My Yummy Local Life











{June 29, 2013}   Apricots- edible sunshine!

So earlier this week the lovely Lindsey invited me over to help harvest fruit off of their apricot tree. My reward was about half of the bounty:

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The above picture was after I had sorted them into “ripe today”, “ripe tomorrow” and “needs a few days” batches.

The ones that were ripe right away I halved and frozen on a sheet tray.

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After about 2 rounds of freezing I ended up with about a gallon of frozen apricots for use in smoothies and smoothie popsicles.

There were still A LOT of apricots left. I thought I might make some jam but since it is HOT here in AZ- with the high temperatures hovering around 110°F- I decided to see what was involved with drying fruit in the sun. As it turns out, as long as you dip them in lemon/citric acid water so that they won’t brown, that you basically have to remove the seeds and let the sun do all the work.

EASY AND 100% FREE!

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The first batch went from being 40 ounces to being about 8 oz once the fruit was dry enough. Surprisingly this only took about a day and a half. So afterward I did two more batches. And that is the end of my apricots (or the beginning depending on your perspective). I am storing them in mason jars and filled 3 quart jars and them a little overflow in some plastic baggies.

I am still shocked and amazed that this was a successful endeavor. Coming from Florida and then North Carolina you can even dry your hair in the summer time, let alone food!

Now I am definitely going to make some sun dried tomatoes…and maybe some other dried fruits…what would you dry in the excessive heat and next to no humidity of the Arizona sunshine?

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{May 4, 2013}   Yum Yum Produce Box #9

There was bounty in my box this week. Check it out:

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Here’s what we got:
– 7 summer squash/zucchini
– 1 huge bunch of cilantro
– 1 bunch of kale
– 1 small bunch of beets with tops (chard)
– 1 large bunch of garlic scapes
– 1 bunch of spring onions
– 1 bunch of quinoa leaves/quioletes/wild spinach
– 1 large bag of sprouts

So the summer squash so early is quite a surprise, although there are places in the state that already feel a lot like summer. We’re going to make squash pasta- basically pasta with roasted/sautéed squash, some garlic and onions and some goat cheese- all made into a sauce with a little white wine. I’ll try to take pictures and post the recipe.

Our current favorite way to eat kale is inside of a frittata so I think we’re going to do that again with some various veggies added in to it. I’ve been basing it loosely on this sweet potato kale frittata.

Favorite ingredient of the week is garlic scapes. They are very strong so a few goes a long way. We added them to the top of our cabbage casserole on Thursday, and put some in our enchiladas last night. I think they will be in everything this week. However the specific plans we have for them is a scape and beet top pizza with Brie- combining this and this recipe.

My bread of the week will also contain the garlic scapes (and peppers and cheese). The bread will then be used for grilled cheese sandwiches for lunches and French onion soup sandwiches for dinner one night.

These sandwiches are one of our fall back staples but we haven’t made them in a long time. I’m really looking forward to them. We’re also making another staple in our house- quinoa burrito bowls which will use some of the cilantro and the quinoa leaves/wild spinach.

The beets themselves…ok. Here’s where I get nervous this week. We’ve tried them a few ways before and neither the hubby nor I have found them to be very tasty. More like they taste like clean dirt. Anyways were going to try roasting them along with some sweet potato as a side dish and see how they go. I’ve got about 6 different methods pinned on Pinterest so we’ll see!

Aside from that I am overrun with sprouts. I can’t seem to use them enough and I think I have about 3 weeks worth in my refrigerator right now! Eek! If you live close to me and want some to share please let me know! Also if you have any good ideas for using them, chime in! We usually put some on salads, stir fry, in egg wraps ect. but we still don’t seem to make a dent before the next box comes!

Have a yummy week!



Happy Easter!!

So I have gotten carrots in every CSA box so far, large carrots, and this week I didn’t get to any of the current weeks carrots since we were still using up those from last week.

