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CSA Hauls week 5 & 6

Well, Stephanie has been super busy, so apparently she has bailed on the CSA Haul posting for those 2 weeks.  Hopefully she’ll be back doing her sworn appointed CSA Haul duties this week.

Just so we are completists, here’s our haul lists for the previous two weeks:

Here’s our haul for week 5 (picked up 7/8/10)

1 bunch of beets (traded)
3 pieces of Zuchini (6)
1 head of Broccoli (2)
1 head of Napa Cabbage
1 bunch Mini Onions
1 bunch of Chard
1 head of Lettuce (traded)
1 bag of Peaches (in an apple bag)

Here’s our Haul for week 6:

Purple eggplant
Image by fortinbras via Flickr

2 pieces of eggplant (4) I took the purple eggplant
2 pieces of zuchini/squash
2 pieces of cucumber
1 bunch mini onions
1 lb beans
1 bunch of green curly Kale (2)
1 head of Lettuce (traded)
1 bunch of Parsley (traded, much to Stephanie’s chagrin)
1 bunch of mint (kept, much to Stephanie’s chagrin)

1 bag of plums

Stephanie made a delicious cole slaw from the Napa cabbage that we ate with a slow cooked pork roast that ended up being absolutely fantastic.

Our fridge was so full after the second haul that I immediately cooked all the Kale, and all of the spring onions (we’d had some from the previous week)  I made a ground meat/beans/onions quick chili that got put over rice, and the remainder made a delicious omelette yesterday. That got our fridge down to acceptably full levels.

Both bags of fruit have been really good.  Someone at the pickup complained last year that some of the plums were tasteless, but I didn’t find that to be true this year.  The red plums are sweet like candy, and the yellow plums are just plain delicious. And the peaches (not apples, as the bag said) were hard when we got them, but one day later were dripping with juicy peach goodness.

Our fridge is still pretty full, but we’re working on it!

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CSA Haul Week 4: Beyond the peas

csa-haul-peasI’m really sick of the peas.  The first week they were so fresh and springy and we had tons of them – they became a lovely afternoon snack, part of a warm salad, and a dinner side with balsamic vinegar.  The second week they were less fresh and less springy and I struggled to steam them and eat them, but I did, mainly as a snack.  The third week I have to admit they got yucchy in the fridge and they got tossed out.  This is the fourth week of peas, and now they’re old and tired.  They’re big and tough and I don’t even want to take the time to snap off the strings.  But I’ve put them lovingly into a green bag and into the crisper drawer in the fridge.  We’ll see what happens.

This week’s haul:

1 bunch Japanese Hakurei Turnips
1 bunch Red Beets (traded for extra Kale)
1 bunch Siberian Kale
1 bunch Italian Parlsey
1 bunch Scallions
1 Lettuce Head
1/2 lb snap peas

No fruit; strawberry season has come to an early end, unfortunately.


Scallions & kale

The scallions are particularly beautiful this week – they were too big to fit in the crisper drawer so I hacked off some of the tops.  But there’s still plenty to last for a week’s worth of meals, and maybe we’ll grill some this weekend at the beach, too.

Adam is steaming up a bunch of last week’s rainbow chard and this week’s kale with which we’ll create a couple of portable summer salads to take to the beach for the holiday weekend.  For the kale I’ll probably do an Asian-style vinaigrette (rice wine vinegar, maybe some mirin or fish sauce, sesame oil) and toss in some sesame seeds.  For the chard, I think I’ll chop it and combine it with some red quinoa that Adam cooked for tonight’s dinner as well as some of the scallions.  And what the hell, maybe I’ll steam some peas to go in there too.


Parsley, turnips & lettuce

Here’s hoping for blueberries next week.  I think it’s almost time.

Our CSA haul – a new weekly series beginning soon

One of my recent resolutions is to blog more frequently here at Yonked.com.  I’ve been blogging three or four times a week at StephanieSchwab.com, and I’m finding that now that I’m writing regularly it seems easier to commit to more frequent posts here as well.  So I’m planning on a weekly series of posts about our CSA haul – that is, the weekly bounty that we receive from our Community Supported Agriculture program.  I plan to share photos and links to recipes and perhaps original recipes as well. Our CSA will make its first delivery either next week or the week after, depending on the first harvest; my posts will start as soon as the season starts.

