Wednesday, June 15, 2011

CSA's and a Recipe--} Coconut Tempeh with Pineapple Rice

For as long as I can remember, my dad has always been a passionate gardener.  Over time, he has grown into quite a seasoned one, producing a very impressive amount of produce, beautiful flowers, and even a few seasons of various fruit bushels and trees.  I would like to think he has passed on some of his horticulture skills on to me as I've always had a garden since I've had my own home.  

This is the first year when I am without my own garden.  Since we built our house, there were a few things we wanted to focus on with the yard this year, like growing grass and putting up the fence.  It's been a little sad not to be able to produce my own veggies but I am lucky enough to have good friends and family that happen to have wonderful gardens and who like to share with their number one vegetable consuming friend. 

Since I didn't have access to my own garden this year, something I seriously considered was joining a CSA. (Community Supported Agriculture)  If you are unfamiliar with how a CSA works, it is basically a  way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.  You sign up and pay per season to participate and each week, your box of produce is delivered to a nearby location where you pick it up.  The advantages of CSA's are rewarding for both parties:

Advantages for farmers:
  • Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin
  • Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm's cash flow
  • Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow
Advantages for consumers:
  • Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
  • Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
  • Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season
  • Find that kids typically favor food from "their" farm – even veggies they've never been known to eat
  • Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown

It seems like a unparalleled process but for some reason I just couldn't commit to not knowing what vegetables I would be eating each week.  

Luckily, my friend did sing up for one but could not pick it up this week. She asked if I would be able to get her box this week and in return, I was welcome to the contents. 

I went to the pick-up spot today and came home with all of this…..

Holy lettuce!  That was my initial thought. 

So here we have….
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Romaine
  • Swiss Chard
  • Parsley 
  • Onions
  • Cherries
I was a little upset to see no "actual" vegetables. I mean I know all of these (except the cherries) constitute as a vegetable but I was expecting a carrot or two. 

Aside from the variety, the quality was what stood out.  Everything looked so fresh and vibrant.  Nothing appeared to be wilted or brown and the cherries were perfectly crisp and sweet.  Everything also seemed to be washed.  I'm sure you might want to wash it again. (or for those of us who don't seem to care if our produce is rinsed you could probably just let it go) 

Overall, I still really admire, support and appreciate the idea of a CSA but I don't think I would ever spend the money to be a part of one.  The act of selecting my produce for the week is something I actually look forward to and I would hate to loose that control over planning out my meals. Since 90% of what I eat consists of fruit and vegetables, it would be hard to make substantial meals from a pile of leafy greens each week. 

Either way, taking part in this experience was fun and I was glad to test it out. 

Moving along…..

I have a new recipe to share tonight.  That's 3 for this week!  I am on a roll. 

Coconut Tempeh with Pineapple Coconut Fried Rice 

  • 1 package of tempeh 
  • 1 T Agave
  • 1 T Soy Sauce
  • 1 T OJ
  • 2 T Dried unsweetened coconut 
Cut the tempeh into the shape of your desire and mix the remaining ingredients(except the coconut) in a small bowl.  Pour over tempeh and lastly, add the coconut.  Mix until tempeh is coated and place on a coated cookie sheet.  Bake at 450 for 20 min. 

Pineapple Coconut Fried Rice 
  • 1 C cooked Brown rice
  • 1/2 C Coconut Milk 
  • 2 T Soy Sauce 
  • 1/2 C Diced Pineapple (reserving the excess liquid) 

Add the rice, coconut milk, and soy sauce into a skillet and cook to combine. (you can also season this to taste with salt and pepper) Once everything is incorporated, add the pineapple and reserved liquid.  Let this cook for about 10 min until all of the flavors combine. 

You can add whatever veggies you like.  I added peas and broccoli and topped everything off with a few cashews.