Convenience food

I blogged the other day about my decision to join Natural Farms, a local food co-op that offers a CSA-type deal where you can buy bags of random organic produce or meat for a flat rate every week.

We got our first bags on Friday. I signed up for both meat and produce, and it looks like we have a winner.

Our meat bag included a package of ground chicken, a whole chicken, a smallish beef roast, a package of brats, and an orange roughy filet. They tell you what’s going to be in the meat bag before you sign up for it.

The produce bag is a complete surprise — it’s just whatever’s available, including any local produce that might be in season. Our bag this week contained a local lettuce mix, spinach, bok choy, green peppers, crimini mushrooms, avocados, apples, bananas, and mangos. At this moment, I’ve got a roast in the Crock-Pot with Italian seasoning (including an entire head of homegrown garlic from last summer’s harvest) and a pot of bok choy simmering on the stove with chopped onion from the freezer and recently harvested garlic scapes from the garden, and I made myself a killer salad for supper. I’m posting the salad recipe below in case anybody is interested. It’s just odds and ends from the co-op and leftovers from my fridge, but it was really good.

I got a mango recipe, but it didn’t impress me. Mangos generally don’t impress me, to be perfectly honest. I’m thinking I might just make mango salsa to go on top of the orange roughy later in the week. I need to pick up a jalapeno, but I think I have all the other ingredients. If it’s awful, I’m sure the Bond Chicks will be happy to take it off my hands.

Mixed greens salad

A cup or so of mixed salad greens
About a third of a bell pepper
One crimini mushroom, sliced
Half a Fuji apple, diced
Handful of bleu cheese
Handful of black walnuts
Balsamic vinegar and olive oil to taste
Sea salt to taste

Throw everything in a bowl and scarf it. I don’t usually like fruit in a regular salad, but for some reason, I just started to crave apple chunks while I was putting this one together, and something about the texture and taste really worked with the other stuff in the salad. I like the way the flavors of the bleu cheese, black walnuts, apple, and vinegar sort of bounce off of each other.

The other nice thing about this co-op deal is that it’s giving me enough great ingredients that I feel like it’s worth the effort to dig out my good kitchen equipment, like that terrific cutting board I picked up at Central Market in Austin last time we were there. Cooking is so much more fun when you have a clean kitchen and cool toys to work with.


P.S.: Speaking of cool toys, I got all the boards cut to size for my deck project. I can’t wait to build that potting/sand-and-water table tomorrow. I’ll take pictures when I get done … and maybe while I’m working, if I happen to remember.