Did I mention that I’m halfway through a two week alcohol “detox”? One fateful Sunday night not long ago, after splitting a half price bottle of wine in typical Sunday fashion, the idea for this cleanse came to mind. It was after two exhausting days of preparing for and executing the fundraiser at my yoga studio, so instead of the usual restful weekend topped off with a refreshing Pinot Grigio, I came home from the wine outing and promptly went down for a nap. I was tired enough that napping was in the cards either way, but it did get me thinking how much productivity I lose to wine. Who knows what could come out of this crazy detox? Since at least college graduation, I’m not sure I’ve ever taken a full two weeks to find out.
I grappled for a half hour with announcing it to Steve, because speaking a resolution out loud comes with major accountability. When it’s just an idea in my head, success is a possibility, but so is failure without guilt. I can rationalize to myself endlessly: I made it four days, it was too ambitious, but I had such-and-such event (at which someone is forcing a glass of wine down my throat?). In fact, the world “failure” wouldn’t have even come into play with all the excuses I gave myself.
What did I have to lose, though? My mind is bursting with recipes to be blogged, I’m starting a fun new summer project, I want to really pay attention to my health before my wedding in 4 1/2 months, and then, of course, I have to plan said wedding. Toryn is arriving in exactly two weeks, which puts the celebratory end in sight. I bit the bullet and explained my proposal to Steve over Mexican takeout on Sunday night. To my legitimate surprise, he was not only on board to remind me of my resolution when I wanted nothing more than to relax with one itty bitty glass of rosé after a long day, but he was in, too! Aren’t supportive partners the best?
I wasn’t going to announce project no-booze on the blog until it was over, because what if I didn’t make it two weeks? Then I just wasted your time with my ramblings of lofty but empty commitments. To hell with it, though. A blog without snippets of real life is just another website, so I’ll keep it real. It’s not all CSA shares and sunshine all the time! I know you all can relate, too. It seems like someone I know is always detoxing from something–sugar, meat, alcohol, soda, caffeine–so why not make a group effort of it? Keep me posted in the comments, and always feel free to email me, even if it’s not a recipe or cooking question.
Summer CSA Week 2
Now onto the veggie goods! Here’s what I found in my CSA share this week.
- Napa/Chinese cabbage
- Braising greens (mostly kale and chard)
- Bonus: garlic scapes
And here’s a picture of the sheep that came to greet me while I was picking peas.
I started a page for all my favorite seasonal and summer produce recipes and ideas, so I’m not going to give you two dozen recipes for each item in my weekly post. Instead, I’ll just tell you what I actually did with the produce, then you can find more fruit and vegetable recipe ideas on my new page. If you have any standout recipes worth mentioning (from your blog or elsewhere), email me and I’ll take a peek.
I made a big batch of dijon and lemon vinaigrette last week. It’s still going strong in the fridge to serve up over lettuce with a bit of grated or shaved parm. I have it as a side salad or starter with lunch or dinner. Or sometimes as a snack.
- I’m fermenting half–it’s gonna be a fun mess, I have a feeling! I want to see how I like the result, and if it’s good, I’ll use it to top off dinner veggie and rice bowls, like the dragon bowls I made last week. Which, by the way, I wish I’d started making when my sister told me about them months ago because crispy pan-fried rice…OMG.
- Half is going into an Asian cabbage salad of, you guessed it, cabbage, plus red onion, orange bell pepper, snap peas, avocado, cilantro, toasted slivered almonds, and sesame seeds. I’ll dress it with a mixture of toasted sesame oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, tamari, and spicy mustard. Original salad idea modified from the comments here.
I made the most bad@$$ risotto last night. Sorry, I’m in a cursing mood today–must be the wine deprivation. It was worth every minute of waiting until after 10 PM for that perfectly tender rice. As I heated broth for the risotto (risotto technique details here), I steamed a half pound of stemmed greens in the same Dutch oven I’d use for the risotto. Efficiency at its best.
Then I wiped out the pot and pressed all the water out of the greens and chopped them up. I made the risotto with yellow onion, the white parts of scallions, and chopped celery cooked in butter and olive oil to start, follow by rinsed, short grain brown rice. The stuff cooks up identical to arborio, with added fiber. Then came white wine in the only format (cooked) that I’ll be consuming it for another week, followed by about five cups of warm broth in one cup increments. When the finished rice cooked properly but still a bit soupy, I turned off the heat and stirred in about 3 ounces of crumbled goat cheese, 3/4 cup of grated parmesan, thawed frozen peas, the greens, fresh oregano (from last week’s basket), and the light and dark green parts of the scallions. Not only is it dinner for Sunday, but I’ll make risotto cakes out of the leftovers on Tuesday night.
Not even kidding, the scallions were 2 1/2 feet long. I put half in the risotto, see above, and used half for the next gratin recipe, battered and baked stuffed chiles. I’m saving the tops to use later for garnish or in homemade stock.
Par for the course (oh hey, U.S. Open), I ate these straight from the pint containers by Sunday afternoon. I did manage to deliver a few to my future in-laws, who are much more open-minded about berries than their son.
Set the freshly picked pint container in front of Steve, along with a Costco size tub of hummus. The beauty of organic farming is not always feeling like you have to wash the produce first, because these sure didn’t have time for a bath en route to Steve’s belly.
I haven’t tackled these ones yet, but I’ll most likely be making a small batch of scape pesto, or adding them to the dressing for tonight’s Asian cabbage salad. Or both! Gettin’ crazy with the scapes. When I wrote my eCookbook last summer, I used scapes, not herbs, for the pesto pasta toss. Give it a try. And if you don’t have the eBook, sign up to get a free copy. If you’re looking for scapes in the supermarket…stop. Try your local farmers market instead. I’ve found that stores like Whole Foods tend to have a ridiculous markup on this novel looking aromatic.
Dinners this Week
To give you an idea of the big picture, here’s my weekly dinner plan for this week:
- Monday: Asian cabbage salad; soy-marinated portobellos; coconut oil roasted sweet potato (I have 1 big potato sitting on the counter and need to use it!)
- Tuesday: Risotto cakes from Sunday’s leftover risotto (see instructions above); cucumber and bean salad; fruit
- Wednesday: Stuffed mushroom appetizer (pictured below); cauliflower “pasta” with herbs and ricotta (for my summer cooking group with girls from church)
- Thursday: Roasted corn, herb, and tomato orzo salad with creamy vinaigrette; swordfish or tuna steaks
- Friday: Rice or quinoa and veg bowls with fresh CSA produce
- Saturday: Cauliflower gratin with tomatoes and feta; salad
- Sunday: Cheesy rice and beans stuffed bell peppers (a new recipe I’m developing)
It just now occurred to me that we’re eating in all week. Probably for the better, because next week Toryn and Kolby arrive, and I’m sure we’ll be spending a little extra going out for drinks and snacks at 3 PM on Tuesday. Because…why not? A week from Friday, all four of us are packing into Steve’s soccer mom SUV and driving from Connecticut up to Portland, Maine for the 4th, where we’ll be dining on a mix of lobster mac and cheese, lobster rolls, and margaritas on repeat. Portland restaurant suggestions and activity ideas needed! Comment below please.
Note: This page contains affiliate links. It does NOT contain sponsored content. Affiliate links (to products I recommend, on Amazon) offset my ingredient and website maintenance costs, so I can keep bringing you seasonal recipe ideas like these. Thanks!