Lucky Dip Produce Project: Week 1

Last Saturday we picked up our first Cropthorne Farm CSA share at the opening of this season’s Winter Market. What did we get?

  • multicoloured carrots
  • a massive (3 lb. 8 oz./1.6 kg!!) kohlrabi
  • shallots
  • sugar loaf radicchio
  • rainbow chard
  • chioggia beets
  • fennel

And because we are total impulse market shoppers, we also purchased some other goodies:

  • parsnips
  • Brussels sprouts on the stem
  • shiitake mushrooms
  • butternut squash
  • mixed coloured potatoes
  • more carrots
  • mixed apples
  • pears
  • quinces
  • honey

Cropthorne Winter 2014 Week 1That’s a whole lotta veggies! I’m excited to get cooking!

Lucky Dip Produce Project

It’s been a long time since I’ve been here and it has only solidified the fact that I just don’t have writing stick-to-it. I’ve seen myself notoriously start and stop on far too many of these kind of projects. It seems that if I don’t have a reason to blog, I just won’t.

Not only am I notorious for dropping the blogging ball, I’m embarrassed to say that I am also notorious for letting produce sit in the fridge and rot. I will buy, pick or receive vegetables, lose track of them and when I dig them out of the depths of the fridge, they’re too far gone to salvage and eat.

So this poses a challenge for the next while. We have signed up for a weekly winter CSA through Cropthorne Farm in Delta, BC. We participated in the farm’s CSA’s last winter and summer and we split the share so we received produce every other week. This season we’re taking on the whole share and we’ll be receiving a lucky dip of produce every week for 8 weeks. This is going to be quite the commitment because it’s a substantial amount of veggies and we usually end up buying others that are appealing.

So I’m going to tackle these two notorious traits (haha…I’m notorious for many more things, but here’s not the place to discuss them): I’m going to embark on an 8-week project where I’ll write about our winter CSA adventures. I’ll include what we receive, what I’ve done with the produce, recipes, impressions and hopefully, many other tasty morsels.

What am I trying to get out of this? I hope that the Lucky Dip Produce Project will inspire me to:

  • use up all my produce before it goes bad
  • share new and interesting recipes and resources
  • commit to blogging for 8 weeks

I’ll also get to expand my repertoire of vegetable cookery, have a dialogue with you about eating seasonally, eat more vegetables and feel good about decreasing wastage. And if I should get myself motivated to blog on a regular basis on the long term, I will be the more pleased.

That sounds like a delicious reason to blog.






Okonomiyaki to the Rescue!!

Who’s that new superhero? I’ve never heard of that manga character! OK who?

Okonomiyaki is one of my kitchen heroes. There are more detailed definitions of it but basically, it’s a savoury pancake usually made with a base of shredded cabbage, eggs, water or dashi and flour. As with all Japanese cuisine, it is highly regional and there are as many variations as there are cooks.

When I have an overload of veggies and leftovers in the fridge, okonomiyaki is my go-to dish. Over the past few months, we’ve been inundated with leafy greens from our community garden plot and CSA, so much so that I find bunches of kale, chard, beet greens, collards and the likes lurking in every corner of the fridge. One way to use it up is to make a big batch of okonomiyaki, feast and feel virtuous about overeating all those healthy veggies.

This is particularly good for families with kids who claim they don’t like to eat veggies. Fry some up, give them some dipping sauces and they’ll eat their fair share of vegetal matter. Super-Okonomiyaki saves the day!

Okonomiyaki (sort of)
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 eggs
5 cups shredded sturdy leafy greens (cabbage, kale, collards, chard)
3 green onions, cut into 2 cm pieces
Oil for frying
Garnishes and dipping sauces (Japanese worcestershire, hot chili sauce, sweet soy sauce, even ketchup!)

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and pepper. Whisk together and make a well in the middle.
Add eggs and a little water and start whisking, drawing in flour. Keep whisking and adding a little water at a time until a very thick batter forms. Don’t be tempted to add too much water. The veggies will often lose some water and make the batter thinner.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in veggies and green onions.
Heat a well seasoned cast iron pan or non-stick pan over medium heat. Add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Scoop half of the batter into the pan and spread to the edges so that you have an even layer about 2 cm thick.
Cook on medium heat until the top begins to look dry and the bottom is brown and crusty. Flip over carefully and cook until the underside is brown. Remove from the pan and continue cooking remaining batter.
Cut into wedges and serve. Okonomiyaki is often topped with Japanese mayo, thick worcestershire, shredded nori, red pickled ginger and bonito flakes. But embellish as you like.

Makes 2 okonomiyaki

Variations are endless. Here are some recent combinations (mostly because I’ve needed to use up what was in the fridge).
-Bacon: While the pan is heating up place bacon slices in the pan, then top with batter.
-Late summer veggie combo: shredded kale and chard, julienned summer squash, corn, cooked ground beef
-Cabbage, onion, BBQ pork, mochi