Sunday, October 17, 2010

Surviving Your Farmshare...and Liking It

Anyone who has ever had a farmshare knows what I mean. You arrive home with bags full of incredible produce. You feel good about yourself. You are going to feed your family with pesticide-free, non-GMO food. You're supporting the community farm. And suddenly, looking at the obscure root vegetables, radishes, and Very Healthy Vat of Yogurt you wonder: how the hell am I going to use this up?

Because wasting food would totally squash all those self-righteous warm fuzzies.

You get on Epicurious. You ask friends what they do with Swiss Chard, because you just can't imagine eating it one more time the way you fix it. You make a weird casserole and egg salad with the ridiculous surplus of eggs you now have in your life (the girls are giving us 2 a day in addition to our farmshare dozen!).

And somehow there is still a head of romanesco 24 hours from bad in the bottom drawer of your fridge, two peppers, four onions...and pick-up for the next week's share is a day away.

Here are some suggestions:

1 - Everything tastes good in quiche. I always sautee miscellaneous greens (I'm talking to you, Swiss Chard and Kale), onions, and leftover veggies and dump them into a ready-made crust with good cheese. I make two at a time, and they inevitably get eaten.

2 - Soup. I recently made a tofu-noodle soup - no recipe, just Megan muppet-chef cooking - with all sorts of refrigerator and pantry miscellany. Red peppers, onions, Swiss Chard (ubiquitous!), mushrooms, tofu, stock, half a box of orzo, carrots, garlic, etc.

3 - Make absurd, adventurous, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink salads.

4 - Look for the farmer's recipes. Our farm, Clearbrook, sends out weekly emails with suggestions for how to use the produce. Pictured above: roasted carrots and fennel with Parmesan. It was simple and delicious, and the farm's suggestion. Roasted fennel is high on my favorite-roasted-things list.

5 - Try different seasonings. My default for everything is garlic and more garlic. But it's good to do some curry one night, smoked paprika another - or all the vegetable dishes start to taste the same, and enthusiasm wanes.

6 - Double or triple recipes and freeze what doesn't get eaten. A good tactic for soups.

7 - When in doubt, blanch and freeze.

Let me be honest - I still fail, and lettuce goes bad. But each year I'm getting craftier with kale.

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