Happy To Be Back!

weekly CSA produce share
If you use your imagination, it might look as if this week’s CSA share is happy to see us, too!

While we love traveling, visiting new places, seeing and learning new things, we’re always grateful when we turn in the driveway and are back home. And, it doesn’t hurt to pick up some fresh-from-the-field vegetables each week to revive our taste buds. Even though we always buy produce and fruit to make lunches while on the road, we can tell that those store vegetables, while they’ll make a better lunch than most (well, all that we’ve tried, actually) restaurants, you can tell they’re lacking in the flavor department.

This week’s share:

  • Cantaloupe (1)
  • White onions (5)
  • Anaheim peppers (3)
  • Jalapenos (1 bag)
  • Okra (1 bag)
  • Yard-long green beans (1 bunch)
  • Roasted bell peppers or yellow hots (1 bag) — traded for more beans
  • Red potatoes (6)

Another National Park

great basin national park
A new (to us) national park, and we were there for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service!

We knew that the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service was the 25th of this month, so we just had to get to one of the parks, which truly are jewels of the American landscape. We chose to head up to Great Basin National Park, in Nevada, one of the least-visited and most remote parks of the lower 48 states. Yes, we do know of others in the lower 48 that are hard to get to, and we’ll get to them.

Ketchup Made from Scratch

ketchup made from scratch
ketchup made from scratch
Homemade ketchup? Of course!

Can you make spaghetti sauce? Then you can make ketchup! Really! And it’ll be better than the stuff you buy! Really! We think the Heinz Company has a lot of explaining to do, as this, perhaps one of the most popular condiments, is also super simple to make right in your home kitchen. How in the world did they fool us?

Truth to tell, we don’t buy ketchup; we really don’t like the sweet glop they sell in the plastic squeeze bottle, as it doesn’t taste like much of anything. Occasionally, one of us will use some when we’re eating out, but mainly to add some moisture to a dry burger or fry. Not because it tastes good — any other condiment would be better — but, simply because it’s moist.

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Worth the trouble?

Savory Onion Kugel

savory onion kugel
savory onion kugel
A great way to use a lot of onions!

Thirteen onions. That’s how many we had sitting on our counter, even though we’ve eaten them like crazy over the last couple of weeks. It seems as though we just get the number of onions down, and then, pow, more onions in our CSA share. We know why we get a lot of produce sometimes, but it still can be daunting when you have a small hill of onions with possibly more on the way. So, we decided to make something new with some of those onions: a Savory Onion Kugel. Now, to be honest, we’ve never made a kugel, have little idea of how to make a kugel, and we doubt that this would pass muster as a traditional kugel (they’re a generally sweet, traditionally Jewish dish), and it’s unlikely to be kosher, but we won’t let those little things stop us Scratchers.

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Worth the trouble?

Fresh Corn Soup

fresh corn soup
fresh corn soup
Brothy but corny!

Yes, a second soup post this week. But, soups are so easy and tasty that we often make them up for lunch. This one uses a couple of ears of corn that we picked up in our CSA share. Another reason for the soup is that we can have it ready and just warm it up when we want it. Today, that will come in handy, since we need to run all the way across town later this morning.

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Worth the trouble?

Caramelized Green Beans with Pecans

caramilized green beans with pecans
caramilized green beans with pecans
No boring steamed green beans for us!

We were searching around for a recipe for those yard-long green beans we picked up yesterday and this one, in particular, stood out. It was just different from the blue-jillion, cook the beans with garlic/ginger, recipes that you’ll find on the Internet. And, after having tested it here in the SITK (Scratchin’ It Test Kitchen), we knew we should write it up for you to try in your test kitchen.

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Worth the trouble?

Well, They’re Not a Yard Long

weekly CSA produce share
One of the items we picked up is yard-long beans, which is just a slight exaggeration.

The green beans are pretty long, but a full yard long? Nah. More like foot-long beans, which is still pretty impressive. We’re guessing that, unless you grow vegetables or shop at either farmers’ or ethnic markets, you’ve never seen yard-long green beans. With the Tucson CSA, we’ve learned that there’s often a surprise or two throughout the year. Our farmer, Farmer Frank, seems to enjoy trying new vegetables and produce just to see how they grow, and we’re the lucky beneficiaries.

This week’s share:

  • Okra (1 basket)
  • White onions (6)
  • Yellow hots or güeros peppers (1 basket)
  • Yard-long green beans (1 bundle)
  • Red potatoes (3)
  • Black beans (1 bag)
  • Tomatillos (a basket) — traded for more black beans
  • Sweet corn (2 ears)