We picked up our second share from the CSA last Tuesday, and it’s been a mystery and  a challenge.

Left to Right – Kale, herbs, yellow squash, Swiss chard, collards, and bok (pak) choi (I think).  Cucumbers at the top.

I was grateful that Joyce (owner with her husband John of The Good Earth) had given Richard a list of what was included, but I was unfamiliar with many of these plants.  My first job was to identify which were which.   I spent quite some time on Google looking at pictures of greens, trying to figure out what I had.  What a treasure trove of fresh green goodness!   Now I need to find some recipes for inspiration.

Being busy, I started with what I knew: yellow squash, herbs and zucchini.

Whole wheat pasta with mixed vegetables (vidalia onion, grape tomatoes, yellow squash, and cucumbers) with chopped fresh basil.

While the pasta was cooking, I added the grape tomatoes to a non-stick skillet and let them start to simmer before adding sliced Vidalia onion, yellow squash and a few slices of zucchini. Or so I thought.  I held the green veggie out toward Richard and said, “Is this a zucchini or a cucumber?”  He said “zucchini”.  Silly me, Richard is not only color blind, he has no sense of smell.  As we later found out, when the “zucchini” tasted like pickles, sauteed cucumber is pretty tasty, and it added something a little different to this pasta dish.  A bit of chopped fresh basil also gave it a nice flavor.  I’m getting used to having pasta without grated cheese, and now that I have such flavorful fresh vegetables, I’d rather not bury their flavor under Asiago or Romano cheese.  But a glass of Merlot always goes with pasta, of course!

Another busy day, so again I stuck with what I knew:  yellow squash, kale, cucumber and herbs.

Left to right: Tossed mixed vegetables, cucumber salad, basmati rice with chopped greens and honey dijon mustard.

As you may notice, Vidalia onions are available right now, and they are so delicious that I have quite a few of them so they are making their way into many of my vegetable dishes.  This mixed vegetable melange includes 1/2 of a Vidalia onion, some sliced white mushrooms, a sliced yellow squash, and sliced red peppers with chopped fresh basil.  I served the veggies with a bowl of basmati rice which I cooked with some chopped kale and then added a tablespoon or so of honey dijon mustard.  The cucumber salad has balsamic vinegar and a little sea salt.   It was a nice variety of flavors and textures.

Then it was time to get down to figuring out how to make the best use of the week’s bounty.  Here are some of the places where I found recipes to use as inspiration.

FatFree Vegan Kitchen: Sinlessly Delicous 

Whole Foods Market Recipes

Nutrition MD 

Vegetarian Times

I was mainly looking for an idea for Bok Choi (or Bok Choy or Pak Choi)  I found one in Vegetarian Times that had an interesting combination of ingredients which I adapted for what I had on hand.

Bok Choi with mushrooms and red peppers in a soy sauce and honey broth.

I started out by sauteing the mushrooms and red peppers with chopped garlic in some vegetable broth.  As they began to cook, I added some soy sauce and a teaspoon of honey.  When the peppers and mushrooms were nearly done, I topped them with the bok choi greens, covered the pan and let them simmer until the greens were tender.  In another pot I cooked some black rice.  Here’s the end result:

Bok choi, red peppers and mushrooms simmered in soy sauce and honey, with black rice.

This was a pretty luscious meal, if I do say so myself.  Black rice, also known as “Forbidden” rice, has a nutty flavor and is fairly sticky.  There are a lot of claims about its healthy qualities.  All I can say is, it’s delicious!  Like many of the grains and beans I’ve been using lately, I found black rice at Ocean State Job Lot.  They have a large section of whole grains, cereals, rice and beans, many of them the Bob’s Red Mill brand.  I haven’t compared prices with the other stores, but I figure that if I can stay out of Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s I can probably save a lot of money.  Between the CSA and the Job Lot, with a small weekly purchase from Stop & Shop, I am finding everything I need for the plant-based diet.

That’s all for week 2.  We already have our new batch of CSA veggies so I will be ratcheting up my stove-side creativity and hitting the recipe websites again real soon!

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