We finally got around to joining a CSA this year.  I’ve loved the idea for a while, but it definitely involves some pre-planning, a trait at which I do not excel. For those of you that don’t know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and it means you buy a share in some farmer’s bounty but you have to pay the farmer way before harvest time.  You know, when they need the money to plant things, and fertilize the soil, and buy new boots or something.  Now for twenty-five weeks we’ll receive a surprise mix of fresh local crops.  We picked up the first edition last Thursday. Behold.

Our food comes from the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative (www.lancasterfarmfresh.com).  They have a drop off at Sean’s church which is our sole reason for choosing this particular CSA.  No research required but great recommendations from Sean’s peeps.

I’m excited to play this personal version of Iron Chef (is that the cooking show with the secret ingredients?) for the next several months.

Fun fact: I’ve never cooked or even liked radishes before.  Probably because my only radish experiences are raw radishes in salads or on tiny fancy sandwiches.  My biggest challenge this week will be finding a yummy way to make these into a side dish this week.  A little internet research tells me I can roast or braise them, so I’ll let you know how that goes.

The asparagus (SPARGELFEST!) is gone already, grilled and consumed with Monrovia Farm steak last Friday.  It was super delicious, but how could asparagus in May suck?

Anyone want to play CSA-along?  Like Iron Chef but less Bobby Flay and everyone wins?


More Food That Starts with the Letter Q

I kind of feel like quinoa is the new It Food.  I see it everywhere now, like we just invented it. Reminds me of blood oranges back in 2007, though I doubt adding quinoa would improve a martini.  Who knows?  I’m sure there’s a restaurant somewhere sprinkling three grains in the bottom of a Quinoa Martini.
I’m totally on board, however, because it is a perfect (healthier!) alternative to rice.  I like to make one-pot dishes that are usually meant to be served over rice.  Except I don’t care for rice.  At all.  Ok, I hate rice.  I used to use couscous, but apparently quinoa is much better for me.  Plus it sounds fancy, and I love faux fancy foods.
I learned about quinoa when my bff (The Most Awesome Person in the World) lived with me in 2009 and did a lot of cooking.  She left many mysterious items in the cupboard when she jetted off to Europe, including bags of this grain.  It apparently comes in different colors.  The all-knowing Google taught me how to cook it, and I’ve not looked back.
Tonight I made a delicious meal in the crock pot.  I quick seared some boneless skinless chicken thighs, about two minutes on each side.

I put them in the crock pot along with onions, carrots, a little butter, garlic, lemon juice, and about a cup of chicken stock.

I cooked it on high for about four hours, then turned it to low for the last hour and a half.  Just before they were done, I made some quinoa for the bottom of the bowls.  When quinoa is cooked, it grows little tails, like freaky little Darwinian grain.

I had never made chicken thighs before (sheltered, I know) and DUDE THEY WERE SO TENDER.  I have had bad experiences with the crock pot, so i was really surprised.  I might be a slow-cooker convert now.  It makes me look good.

Actual dinner conversation:

Taste tester 1:  Darlene, this is really good.
Me:  Thank you, that’s nice of you to say.
Taste tester 2:  Thanks for making it taste good so we don’t have to lie.


The recipe came from here, if you’re interested.  You should be interested.  It’s really good.