Tag Archives: Fresh Box

Beet Ya

Beets are an interesting vegetable, don’t you think? They’re deep red, taste like the earth (but not in a “I just put dirt in my mouth” way), and are actually quite versatile. Admittedly, I didn’t really embrace the beet up until recently. Thanks to the CSA program I’ve belonged to for the last two years, I’ve had the opportunity to try both regular (red) and golden beets multiple times, and I’ve used them in a lot of different ways. Some of my favorites have been these beet burgers, as well as simply roasting them with some potatoes. I also gravitate towards beet salads when I’m dining out, but that’s mostly because they seem to always top the salad with goat cheese (one of my favorites).

So when I got beets as part of my very last CSA box of the season, I wanted to do something a little different with them. After looking around my refrigerator and pantry, I decided on beet quesadillas! It sounds weird, but it works. The combination of the earthy beets sautéed in spices, their chard-like leafy greens, and some melty cheese all folded into a tortilla was a perfect weeknight dinner. I would definitely recommend giving these a try. But be forewarned, you may experience some panic moments in the bathroom the next day!

Beet Quesadilla | FoodosaurusRex.com

Beet Quesadillas
– makes 6 quesadillas – 

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp oil
Bunch of beets (mine was 3 large beets) and their greens
1 medium onion
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1 Tbsp cumin
2 Tbsp water
1.5 cups shredded cheese
6 burrito sized tortillas

Directions:
1. Remove the beet greens, wash  and roughly chop them; put them aside. Peel and chop the beets into small cubes. Dice the onion. 
2. In a medium pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the chopped onions and sauté for 5 minutes until they start to become translucent. Add the cubed beets and continue to sauté for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the spices and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the beets are soft.
3. Slowly add the chopped beet greens, being sure to stir them around to make sure they are coated in the oil remaining in the pan. As you’re doing this, add the 2 Tbsp of water to help deglaze the pan. Sauté until the beet greens are wilted. 
4. Put the sautéd mix aside, and wipe the pan clean. 
5. Spray the pan with cooking spray, and re-heat over medium heat. 
6. Sprinkle a quarter cup of shredded cheese onto one side of the tortilla. Top with 2-4 tablespoons of the beet mixture. Fold the other half of the tortilla over the cheese and beet mixture. 
7. Cook the tortilla for about 1-2 minutes, flip, and cook the other side for the same amount of time.*
8. Repeat with the remaining ingredients

*NOTE: In order to make sure my quesadillas stayed warm after I cooked them on the stovetop, I put them into the oven to stay warm (300 degrees for just a few minutes). This will of course depend on the number of quesadillas you are making, and how long the whole process will take. 

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Filed under Food Blogging, Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

Friday Favorites

From time to time I like to share things I’m really loving at the moment. If you hang out with me in person, you’ll likely hear me refer to these things as “my jam.” I guess it isn’t as bad as calling them epic? I don’t know. But anyway, here are the things (completely unrelated) that I am currently enjoying.

PicMonkey Collage

Jack Rogers Sandals

I’ve had my eyes on these sandals for awhile, but never knew the brand, or where to get them. My sister (who is very fashionable, but is picky) refers to these sandals as “preppy Southerner shoes,” and while I am neither of those things, I liked them. So when I saw that RueLaLa had them on sale, I figured I’d grab myself a pair, because I’m not really willing to spend more than $100 on sandals.

You can typically find me wearing flip flops or basic (read: cheap) sandals in the summer, so these were a nice change of pace. The construction of the shoe is serious, and its obvious that you get what you pay for. I bought them in white so I could wear them with pretty much anything (and they have a little sparkle!), but I love a lot of the colors they offer.

Local CSA – “Fresh Box”

This is my second year participating in the “Fresh Box” program with a local fresh foods grocer, Alan’s Orchard, and my love for it grows each week. I really love getting a fresh box of produce every weekend and figuring out my meals for the upcoming week based on what I have. The grocery stores by me don’t always have the freshest produce, so it’s nice to know that I’m getting something that is from a local farm. My only complaint is that things can be really dirty (which I would expect considering they literally pick it out of the ground, and bring it to the store!), so it takes some extra time to wash things. If you have a CSA program near you, I definitely recommend checking it out!

Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo

This stuff is the bomb.com. Seriously. (Yes, I’m aware of what I just said). I actually tried this for the first time before becoming a vegetarian, and was really impressed with the flavors and texture… so naturally once I became a  vegetarian I continued buying it (it’s actually vegan!). While I’ve only had real chorizo a few times so I don’t think I can compare the two fairly, I can say that regardless of it’s close proximity to real chorizo taste, it’s awesome as it’s own product. I’ve used it in burritos, casseroles, grilled cheeses, omelets… the list goes on and on! I’ve found that both vegetarians and carnivores really enjoy it, so if there’s a Trader Joe’s near you, I definitely suggest giving it a try.

