Monday, June 27, 2011

Farm Meals...

As I promised, I am sharing some of the meals I will be making this week from our box of fresh produce from our CSA farm Driftless Organics. Last night was a winner for the meal and for maximizing what's in the fridge!  There were only a few ingredients in the entire dinner that were not a part of our CSA box.  I used the salad greens, broccoli, 3 weeks worth of radishes, red leaf lettuce, and strawberries.  That's five different vegetables and greens in just one meal!!  Plus I added some organic yellow onion so we ate 6 different varieties. Awesome!

For me, one of the hardest veggies to use in cooking from our box is radishes, and we get a lot of them!  Usually, a new bunch for several weeks in a row.  They have a wonderful color and crunch to them, but often come with a serious spicy kick that can linger for quite awhile in your mouth, especially organic ones, because organic anything always has loads more flavor than conventional varieties.  I do not know very many people that love mad amounts of radish in anything.  My kids won't eat them raw, the flavor is a little too much for their tender tongues.  So I decided to try something new and slice them up and saute them with caramelized onions...which everyone in this house will eat if I do them "just right."

I love the beautiful color in radishes...the deep pinks are so stunning and vibrant!  This radish preparation was a huge success!  All I did was slice the onions and radishes thinly and sauteed them in 1 tbs olive oil and 1 tbs butter (from grass fed cows), until caramelized.  My sweet husband grilled a beautiful barbecued pork tenderloin to pair with this.  However, the barbecue sauce he chose was super spicy so I improvised quickly and we turned this into a lettuce wrap meal, using the red leaf lettuce to cool down our mouths as we ate the pork!  Here it is...

Pork tenderloin lettuce wraps w/ caramelized onion and radish, steamed broccoli, and salad greens.

To round off this beautiful summer supper and to welcome both my husband and oldest daughter home from their 7 day absence I also made a gorgeous strawberry pie as a special treat using the strawberries from our farm box.  I am trying very hard to eliminate all packaged, pre-made foods from our diet and attempted a made-from-scratch pie crust instead of a store bought one.  The kitchen was too warm yesterday so it ended up being a flop but I had an extra one in the fridge waiting to be used up.  I will definitely try this again, though.  The pie recipe I used is a new one for me that does not use any Jello or boxed gelatin, which contain food dyes and extra sugar, as the pie base.  This recipe, from my favorite cookbook, Simply in Season, uses fresh strawberries mashed and cooked with sugar and cornstarch, which is used as the base thickener.  I LOVED it!  So much more flavorful and sweet...and healthier!

And of course, what is a homemade pie without homemade whipped cream flavored with a touch of vanilla??

So there you have it!  This is by far one of my favorite meals we have had in awhile.  It was so fresh, filling and healthy!  And it made my husband smile and sigh with contentment, which melts my heart!

Strawberry Pie
 From Simply in Season Cookbook 
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Blend in a saucepan

1 cup strawberries, mashed
1/2 orange juice or water
Add and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

2 tablespoons lemon juice
Stir in and cool.

4-6 cups of whole strawberries (I halved some the of giant ones)
9 inch baked pastry shell, graham cracker crust, or shortbread tart crust
When cooked fruit is cool, gently fold in additional strawberries and pour into crust. Chill for 3 hours. 

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