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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Eating Seasonally: Practice Makes Perfect

Recently a friend asked, "How do you use all of your CSA box and garden?"  This wasn't the first time a friend or family member has wondered that. After seven years of membership, we have worked out a system. We 100% build our weekly menu around the box, and one big way that we use an armful of vegetables is in a weekly soup or salad for lunch. Today, we made a lentil-and-curry based soup. Typically, we start with a base, such as this, and then we look through the refrigerator to find vegetables that will meld well.

Tonight, we each devoured steaming bowls of this new creation, topped with sour cream. So delicious that we decided to make the recipe permanent, right here, on our blog. Of course, living with a CSA box and a huge garden doesn't always lend itself to replicating recipes ingredient-by-ingredient, so this will always remain a skeleton, unless the stars and veggies align next fall, and we find ourselves with the same exact ingredients and happen to remember this specific mix on that day.

Here's what we used:
3 carrots
4 cups of escarole
2 cups of dry lentils
6 cups of water and vegetable broth mix
3 potatoes
1 small head of cauliflower
1 head of garlic
2 leeks
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. curry paste
1 lemongrass sprig
3 tomatoes
sour cream (optional)

1. We heated the butter in a soup pan and added the leek, garlic, and lentils. We allowed this to cook for a couple of minutes.
2. Then, we added the broth, tomatoes, carrots, and lemongrass. We brought it to a boil.
3. Then, we added the rest of the ingredients, except for the escarole, and let it cook until the lentils were tender.
4. We added the escarole at the end, let it wilt, and then served it up for dinner. It was wonderful topped with a bit of sour cream.

It made 13 cups. We each had one cup for dinner, and we stored the rest in Ball jars (1-cup in each). We'll have an easy, go-to lunch for the rest of the week.

Dinners will consist of plant-based ingredients, both from our box and from our garden. Whatever isn't used by the end of the week will go in the freezer. Eating seasonally definitely takes planning, but once you get the hang of it, it is easy ....and dare I say, fun!?

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