Saturday, January 5, 2013

What's in the First Box

My husband and I signed up for a vegetable delivery service called SLO Veg. It's fresh, organic local produce delivered right to our doorstep on a regular basis. We also opted to add the fish component, so with each delivery we will get a pound of fresh, local fish.

The exciting part is the variety, as we will be getting some fruits and vegetables that we may not have tried before, or don't think we like. The challenge will be to try some new foods and recipes and see what comes out of that. The bonus is that we will be adding more fresh, organic vegies to our diet and support the local farmers at the same time! It's going to be like a fun adventure in our kitchen.

So, the very first delivery began this week. We signed up for a bi-weekly, medium-sized box. The gal emailed us and let us know when it would be delivered and advised us to put out an ice chest with an icepack for the fish.

This is from the SLO Veg website:
Happy New Year 2013! New item ~ Collard Green's, Brussels Sprouts, Green Leaf Lettuce, Broccoli Crowns, Cilantro, Leeks, Vine Ripened Tomatoes, Spinach, "Shanghai" Bok Choy, Almonds, Satsuma Tangerines, Naval Oranges, and Kiwi "

They tell you what farms the food came from, suggest some recipes from their website, and basically support your vegies habit in every way they can besides cooking it for you!

So its Friday night and I get home at 7pm. Lee has already brought in the box and sent me a pic of the contents. But I set down my purse and open up the box. Oh boy, lettuce! A bag of bright, dark green spinach! Some large and small orange thingys, and some kiwis. Baby bok choy. A little baggie of almonds with the growers sticker on it. Lovely red red tomatoes. Some cilantro -- gonna have to make a chimichurri sauce outta that! A humungeous bunch of leaves...must be the collard greens! Some nice big bunches of broccoli. Leeks...2 feet long! and three little baskets of -- Brussel Sprouts.

The first week's box! Lotsa stuff to feed 3-4 people!
To appreciate the significance of the brussels, how need a little history: Lee hates them! He has actually gone so far as to state that no brussel sprouts shall ever cross our threshold! Oh, well, that barrier has been broken down. Now what to cook?

I grab my Trisha Yearwood Southern Cooking recipe book and look up collard greens -- I remembered her writing about them and how lovely they were. But as I browse quickly over the recipe, I see it takes an hour to cook them down. Not tonight, dear! Well, I know Rachael had a few recipes for brussel sprouts on the SLO Veg website, so why not tackle that right outta the gate? Over to the computer I go and search the site for brussel sprouts. I see one for roasted brussels with mustard and pancetta or prosciutto or something. Well, I have some bacon and Lee loves mustard, so that seems like a good one.

"Hey Lee, while I am starting dinner, could you pour me a glass of wine and assemble an appetizer plate with some of this leftover cheese? I think we have some olives, too."  Lee added some of the almonds from the box, and we had munchies while we cooked. One sip of the wine and I am on my way...

I quickly halve the brussels, chop one of the leeks (white part only) and lay it on a roasting pan. I pour on a bit of olive oil, mix together, season with coarse salt and pop it in the oven on 400 degrees. It will take 20 minutes or so to roast, so then I check out the fresh caught Thresher shark. We received two steaks, about 8 oz each in vacuum-sealed bags. So I open them up, give them a rinse and pat them dry with a paper towel. Then I cut each steak in half and put them on a platter to season them. I just use some coarse sea salt and pepper. I get out some flour and put it on a plate. Grab a skillet and put in half a cube of butter. Okay, that's ready.
Collard greens? I wasn't sure if we were to eat it, or wear it!

