Eating the fruits (and veggies) of our labors

September 8, 2009 at 6:18 pm

It’s been a summer of bounty from the gardens and our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Every day something else is ripening on the vines and every week we get a new big box of fruit and veggies.

Each summer is a learning experience for us, both in learning how and what we can grow in our own gardens as well as how and what we can eat from the CSA! One of the hardest parts of our summer food bounty is researching and finding interesting ways to eat all of these veggies. Here are some of the big hits of the 2009 Summer season!

Mango, Peach and Pineapple SalsaUses peaches, tomatoes, onion, peppers and cilantro
2 mangos, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 peaches, halved, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 white onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup diced fresh pineapple
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar, or to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a big bowl. Refrigerate at least one hour. The longer the ingredients mingle, the better the salsa!

Thai pepper chicken with basilUses basil, onions, peppers, tomatillos and lettuce
1 bunch of thinly sliced basil
1/4 cups veggie oil
6 large coarsely chopped shallots or onions
5 cloves of minced garlic
1 piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
1 pound ground chicken or turkey
2 fresh Thai chili peppers or jalapeƱo peppers and/or tomatillos or other peppers to taste, thinly sliced
2 tsp brown sugar
lettuce leaves

1. Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a wok over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Add shallots, garlic and ginger; cook and stir 1 minute. Add chicken and stir-fry about 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Push the chicken up the sides of the wok, letting the juice remain in the bottom.

2. Continue to cook about 5 to 7 minutes or until all liquid evaporates. Stir in chili pepper slices, brown sugar and salt; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat.

3. Lay lettuce leaves out on plates, serve chicken on top.

Garbage PastaUses almost anything you need to get rid of.
1/2 onion
1 or 2 tomatoes
1 small summer squash
1 small zucchini
1 bunch kale
1 bunch basil
1 cup of peas
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
a large handful of spaghetti
(optional other veggies include carrots, broccoli, egg plant, mushrooms, green onions, spinach, etc)
a pile of Parmesan cheese

1. Boil spaghetti in salty water until done. Drain, toss with a little olive oil, and set aside.

2. Saute all veggies in olive oil with garlic, except tomatoes and basil. Steam veggies if preferred (as for carrots, broccoli, spinach or peas).

3. Combine cooked veggies, garlic, raw tomatoes and basil, salt and pepper with spaghetti and just enough of the cooking olive oil to coat. Sprinkle liberally with cheese. Enjoy!

And this is just the tip of the iceburg. I think it’s very interesting to see the traditional food cultures that our local produce seems to fit best with. With all of the root veggies and dark green leafies, I think we could fill a Tuscan or Northern Italian table without any problem. But also, our peppers, onions, peas, beans and cabbage make some darn tasty Thai food. I never would have thought, but local food grown in Colorado meshes very well with the tropical cuisine of Southeastern Asia! Now I just need to start growing our own coconut trees!