Meanwhile…

My new box arrives tomorrow, and the only post I’ve made this week stars a vegetable that arrived a month ago. You may be feeling anxious for me right about now, wondering how I’m going to cope with an influx of new produce that will pile into my already overburdened refrigerator, since I clearly haven’t consumed any of the new arrivals yet. Fear not, gentle reader!, for this is not the case. I simply haven’t made anything worth photographing. So I thought that since this week has been so skimpy on posts I might make one documenting the simpler fates my produce meets throughout the week.

Because I know things are always better with pictures, I provide you with one here. What could be a better emblem of simplicity than my adorable rat, Crunch, nibbling a tender leaf of kale, no more processed than when it came out of the ground?

Crunch with kale

(For those of you who are grossed out even by pet rats, think of her as that cartoon chef rat in the Disney film Ratatouille. Everyone loved Ratatouille, right?)

The Fate of Box 10:

Lettuce: has gone into many a salad, including a full-meal salad tonight with carrots, thinly sliced daikon, Rome Beauty apple, napa cabbage, Manchego cheese, and hearts of palm, with a bizarre but tasty dressing of walnut oil, lemon olive oil, rice vinegar, and apple cider (I’m working on honing my dressing skills) .
Crocodile Spinach: Sauteed with garlic and then into a frittata with quinoa and port-infused Irish cheddar. Served with tempeh bacon, of course.
Pink Lady Apples: Snacked on straight and as a light lunch with some kind of beer-cheese. (Yes, I went a little cheese-mad at Trader Joe’s)
Satsuma Mandarins: Disappeared almost immediately as they are one of my top three favorite foods of all time.
Broccoli: Straight into the compost – more aphids than green stuff in this batch. So sad!
Kale and Collards: Immediately steamed and packed alongside quinoa and various lentil and chickpea dals from Tasty Bite, for several lovely lunches to-go.

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Savoy Cabbage

The last straggling survivor from the Week 9 box was this lovely crinkly head of Savoy cabbage. (Well, that’s not counting the napa cabbage, of course, but we all know how I feel about that.) I kept putting off cooking it because what I really wanted to make, what I kept fantasizing about until I would catch myself drooling at odd times, was a wonderful dish called ribollita, which is a Tuscan bread soup. I first had this soup courtesy of my mom’s boyfriend, who is an amazing chef, especially of Italian and French cuisine, and I immediately fell in love. That was many years ago, and he gave me the recipe, but I’d never made it on my own. And now, sadly, wheat and I are seriously estranged for health reasons. And I knew that my dense little slices of gluten-free bread were in no way going to make the pillowy bread stew of my Tuscan dreams.

Ribollita (Tuscan bread soup)

So you know what? I decided to go for it. I got one of my two favorite kinds of bread – potato rosemary – because if you’re going to go down, do it in a blaze of (rosemary-scented) glory. And I prepared the soup, using the whole head of cabbage because the cabbage is one of the best parts. And if I fell immediately asleep with the spoon still in my hand from wheat-induced fatigue (which I truly did) at least my dreams were sweet ones, full of savory warm goodness. What’s “comfort food” in Italian? I’m pretty sure it’s ribollita.

Ribollita (Tuscan Bread Soup)

1 1/4 C. cannellini beans (I used canned – otherwise cook separately until tender)
4 T. EV olive oil
8 oz. pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice (I used tempeh bacon)
1/2 stalk celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice (I skipped b/c I didn’t want to buy a whole thing of celery)
3 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 head Savoy cabbage, cut into 1-inch dice (I used the whole head)
1 leek, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 T. tomato paste
4 C. stock*
4 C. water*
6 thin slices coarse-textured white bread (I used potato-rosemary bread – yum!)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fruit EV olive oil
1/3 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Place half the cooked beans in a blender or food processor and process until smooth, adding water or broth if necessary. Set beans and bean puree aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta is light golden, 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, cabbage, leek, potatoes, onion and tomato paste. Add stock and water to cover by 1 inch. (*I ended up needing more stock and water than recipe calls for because I used more beans, cabbage, etc. I used about 6 cups of each, total.) Simmer until the vegetables are very soft, about 1 hour.

Add the beans and bean puree and simmer 5 minutes. Add the bread and stir together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let cool one hour or overnight.

To serve, bring to a boil. Serve immediately, drizzled with fruity, high quality olive oil and sprinkled with cheese. (These toppings are not optional toppings – they really complete the soup in an essential way.)

Serves 6 to 8.

I tried to eat this accompanied by a salad of lovely red-leaf lettuce, but I fell asleep before I could get to the salad course!

Daikon and Cilantro: Week of January 9th

Week 10
The tender winter kale alone made this a week worth waiting for. Which is good. Because boy, did I wait! The farm took a much-deserved break in December and January, so I had two weeks box-free to muddle through somehow. Luckily, it was the holidays, and everyone seemed to want to feed me.
In this week’s beautiful box:

Lettuce (top half of bowl)
Crocodile Spinach (bottom half of bowl)
Daikon Radish
Red Cabbage
Pink Lady Apples
Satsuma Mandarins
Carrots
Broccoli
Mixed Kale and Collards (between apples and satsumas)
Cilantro
Leeks