Now, what was in that mustard sauce? This is the recipe I found on the website:
" Roasted Brussels Sprouts in Creamy Mustard Sauce with Prosciutto and Cranberries 

Serves 8-10 45 minutes to prepare 2 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed 3 TBS butter, melted and divided 3 TBS olive oil, divided 1/2 tsp sea salt 1/4 tsp ground pepper 1/4 cup chopped prosciutto (about 1-1/2 ozs) 1/2 cup minced shallots (about 2 medium) 3 TBS sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar 1 TBS Dijon mustard or Wasabi mustard 3/4 cup whipping cream 2 TBS chopped parsley 1/4 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Cut Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise, toss to coat evenly with 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Bake on jellyroll pan at 425 for 18 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are tender and outer leaves are golden brown and slightly crispy, stirring halfway through. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat; add prosciutto. Cook 6 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan; set aside. In same skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoon butter and oil over medium heat. Sauté shallots for 2 minutes or until translucent and cooked through. Add vinegar; reduce heat to low, cook 1 minute. Stir in mustard and cream; bring to a low boil. Let simmer and reduce about 5 minutes or until sauce is thick and creamy. Toss Brussels sprouts with parsley, prosciutto and cranberries, and drizzle half the warm sauce over the top. Serve remaining sauce on the side. "

Okay, I grab the bacon and take out three slices, chop them in half and start cooking them in a skillet. I hunt for the sherry it! Dijon mustard? Well, I have some horseradish mustard -- good enough. Heavy whipping cream? How about buttermilk? I just bought a quart of that for pancakes. Parsley? Check. Cranberries? All out. Oh well.

I check my brussel sprouts and give them a turn. They are roasting nicely, beginning to show some browned edges -- almost done. I take the bacon out of the pan and add some chopped onion and sherry vinegar. I throw in a 1/4 cup or so of flour and then add about a cup of far so good. Chop some parsley, stir the sauce. Now to start the fish. But first I take the brussel sprouts out of the oven.

I coat the fish in flour and add to the skillet with the melted butter. All but one large piece fits in the skillet, so I let it brown on one side, then flip it. Oh geez, Lee, look what happened to my sauce! Its separating! How about adding some sour cream? We ended up with two large quarts after the holidays, anyway. Okay, so we stir in some sour cream and seems to smooth things out. Lee tends to the sauce as I tend to the fish.When I am down to cooking the last piece, I put the brussel sprouts into a large dish and pour some of the sauce onto it. I take a big spoon and toss it all together and stir in the broken bacon pieces. I taste a piece of brussel sprout...yum! I think this will work for Lee!

"Honey, can you quarter one of those lemons for me?" Last thing is I take some leftover white rice from the frig, put it in the microwave to reheat, and dinner is done. It's 8:00pm. Where's my glass of wine that Lee poured for me a half hour ago? Okay, ready to eat.

So we move the junk on the dining room table and set down to eat this fresh feast. Thresher shark? Yum! It is thick, flakey and not at all fishy...almost like a steak. A little bit of fresh lemon and its perfect. The rice is perfectly reheated, and the brussel sprouts? May I say "divine"! Lee just couldn't bring himself to comment, on purpose, but he really did like them. I know because he asked to have the leftovers put in his lunch for the next day.

The glass of red wine I had topped it off. It is from Cayucos Cellars, a blend of 75% Petite Sirah and 25% Grenache grapes from the Paso Robles region, called Devil's Gate IX/X. The owner's son assisted in making it and designed the cool label. Very local, very good.
Our completed fish and brusssel sprouts dinner adventure.


  1. Hi Kathleen and Lee,
    I am almost speechless...WOW!!! I love your blog and just called Dan to tell him to make sure he reads it today. It's amazing! We love your support and are so happy you're enjoying our service and utilizing the fun and easy recipes. For easiest viewing of the recipes you can click on the "Print" buttom and they will come up in standard form. We look forward to receiving your blog on a regular basis, please continue to share it. If it's okay with you, I'd love to share your blog with all of our customer base. I'm completely impressed! Thank you both for being our wonderful customers, we look forward to providing you excellent service and great healthy locally grown fruits and veggies. Wishing you a healthy, prosperous Happy New Year.
    Warm regards, Rachael with SLO Veg

  2. You're welcome! Some friends at work are really interested, so we have been giving out your website. Hope it helps!