Welcome to the introduction of Farm Box Fixin's! We have been CSA members (community sponsored agriculture) for about two years now. We currently get a box from Riverdog Farm, located in Guinda, CA. This box is sponsored by my husband's company for employees, which means it's extra cheap AND gets delivered to work. All he has to do is remember to bring a grocery bag, pop it in one of his bike saddlebags and ride home!
Part of the deal with being a member of a CSA is that you get the hand the farmer is being dealt. Sometimes you get a lot of some things and just a little of others. Sometimes certain crops just don't do well at all, while others EXPLODE.
We have had some boxes that will have normal amounts of everything else and a HUGE bunch of basil. Or a big bag of chili peppers. Both of these things are not the easiest to use up in a small amount of time. Very fresh, organic, foods don't tend to last very long. Put 'em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton has been my go to reference book for dealing with those situations.
It has a really nice amount of instructions for what you can and cannot get away with when it comes to food safety. The recipes themselves have all been really good so far. With the basil bunches I've made basil pesto, basil oil bombs, and dried it. I like to pickle the chilis or string them into a ristia.
A lot of the preserving recipes I will use here will be from Put 'em Up! but I'm very much a throw-things-together-and-see-how-it-goes kind of cook. I'm experienced enough now that it tends to turn out pretty well.
So check back here most Wednesdays and see what I've created out of the farm box bounty this week! I will probably only post if something was creative, or cool, or turned out really really good. Probably also if it was a royal disaster.
Wednesdays are farm box pick up day for us, so Tuesdays are often "use up all the things in the fridge" days, This week my big leftovers were carrots and red onions.
I sort of started from this recipe, but really winged it a lot. Partly because it was in metric and I don't like converting on the fly, and partly because I didn't have the same ingredients they did.
I used about 6 large carrots, 5 small red onions, a little less than 1/2 c. butter, and a generous helping of dried thyme.
After blanching the carrots in salted boiling water for 3 minutes, I slow pan fried the carrots, onion, and thyme in the butter, on a low-ish heat, for about 30 minutes.
When the onions were starting to caramelize, I turned up the heat and added 1 tbsp of brown sugar and 2.5 tbsp of red wine vinegar. (I did not have red wine, so I sub in the red wine vinegar and axed the balsamic so the carrots would not get overwhelmed with vinegar flavor.)
Cook that on the high heat for about 2-5 minutes. It will caramelize fully quiet quickly so watch it and keep it moving.
This experiment turned out really well! We served it with chicken sausages on rolls.
If you liked this and have any questions or requests, feel free to email me at underthyroof *at* gmail *dot* com.