Then I had this thought. Carrots are in plenty now, but they are seasonal too. What if I want to make carrot cake or stir fry with carrots in the dead of summer?

So I decided to freeze my carrots. I have done this with squash and other gourds so I figure the carrots will be alright.

Step one: Shred the carrots on a cheese grater.

Step two: Portion into one cup packed sizes and put each into an individual bag.

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Step three: Label each bag with the contents and date, in this case “1 c carrots 3/28/13”. As a rule I try not o leave anything in my freezer beyond one year.

Step four: Use a straw to suck as much air out of each bag to seal it and spread the carrots out flat.

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Step five: Place on a single layer on a tray and put into the freezer. After they are frozen, I usually put these bags into a larger bag to prevent freezer burn.

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Enjoy having yummy local carrots all year long. (And carrot cake too!)

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{March 22, 2013}   Yum Yum Produce Box #3

Week 3 is here (already!). I got a little backed up so I spent today making veggie chips (chard and radish) and a new batch of carrot top pesto, so I could have space for the new box contents. Well here’s what we got this week:

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1 bunch of HUGE carrots
1 bunch of mustard greens
1 bunch of collar greens
1 bunch of radishes
1 bunch of turnips
1 bag of spinach leaves
1 small bag of sprouts
4 sweet potatoes

I invented some carrot cake waffles today. I’ll try to get pictures and post them on a future post. Hubby even like them (hidden carrots!!). Thanks to In Her Chucks for suggesting carrot cake (I’ll probably be making some regular cake/cupcakes soon too). Do you think I can freeze shredded carrot-like you would shredded zucchini/squash?

I don’t have an excellent plan in mind quite yet for this week. We really liked the radishes cooked in stir fry last week, so we may do another one this week. We thought they tasted a bit like water chestnuts once they were cooked.

I have a feeling that most of the sprouts and spinach will go for lunches as part of salads or wraps. It’s warm enough to want a cool lunch instead of something hot all the time.

So I did try to collard leaves as a wrap and also in a green smoothie. I didn’t love them as a wrap, but it was kind of an off day so I might try them again this way sometime. I DID like the green smoothie, and made the leftover into popsicles for snacking. I will definitely be drinking more greens.

Does anyone have a favorite collard recipe? I just find them very bitter every way I’ve had them so far except when masked with fruit.

Mustard greens…here’s another one I’m not sure I like. I haven’t hit up the Internet for ideas yet, but hopefully I can find a way to like them.

Not sure what we’ll make with the turnips this week yet. We still haven’t made the turnip sweet potato gratin from last week as I’m writing this, so they might just get added into there.

SWEET POTATOES! Basically one of my all time favorite foods. I let out a little squeal when I saw them hiding in the bottom of my box. True story. I don’t really care what happens to them as long as they get into my belly- we have some javelina chorizo sausage still so we might make up some sweet potato chorizo casserole. It’s one of our go to recipes from the Almost Meatless cookbook.

Thanks to Yum Yum for another great box!

Check out the other CSA yumminess at In Her Chucks link party.



{March 15, 2013}   Yum Yum Produce Box #2

Well here I am again, just picked up my second Yum Yum Produce veggie box.  There are a few more things I am unfamiliar with this week, so let the challenge begin.
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This weeks box contains:

1 bunch of carrots

1 bunch of brocolini

1 bunch of turnips

1 bunch of radishes

“Quelites” aka lamb’s quarters aka wild spinach

1 bag sunflower seed sprouts

1 bunch collard greens

1 bunch Swiss Chard

WOW! Where should I start?  So there are a few things here that I am not sure if I like (or have ever had).  Turnips and Radishes I maybe had as a kid, but I definitely do not have any fond memories at all of them.  I remember raw radishes on salads and always picking around them.  Turnips I may have never had in my life.  I’ve also never had quelites.

