As we head into the last full week of August, many of us are looking ahead to the shift in routine that comes with fall. You’ll start to notice this in the recipes posted as well. More soups, stews and chowders will be featured. Since Swiss chard is included in our shares this week, I have started with a soup titled “Swiss Chard and Chick-Pea Soup”. It’s hearty and nourishing, and not too time-consuming to prepare. It will also help us use the carrots and celery from our boxes.
Swiss chard may be new to some of you, so I followed through with two more recipes featuring it. The “Cheesy Swiss Chard and Potato Casserole” will use our potatoes and this one also goes together quickly. For a filling main dish, try the “Rigatoni Chard Toss”. As I mentioned in my post, if you prefer to serve it as a side dish, try it alongside a meat of your choice. Any leftovers could be a great lunch the next day.
Around this time in the season, we start to get comments like, “Help! I can’t seem to eat this produce fast enough!” or “I feel guilty . . . I’m afraid some of it will go to waste.” We have some suggestions to help, if you’re facing that situation.
Many vegetables can be blanched, cooled immediately in ice water, then frozen. (Green or yellow beans, for example)
Some can be chopped and frozen raw (tomatoes, onions, and peppers). Spread the chopped items on cookie sheets, allowing space between each piece. When frozen, place into Ziploc bags, remove excess air, and seal. Can be added to soups, stews, chili or chowder. If you can’t eat your peppers fast enough, this is a great way to save them for a future day.
2) Share an item or two with a neighbor or a friend
You’ll be surprised at how many people will be delighted to receive fresh produce, especially a new item they haven’t tried. Sometimes it will bring back memories of something Grandma used to make.
3) Make a meal to share
There’s always someone who could use a home-cooked meal. Is there a new mom in your neighborhood, busy with a tiny infant? Or an elderly person or couple, who used to garden, and misses it? They would be delighted with your gift.
4) Make a large pot of vegetable soup
Gather up items that may be 1-2 weeks old, trim off any imperfect spots and/or pull off any yellow leaves. Cook them together slowly over low heat to blend the flavors, then freeze the soup to use at a later date. (cold autumn day, illness in the family)
There’s something about grilled vegetables that adds a depth of flavor. It must be the caramelizing process. I’ve had family members try a vegetable they normally wouldn’t touch, but because it’s grilled, they loved it!
6) When all else fails, STIR-FRY!! We have stir-fry at least once a week. As long as there’s meat in it (sliced/diced pork, beef or chicken) I’m able to add all kinds of vegetables without any questions or comments.
I hope this helps you. If you have some hints and suggestions for our members, please feel free to let me know. I’d love to share them.
Wishing you all a great week ahead!