Cook Or Die Season II: Community-Supported Agriculture

My “Cook or Die” project started when I moved into an apartment-style dormitory shortly after university. My room was equipped with a small kitchen – really, just a hot plate, a microwave, and a toaster oven. Instead of always eating at the nearby KFC, I resolved to prepare at least one of my meals each day. Hence: Cook or Die. (Well, Cook or Starve.)

I’ve come a long way since I discovered that pita pockets were called pita pockets for a reason. I hardly ever eat out now. I’d much rather eat at home, where meals are frugal, tasty, and just the right size for me. The kitchen is well-stocked. The garden’s full of herbs. I’ve got a decent collection of favourite recipes, and I’m always learning more about cooking.

We’re heading into our second month of community-supported agriculture. W- has signed up for a weekly summer half-share from Plan B Organic Farms. Every Thursday, we pick up a box containing an assortment of vegetables, some of which I’ve never tried before. The box arrives every week, a relentless parade of perishables. (You can postpone for vacations and get a credit, but I think that would be cheating on our experiment.) I’m getting pretty creative about how to get through all of this plus the groceries we buy. The nooks of our freezer are filled with pesto in small Nalgene containers and chopped green onions in Ziploc bags.

I’m also discovering new recipes. I’d never made green garlic pesto before, but the Internet thinks it’s good, so I gave it a try. Today I baked kale chips, although I oversalted my first batch; and yes, they do taste oddly like potato chips. We’ll see if I can get W- and J- to try them. We all like seaweed, and the texture’s not far off.

I turned our ripening avocados into guacamole, mixing in my chopped-up frozen green onions from the vegetable box. I still had lots of guacamole after making myself an omelette. Turns out you can freeze guacamole, but I figured it was more useful to just share it with our neighbours, as they were having a small party. So I rubbed the tortillas with olive oil, cut them into eighths, and baked them for about 8 minutes at about 400’F until they were crisp and light brown. After testing a few, I assembled the chips and the guacamole on a plate and carried it over. Win!

Now we just have to finish the parsnip and the lettuce, and we’ll be ready for Thursday’s box. Cook or Die? More like Cook or Get Overwhelmed By Vegetables…

2011-06-14 Tue 19:27

  • http://smartpeopleiknow.wordpress.com Bernie Michalik

    Consider this: most vegetables can be grouped by the way to cook them. Some are leafy (like spinach), some are firm (like carrots and other root vegetables), some are soft (like mushrooms and zucchini) and some need special treatment (like beets, which can stain). Get a number of recipe for each type at least, and some that work with a combo (stews, stirfries). Then regardless of which vegetable you get, you can say: oh, a bunch of hard vegetables are left over: I will take this stew meat I got on special and make a nice stew or I will steam them and use a potato salad dressing to make a white beet and carrot salad (with some chopped kale leaves and goat cheese for colour and creaminess). Win! :)