So, for all of you out there fighting the battle, of the CSA box, remember it can be done. It requires some focus, some Web research and the encouragement of friends, but you can work your way through all those vegetables and be glad you did. To borrow from Bob the Builder: “Can we eat it? Yes, we can!!”
In the spirit of full disclosure, I should add that I couldn’t bring myself to cook up beet greens with pizza. But they did go into a late night bowl of soba noodles and broth. Maria one, compost, zero.
The pizza? Our first on the Big Green Egg, and quite wonderful. Check out my pizza-obsessed husband’s post. And note the presence of copious amounts of farm share basil.