But first, a few words about our CSA experience.  We’ve been members of our current CSA, Hawthorne Valley Farm, for three years now, and CSA members for five years total.  Adam and I are big fans of the CSA concept for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Cutting down on the grocery shopping, as we always have fresh food in the house,
  • Lower costs for local, organic fruits and veggies,
  • The excitement of not knowing what we’re going to get week-to-week, and the fun of figuring out what to do with it,
  • And, of course, that everything is so yummy!  It’s fresh as fresh can get, given that we live in an urban jungle and not on the farm.
Our CSA haul - a new weekly series coming soon

img credit: Hawthorne Valley Farms

We pick up weekly in Riverdale, which is about 10 minutes from us, and the CSA pickup point is conveniently located next to a great playground, so Aaron will be pretty happy with that.  Our share entitles us to whatever the farm has available in the weeks from mid-June until late October.  There are some weeks we don’t get much, and lots of weeks when we can’t possibly eat everything we get and we freeze stuff or share it with friends.  When we’re out of town we ask friends to pick up and eat our share.

Over the years we’ve had our share (no pun intended) of disappointments – the CSA we joined our first year (which was also their first year) only gave us a single radish and a single cucumber for weeks on end, and last year a huge rain wiped out many crops and we had a pretty sparse midsummer.  But we’ve also been exposed to new veggies (garlic scapes, anyone?), had a sorcerers’ apprentice experience with corn one year (it just wouldn’t stop coming!), and had some really funny adventures with our CSA haul.

Please tune in next week or the week after to hear about our first delivery.  I look forward to sharing with you!

Yonkers Riverfest and X20

We went and partook of an annual event at Yonkers– the Yonkers Riverfest— five stages of musicians, lots of people, street food, crafts etc. And it’s all free to attend!

Considering the scale of the thing, it was kind of podunk. While they had huge amounts of bands, and a fair amount of people– (The local newspaper estimated 20-30,000 people) the organization seemed haphazard, there were no directions as to what was going on and where anything was happening. They were accepting performers and crafts vendors up until nearly the very end of the performance.

We got there relatively late 6:15, and the parking was a bit of a problem, but my parking kharma kicked in, and we ended up getting a street spot about a block from the festival. We walked around for a bit, sampling some of the music stages, and looking at the street food– there were lots of empty tables where vendors either left or were never brought in.

The music was fine, we saw a little bit of a jazz/funk band, a blues band, and at the end of the night, just a bit of the headlining act Blood, Sweat and Tears (but featuring one of the guys from Three Dog Night)

We were hungry and nearly ate at the Big Bird booth (it’s a soul food place on Nepperhan Ave which we drive by a lot but never ventured in) But we decided instead to try our luck at X20, the Peter X. Kelley restaurant right on the waterfront. (Peter won the Iron Chef title recently, beating out Bobby Flay– his restaurant in Yonkers had been five years in the making, and he recently opened it) We weren’t sure if they would serve us (I had shorts, we weren’t dressed up) but we were not the worst dressed people there. The restaurant tables were all full or reserved, but they serve a full menu in the Dylan Lounge, their bar. We got there at just the right time, and picked up a seat at their extra tall communal table. The bar was beautifully appointed, with some great views of the George Washington Bridge.

It was expensive but worth it– and we were happy we went to the bar. We ended up getting four appetizers — the ravioli with short ribs, foie gras, and truffle butter (incredibly rich and decadent), the chilled pea soup with sashimi scallop submerged (we had the scallop served on the side, and I ate it, as S doesn’t eat fish– the pea soup was great and served in a bowl of ice, so that it stayed cold, and the raw scallop was delicious), the roasted cauliflower with brown butter and panco (very good, although the butter wasn’t quite brown enough), and the tuna/mango/lychee salad– also good, and served beautifully, but not very much tuna (and not served over lettuce, so how is that a salad?) We also had two desserts, a delicious cheese plate (a spoonful of epoises, and le petit basque– two very nice cheeses, and a creme brulee which was served with a bitter chocolate cake over a hard-caramel pedestal– also served beautifully.

