More Than Salads

I picked up a new box on Saturday. We received the largest beets I have ever seen! My husband wasn’t too happy about that! Luckily, my mom, who came over for Mother’s Day, really enjoys beets and I promised to take her half of mine that I cooked and marinated today like I did when I made the Power Up Salad. I am also sharing some with my friend. I love fellow beet lovers! I reserved 2 cups of cooked beets which I pureed. I am going to try my hand at making beet chocolate cake. I keep hearing a lot about it. Time to see what all the hubbub is about.

You can see the giant beets in the picture below. The two dark red beets are what my beets normally look like. Those came with the greens attached. The two top ones came sans greens, but I thought they were interesting enough to deserve their own pic.

The two beets at the top are huge!

Veggie box contents this week:

Strawberries (Not pictured. We had already eaten most of them by the time I assembled the veggies for their photo shoot) 🙂
Celery- It was a very pretty purple/red color near the roots.
Beets- I snip and wash the beet greens to use in salads and other dishes.  
Carrots- snip these greens too to make carrot top pesto
Fennel
Lettuce
Basil
Micro rainbow greens mix
The items in the lower left corner were purchased at the farm stand (zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, a large bunch of mint, and also a large bag of wheatgrass, not pictured).

Veggie box contents

I am linking up with In Her Chucks for her CSA link party. Go check it out if you haven’t already!

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It is strawberry season where I live and we have been getting about a pint or so of strawberries in our boxes. We have also been buying extras from the farmstand because they are so beautiful and tantalizing that it is hard to resist them. I was not able to make it out to the Second Saturday Farm Tour to do some bug perusing because my daughter had a soccer game smack dab in the middle of both tour times. However, the farm is hosting a Strawberry Jam this saturday, basically a strawberry u-pick, which I will be attending. I plan to convert our strawberry bounty into delicious jam after the event. I will bring my camera along to the farm to take some pictures of any Veggie Friends who might appear during the strawberry picking. I am going to make time to attend a proper tour so I can do my Veggie Friends update probably some time in June.

We have had quite an abundance of mint lately and my husband and I made some beverages to use it up. My husband made a Strawberry Mojito (he is really good at making mojitos!) and I made a non-alcoholic citrus punch using lemon verbena tea leaves which I also purchased from the farm. They were both very refreshing. I hope you give them a try.

Strawberry Mint Mojito

Refreshing!

4 oz. club soda
2 large strawberries plus 1 for garnish
2 pkgs Sugar in the Raw or 1/2 pkg Truvia (We have made them both ways. I prefer the taste of the Truvia as it is very light and granulated enough to help muddle the mint leaves, but I am also used to stevia. If you are not used to the taste of stevia, use sugar or other preferred substitute)
juice from 1/2 a lemon
8 mint leaves
2 oz white rum (We used White Rhum Barbancourt that a friend brought us from a trip to Haiti)

Place sugar or truvia in cocktail shaker. Add the mint leaves. Slice up the 2 strawberries and add. Muddle together with the back of a wooden spoon until the strawberries are broken down a bit. Add lemon juice, rum and fill to top with ice. Shake well and pour into glass over club soda. No need to strain it unless you don’t want the strawberry chunks in your drink. Garnish and drink up!

Lemon Verbena Citrus PunchThis makes a concentrate you can dilute with seltzer water to serve or add seltzer/water all at once in a larger pitcher to serve as is.

