I’m nearly out of CSA vegetables, and there are no more pickups left in our winter share. Though registration for the summer season is actually open soon, I won’t have a CSA pickup until June.
Late winter and early spring are usually a time when the husband and I do some traveling and spend more time exploring local restaurants. During this time, my blog will shift to be less recipe-oriented and more photo-oriented.
I’ll keep cooking, of course, and am thankful for year-round farmer’s markets that I can use to stock my kitchen.
Thanks for sticking with me another year; I’ve had a lot of fun challenging myself to keep pursuing new recipes instead of falling back on favorites from previous seasons. (I wrote about over 80 new dishes this year!)
I’m also constantly scouring books and websites for recipes I can make (or remix and combine and tweak); if you have something you think I should try, let me know!
Keep on keeping on,
Boy, do I have a treat for you today! This dish is positively delightful. Warm, rich, and robust while still being subtle, this is a wonderful (and pretty easy) one-pot meal that can be eaten at any time of day. Don’t be fooled by thinking it’s just eggs in tomato sauce; the chickpeas and feta make this both rich and filling. I ate probably about twice as much as I needed to because it tasted so damn good.
The original recipe I found makes enough for 8 servings; that was far too much for just the husband and me, so I scaled down the amount I posted here. However, it was actually easier to make the full amount of sauce, then save half for later. (Use extra pita to eat the sauce warm or cold as a snack or dinner, or mix it with pasta and rice for quick, yummy leftovers!)
Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas & Feta
serves 4; adapted from Bon Appétit
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 2 jalapeños, seeded, finely chopped
- 8 ounces cooked/canned chickpeas, drained
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 14 oz. tomato purée
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup coarsely crumbled feta
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Warm homemade pita bread
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and jalapeños; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Add chickpeas, paprika, and cumin and cook for 2 minutes longer.
- Add crushed tomatoes and their juices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle feta evenly over sauce. Crack eggs one at a time and place over sauce, spacing evenly apart. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until whites are just set but yolks are still runny, 5–8 minutes.
- Garnish with parsley and cilantro. Serve with pita for dipping.
I love soup. Especially thick, comforting ones. Root vegetables may not be as exciting to some people as a garden full of greens or tomatoes that summer brings, but they provide a wonderful, endless base for satisfying winter soups. Adjust the proportions of the vegetables, try new and unusual flavor combinations, or stick to classic combos and relish the simplicity of the meal.
For this soup, I took basically all of the root vegetables I had from our last CSA pickup, combined them together, and seasoned minimally to allow the earthiness of the celeriac to shine. Collards add a little color and extra nutritional content. This recipe makes a LOT, so get out your storage containers and freeze half for a day you don’t feel like cooking.
Potato-Celeriac Soup with Collards
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 lb onions, chopped
- 1/2 lb carrots, diced
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 lbs celeriac, peeled and cubed
- 2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 10 cups vegetable stock
- 6 oz collard greens, de-stemmed and cut into thin ribbons
- In a large stock pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Cook the onions and carrots together, stirring constantly, for about 6 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
- Pour 10 cups of stock or water into the pot, followed by the celeriac, potatoes, thyme, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until all of the vegetables are soft.
- Purée using an immersion blender, or blend in batches in a regular blender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- With the puréed soup back in the pot over low heat, stir in the collard greens and simmer for 5-10 minutes or more, until the greens soften. (The cooking time will depend on whether the collards were raw or blanched to begin with.)
I’m probably not the only one who has developed a much more conscious relationship to all steps of my food consumption since joining a CSA. In addition to making active decisions to eat fresh, whole foods, I’ve also become much more aware of how much food is wasted on a daily basis. (Walk down any New York City street on trash day and you’ll know what I mean.)
Especially since CSAs can sometimes be costly, learning how to store produce properly can make buying healthy foods more cost effective and just better for everyone. If you know how to store food properly, then going on vacation doesn’t have to mean throwing out a whole week’s worth of veggies when you come back.
In an old edition of the newsletter that The Farm at Miller’s Crossing sends out to their CSA members, they gave some tips on how to store fall and winter vegetables. I constantly come back to these tips, so I thought I’d pass them along. (You can also sign up for their newsletter for tips and recipes even if you don’t belong to one of their CSAs.)
The following can be thrown directly into the freezer – no blanching required!
- Tomatoes (whole; good for sauces or soups)
- Peppers (cut into strips or pieces)
- Onions & Leeks (diced or sliced )
- Garlic (whole cloves or chopped and frozen)
Blanch & Freeze
Blanching kills the enzymes that are on the surface of the vegetables thus preserving their nutrition and flavor. Bring a pot of water to boil, place trimmed and rinsed vegetables in, wait the appropriate time (the National Center for Home Food Preservation has a good guide) and then strain or scoop into a strainer, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, place in freezer bags and move them into freezer. This method works great for everything from collards & kale to beans & winter squash.
