My laptop died a couple of weeks ago so I am just getting caught up!
This week’s (July 17th – week 3) CSA share was a rainbow of variety. One of the first things I learned about plant-based eating is that you should try to have as many different colors on your plate as possible with each meal. Well, this week’s fare will be quite colorful!
With this variety of colors as inspiration, I combined peas, yellow squash, Swiss chard, red peppers, carrots, Vidalia onions, and chopped garlic, simmered in a bit of vegetable stock with chopped fresh basil. Served with tri-color couscous, the result was nearly too pretty to eat. But we ate it, and it tasted as good as it looked!
We also had a few yellow squash from our home garden, this being the time of year when even if you give away squash, cucumbers and tomatoes to all your friends, you still have enough left over to stock Stop & Shop. So, using the yellow squash as the dinner bowl was one way to use up the little darlings.
For this dish I used those beautiful beets and carrots along with red peppers, Vidalia onions, and sliced baby Bella mushrooms, cooked with a blend of heritage grains from Nature’s Earthly Choice’s Ancient Grains. Once again, Ocean State Job Lot sells these wonderful grains, but I have also seen them available online at places like Amazon. The Nature’s Earthly Choice website seems to be down as I type this, but if I find it working again later I’ll add a link.
I sliced the squash lengthwise, then scooped out the seeds before placing the squash in a saucepan with a little water to steam them. Once they were cooked, I filled them with the vegetable and grain mixture.
It’s so easy to cook vegetables while cooking grains; just estimate the amount of time the veggies will take and add them to the water while the grains are cooking. Some grains have to cook for only 10 minutes, while others take 40 or 50, so sometimes I’ll saute the veggies first to give them a head start, and other times I’ll add them at the end. If you’re not an experimental, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants cook like I am, just cook them separately and then mix them together when they’re done.
My final CSA-inspired meal this week was collard greens and beans, with celery, carrots, red peppers, garlic, vidalia onion, fresh basil, thyme and cajun seasoning. A simple dish to cook, it was one of those one-pot meals created by dicing up all the vegetables and simmering them in vegetable broth, then adding canned beans at the end. It was like a stew; thick and full of good stuff.
Collard greens are new to my cooking repertoire, as I mentioned in an earlier post. I recently added a new cookbook to my shelf: “Wild About Greens: 125 Delectable Vegan Recipes for Kale, Collards, Arugula, Bok Choy, and other Leafy Veggies Everyone Loves” by Nava Atlas, which I saw featured on the author’s Veg Kitchen website. This is the perfect supplement to my well-used copy of ”Green on Greens”, as Nava Atlas is vegan and the recipes are completely plant-based.
I am highly selective about buying cookbooks these days, having donated most of my collection to our library’s book sale since I started using “Living Cookbook” recipe software on my laptop. Most recipes can be found online, and with this software I can capture the online recipe, including photographs, and add it to my own recipe file. Then, when I have an ingredient such as collard greens, I can search the entire recipe file for “collard greens” and all the recipes with that ingredient will all show up in a list! Granted, it takes time to set up, but I love the convenience. And when a book comes along that I know I will use over and over, like “Wild About Greens”, I’ll still spring for a copy.