The service was a little uneven– we didn’t get our roll until the dessert menu, they tried to take away the soup before we were finished, but other empty dishes languished, and the desserts (and bill) took forever (although the appetizers, and our neighbors entrees seemed to come right out) The plates were all beautiful (they even had a tiny bowl for the one scallop)

Sitting at the communal table was kind of fun– we ended up chatting a little with our seatmates, and talking about other restaurants in the area.

All in all, it was a great date night, and not bad from a price perspective (it ended up costing us $66 + tip) — the entrees were in the $25-30 range, and we had a much wider selection of food. They also have a sashimi/sushi bar that looked great to just kind of hang out at.

Their website is http://www.xaviars.com/yonkers/

We took some photographs, and here they are….

The Christmas Goose

For Jews, we’ve led a very busy Christmas season. First we had our faux-Christmas on the second day of Hanukkah in Chicago – when we traditionally exchange gifts, under the Christmas tree, with my dad and stepmom and siblings. (Nancy, my stepmom, is not Jewish – and there is a long standing, though somewhat odd now that I’m grownup and look back on it, tree tradition in my immediate family as well.) Then the last two days, the actual Christmas, we had both Christmas Eve dinner with Adam’s brother Daniel and his wife’s family, and Christmas Day dinner with my great aunt Lee, my grandfather Hank and his girlfriend Yvonne, and Lee’s niece and nephew Barbara and Dieter from Germany.

And so today I had my first-ever Christmas Goose. Apparently there is a tradition in Lee’s branch of the family whereby Barbara and Dieter come from Germany to spend the holiday with Lee and, while hanging out and enjoying both NYC and Lee’s country house, cook an absolutely fantastic holiday dinner. And apparently, for many years now, this tradition has involved goose. Tonight was no exception – two geese, in fact, with very German rotkraut (red cabbage), knoedel (potato dumplings) and beet soup (much to Adam’s dismay), among other wonderful dishes. The goose, which I was prepared to dislike (I don’t like wild-ish meat of any kind, though I do on occasion like duck), was really amazing – tender and moist and even a tiny bit sweet, while being decadently rich. The entire meal was astounding and I am still, four hours later, so full I can barely even write about food. Maybe I can convince Barbara and Dieter to adopt me for another holiday – perhaps they want to spend Memorial Day in New York as well?

Last night’s meal, at Daniel and Andrea’s home, was also really fantastic – salt-roasted beef tenderloin, scalloped potatoes, a very flavorful lemongrass/chayote soup, and hand-carmelized creme brulee for dessert. Followed by a rousing game of Scattergories – Raphaele and I came in only second, but Adam came in last. (Finally, I beat Adam at a game!)

All this on the heels of Thursday’s latke party at our house (sans Adam, sadly, who was Bright Night-ing in Providence), where Tamara, Marni and I fried roughly 75 latkes, nearly all of which were gone before the end of the night. My house still smells like frying oil!

This week will have to be a salad week. But it was so worth it!

Backtracking just a little– our trip to Chicago

I just wanted to backtrack a little– last week we went to Chicago to visit with Stephanie’s family for Chanukkah. Her family has a huge to-do about Chanukkah, with a traditional dinner, the traditional opening of the presents, and a lot of other events.

While we were there,we had a very busy social schedule, which was a lot of fun– a synagogue visit to the huge Chicago reform visit Sinai, where they worship on Sundays and on the second night of Chanukkah they lit all of the lights because it would be more beautiful… I mean, why not just worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster because you find it more festive? (And of course, the secret thrill of being touched by his noodly appendage.)

We also went to the first birthday party of Stephanie’s best friends daughter Lana. It was held at a traditional Russian banquet hall, which was in a strip mall area in the Northern Chicago Suburbs. The food was lavish, and the party was fun (although I don’t speak Russian at all, and that was the main language spoken. Lana translated all of the many toasts for us.)

I got some very thoughtful gifts from Stephanie’s parents, including some old clown posters that are going to look great in the kitchen!~– errr… well, my studio, if I can ever get it finished….

