May 01, 2010

New Direction

Hey, all! My original intention was to record the meals my family enjoyed with items from The Produce Box, but things are so busy I'm shifting gears. I plan to focus on quick, easy ideas for items in the weekly boxes, as well as tips for preparation, information about produce items and ideas for getting kids involved. So, here we go!

About spring onions- scallions, green onions, spring onions and yellow onions are all the same plant, just at different stages of growth.

Scallions are the earliest onion; the white bulb is the same width as the green part. Use all of the green and white parts in salads, sautes, stir-fry. Green onion bulbs are slightly wider than the green part. Use the same as scallions. Spring onions have a bulb 1-3 inches wide and can be substituted for leeks. Cut off any tough or brown green parts and peel off any white part that does not cut through easily with a sharp knife. Use in hash browns, sautes, stir fry, salads, stews. Searching for leek recipes will yield a vast array of uses for onions at this stage.

White, 'ugly' or Beta sweet potatoes are more perishable than their red (orange) cousins, but are also sweeter. They are delicious wrapped in foil and baked at 350 F for an hour; diced and cooked in hash browns or stir fry; as well as the previously mentioned baked steak fries. Try a stir fry of diced potatoes, chopped spring onions and asparagus. Serve over cooked brown or Basmati rice or pasta. Yum!

No Boil Lasagna

No Boil Lasagna

2-lbs part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
8-oz shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup parsley chopped, or 1 tbsp dried
salt & pepper to taste
2 jars pasta sauce, or 6-8 cups homemade
1 box lasagna noodles
1 cup roasted asparagus, cut into-inch pieces

Blend together ricotta, Parmesan, eggs, parsley, salt & pepper.

1. Ladle enough sauce in bottom of 13x9 baking dish to cover bottom.
2. Cover bottom of pan with one layer of uncooked noodles, overlapping edges just slightly and breaking pieces to fit pan.
3. Ladle some sauce onto noodles and spread to cover.
4. Spread 1/2 the ricotta mixture over noodles.
5. Sprinkle asparagus over cheese.
6. Ladle some sauce on top.
7. Sprinkle 3-oz mozzarella over top.

Repeat steps 1-7. Finish with a layer of noddles, sauce and mozzarella. There should be sauce left over, for serving.

Gently pour water inside edges of pan, until level reaches top layer of noodles. Cover dish with foil and bake in 350 degree F oven for 60-90 minutes, until water in absorbed, noodles are cooked and cheeses are hot.
Serve remaining sauce with lasagna.

Note: Substitute other favorite roasted veggies, mushrooms, or browned, chopped meat (beef, turkey, chicken) to vary the lasagna.

April 26, 2010

April 22 Produce Boxes

What’s in the April 22 boxes? Asparagus! plus strawberries, hydroponic baby Bibb lettuce, Romaine lettuce, NC peanuts, spring onions, red or white (Beta) sweet potatoes, red radishes, cabbage and pots of herbs- thyme, dill, oregano, basil and cilantro, (for a kitchen herb garden)

Here are some tips and quick, easy recipes for these delicious, fresh, whole foods:

So what’s for dinner? Create a fresh salad with the lettuces, one spring onion, chopped and some strawberries, quartered. Toss in some Feta cheese and a handful of chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds and toss with a balsamic vinaigrette.

Wash, dry and cut a few sweet potatoes into steak fries. Toss lightly with canola or olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground pepper or Cajun Seasoning*. Place on foil-covered baking sheet and bake at 400 degree F for 20 mins or so.

I love this recipe. It’s quick and easy and roasting brings out the mellow and nutty flavors of this wonderful veggie. When preparing asparagus, no need to cut or trim the ends. Asparagus snaps at the place on the stalk where woody meets tender. Roasted Asparagus can served as a side, added to salads or sandwiches or tossed into pastas, like my No Boil Lasagna- tomorrow’s easy recipe. :)

Roasted Asparagus


1 bunch asparagus

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

Lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F (yes- that’s 500!)

Wash and dry asparagus (lay an entire bunch out flat on a dish towel and roll the towel up). Snap off woody ends.

Lay asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over stalks. Gently roll then in your hands to cover with oil.

Spread out flat, trying to have each one make contact with the baking sheet.

Roast for 4-5 mins. Toss gently. If very thin, taste for doneness. If asparagus needs more time, toss gently, lay out flat and return to oven for 1-3 more mins.

When done, sprinkle to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired. Delicious hot, cold or room-temp. So good!

*Cajun Seasoning

1 ½ cups salt

3 Tbsp black pepper

2 Tbsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp ground nutmeg

2 tbsp dried parsley

4 Tbsp ground cayenne pepper

2 Tbsp chili powder

Blend all ingredients well. Store in a tightly sealed container. Or divide into small glass jars and share with friends. A little goes a long way. J