20 May 2008

Makeshift Cook

I totally stole the title of this post from MavenHaven's food blog, The Makeshift Cook. Apparently we share a very similar food and cooking philosophy - if you can find an ingenious way to use up leftovers or plot a meal without having to go to the store, so much the better. Because I like to be backed in to a corner with my ingredients, fighting to find a way to make a delicious meal of out seemingly disparate ingredients (kind of like a nightly version of "Stump the Cook" that you hear on NPR's The Splendid Table), Tuesdays are my new favourite day of the week. Tuesday is my CSA day.

I've been wanting to do a CSA for a long time but my lack of driving ability and regular access to a car has stymied me. I just couldn't get out to the farms to pick up the goods. But sometimes working for (or your spouse working for) a very wealthy private university has its perks. The hardest working HR Department in the business set up what they called a "Mobile Farmers Market" for their employees this year. They contracted with a variety of local farmers, sent out a link to all their sites and let us choose which farmer we wanted to support. We paid the farmer directly (it works out to be about $12 a week for the summer season) and on Tuesdays our farmer and all the other farms, show up on campus and we pick up our box of produce.
Last week I got strawberries, asparagus, baby red potatos, onions, zucchini, and cabbage. I picked up some pea shoots and bacon at the Saturday Famers market to round it out. Here are some of the meals I made this week:

Stuffed Cabbage - using the tougher outer leaves of the cabbage, stuffed with a mix of leftover rice and sauteed veggies.

Grilled Zucchini and Onion sandwiches - on a baguette from the baker down the street, broiled with mozzarella and topped with pea shoots. On the side, the worlds easiest and best potato salad:
Boil a couple of fistfuls of really fresh, wee little red potatoes, skins on.
Toss them with white wine vinegar, a splash of olive oil and some fancy salt.
Add a couple tablespoons of capers, and if you're in the mood, any fresh herbs you have hanging around.
Eat immediately, and over and over as I do in the summer.

With the rest of the potatoes I constructed a kind of Pizza Bianco, with a whole wheat crust, paper thin slices of potato, more capers (I love them, I just do), fresh thyme (because I didn't have rosemary), carmelized onions, bacon and Manchego cheese.

The Lemon Asparagus pasta from the Gourmet Cookbook.

A curried chickpea hash with the rest of my zucchini and onion, from the aforementioned Makeshift Cook.

A variation on the Peashoot Salad with Bacon and Lime from Sass and Veracity's. I respect and fully support all vegans and vegetarians out there but for those of you who are not, bathing your bacon in maple syrup, honey and soy and then broiling is highly recommended.

And a little dish of strawberries for dessert almost every night.

I can't wait to see what I pick up this week.


Maven said...

Yum!! I am sooo jealous of your long growing season--our CSA doesn't start for another 4 weeks. But when it does, things are going to get even more makeshifty! Thanks for the link love.

sk8ordiehard said...

$12 a week?? That's awesome, I'm super jealous.
PS--I've been following your blogging adventures since it was mentioned on It's all about the small things. I'm 100% on board with the make.do. philosophy, so I love to catch up with what you're doing. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

librarianista said...

I'm just making sure I'm caught up on all your backlog here, and I find I must second the "What? $12a week!?!" Our CSA went up to almost $50 a week this year, so we're just hitting the farmers market. The CSA also wasn't the perfect fit for us because we ended up wasting food, which stressed me out. We just couldn't eat 30 pluots apiece per week.