Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Guest post- Jo's Basket!

Guest blog by Jo Pavlov

Well hello there Twiggers! Jo here, a fellow Wellandportlandian (?) and new customer of Linda's.  I moved to Wellandport from Hamilton's downtown core a couple of years ago, and was just googling the town name when I happened upon her blog.  One thing led to another and I found myself a CSA share recipient this year, and an eager new chef of all green things new-to-me.  The summer has only just begun, but I already feel like something new is afoot.  I can feel the winds changing for me.

As a 20+ year vegetarian recently diagnosed with sadly low iron and high cholesterol, I was on the hunt to introduce more leafy greens into my diet.  I'm the first one to admit I'm not a very good vegetarian.  Not bad as in "I fall off the wagon and eat meat", but as in when I'm hungry, I reach for bread and butter or chocolate or granola bars.  It's been hard for me to enjoy greens over the years.  I have a stomach/digestion condition that makes me frequently tiptoe around new foods, and I obsess a lot over the prevalence of frankenfood and genetically modified food in this culture.  I tend to stick to the tried and true.  And for me, that's not always been the healthier choice.

Over the years, I've tried to eat more greens.  The summer I moved into an inlaw suite in a farmhouse on Canborough Rd., I would gleefully tell the old Hamilton crowd that I lived smack in the middle of a soybean field amidst dreams of unlimited fresh edamame! ... Only to discover later that summer when the signs went up, that indeed, that was Monsanto soybean, and not fit for human consumption.

So after humming and hawing about signing up with a CSA, this year I just did it.  Tree and Twig Farm is about five minutes down the road from me, and the thought of local, organic and steady supply appealed.  I have meds for my stomach condition and a Facebook full of vegetarian foodie friends who are dying to share recipes with me.  I have a weekly CSA basket that was lovingly planted, cultivated and sown by a grower that I meet face-to-face each week at pick-up.  I was determined not let this food go to waste.  The challenge was on.

Last week, I got my first CSA basket.  Linda named each item for me and told me briefly how each could be prepared.  I felt like she was speaking a different language.  Garlic what?  Chard what?  It was scrambling in my head, and forgotten by the time I got home.

I emptied the basket and laid everything out.  I took a picture and posted it on Facebook along with the caption, "Okay foodies, help me out.  What is this stuff??"

Ruth responded quickly, "Oh the top row, middle, is garlic snapes."  Two seconds later, the typo correction "Oops, I meant garlic SCAPES" but the damage was done.  I can only think of them as 'Severus Snapes' from now on.  Alas, Harry Potter geek, I am.  Ruth told me to treat them like garlic, just chop up and put in a stir fry like I would regular garlic.  Hayley piped up with the chard identification, and several people participated in the radish pod ID.  It was like a green xmas, where each veggie was a gift, and each gift demanded a recipe or suggestion.

I cut up the chard and removed the thick spines like the Wikipedia page told me to do.  I sauted some garlic snapes, OOPS I mean scapes in some oil.  I added half a teaspoon of my favourite sweet curry and dumped in all that chard.  "Here goes nothing" I thought to myself.  I cut up a tomato purchased from a Port Davidson Rd. fruit stand, and added that. 

Leafy greens shrink quite a bit when you saute them in oil.  I'd known this from my light experimentation with spinach -- the grocery store green I always did enjoy.  I also am of the long held belief that a can of chick peas makes everything better, so that's exactly what I did.  Rinsed and drained and dumped the whole mess in.  The chick peas started to go pink from the red curry and the whole pan was sizzling and smelling delightful.  A generous squirt of lemon juice on top, and voila.  My first garden-fresh curry. 

The whole thing was beyond delightful.  There is tangible joy in preparing food that you know
was grown lovingly.  Each forkful was heaven.  I have always felt a complete disconnect between myself and the genetically modified foods in my fridge, that for all intents and purposes SHOULD be rotting, but are not.  I like knowing that the food in my basket has to be eaten up in a timely fashion, for one, because it's not genetically modified and decomposes in a timely fashion like all normal living things do... but also I know that another big fresh bunch will be waiting for me next week, so waste not, want not!

I look forward to each weekly basket like a kid waits for Santa.  Let's see what next week's holds...



Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

Great post by Jo! I am about the same stage as Jo with figuring out what 'real' food is and how to cook it. Isn't it exciting? What a treat it must be to get Linda's weekly delivery.

Linda said...

It's also great to have people like Jo involved with me and my farm. You can't imagine how wonderful the people are I've met because of what I do!