August 8, 2010

Vegetables Unite

So many vegetables, so little time. We've all seemingly taken a break from blogging. Occasionally we need to focus on our day jobs, attend our inlaws' weddings, vacation, move across the country, purchase our first home, or just unplug our computers and enjoy the summer in general. Anyway, I thought to give an update on the progress of The Vegetable of the Month Club contributors, on and off-line.

The big news is that all six of us VOTM clubbers convened in Evergreen, Colorado this week for the Vegetable of the Month Club Annual Summit (aka The Liberal End 2010 Reunion.) Almost every meal included some form of produce harvested from our hosts' (the Rogers) greenhouse. Our collaborative efforts produced pizzas (one includes the ubiquitous swiss chard), salads, breakfast burritos, a zucchini-shrimp-goat cheese risotto, and fried green tomatoes. We didn't get to the stuffed zucchini blossoms, I'm afraid. We went hiking instead.

Thanks to Katy and Ryan for their well-tended green-house and gracious hosting, Kate and Emily for some careful and creative menu-planning, Annie for the exuberant harvesting, and Elizabeth for the photos and support. And thanks to me for eating my fair share and taking a fried green tomato grease burn for the team. Totally worth it and healing nicely.

On a personal note, I have to say that the over-abundance of produce in my refrigerator (due to my rather large CSA share) has lead me to explore new recipes, but it has also been a little stressful. July was one of the busiest months yet at work. I've also been rethinking my living situation, not least of all due to the small and out-dated kitchen in my current apartment. I just have too many vegetables, and I hate to waste them.

I also feel that I do not have the time necessary to cook well and often. As an aside, I think that the solution to my predicament might be some good, old-fashioned canning, which would allow me to savor the bounty while indulging my great love of pickles and mountain-bred hoarding tendencies. If anyone with similar interests (or perhaps greater skill levels) would like to join me, I welcome your good company and expertise.

Nevertheless, I've managed to enjoy my vegetables. I have: labored over a cabbage and beet salad with honey and orange vinaigrette; casually thrown together farm fresh cucumbers and onions; and become acquainted with garlic scapes. Add kale chips and a basil cheesecake to the list.

Oh, and here's an easy, every-day dish: wilted greens (chard, beet greens, etc) in garlic, crushed red pepper, onions and tamari on a bed of quinoa, topped with roasted peanuts. This dish is my go-to, post-swim dinner. It's partially inspired by my new cookbook, "The Real Dirt on Vegetables," and very loosely inspired by the Miso Marinated Tofu at the newly opened Ruxbin Kitchen. I don't think I need to add to the rave reviews of this restaurant, which was featured in the Chicago Reader just this week, but will again thank Nate for the introduction.

I do believe that we will be sharing some of our creations from The Liberal End 2010 Reunion (aka The Vegetable of the Month Club Annual Summit) soon.

Hold tight, people.