My sweet neighbor upstairs works with a local farm, Kirsop Farms, here in Washington, helping them partner with farmer’s markets around town. Back in May, she told us about weekly vegetable boxes they offer for only $25. Local, organic produce left at my back door like a gift from Santa? #sold. The boxes contain a variety of about 6 veggies the farm is currently growing. Every box we open is a fun and different surprise, helping me cook with new items I might not normally buy. As an added bonus, it’s been such a fulfilling way to create community with my neighbors, forming relationships organically over a shared passion for food. (See what I did there?)
This is my first experience with the food trend, which seems to have recently garnered extra traction with our convenience-obsessed nation. Commonly referred to as CSA boxes, or community-supported agriculture, farms nation-wide offer subscription boxes as a way for consumers to get seasonal produce directly from the source. If this sounds like fun to you, I highly recommend doing a little research on farms in your area that offer CSA subscription boxes. If you’re in the Seattle area, check out Kirsop Farms!
Just the two of us at home can’t seem to work through such a big box of vegetables in just a week, so we have boxes delivered every other week. Without further ado, my newest blog series will be about our veg boxes and what I cook with them! Here are what some of our previous boxes have included:
May 31: carrots, baby bok choy, Japanese (Hakurei) turnips, head of green lettuce, mixed greens, Tuscan kale
June 14: Tokyo Bekana (Chinese cabbage), red spinach, mixed greens, carrots
June 28: carrots, garden peas, scallions, red potatoes, broccoli, mixed greens
July 12: swiss chard, scallions, romanesco, red potatoes, Tuscan kale, butter lettuce
July 26: red potatoes, red beets, sweet red onions, celery, carrots, romanesco zucchini
Today, I’m going to take you through how we’ve utilized our most recent box from July 26. Many of you already know about my deep love for Bon Appetit magazine, which this box showcases well. The link for each recipe is the title, and I’ve added notes on the tweaks and variations I utilized. All three recipes were slam dunks and great as leftovers, making them perfect for the workweek.
Farmers Market Farro Bowls by Christina Chaey for Bon Appetit
I am OBSESSED with this one! My favorite work meal I’ve made in the longest time. I’ve now made it two weeks in a row, which is saying something. It’s super riffable, filling & delicious, with an AMAZING dressing that perfectly satisfies any Korean cravings. It also comes together relatively quickly. To better maintain each components’ texture, I packed all my ingredients separately and assembled just before eating.
-The first time I made this, I didn’t feel like eggs and didn’t have any tofu on hand, so I used leftover sliced chicken breast I had in the fridge and smashed avocado. The second time I opted for a 7.5 minute egg.
-I used red beets (CSA) as my pickled element, sautéed romanesco zucchini (CSA) for the cooked veggie, and shredded carrots, microgreens, and sliced sweet red onion tops (CSA) for my raw additions. I also used farro as my grain but opted for the quick cook, 10-minute farro from Trader Joe’s. It’s a staple for me, so I always keep a couple of bags in the pantry.
-I thought I had gochujang in the fridge so I didn’t buy any while I was out, but I was wrong. 😦 But I had fun making my own with what I had on hand! It’s certainly not an easy shortcut, but the flavor was amazing. If you wanna give it a go, I put a recipe below for what I did. Otherwise, you could mix miso paste with a little cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes; alternatively, you could use Sriracha, it just won’t have the same depth of flavor or texture as gochujang. It is definitely easiest just to buy it! You can find it at international or Asian food markets or Whole Foods; if you’re in Washington, I’ve had no problem finding it in chain grocery stores here. It’s a great flavor booster to keep on hand in your fridge for dressings (as used in this recipe) or meat marinades. We’re planning on using what I have leftover for Korean BBQ wings.
Homemade Gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
- ⅓ cup miso paste (I think either red or white would work here; I used white)
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- About 1 cup dried chiles de árbol, ground in a spice grinder to create ⅓ cup powder
- (This probably isn’t something you have in your panty – don’t ask why I did. The most authentic option would be to use gochugaru, Korean chili flakes. You could swap for red pepper flakes, but they pack a lot more heat, so I would start with half and adjust based on your tastes. Aleppo pepper would also be a good substitute.)
- Scant ¼ soy sauce
- 4 grated garlic cloves
In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients and pulse until smooth. You can add a tablespoon of water at a time if needed to thin the mixture. Taste and adjust as needed, with more chile powder for heat, more soy for salt, more maple for sweetness, etc… Keeps in the fridge for about 2 weeks or the freezer for 1 month.
Makes about 1 cup.
Smoky Carrot Dip from Bon Appetit
This is a great alternative to hummus, which is a hit or miss for me depending on texture. By making this yourself, you have a lot more control over consistency, so I left mine with a little more texture than the super-creamy hummus you probably buy at the store. It was a great addition to my lunch box for my trip the next day. It packs well and is great with celery or crackers. If you’re flying with it, make sure to put it in a leak-proof container, as I reused a cheap, plastic container from the store and had issues with the oil leaking from the pressure. You could also put your container in a ziplock bag to catch any spillage if you’re worried about it.
-The recipe recommends peeling the carrots before roasting, a step I skipped since mine were relatively small and thin-skinned. I think the skin adds flavor and nutrients, but if you’re using really big ones from the grocery store, I’d skin them first.
-In place of parsley, I actually used the greens from the tops of the celery in this box because I had so many! They’re still incredibly flavorful, imparting that bright, clean flavor that parsley gives.
-For a shortcut, you can buy pre-roasted almonds from the store, just make sure they’re unseasoned. I think roasting your own gives flavor depth, but the impact was marginal. Your call.
-Initially, I misread the recipe to be ½ a can of chickpeas, not ½ a cup. Still turned out wonderful, but I needed to add a good bit more olive oil at the end to thoroughly combine everything. It also ended up making a lot more of the dip. I would recommend it if you are wanting a lot of it or really like the flavor of chickpeas. Though I imagine the carrot flavor will be much more pronounced in using ½ cup as stated.
-I ate this with celery sticks & crackers. Could also be a simple lunch spread on toast and topped with microgreens or sliced green onions.
Summer Greens with Mustardy Potatoes & Jammy Eggs by Allison Roman for Bon Appetit
This was a surprise! I thought for sure it wouldn’t be hearty enough for Matt, but he ended up loving it! The bacon is like cheating and entices even the most hesitant veggie eaters. If you’re traveling with this or taking it on the go, just pack the eggs unpeeled. Peeling them right before eating makes them more durable and easier to transport without making a mess.
-When she says teeny, tiny potatoes, she means it. I quartered mine first and they still took closer to 30 minutes to cook through. I suggest parboiling them first for about 10 minutes or using a lid to cover the pan while they’re cooking to help them cook evenly.
-Thought the bacon rendered pan sauce was delicious, it wasn’t really enough to thoroughly coat the greens. After tossing the greens and herbs in it, I added some olive oil until they were well coated.
-It is certainly greens with a side of potatoes. Feel free to add more potatoes and cut back on the greens if you’re hoping for more of a potato salad type dish.
All in all, this veggie box was a major success! We are anxiously looking forward to our next one. Do you get CSA boxes? Tell me about your experience with them below!