Nathan “Power Shower” After-Run Wipes

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I sweat a lot. So naturally I’m drenched after each summer run (whether it’s a speed workout or an easy run). So if I don’t have the opportunity to shower right away, having a wipe available is a great “get me a few extra hours” option. These wipes were particularly handy last weekend when I “ran” a color run with a bunch of my college friends. I wound up using two wipes, but was able to get all of the powder and color off of me, and I didn’t feel grimy and gross.

As  I was using them I noticed that there was a little soapy film, which I appreciated, since I definitely needed something substantial to get all the color gunk off of me. I just wish they came in bigger packages – I’m almost through the package I bought not too long ago!

How To Be A Heartbreaker, by Marina & The Diamonds

I don’t remember how or why I happened upon this song, but it’s been constantly stuck in my head since. I play it while I’m sitting at my desk at work, if I’m cleaning around the house, and even though I don’t listen to music while I run, this would be a perfect workout song too.

Hope everyone has  a great first official weekend of summer! Any big plans?

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Filed under Life, Vegetarian/Vegan

Modifications

On Monday, I stayed home from work like almost everyone in the Northeast due to Sandy. Even though I was working from home, I made sure to make dinner early (I’m talking before noon) just in case the power went out as the storm approached later in the day (the oven is electric). I had Namely Marley’s Lentil Sloppy Joe’s on the menu, and since there were purple turnips in our Fresh Box, I thought I’d roast them as a side dish. I was able to make the sloppy joe’s no problem, so a few hours later I turned on the oven so it could pre-heat for the turnips.

Almost immediately I heard a crackling that sounded like something was burning. To my horror I looked through the oven’s window and saw bright white light… the makings of a fire. I immediately turned off the oven and blew out the flames, and stared in disbelief. Of course I was immediately annoyed that my oven would have the nerve to break during a storm, and wasn’t sure what to make instead. Since I love when my mom makes mashed turnips for Thanksgiving, I figured I’d attempt to put my own spin on them. This version is vegan, but it would be just as good with regular milk!

I can’t have a post about a recipe I made during Sandy without speaking of the storm itself. Thankfully, my townhouse kept power during the entire storm (though it did come and go a few times). It seemed like everyone around me (including my parents) lost power, and are still in the dark. I’m surrounded by the Raritan River, but thankfully am a little higher up. So, while everything around me seems to flood and lose power often, this is the third major storm I’ve weathered here and have made it out okay. Though, being surrounded by such damage means I can’t really get anywhere – but I’m okay with that. I’m keeping everyone in my thoughts and prayers, and sending a big thank you to everyone keeping us safe (police, fire fighters, nurses, doctors, EMT, etc.)!

But back the turnips. If you’re not a coconut fan, you can definitely use some EarthBalance (or if you aren’t vegan, regular butter). The coconut adds some extra flavor notes that I enjoyed, but I know of plenty of people who are not coconut fans, so butter will work just fine!

Vegan Mashed Turnips
– makes 3 cups –

Ingredients:
3 turnips, cubed
2 tsp coconut oil
1-2 Tbsp almond/soy/coconut milk (I used unsweetend)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Boil the cubed turnips for about 25 minutes, or until they are tender and can easily be pierced with a fork. 
2. Drain the turnips and return them to the pot. Add in the coconut oil, milk of choice, and spices. Using a manual masher (I have a great double masher from Crate & Barrel) or hand mixer on low, mix everything together to your preferred consistency  (I like to leave a little chunk). 

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Filed under Home Cooking, Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

Vegetarian Flavor

When I first thought about taking the plunge into a vegetarian lifestyle, I reasoned with myself that I couldn’t do it because of all the things I’d be missing. Of course if you approach anything with the mindset of what you’re losing and not what you’re gaining, struggles are bound to happen. Thankfully when I finally decided to officially make the vegetarian plunge (almost 3 months strong now!), I approached it much differently. While I still have a pang for a cheeseburger once in a blue moon, I’ve discovered so much more in the food world, and have been able to make some pretty simple substitutions.

I abide by the rule that almost anything can be turned vegetarian. Obviously a steak can’t, but there are ways to approach meals and make them just as flavorful, if not more. So, when this week’s Fresh Box included radicchio, I went on the hunt for recipe inspiration  and like most recipes I find, there was a meat component. I found a recipe from Saveur that included pancetta, and immediately decided I could easily swap that out.

For the recipe, I went with Morningstar Farm’s vegetarian styled bacon. This could easily work well with smoked tempeh, and of course, bacon or pancetta. I went with the suggested pappardelle, but if you don’t have any on hand, a fettuccine or other egg styled pasta would work well.

