Just kidding! All the days were rainy this week. Our farmer’s notes about the weather have moved from excitement for the sudden burst of vegetable growth to concern for the state of zucchinis. Everything in our box looks great, so I wouldn’t think much about the effect of rain on my food if he didn’t mention it; I’m usually too worried about wet shoes and whether I’ve left a spare umbrella in my office.
This week we got: Napa cabbage, beets with tops, lettuce, onions, zucchini, rosemary, chard, and basil. I bought strawberries and blueberries at the market.
But no time to cook! It was a hot Wednesday but threatening to rain, so we dropped our veg at my neighbor’s house and made a mad dash for the marina. We got in a beautiful breezy boat ride in between summer showers.
On Thursday, though, I was expecting an out of town friend to drop in for a short stay, so I used the impending company as an excuse to get some of this week’s haul squared away. I chopped up the strawberries, which were small and moments away from overripeness at the end of their season, and put lemon and sugar on them to help them keep. I grated the giant zucchini I bought at the market two weeks ago (!) and made muffins to encourage myself to have coffee and breakfast at home before work. I made a pot of black beans and rice and tomatoes, and sauteed this week’s chard and beet greens with some sweet potatoes I’ve had since our first shares more than a month ago. By the time my friend fought her way home through pouring rain and slow trains, we were moments away from a nice filling dinner.
I really meant to cook over the weekend, but it was busy and filled with excellent and occasionally unplanned friendvisits. I ate out for more meals than usual, but enjoyed the muffins, yogurt and berries, and leftovers for the interim meals.
On Monday I realized I needed to take care of the basil or it’d go brown and damp in my fridge. Usually I like to make pesto to have around for pastas and whatnot, but I had no cheese on hand, so instead I decided to infuse it in oil and then do the same with the rosemary. On reflection I think I prefer this method to drying them in the oven: both rosemary and basil are quite strong when fresh but don’t pack the same punch when dry, and the infused oil keeps a great deal of the flavor intact. Infusing oil doesn’t take too long. . . Food Network has a suggested preparation that’s more or less what I do. I made both small batches between work and yoga, and when I got home I used the rosemary oil to saute strips of golden zucchini and the remaining beet greens. I ate those on top of coucous and with half an avocado, as I usually do when I don’t have meat around.
Tuesday is the night before my trash pickup, so I emptied my freezer of four gallons of veggie scraps–the peels of carrots and sweet potatoes, the butts of bok choi and alliums, bean ends and various yellowed leaves–and boiled them in a stock pot while I ate salad and worked on some forthcoming articles.
As you see, I tend to keep jars and plastic containers from all sorts of foods and reuse them for food storage. The pitcher will go in the fridge and I’ll try to use it up before it goes sour; the pints and quart will be labelled and put in the freezer until needed. The oils have to live in the fridge, alas, but they should be used up before they start to congeal anyway.
We didn’t tackle the Napa cabbage or beet roots this week. The beets usually come in threes, so we cook them together so as to split them evenly; cabbage heads yield so much roughage that we tend to tackle them collaboratively with recipes that have a lot of steps or a lot of different ingredients. But all our usual cooking days were taken up with pleasant plans, so those things will just have to keep! Hence the title–this week was all about managing which food to eat and which to preserve for the next week–a week with a holiday, so I look forward to time and company for more cooking at home.