One of the things that was pretty interesting is that just about everyone at the big Channukah dinner had read our blog, and knew all sorts of details about the house that I’d forgotten that I’d written down. It was nice to be among our family and readers…

Turkey inadequacy

So here I am, the Saturday before Thanksgiving, expecting 10-12 guests in our house (including most of Adam’s immediate family and a nice repesentation from mine), and I haven’t started shopping. In fact, I only even started making the shopping list this morning, and while I was making my list decided to call Fairway to order a turkey. Because of course we don’t want to get caught without a turkey!

So I get on the phone with the turkey department (which is separate from the meat department, I learn when I try to also order a brisket a few minutes later – but briskets are always in stock and so no need to order, it turns out), and ask for a 16-lb turkey. So she says, “what kind of turkey?” And I’m thinking, “a turkey turkey?” Fortunately I don’t say anything quite that stupid – instead I say “um, I don’t know, what kinds of turkeys are there?” Then silence. The woman on the other end is completely dumbstuck by my question. Apparently everyone else in the world except me knows that there are different kinds of turkeys. She asks again, “what kind of turkey?” and I ask, “can you tell me about them?” Silence again. “Hold on.” Next a man gets on the phone and tells me about the four main types of turkeys they carry – basic Maple Crest, Murray’s farm-raised preservative-free, Grateful Harvest 100% organic, and kosher. He gives me a bit of detail about each and pricing and I tell him I want the Murray’s. “Oh no, m’am, let me give you back to her to order – I just wanted to educate you a little bit about these turkeys.” Well, then, now I’ve been educated! The woman gets back on the phone and asks how big the turkey should be – she says “do you want 8 by 10, 10 by 12, or 16 by 20″ – which I’m thinking is the dimensions of the turkey to fit in the pan. And I’ve got a 16” roasting pan….

Anyway, it turns out that was the poundage and with only slightly more difficulty I manage to order a 16-20 pound Murray’s turkey and it will be available to pickup on Tuesday. Which will be a most unpleasant day to be at Fairway. I’d better get most of the shopping done this weekend! Back to the shopping list.

Old Spices

Not specifically about Yonkers, but it’s a lot about moving and combining households (or not moving, and the lack thereof.)

Stephanie found this great advert in the local newspaper, which explains how you would know if your spices were 15 years older or more.

I’m sad to report that more than a few of the spices that I had in my house before I moved were older than 15 years. You have to imagine that by THAT time, the $1.79 amount of spice may have gone bad, or lost most of its taste….

But that didn’t stop me from moving that stuff to Yonkers! We did a big throw-out of those square tins– had about 5 or 6 of them!

MMMMMMM…. Mustard seed.

Dinner at somebody else’s house

So last night, while Stephanie was in Tampa on a combined business/pleasure trip (mostly business, but her mom lives in FL, so they hung out for a day) I ended up going to a Yonkers party that was quite nice. My blog buddy Lesley and her husband Stephen had a little belated housewarming, and they generously invited Stephanie and I. As S could not go, I showed up as the diplomat from Southwest Yonkers.

Lesley and Stephen are a little bit younger than Stephanie and I (okay, about 10 years younger) and have a house a little above the Park Hill area. It’s in a very nice green and leafy section of town, which is high up on a hill, so in order to get to their house, you have to walk up a series of steps. It’s got a nice big yard, and is of approximately the same vintage as our house (ours might be a couple of years older)

They are also renovating their house (as can be seen in their blog) and they are doing a fine job. They are doing a lot of the work themselves, and have been living there for almost two years under construction. And they are still working on their bathroom. It gives me hope (and a little bit of fear) Two years from now, we won’t die if we haven’t done the bathroom, so that gives me hope– but it gives me fear that in two years, we still might not have done the bathroom!

They also had to do a bunch of wall and electric renovations, and have done some really nice things. I especially liked their kitchen setup, which had a large tall counter that hides the workspace of the kitchen from the eating area. But they’ve picked out lots of nice colors, had to really redo a lot of hideous rooms, and amazingly have a very similar floor on their first floor (complete with Mahogany border)

One thing that they did which was very cool, is have the before pictures hung up in the room so you could see what it was before. I think maybe next time we should try something like that (you know, at our next housewarming!)

I spent a lot of time talking to Stephen and Lesley’s friends, eating delicious curried chicken and cheeseburgers, drinking beer, wine, and other libations, and had a fabulous time. This was the first time I’d met them in person, and we got along famously. I was there about 5 hours!