Root vegetables and squashes store for months with very little effort if you have the correct environment. If you get farm-fresh vegetables, here are some guidelines to making them last. (Your mileage may vary if you buy from a supermarket; you don’t know the storage conditions or how long it’s been from harvest to shelving.)
Cold & Very Moist: 34 degrees and 95% humidity, which means refrigerator crisper w/damp rag in the bottom (no tops on vegetables)
- Carrots (5-7 months)
- Beets (4-6 months)
- Turnips (4-5 months)
- Leeks (2-3 months)
- Rutabagas (4-6 months)
- Celeriac (6-8 months)
- Radish (2-4 months)
- Parsnip (4-6 months)
- Brussels Sprouts (3–5 weeks)
Cold & Moist: 32 – 40 degrees and 80 – 90% humidity; refrigerator crisper w/dry rag in the bottom
- Potatoes (5-8 months)
- Cabbage (4-5 months)
Cool and Dry:32 degrees and 60 – 65% humidity; crisper drawer in paper bags
- Garlic (4-6 months)
- Onions (2-6 months)
Warm and Dry: 50 degrees and 60 – 70 % humidity; spare bedroom or cool closet on an open shelf
- Butternut Squash (4-8 months)
- Carnival & Acorn Squash (1-3 months)
- Pumpkins (1-3 months)
Warm and Moist: 50 degrees and 90-95% humidity); eat these soon – they do not reliably store well
- Sweet Potato (1-2 months)
Even though I sometimes take a break from my almost-exclusively vegetarian diet will for good homemade dishes like turkey chili, my favorites are still veggie-based. In fact, if you skip the cheese and buttery biscuits, this makes an excellent vegan meal, too. (Cheese and butter are pretty much the only reasons I would have trouble being a vegan.)
Knowing what to expect out of a winter CSA this year, I have been excited to tweak recipes that I started toying with last year. The frozen tomato purée from the Farm at Miller’s Crossing makes an incredible base for chili, and I loaded it up with plenty of other vegetable goodness.
The recipe below has become my standard go-to chili recipe based on what I know I’ll be receiving from a winter CSA share. Like any other soup or stew, though, it’s very flexible. Feel free to add any other vegetable you might want: corn, sweet potato, zucchini, even broccoli will work. The key is to use good brown or green lentils that will keep their shape while being cooked for a long time (cooking over a low heat rather than keeping the soup at a rolling boil helps, too). Also, I find it’s much easier to start with thawed vegetables; in this case, that meant defrosting the tomato purée and Italian peppers before I got started.
If you have a favorite variation of vegetable chili that you think I should try, let me know!
My Favorite CSA Veggie Chili
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 cup diced carrots
- 1 1/2 cups diced onions
- 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cups sweet Italian peppers, diced
- 28 oz tomato purée
- 1 1/4 cup brown lentils
- 3 cups water or veggie broth (more as necessary)
- 2 tbsp chili seasoning
- salt to taste
- grated sharp cheddar or pepper-jack cheese, for serving (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilanto (optional)
- Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add the carrots, onions, and garlic cloves to the pot and sauté until the onions become soft and translucent, about 7 minutes.
- Add the peppers, tomato purée, lentils, water, and chili seasoning to the pot and stir together. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 35 minutes or until the lentils are tender. You may need to add more liquid if the stew is getting too thick; pour more water or broth into the chili in half-cup increments as necessary.
- When the lentils are cooked, add salt to taste. Ladle into individual bowls and sprinkle with cheese and cilantro if you’d like. Serve with fresh homemade biscuits.
2 notes /
Cabbage is a remarkable vegetable that I didn’t start to appreciate until after I joined my CSA. I mostly new cabbage as a primary ingredient in mayo-base cole slaws, which have always kind of grossed me out. When I started cooking with different types of cabbage, though, I realized that green cabbage transforms into a totally different creature when cooked. It gets tender, sweet, almost buttery, while retaining a bit of toothiness. Lentils and cabbage go wonderfully together, and this is a great, simple dinner for a cold winter’s night.
Stewed Lentils with Cabbage
serves 4-6; adapted from The New York Times
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, half of it chopped, half sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 lb lentils (about 1.25 cups) rinsed and picked over (brown, green, or beluga)
- 3 cups water
- dash of cayenne pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- salt, to taste
- 1 1/2 lbs green cabbage, cored and cut crosswise in 3/4-inch wide ribbons (1 medium head)
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
- freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 3-quart saucepan or casserole over medium heat. Add the chopped half of the onion and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add 2 of the garlic cloves and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add the lentils, water, chile, and bay leaf, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer over low heat for 30-45 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- While the lentils are simmering, cook the cabbage with the remaining onion and garlic in a wide lidded skillet. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and add the sliced onion. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and the garlic and stir together until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cabbage and turn the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring, until the cabbage begins to wilt. Add 1/4 cup water, turn the heat down to medium, cover and simmer 10 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender and sweet, stirring from time to time. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Spread the cabbage over the bottom of the pan in an even layer. Top with the lentils. Sprinkle on the parsley and Parmesan if desired, and serve in wide soup bowls.