Last week we had our collard greens sautéed as a side dish with rice and “tortured” (read: SPICY) sole filets.  I concluded that I don’t really like collard greens in their cooked state.  If we can find some frozen fruit on sale, I’m thinking I might try them this week in this green smoothie, but if not we might try some collard wraps. My thought here is to hide them with foods I know I like and maybe trick myself.  My hubby also made a “collard wrap” this week with a collard leaf, cheese and hot sauce in a tortilla; I’m going to try them this way next time he makes them as well.

This stir fry recipe looks really good and includes two things from my box: radishes and quelites. Might throw some of those sprouts on top of it too. I know for sure I’ve never had radishes cooked (and neither had my hubby), so I’m interested to see how they are in this.  If radishes turn out to be a not-favorite, we can always make them into cinnamon sugar radish chips 🙂 Everything is better as chips right?

Speaking of chips, last week I made my kale into chips, which were delicious as always, then I hopped on Pinterest and discovered that you can make swiss chard into chips too, so I’m going to try that for snacking this week!

So the other thing to tackle is the turnips; I am thinking turnip and sweet potato gratin, because I know I like sweet potatoes and cheese. Might as well make my first experience with turnips a good one 🙂

Going to make a brocolini cheese sauce with pasta to go with our fish this week while my sister is in town–she doesn’t eat anything with fur 😉

There is also some beans and rice on the menu this week, and we’ll be going out to get Mexican food somewhere in Cottonwood (my sister wants to get “real mexican food” while she is the closest to Mexico she’s ever been).

Looks like carrots might be a staple. I’ve been snacking on them, but does anyone out there have a favorite recipe that uses carrots?

Check out the other CSA deliciousness people got this week over at In Her Chucks link party.

Have a yummy, local week!



Hubby with a tumbleweed on the farm :)

Hubby with a tumbleweed on the farm 🙂

So I moved to Arizona, in case you didn’t know, from North Carolina.  Why? So that my recently graduated hubby could be a farmer. I know 2000 miles west on I-40 to be a farmer when there are so many farms in “the south”.  The thing is, they are mostly family farms, so here we are in AZ so he can be a professional wine grape grower/farmer/disease consultant.  I’m still working part time, but what I have learned so far about being a farmer’s wife are the following:

  1. A working laundry machine is essential.  You would not believe the amount of layers it takes to work outside all day in Arizona.  It’s freezing until the sun comes out and then its warm, so you’ve gotta dress for both! I swear its like a weeks worth of clothes per day some days.
    Notice the Boot, not living outside as they should....

    Notice the Boots, not living outside as they should….

     

  2. Farmer’s need a lot of work supplies: wide brim straw hats, not-from-walmart pruning shears, a massive stanley thermos, flannel lined blye jeans, bandanas by the droves, piles of wool socks…  Oh, and new clutch pieces on the truck (no big deal). That is just so far.  Well the pruning shears are still on the list to be saved for, but one thing at a time…

    Swiffer pads on the shelf on the right. "Wine cellar" on the bottom.

    Swiffer pads on the shelf on the right. “Wine cellar” on the bottom.

  3. Work boots should definitely always live outside.  If not, they make the wood floors very dirty and you are so thankful that you found a way to make reusable swiffer pads.  But they should still live outside; swiffers cause more laundry.
  4. Speaking of dirt. Farmers come home very dirty. I am eternally grateful for the invention of a nail brush. Crucial to him not having constant dirt under his nails.
  5. People that grow wine also like to drink it. A lot. Like every day. Luckily, from what I have had so far, Arizona is making some pretty tasty wines.
Dave the truck with newly working again clutch.

Dave the truck with newly working again clutch.

So there you have it.  I’m sure I will think of more things about being married to a farmer that are semi- interesting, but until then I shall continue my quest for local products in my new locale.



Fall *Spring?* Market…

 

Got some more lovely fall produce at the market today.  And some sugar snap peas… who knew these would grow in the fall?! Also I answered a trivia question right on the cheese guy (Brady)’s email newsletter and got a $5 piece of cheese for free!

