We were unsure as to what to title this post. One of us thought that we should call it Fresh Fresca®, and be able to discuss that Fresh Fresca® is really redundant; after all, fresca is Spanish for fresh. The other merged the words and suggested the better title of Freshca, a sort of Spanglish neologism. And, with that, we lay claim to the noun Freshca (sure, you could probably find someone, somewhere, who used the term before, but that just doesn’t bother us).

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Ricotta and Spinach Dumplings (Gnudi)

gnudi and sauce
Gnudi? What’s that?

About a week ago, we needed a little ricotta cheese for a recipe. We didn’t need too much, just one-quarter of a cup, which meant that we had a lot left over. In retrospect, perhaps we should have just made up a very small batch of scratched ricotta, instead; after all, it’s not difficult to do. But, we didn’t, so we needed to make something else with the leftover ricotta.

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Shungiku, Minutina, and More!

weekly CSA produce
The shungiku is the frilly leafy stuff in the middle that looks somewhat like parsley leaves; the minutina is in the small bag just in front of the Swiss chard.

Shungiku? What’s that? Minutina? What’s up with that?

One of the most fun things about being part of the CSA is that you sometimes get produce that you’ve never heard of before, such as shungiku and minutina. Now, we’ve had shungiku before and we really like it, but we do remember that when it first appeared, it was labeled as edible chrysanthemum. We saw it and we thought, “huh, edible chrysanthemum, what in the world are we going to do with that?” Then to top it off, there was an extra bundle in the surplus basket — many people seemed as stumped as we were with this new vegetable — but we thought, “why not?” and put it in our bag.

It turns out that we loved shungiku from the start. Yes, it does taste like chrysanthemum smells (chrysanthemums are poisonous, so we don’t know what they taste like) , which is odd at first, but it’s just delicious, with a crunchy stem, reminiscent of celery in texture.

Minutina, on the other hand, is completely new to us so we’re looking forward to trying it.

Produce items this week:

  • Shungiku (1 bunch)
  • Minutina (1 bag)
  • Swiss chard (1 bunch)
  • Sweet potatoes (2)
  • Lettuce (2 heads)
  • Grapefruit (3)
  • Dandelion greens (1 bunch) traded for more grapefruit
  • Green cauliflower (1 head)

We’ve already eaten the shungiku; we did a quick stir-fry with carrots, mushrooms, and shungiku over rice. Everything else? we’ll see.

Update March 5. The minutina, which we’d never had before, went into tossed salads (we had those two heads of lettuce to eat, which means salads nearly every day), adding a slightly salty taste. The chard we steamed as a side, and, because we like eating grapefruit just as one would eat oranges, we had them along with lunches. We still haven’t eaten the cauliflower or the sweet potatoes, but that will be happening soon.

Rosemary-Lime Dressing

rosemary-lime dressing
Rosemary and lime, a great combination!

We’re still getting lettuce in our weekly shares from the CSA, and one of the items in the last pickup was a small bag of rosemary, so we thought that maybe we could combine them into a salad. The rosemary sprigs would be a little to tough just to put on the salad as a topping, so we thought that we’d add them to a salad dressing. Continue reading Rosemary-Lime Dressing

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Mushroom, Feta, and Tomato Tart

Mushroom, Feta, and Tomato Tart
This tart is a hit!

Last week, one of us had to go to a dinner meeting that’s sort of a potluck, and that happens about once a month. We always look forward to deciding what to make, debating the ease versus the tastiness, and evaluating how many other things we’re going to have going as we get closer to the appointed date. But, the most important thing we think about is how well the dish will travel. For salads and many desserts, this is easy, as most salads and desserts travel well, and taste good even if they are a bit warmer than one might like.

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Red Leicester and Thyme Soup Crackers


Yesterday, we posted a recipe for the Butternut Squash Soup we’d made, and we showed photos of the soup with homemade crackers floating on top. We occasionally make crackers to go with soup; it’s not hard, plus you can match some of the flavors in the crackers to that of the soup. In this case, we decided to make a cracker with thyme to match the thyme in the soup, but we also wanted just a bit of cheese in there, too. We thought about Parmesan, but ultimately went with Red Leicester cheese.

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Butternut Squash Soup

butternut squash soup
Soup is such a warming cozy meal!

When we picked up a butternut squash for our Butternut Squash & Mushroom Pies, we selected the smallest available. It was still over three pounds. Sure, it’s a bit less when it’s trimmed, peeled, and seeded, but it’s still a lot of squash that we needed to use. The simplest way would have been just as a side dish. You know, some squash topped with a bit of butter, but we had other plans.

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