Tag Archives: #CSA #Recipes

How My CSA Box Keeps My Family Healthy

After 45 years as an off-and-on vegetarian (20 of them strictly vegetarian) including 7 years of owning and operating a vegetarian cafe, I decided four years ago to explore an entirely plant-based diet. This makes Farmer Bob’s CSA “Meal Boxes” (as I like to call them) perfect as the source of my meals, but what about the rest of my family?

For my nutritional advice, I follow drfuhrman.com. Dr. Fuhrman is a “board-certified family physician with over 25 years experience
in nutritional medicine…and an internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing…” I like his nutrition recommendations between they are common sense and easy to understand and follow, graphically presented and based on wide-ranging reviews of medical literature.

Dr. Fuhrman is the originator of the Nutritarian Diet, based on Nutrient Density, the maximum nutrition for the calories. His ANDI (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) scores put greens right at the top of the list as the most nutrient dense food we can eat. His Food Pyramid recommends whole plant foods for 90% of our daily diet. Based on these recommendations, I am confident that Farmer Bob’s Meal Boxes with the addition of some dried beans, grains, nuts and seeds, satisfy the bulk of my family’s nutritional needs.

As I eagerly wait for our first box, I’m thinking of what I want to make for my family during that week. The box will surely contain lots of beautiful young greens, including butterhead lettuce, kale, spinach, chard and bok choi. I’ll bet we also receive some radishes, which I enjoyed in salads and many a stir fry last year. Be sure to see my article in our last newsletter for information on managing and using those greens and a recipe for a Bok Choi and Radish Stir Fry.

This week I’ll share a few ideas for Kohlrabi, which we’ll see in our Meal Boxes in the early weeks of the season.

KOHLRABI SLICES FOR DIPPING
Last year we were invited to a local get-together at the peak of kohlrabi season. I made this hummus dipping tray with kohlrabi slices instead of pita, which worked very nicely. I regularly make several Middle Eastern style “salads” or dips, which I’ll share in this series as time goes on, including Hummus, Muhammara (walnuts, pomegranate molasses and red bell peppers) and Babaganoush (eggplant) and Matboukha (a Moroccan “salsa”).

Hummus with radishes, kohlrabi, zucchini & red bell peppers.

STUFFED KOHLRABI
Remove the stems from 3-4 kohlrabi and fully peel away the tough outer layers of them. Set aside the greens.

Using a coring tool, insert into the center of the peeled kohlrabi, but do not pierce through to the base. You will probably not be able to remove the plug. Insert again, slightly out more toward the edge, again careful not to pierce the base. Continue this process, circling around the original central plug. Then, using a small serrated knife, remove the plugs and scrape a little to make the central cavity fairly smooth. Reserve what you remove from the kohlrabi.

Oil and salt the kohlrabi inside and out. Add a bit of extra virgin olive oil to the bottom of a Dutch oven, place the kohlrabi cavity side down and saute until slightly browned. Turn the kohlrabi over onto its base, turn down the heat, add a little water (2-4 TB), put the lid on the Dutch oven, turn down the flame, and cook until the kohlrabi is as tender as possible (it remains fairly firm), checking the water occasionally. Set aside until ready to assemble.

KOHLRABI FILLING

Ingredients

  • Kohlrabi – inside pulp of 3-4 kohlrabi
  • Bok choy – stems, petite diced; greens, chopped 1/4″ pieces
  • Brown Basmati rice, 1 cup dried
  • Salt, 1/2 tsp.
  • Oregano, 1-1/2 tsp.
  • Lemon Juice, 1/2 squeezed

Instructions

  1. Cook the rice until done.
  2. Chop the kohlrabi pulp, and add to a pan with a little extra virgin olive oil, and saute.
  3. Add the Bok Chop stems, petite diced, and saute briefly.
  4. Add the rice to a food processor, then the sauteed ingredients and seasonings.
  5. Pulse several times until the mixture is evenly mixed and chopped and looks like coarse grains.
  6. Add seasoning to taste (salt, a little hot paprika if desired)
  7. Use this mixture to fill the reserved kohlrabi.
  8. Add marinara to a dish, and place the stuffed kohlrabi on top of it. Add a little more marinara to the top, and a few garlic scapes for garnish.