Lemon Verbena Citrus Punch

2 cups of lemon verbena tea, cooled (You can brew to your liking using loose tea leaves or bagged tea)
2 cups of brewed mint tea, cooled
1 cup mint simple syrup (I made my own using 1 cup each of water, sugar and fresh mint leaves)
3 lemons
2 grapefruit
handful of mint, torn up
Ice
Seltzer water or plain drinking water
Prepare tea, set aside to cool. Juice 2 lemons, and both grapefruits. Slice the remaining lemon into thin slices. Combine in a pitcher (I used a 2 qt.pitcher)- both teas, citrus juice, and simple syrup. Stir to combine- add lemon slices, and torn mint leaves. Refrigerate for a few hours to cool.  Flavors will concentrate as it sits.
To serve: Fill a glass with ice. Fill 1/4-1/2 way with seltzer water then top off with citrus punch. Sweetness can be adjusted to your taste. If you want you can also add water to the pitcher until it suits your taste and refrigerate.You will need a larger pitcher to do this. Fridge space is at a premium at my house so the concentrated version works better for me. 🙂

New Box 4/31 and Power-Up Salad

I’ve been a bit M.I.A. lately. We’re on Spring Break and have been very busy gallivanting around town. 🙂 We picked up our new CSA box last Saturday. It’s taken me a whole week to put up this post! There was green garlic at the farm stand this morning! Hooray!

Our new box was a beautiful melange of greens. We made a  delicious salad to fully encompass the freshness and surprise– I got my family to eat beets!! My daughter even had seconds! I tried to keep my mouth closed as I watched her eat the sliced beets, one in each hand. My husband ate them, but didn’t say a peep about them, that’s progress right? 😉 The farm stand also had some insanely red, mouth-watering strawberries that we purchased. I made jam, I put some on this salad, and my husband snuck a few which he turned into mojitos!  The night before we pick up a new box, I like to scour my fridge for any remaining veggies to be used up. I made a delicious broccoli soup with a few of those stragglers. Recipes on those later!

Kale (I am not sure of the variety, but it is purple! And beautiful!) If anyone knows what kind this is, please let me know!

Beautiful red lettuce

More beets! The beet greens are delicious!

CSA Box 4/31 Contents

Savoy Cabbage
Broccoli
Red Beets
Carrots
Kale
Lettuce (Red Butter Variety)
Green onion
Micro rainbow greens
Mint (Very fragrant and fresh! I can’t believe I forgot to get a picture!)
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Power-Up Salad

I didn't take an individual picture of the micro greens, but you can see them sprinkled around the salad. I topped it with my husband's favorite vinaigrette recipe.

The contents of my CSA box this past weekend were so fresh and beautiful I couldn’t help but want to eat them all raw. I thought about just shredding the beets raw but remembered my family probably wouldn’t eat any of the salad that way so I just barely cooked them through, sliced, and then marinated them in a vinaigrette of sorts. The result was fabulous! It made me wonder if my daughter might like beet pickles. Anybody make those before? I will be preparing this way again. The vinaigrette I used to dress the salad is one I got from a nephew’s ex-girlfriend. The only change I made to it is the addition of Dijon or honey mustard to help emulsify it. My husband loves this dressing and will never complain about having to eat a veggie if it has been dressed in it. After eating the delicious salad, I wondered why I didn’t chop up some mint to go on top.

For the salad:
red butter lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
shredded Savoy cabbage
shredded kale
shredded beet greens
strawberries
2 beets
micro greens
a big handful of pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Prepare the beets first to allow time to marinate. (see below)
Shred all your greens and place into a bowl. You can toss the salad with the vinaigrette or dress it once it’s on your serving plates. Place all your greens onto individual serving plates and top with sliced strawberries, microgreens, marinated beets and pepitas.

Sliced and marinated beets.

To prepare the beets for the salad:
Peel the beets with a potato peeler. Place in a small saucepan and just barely cover with water. Place over med-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until you can pierce the beet about 1/4 inch through with a fork. Remove the beets from the water (you can save it to dye easter eggs!), allow to cool until you can handle them. Slice into rounds and place in a bowl. Sprinkle them liberally with red wine vinegar, the juice from half a lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Place into the refrigerator to marinate for a bit while you prepare the salad and dressing.

For the dressing:
4T olive oil
2T balsamic vinegar
2T cider vinegar
juice from 1 lemon
1T pure maple syrup
1T Dijon or honey mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Put everything in a jar and shake til combined.