To CSA or not to CSA

 

 

This last week, work and life have been quite complicated. So many work obligations, children’s extra curricular activities. Life has been busy, to say the least. My husband, who was hesitant  about joining a CSA at first, a few years ago became a staunch supporter in the last couple of years.

Last week, my fridge was overflowing with produce. I couldn’t keep up. Then, he uttered the dreadful words, “Hey, let’s cancel our CSA for next year.” That tore me up. It made me feel like I wasn’t holding my end of the bargain, using up all the vegetables and making the most of all the bounty we received every week. I had to think fast. SO, this past week, I became even more creative with new recipes for the numerous vegetables I had on hand. There are many options- you could split a share where you share every week or pick up alternative weeks with your partner.  I am determined to be quite resourceful with my entire share.  Every tomato that I can’t use I freeze, I make many greens into my APP.  I give away some to friends and family and then some gets composted.

This week, I made eggplant 3 ways. Eggplant and mushroom thoren( South Indian dish with grated coconut and mustard seeds and garlic).  Panko breaded eggplant, and eggplant& lamb ratatouille. I will share recipes soon.

I made a Thai red curry with chicken last night. It’s pretty easy and a great way to use many greens and things in your pantry.  The best part of cooking is trying new things, putting flavors together that work for you and your family. Play in the kitchen.  I use ingredients that I have on hand, if it calls for spinach,  and I have kale, that’s what I’ll do.

SO I SAY, CSA all the way!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. of coconut oil
  • 2 lbs. of boneless chicken thighs cut into small chunks(typical size found in Chinese take out)
  • 10 shishito peppers(optional)
  • 5 pieces of kale( ribs  removed) chopped
  • one small red onion chopped or one large leek chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic finely chopped/minced
  • 1 tbsp. galangal or ginger
  • 2 -3 green peppers( you can use any color you have) sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp. red curry paste
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp. of fish sauce
  • salt to taste( 1 tbsp.)
  • soy sauce(optional)
  • a dash of toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp cilantro chopped

Instructions:

1. Take a large sauté pan and heat coconut oil in pan.

2. Sauté chopped leek/onion, garlic. When slightly translucent, add galangal.

3. Add salt to soften further, and then add chicken. When chicken is almost cooked( about 10-12 minutes)

4. Add red curry paste. Stir.

5. Add kale, green peppers and shishito peppers. Typically, 1 in 10 shishito peppers can be hot, otherwise they are as mild as green peppers.

6. Sauté further for 2 minutes. Add coconut milk.

7. Cover and let cook for 10 minutes.

8. Add fish sauce and sesame oil and stir.

9. Garnish with cilantro. Serve over jasmine rice or quinoa.

 

 

 

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Double Stuff’t Chard Tacos

It has been pouring all day. I love the rain because it makes everything grow like wildfire. Our curry leaves and tomato plants look so refreshed and rejuvenated, like we do after a great workout and shower. But with this downpour comes a sense of nesting. We just want to sit on the sofa and do nothing else but veg. Even cooking seems like an impossible chore.  Rachel and Erica have been busy all day with things to do at school.  On days like this, comfort food is what one craves.  Warm tacos would just give into that  crave.

A few years ago, I would’ve made just that, a  hard taco corn tortilla shell stuffed with ground beef and maybe beans with some lettuce, tomatoes sour cream and cheese. I still love tacos like that, but…. as one gets older.  Isn’t there a saying,  a taco on the lips is a lifetime on the hips? 🙂 In the last few years,  I was asked by a friend to join a workout program. I hesitantly joined and now my life is forever changed. Upon joining, my view on eating has changed drastically. I can talk about fitness journey later but I have learned to enjoy my cheat meals but also learned the art of satisfying my cravings without sabotaging my hard work.

So,  you’ve heard of stuffed cabbage. I’ve even seen collard greens stuffed but never swiss chard. So today, we are having tacos minus the taco shell . The taco shells will be the chard leaves.

VERDICT: So my kids agree that the hard taco shells are more fun to eat but they still loved this. The Greek yogurt was great, they didn’t miss the sour cream. ALL IN ALL, IT WAS A SUCCESS!

Ingredients:

  •  15 oz can of kidney or black beans( same amount dry- soak overnight)
  • 1lb of ground beef /turkey( don’t use if you want it to be vegan)
  • 2 tbsp of CENTO double concentrated tomato paste/2 plum tomatoes/2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 shallot flowers and stems/ one onion)
  • 2 garlic scapes/3 cloves garlic
  • 10 or more swiss chard stems
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp of taco seasoning( you don’t have to buy this a few things in your pantry make this up, comment or contact me for instructions to make your own, I had some so I used it).
  • EVOO
  • 10-15 swiss chard leaves
  • 1 cup quinoa cooked
  • 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt( PERFECT SUBSTITUTE FOR SOUR CREAM)

 