 

Here’s what I got:

Broccoli, Sugar snap Peas, and colorful bell peppers: $10

Garlic, baby ginger and baby turmeric: $2

Queso fresco, Gouda with caraway, Ricotta with garlic and chives: $7! ($5 off!)

Shiitake Mushrooms: $5.20

Turmeric and ginger

 

FREE Queso Fresco!

Grand Total: $24.20

 

Also, the Lovely Sue Murdoch is canning my pumpkins for me with her pressure canner.  Here is the first batch of pumpkin:

Indian River Pumpkin!



{September 15, 2012}   Cane Creek Farm Store 9/15

Had a kind of light week as far as using things up completely last week, so this week, I decided to skip the farmer’s market and head to the Cane Creek Farm store.  Multiple reasons: One is that Einstein could come with me and get out of the house for a little bit. Two is I know Bobby trades stuff for citrus sometimes, and I needed a couple of lemons for Ginger Ale 3.0.  Three is that there is always a wheel of Hoop cheese and you can get a chunk cut off of whatever size you like.

Einstein so happy to be riding.

I paid a total of $27.80.  Here’s what I got:

From Cane Creek Farm store

 

2 acorn squashes, one other winter squash that I dont now its name, 2 red onions, 1 bulb of garlic, 2 oranges, 2 lemons, 2 red bell peppers, 2 gala apples (best type ever), 1 POUND of hoop cheese, and a bottle of 5 pepper hot sauce.

It’s going to be another yummy week- I am sure of it!

 

 



{September 9, 2012}   Menu-ish…kinda winging it…

Gotta be honest, I just don’t really feel like planning out my meals this week.  I never got to the tostados last week, and I saw a recipe over at Two Peas and their pod for tofu tostados, so I might make those.  I got a couple of leeks, so I might make the leek pasta thing from jamie oliver– might really cheat and do it with Ramen noodle- seriously- that is the laziness I am feeling at the moment.  I have leftover stir fry and leftover wonton wrappers, so I might chop up the stir fry in the food processor and make up some “stir fry” wontons. I have calzones left from last week (2), and I might make another 3-4 more this week because they just freeze so veyr nicely and can be reheated in either the microwave at work or in the toaster oven at home (true story, I don’t own a microwave).

I made pumpkin pretzels, pumpkin muffins and pumpkin spice latte mix yesterday.  I was not kidding about Fall equalling pumpkin everything in my house.  I intended to make pumpkin spice ice cream, but I ran out of pumpkin at the moment- I do have some frozen though, so I might thaw it out to do that while it is still hot-ish outside.  It is raining as I type this, so it’s supposed to cool down.

Beautiful Rosette Pumpkin Muffins

 

Pile of Pumpkin Pretzels

 

Fried Pork wontons with cucumber to balance out the fried 🙂

Too bad my lovely veggies wont just make themselves into lovely meals.  Here’s to hoping that the hubby has some ideas when he gets back from work later today. What would you make with the veggies I got this week? Something with sweet potatoes… or butternut squash… or tomatoes (I am drowning in tomatoes)- Ah well… I’m sure inspiration will come to me soon 🙂



Farmer’s Market (plus cucumbers and green zebra that we grew)

To anyone who dislikes fall, you cannot argue that this is a beautiful array of colors and flavors to be had this week.  Find of the week is definitely the fresh ginger- which will be contributing to a new *not exploding* batch of ginger ale!

Here’s the breakdown:

Mozzarella, Farmer’s Cheese and figs: $14 (supposed to be $14.25 but the guy likes me)

3 leeks, 1 bunch of basil: $5

Fresh Ginger: $3.70

Bell peppers, sweet peppers and tomatoes: $7.95

Shishito peppers, fairytale eggplants: $6

Sweet potatoes: $3.25

Cucumbers: FREE to a good home (will be bringing them to church tomorrow to share)

Grand Total: $39.90



et cetera