Thursday, June 07, 2012

CSA - Week 1

When D mentioned that she joined a CSA farm share in NYC, we were so excited at the concept that I had to find a local one for us as well. CSA is Community Supported Agriculture, where a local farm grows and harvest fruits and veggies on behalf of the CSA members and the harvest is shared among the members. Some CSA memberships also need the members to work for a few hours in the farm. D's did not and ideally I was looking for the same. Browsing through all the options in NJ (and there are loads), I decided to go with Griggstown Farm. They seem to be supporting CSA for quite a while now, have a lot of members and a very interesting list of harvests. The membership lasts for about 20 weeks from June through October and offered as a full and half share. Of course, we picked the half share (which is also turning out to be a lot of food!). In addition to all the benefits that everyone talks about, CSA personally allows me to try out veggies that I otherwise would not, thus expanding my food horizon and forces me to cook innovatively so that A and I (and D) don't cringe at the dinner menu.

The first week offered a whole bulk load of green leafy vegetables - most of which had never set foot (figurative foot) in our house ever before. Arugula, Kale, Lettuce and Chards suddenly became the rulers of my refrigerator and I had to think very hard for ways to incorporate these veggies in our eating routine.

CSA haul - week 1

Arugula was easy - I made a salad with chopped arugula, thinly sliced apple, grape tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and some raspberry vinaigrette that was chilling in the fridge (see the pun here?)

Then came Kale - I tossed kale leaves in olive oil, salt and pepper and left them in a 250F oven for about 20 minutes for some crispy kale chips. They don't look it, but were quite tasty and the three of us ate the whole bowl of goodness (!!)

Kale chips 

I convinced A to throw in some Collard leaves and of course the cilantro, into his cabbage kootu, which was a big hit.

The broccoli, scallions and bok choy went into a veggie stir fry along with some mushrooms and paneer. I made the stir fry with lost of ginger, soy sauce and some hot sauce and paired it with fried rice.

The lettuce went into another salad with sliced pears, heirloom tomatoes, feta cheese and more raspberry vinaigrette.

And finally, I used the sage, oregano, thyme, swiss chard, collard leaves and more broccoli for a Pasta dish last night.

Phew! that was tough. I still have the purple cauliflower and radishes sitting in my fridge tray. And meanwhile, the new haul comes in tonight. I guess I have to think of more things to do with these veggies - already feels like its going to be a very 'green' summer :)

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Wine bottle art

Even before A and I moved into our new apartment, we started talking about ideas for DIY projects, which both of us enjoy immensely. Over the years, we had collected (or thought we did) quite a few wine bottles and I decided to give A an ultimatum - we either use it or they're gone. Out of this was born the idea of a wall art piece using the said bottles. When D heard about it, she was super excited as well. So one cloudy afternoon, the three of us embarked on a journey to the nearest Loews to try and figure out what we needed to implement our idea. Mind you, we just had a vague understanding of the implementation at this point, and were not even sure if the tool we needed existed.

As we wandered across the many aisles in Loews, we came across a kindly guide (read: Loews employee). We quickly explained to him what we were trying to achieve. His look as he heard the idea spoke volumes - I am quite sure he had decided by then that we were three geeks with lots of time in our hands and no idea how to use/pick the right hardware.
Anyway, after looking at and rejecting a number of options, he finally pointed us to the one clamp in the entire store that could fit our need, as well as all the other ancillary items. After promising him that we would come back with a pic of the final product, we quickly selected our colors and went on our way.

The first task at hand was to paint the wooden board. Since none of agreed on the right shade, we just poured a dark green and a white to the count of 'tick tick one' on the board and used our brushed to mix the two colors together. Let's just say that we weren't entirely thrilled at the result. nevertheless, we let the paint dry.
The next hurdle was to find the mid-point of a circle. Given that we were three engineers, you'd think this would be easy, but alas no! Without any tools (no protractor, scale, compass) we were quite pressed to find a solution. Finally with a thread and some approximation we marked our center and the end points, drilled the holes, attached the clamps and forgot about the project for a week.
After we finished moving, it took us a while to realize that we did not have all the bottles we needed. So we had to have friends over to drink up some wine :) Only after that, did we finally attach our bottles to the board.

I LOVE the end product and it looks glam on our wall, AND the project was soooo much fun!