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Place soaked beans in instapot and turn on beans/ chilli. I do this the night before or even 2 days before and then place in fridge and use when needed. So if I used instapot, I may make more and then use beans for other things like rice and beans or huevos rancheros. If using canned beans, don’t need to cook them in advance.
  3. Drizzle 2-3 tbsp of EVOO in saute pan.
  4. Chop onions and garlic( shallot flowers and garlic scapes) and and put into EVOO.
  5. Add a tsp of salt to accelerate browning/softening.
  6. As this mixture softens, add chopped swiss chard stems, if the swiss chard leaves are small, then I add chopped leaves too. The smaller you chop, the quicker it cooks and less it interferes with the taco filling texture.
  7. Once this is softened, add taco seasoning, add more if you like. Add a pinch of salt.( I sometimes add some cumin seeds to Mexican foods, just a bit goes a long way).
  8. Add beans. Stir and saute. You’re done if you’re doing vegan.
  9. If you want meat, add ground beef/turkey and brown.  Taste and salt as needed.
  10. Add quinoa to taco mixture- add more if mixture seems loose.
  11. Spray or coat lasagna pan with EVOO.
  12. Take swiss chard leaf and fill with taco mixture. Roll as best as you can, like an egg roll. Place taco folded side down.
  13. Repeat and finish filling the tray. When done, drizzle the leaves with a bit of EVOO.
  14. Bake for 20 minutes.
  15. Take Greek yogurt, sprinkle with taco seasoning for effort. Drizzle over leaves.(eliminate if you want vegan)
  16. Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

 

Summer Stuffed Peppers

I fell into cooking because of my love of food. I look to recipes for inspiration and then I play with what I have. When you join a CSA from a local farm, you sink or swim. I sank the first year. Drowned in a sea of vegetables, most of which I had never eaten and could not wrap my brain around neither cooking nor eating.

After a few years of treading the CSA waters, I have learned to be creative. Now, we are floating and even incorporating some new swimming techniques in the CSA waters. The CSA has allowed for me and my daughters to  be connected on this. We go pick up the share together. We appreciate the value of this…TOGETHER.

Today’s the first day of summer vacation,  Erica woke up wanting to eat pancakes. I thought, no way, let’s eat eggs. She came up with eggs but wanted to add sausage. I told her to throw some rainbow swiss chard in there. Sounds crazy but it’s like putting spinach in your eggs. Chop it finely, you barely taste it. Sausage &eggs from a local farm, swiss chard from local farm CSA. Local eating= good eating.

For lunch, it’ll be leftover sausage-swiss chard saute with quinoa which will go into peppers. Bake. Eat. Enjoy!

Instructions:

  1. 2 tbsp ghee(clarified butter) in a saute pan( If you want it to be vegan use coconut or olive oil. I used ghee because I had some and it was almost finished, so trying to finish it up 🙂
  2. Saute half a cup of onions( I used leeks because I had but usually I use red onions). Chop three small cloves garlic( you can use garlic scapes which I get from my CSA) and add to onions once softened in oil. Add tsp of salt to wilt onions and garlic quicker.
  3. Saute swiss chard( I used maybe 2 bunches- 6 whole pieces). Add cooked sausage(cooked from the morning). Add 1/2 to 1 cup quinoa to ensure the quinoa adds to the substance of the stuffing, so the pepper stays stuffed. ( Eyeballing)
  4. Add pepper to taste and maybe another tsp of salt( but really to taste).  I had arrabiata(spicy Italian seasoning) so I put in a 1/2 tbsp. to this as well. ( See I use what I have).
  5. Cut tops off peppers and make cups/boats . Boats are peppers cut lengthwise(see pic below)/
  6. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place peppers on sheet tray with foil coated with olive oil.
  7. Fill pepper boats with stuffing.
  8. Place in oven 15-20 minutes.

oohmomme

 

Finding ways to connect…

Navigating this new world that connects people through technology while leaving us disconnected as a working mom, high school science teacher has been no less than challenging.  As a high school teacher, I thought I know what to do to stay connected and transparent with my children. I do this for a living. However, I find myself losing at this as I am drowning in the sea of social media and the race to nowhere.

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My 13 year old and I LOVE FOOD. We love to eat, buy, cook all types of food. I don’t know if I nurtured this in her, or we both, just had this passion for it.  She has a killer palate. She can smell and taste things in food, that sometimes, I can’t even figure out.  My 16 year old is also into food and culture. She savors the history behind cuisine and culture.

So, how do I stay connected and grounded with my kids, using technology as a tool and food as a muse? So here we are… OOH-MOM-ME.  The name says it all! You will experience foods that are cooked using local farm ingredients and from cultures all over the world jam packed with flavor. Umami (ooh-mom-me) itself is one of the unique tastes that we experience. The recipes will be pretty simple and easy, because that will allow us to enjoy the foods prepared while not overwhelming us.

Living in NY has allowed me to join a CSA(Community Supported Agriculture) and access to many local farms and purveyors helping us as a family to understand the seasonality of produce and the value of organically farmed ingredients.

We want to share our experiences as a family with food, farms, fitness, fellowship and fun with you. Just as our food is, our posts will also be organic. It’ll be what the day brings us. It may be a post by us individually or collaboratively. It may include the history(political, cultural, etc.) behind a certain food that we prepare. It may just be photos of foods we happened upon that given that day that gave us joy.  Join us on this joyful culinary journey. Stay connected. Stay kind.