Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Little Localvores: watermelon is their fave!

Welcome to Little Localvores - a weekly series on our family's first experience with a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Every Tuesday all summer long we will receive a supply of fresh produce and local foods through the Good Natured Family Farms CSA. I'll chronicle my attempts to get my toddlers (3 years and 15 months) to eat fresh and local, healthy foods.

Localvore: someone who prefers to eat locally grown/produced food.


This week's CSA bounty included GNFF cucumbers, eggplant, red onions, red vine ripe tomatoes, nectarines, Andy's candy corn, living lettuce, patty pan squash, cheddar cheese nuggets, and seedless watermelon. Instead of ground beef, we took home a second watermelon in our vegetarian bag - a good trade in our house.



Andy's candy corn was fabulous once again. This week we wrapped the ears in foil with a little butter, salt and pepper and grilled them. So easy and so good. I added lime juice and a dash of cayenne to one ear to mix things up. It tasted good, but it wasn't really necessary as this corn had plenty of flavor on its own.


We grilled the eggplant and Ryan combined it with some cherry tomatoes in a simple vinaigrette. The recipe was from Cook's Illustrated "The New Best Recipe," a standby in our kitchen and a great resource for basic recipes (see recipe below). We had these beautiful veggies alongside grilled salmon and brown rice.


Short on time with our impending move (everything is happening at once!) I made one of my favorite, no fuss salads for lunch this week. I almost always have these ingredients on hand and make this salad when I don't have time to make anything else. I used the GNFF Two Sisters lettuce as the base of this salad, added some red quinoa, toasted pine nuts (I rarely manage to toast them but it does add a lot of flavor), feta cheese and blueberries. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a little pepper is all the dressing this salad needs. Sounds like a strange combination, but it works. I found the original recipe here.



Do you know Richard Scarry's books? They are big in our house right now. We have a couple of them and "What Do People Do All Day?" is a favorite. Charlie loves this book. We read it every day.


The book is full of short stories describing how a house or a road is built, what it's like to take a train trip, or to visit the doctor. There is a story about Alfalfa the farmer and how he grows corn and sells it to his local market. When we read this story to Charlie we point out that the farmer sells his corn directly to Grocer Cat, and takes it to the market just down the road in his truck. We're learning the word 'local' thanks to Alfalfa and Richard Scarry.



I made a quick pasta dish for the kids Monday night, the last night before our new CSA share.We'd just gotten home from work/school and we were all a little tired and cranky from a long day. It was hot in the kitchen, Izzy was hanging on my leg impatiently as I tried to cook, and Charlie wanted me to play with his cars. With CSA veggies still on hand, I pulled together a healthy meal in about 10 minutes. This dish required minimal cooking - lightly sauteing GNFF yellow squash and boiling whole wheat spaghetti. I tossed the squash and pasta together with the leftover eggplant and cherry tomatoes from our dinner the night before. I shredded the last of the GNFF Cheddar Pepper Farmhouse cheese and tossed everything together with a splash of olive oil. Even without pepper, because Charlie will NOT eat pepper, it tasted really good. If Izzy had given me two more minutes at the counter before demanding I pick her up, I would have added some minced garlic to the squash for a dash more flavor.


Charlie had fun eating his spaghetti - we have plenty of time to work on table manners later.




Of course, the only problem with this laid back approach is that she has to copy her brother. As you might imagine, it didn't take long before the games began and noodles were all over the floor. Thank goodness for Roxie, our handy vacuum. 


The GNFF seedless watermelon was so full of flavor, like only a perfectly in-season watermelon can be. You know how watermelon can sometimes taste like nothing and you wonder why you bothered? This tasted like watermelon! The real thing. 







 
I had two very happy Little Localvores this week - success! Check out previous Little Localvores posts here.

Grilled Eggplant with Cherry Tomato and Cilantro Vinaigrette
From The New Best Recipe

Ingredients:
1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
1/4 t salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 medium shallot, minced
2 T minced fresh cilantro
2 T fresh lime juice
6 T olive oil
1 grilled Eggplant

Directions:
Combine tomatoes, salt, cayenne, shallot, cilantro, lime juice and oil together in a medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature until the tomatoes are juicy and seasoned, about 20 minutes. Pour the vinaigrette over the eggplant and serve.

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