Over at The Balanced Platter today, I’m talking about eating locally and seasonally. Check it out. Often, when I talk to people about getting this “local box” from Greenling (a company that delivers local and organic foods to the Dallas/Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Austin areas), I am asked about what is included in that box. The next question inevitably is “What do you do with all of that produce? I’d never know how to cook (insert vegetable here).”
The answer? To some degree, I experiment. Of course, I also “google”, if I’m either stumped or have never encountered a certain vegetable before. Someone, somewhere, has cooked it – I promise!
But just so you can see what I do, here’s a rundown of how I cooked the “local box” I received in the photo above:
White button mushrooms and green garlic: I put half of these in the food processor along with some onion and the green garlic and made a “paste”, which I then sauteed a bit, and incorporated into some ground grassfed beef, almond flour, an egg, and some spices to make burger patties. They were delicious and the family had no idea there were mushrooms in their burgers!
Sweet potatoes: These were made into my maple sweet potato puree - a staple in our house.
Mustard greens and collard greens: On two separate occasions, I sauteed a bit of bacon, chopped the greens, and added them and some vegetable broth to a large saucepan and simmered for about 10 minutes. A bit of salt and pepper, and they were good to go. If I wanted to, I could have added onions and made them more traditional like I did here, or I could have gone vegan and made collard greens with mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes.
Spinach: This was added to green smoothies throughout the week.
Turnips: These were made into a turnip mash – peel and dice, and simmer in salted water. Drain and mash, adding (non-dairy) milk and “butter” as desired. Just like mashed potatoes. I’ve also made turnip-rutabaga mash, combining the two vegetables together, when rutabagas have arrived in my “local box”. I served this mash with my crockpot pot roast (using up more of the green garlic!) and it was so satisfying.
Brussels sprouts: These were used in the mustardy braised brussels sprouts recipe I cooked from Wheat Free Meat Free.
Oranges and Grapefruit: These were simply eaten out of hand. I love citrus as an afternoon snack.
That’s it! I actually rather enjoy trying to figure out what to do with the produce that comes in this box each week. It’s an adventure. And if by the end of the week, there’s anything that’s been left unused, it either can go into a soup (like a creamy chicken soup), or I also enjoy dicing them up and incorporating them into some scrambled eggs for breakfast. I’m a sucker for any vegetable+egg combo.
The big key for me in successfully using up all of this produce is to plan my meals around it and other items I already have in my freezer and pantry. (If you want to know more about how to meal plan, Amy over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free has some great tips and tricks in her Meal Planning Made Simple series.) Then I’m making the most of what I have, and I can plan to eat the more fragile produce first, and make plans for the hardier stuff later in the week.
Do you buy and cook local and seasonal, or are you striving to increase your local eating this spring? Share your thoughts, tips and tricks in the comments!