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The one in which we start cooking from the box (and garden)

It's time.

Today is the first day of the Portland Farmer's Market for the 2009 season, and chatting with other urbanMamas I discover that lots of you are expecting your first box of food from a CSA sometime in the next several weeks. And there are questions, mostly, what do I do with this? This weird knobby vegetable (if it's huge, it's celeriac; if it's tiny, it's a Jerusalem artichoke; both should be peeled and can be diced and used in soups or gratins); these four heads of cabbage (one for braising, one to chop and put in soups, two for kim chi, of course!); this enormous quantity of kale (rinse well, chop roughly, and put in a large cast iron or stainless steel pot, with several cloves of whacked garlic, a glug of oil or butter or bacon fat, and some salt, cook, stirring often, over medium heat until almost crispy, put in everything or serve alone).


But let me start over. I am here to help you with your quest to cook more vegetables (and the occasional fruit) and figure out what to do with what seems like way too much of something. Also, it would be good if your children ate some, too. Each week (or thereabouts) when I come home from the market I'll write a post about something that's in season and link to some recipes I love, and present a few for you. If you've just received a CSA box or a gardening neighbor's gift, or harvested a bumper crop, of some particular vegetable, leave a comment and I'll try to come up with some great (and easy) ideas. And hopefully I'll have a few sentences of gardening too.

This week, I'm getting a second round of peas planted outside, and a few kinds of onion seed; a bed of lettuce; and hopefully some carrots and potatoes, too. I'll start tomatoes, jalapenos, celery and artichokes inside -- this year I've promised myself I'll use a flourescent light to help them germinate, we'll see if it works out! What are you planting, harvesting, buying, and eating this week? I need to make some of the aforementioned kim chi, so I'll be picking up an extra cabbage or two at the farmer's market, a jar of jalapenos, some carrots, and some collard raab. I love that stuff.


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What a great idea. I look forward to reading your weekly posts!
When we were receiving a weekly box, I was often at a loss for what to cook with the less common vegetables. Now, I'm working on growing our own garden. So far I've seeded lettuce, spinach, and chard outside under a cloche and just saw the lettuce popping up. Yay! Inside are four types of tomatoes, parsley, and cilantro. Soon to start peppers inside too. And, if I can find more space outside, I'll put in some potatoes this week too. I'm so glad it's spring!

I'm excited to read your posts! We are trying a CSA this year too, from Sungold Farms. We'll be picking the boxes up at the Beaverton Farmers Market and I can't wait!

Cafemama, I look forward to these posts!

I'm looking forward to these post too! We've done a CSA for the past couple of years, but we're growing our own this year. We are doing the "Square Foot Gardening" technique. So far we have planted peas, spinach, lettuce, beets, carrots, and radishes. Yum!

I have been picking up nettles and 'shrooms from the Wild Things folks at People's FM...making scrambles with backyard eggs, nettles, shitakes, and Willamette Valley Cheese Co. mozz. Yum!

I just did a batch of preserved lemons and need to make marmalade with the last of the blood oranges today.

I wonder where the cabbages are coming from? I didn't think they were usually available this time of year.

In the garden, we have sown shelling, snow, and sugar snap peas, lettuces, greens, radishes, spinach and arugula. Oh, and we did an early planting of potatoes the day after St. Patrick's Day. Inside, I've got lots of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, broccoli, cabbage, and onion starts going under lights. Due to health issues, I wasn't able to manage a big garden for the last 4 years, but my health's improving and I am psyched to garden big this year!

We're planning on a first attempt at square foot gardening this year (got lumber, but have not yet gotten them boxes built), and I would also love to learn more about canning, pickling and making preserves. My husband and I LOVE a good garlic pickle and I would love to get some advice on how to make our own.

oh sarah! i'm so glad you're doing this! i can't wait to read your posts and links. hubby picked up a big bag of kale at the market this weekend and i was a bit ashamed to admit that i had no idea what to do with it (which seems to be a bit of a faux pas here in stumptown).

the garden is hurting/ suffering this year. we were slapped with a 'violation of contract' notice last year for putting our garden in. it seems as though our landlord thought the mudpit of a lawn was far superior to our tomatoes, onions, chives, eggplant, peppers, corn, sunflowers and herbs. we were charged $25 a month as a fine. since then, the passion's been sucked out of me since i can't figure out what else to do. i'm considering throwing some raised beds on the sidewalk strip- i seem to remember someone telling me that was city-owned.

anyway, i'm very excited! at the least, i'll know what to do with the kale.

Rae Ann,

I haven't tried this yet, but my sister braises her kale and adds to homemade pesto sauce she freezes. Its so very yummy and easy too. Good luck!

rae ann, I apologize for not having responded sooner; your comment didn't hit my mailbox for some reason. kale is my favorite! I'm sure you've used it by now, but here's my standby preparation: http://www.culinate.com/user/cafemama/recipes/late_winter/garlic-braised_kale

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