KOHLRABI SALAD
Last year, a friend of mine told me he loved the kohlrabi salad he grew up with, much like potato salad. I used my regular dill potato salad recipe (with lots of fresh dill) and substituted kohlrabi for the petite diced potatoes, and it was good! You can use your own favorite potato salad recipe and substitute kohlrabi — and I’d love to hear how it comes out. Or check out this Lebanese version, replacing the potatoes with kohlrabi:

  • 2 lb. kohlrabi, peeled, diced and simmered with turmeric until done)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1-2 tsp. turmeric (added to the kohlrabi cooking water)
  • 1/4 tsp. hot paprika
  • 2-4 TB chopped dill
  • 1-2 green onions chopped
  • 1 large dill pickle, chopped (I prefer Middle Eastern dills or cucumbers in brine, available through Garden Fresh Market in Buffalo Grove or Amazon, but Claussen dills work pretty well)
  • 1-2 TB lemon juice, to taste
  • 2-3 TB extra virgin olive oil

Oh, and those kohlrabi greens? Add them to your greens for the week and use in stir fries, smoothies, wraps and more! And the little stems you cut away when you peel the kohlrabi – save them as well. You can cut them up to saute whenever you use onion. It adds texture and flavor.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Introducing Meal Boxes! Beautiful CSA Veggies On The Way

Maybe you’ve heard about “meal kits.” These are packaged and shipped individual meals to make up fresh at home with recipes and pre-measured ingredients. Meal kits are quite an advance over TV dinners with their fresh whole foods and recipes that often come from  celebrity chefs.

Among the claims for these meal kits, offered by a number of lavishly funded start-up companies with various specializations (gourmet, organic, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.), are things like “no waste” and “locally sourced.” It’s true that precisely measured ingredients allow you to avoid purchasing more than you need, but there’s the packaging, each ingredient in its own wrap, and the shipping box. And locally sourced? Would that be local to the business or to you?  Because first the ingredients have to reach the supplier for assembly into kits…and then they have to ship out to you.

These kits come at a time when Americans express an avid interest in cooking (witness all the popular reality TV shows, internet recipe services, and good old-fashioned cookbooks on Amazon). Apparently not so many actually want to cook, though. As for taking what’s on our plates a step farther back to its source in the ground…not so much that either.

But consider this rewarding and effective step you can take toward providing superior quality, truly local, affordable meals to your family with no waste whatsoever. This step makes you part of creating a movement for sustainable agriculture and part of reducing the vast food waste in this country, estimated at 40%. Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) near you!!

With most CSAs, there are a variety of levels for participation. The basic idea is that you buy a share for the season at the level you choose and receive fresh, local produce directly from the farmer on that basis. In doing this, you support local, sustainable agriculture and enjoy amazingly fresh, nutritious and delicious food.

Some CSAs offer a worker’s share, which is what I do. This gives you an opportunity to participate at a whole other level in bringing food to your family’s plates. My own participation is something I look forward to with excitement each year. It is spiritually rewarding and makes me feel that I have a part in restoring our earth and our relationship to it.

For those of you already in a CSA, this series of posts will provide suggestions and a couple of recipes to go with your box. I work for my local CSA, Bob’s Fresh and Local, and my recipes address what comes in Farmer Bob’s beautiful boxes each week. I plan to do more than single recipes, though, because what we really have are “Meal Boxes.” Each week, I’ll post about how to use the whole 3/4 bushel box, which at $34.50/week (a 20 week share broken down by the week) easily provides meals for a family with more to preserve for winter or share. I’ll focus on simple, flexible preparation directed at using the entire Meal Box with a couple of more detailed recipes.

In my first post several week back, I wrote about greens, how I handle them when they first arrive and what I do with them through the week. My next post, to go with the first of the boxes, will focus on how our boxes serve my family’s overall nutritional needs. Following that, I’ll dive into expanding our ideas of breakfast.

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Hope to hear from readers about your own experiences with local sustainable agriculture, delicious whole food preparation ideas and related thoughts.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.