Smoky Pappardelle with Radicchio inspired by Sauver 
– Serves 4 –  

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 tsp sage
4 slices veggie styled bacon or tempeh*
1 lb. pappardelle or other egg styled flat pasta
1 head radicchio, sliced
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste 

Directions:
1. Heat oil in a skillet and add onion, sage, salt and pepper over medium heat. Constantly stir for about 20-30 minutes until golden brown (it’s a pain, but I promise worth it!). Add in the veggie bacon and sauté for an additional 5 minutes. Add the radicchio to the pan and cook until wilted, about 5 more minutes. 
2. Meanwhile, boil 3-4 quarts of salted water, add the pasta and cook for about 8 minutes, drain (save about 1/4 cup of water).
3. Combine the pasta with the veggie bacon, onion, and radicchio with the 1/4 cup of pasta water; mix well.  
4. Finish off with the balsamic vinegar and top with grated or shredded parmesan cheese.  

*Note: You can buy “fakin’ bacon” that is already flavored tempeh, or you can buy regular tempeh and mix it with some liquid smoke for the same effect.

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Filed under Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

Weeds for Dinner

“Dandelions are weeds.” I’m sure that’s something everyone has heard – I remember being told that dandelions were not the cute little flowers I thought they were, but rather are pesky weeds that needed to be removed. I still continued to pick the dandelions whenever I saw them, pretending they were in fact flowers (like the everyman’s flower) even though I couldn’t shake the thought that they were just a simple garden weed. Since weeds grow rapidly and usually in places you don’t want them to (like my entire front patio), they have a bad reputation. Little did I know, though, some weeds are not only delicious, but also super charged with nutrients!

I’m not saying you should go into your backyard, pick out all your weeds, and then sauté them for dinner. I am, however, saying that dandelion greens are more than just the weeds attached to that pesky little flower – they’re a delicious herb that can be used in a ton of recipes.

This weeks’ CSA box came with a bunch of dandelion greens, and while I was intimidated, I knew right away what I’d do with them. After sampling a leaf to see how it tasted raw, it was clear sautéing was the obvious way to go. They taste like bitter spinach, but if you sauté it enough and add in some garlic and other spices, you’re golden. I mixed it with chickpeas and threw it over pasta, giving me a quick and easy meal! Since I’m still trying to be mostly gluten-free (the complete elimination did nothing, so I’m just trying to limit typical trigger foods – gluten and dairy), I used corn pasta with this recipe. Of course, you can use regular pasta (any shape will do), or another grain like quinoa.

Dandelion and Chickpea Sauté
– Serves 2 –

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 bunch of dandelion greens, stems removed and roughly chopped (you’ll get about 4 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes (you can use more or less depending on your heat preference) 
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp dried basil
Parmesan or Nutritional Yeast for a little cheesy taste, if you’d like 

Directions:
1. In a medium sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
2. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the dandelion greens and sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes.
3. Add in the chickpeas, red pepper flakes, basil, and oregano; lower the heat and sauté for an additional 5 minutes. 
5. Serve over pasta or your favorite grain – and feel free to add some shredded or grated cheese, or nutritional yeast! 

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Filed under Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

My First CSA

A few months ago at a street festival in my hometown, one of the speciality fresh food stores, Alan’s Orchard, had a booth that I stopped by. In addition to picking up a loaf of pumpkin chocolate chip bread (which was SO good), I signed up to be on their CSA waiting list. I know a lot of other bloggers participate in CSAs that are local to them, but I found they were less common in suburban New Jersey than I liked. So even though I was only signing up for the waiting list, I crossed my fingers that someone would drop out, but didn’t get my hopes up.

Fast forward to July, and I got a call from the store that they had room for me in their “Fresh Box” program! Since we were on vacation when they called, I was afraid by the time I got back to them they would have already moved onto the next person. Thankfully they hadn’t, and I was able to pick up my very first box this past Friday. The program runs from May to December and provides you with a (giant) box of seasonal fruits and vegetables weekly (you can choose from three pick up days), and the box comes with a ton of information (instructions for the best storage, recipes, and general information on the fruits and veggies) all for $25! They also offer add-ins that you can purchase like farm fresh eggs, cheese, and other goodies. The store also partners with a local wine shop in town to offer weekly wine and beer selections, too! Needless to say this program is a veggie lovers dream.

This week’s haul included giant jalapeños, an eggplant, four ears of corn, tomatoes, two kinds of peaches, rainbow chard, pickle cucumbers, green cabbage, onions, and tomatillos. I typically meal plan mid-week and shop on Sunday or Monday for the week, but obviously now that I’ll be picking up these goodies every Friday, that has to change. I’ve got grand plans for it all, though. Sunday was grilled salmon with peach salsa, Monday was spicy mushroom and eggplant tacos with salsa verde, Tuesday was a rainbow chard frittata, and tonight is falafel in a cabbage wrap! You can bet I’ll be sharing the recipes soon. I can’t wait to see what each week brings!

Do you have a CSA program near you? Do you participate? 

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Filed under Home Cooking, Vegetarian/Vegan