Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What's in Season? It's What's for Dinner!

Since I have been blogging here for almost two years about our SLO Veg produce, I am starting to notice I am repeating some recipes. Often there is a new twist or two, but its, you know, the same kind of vegetables or fruits, more or less. Its season-driven, and I am beginning to learn what to look forward to getting in the box.

One of the best ways to plan a menu is knowing what is in season. Usually its whatever is featured on sale in the grocery store ads. For us these days, its whatever comes in our box, since the produce is all locally grown. That's fun! Its why we have watermelon and berries in the summer and pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving, with a mainstay supply of kale, strawberries and broccoli and bok choy, because they seem to have an almost year-round growing season here. We also get lots of apples, oranges or other citrus on a regular basis. Since we also signed up for the fresh fish from the partnering SLO Fresh Catch, we are able to sample a nice variety of ocean fish caught right out of Morro Bay. Yes, we are spoiled!

I do have to supplement from local markets, because every week I need a variety of onions, potatoes, carrots, and salad ingredients. I also need things like eggs, yogurt, canned tuna, mayonnaise, mustard, peanut butter, chicken, cheese, tortillas, butter and bread. Some shrimp, pork and beef are nice to have, as well. Pantry essentials include rice, quinoa, pasta, flour, sugar, salt, pepper, broth, diced tomatoes, beans, vinegar, oil, and bread crumbs. I try to keep my pantry and freezer stocked with these staples.

But when we get our delivery of seasonal produce, it all comes to life! We can have fish tacos with fresh cilantro and red peppers, zucchini and tomatoes with basil, lettuce wraps with Asian turkey meat filling, green peppers stuffed with rice, apples and onions with brats and so on.

Getting this produce delivered has certainly expanded my cooking repertoire and sent me in search of recipes, spices and cooking vessels to create dishes with just the right flair. It brought me out of a deep cooking rut where I made the same 10 meals right out of my battered Betty Crocker cookbook. I have learned a lot about flavor profiles, so I know better what to combine or substitute in my recipes and I can whip up a meal almost effortlessly.

Last night we had pulled pork with roasted brussel sprouts and spaghetti squash on the side. Tonight we are having an Italian beefy vegetable minestrone soup so I can use up the last of my zucchini and spinach (also because the foccachia bread I had got hard and is more of a crouton-perfect for soup!). Wednesday it will be pork carnitas tacos with sauteed peppers and onions, and Thursday will be some kind of pasta with lots of veggies in there. I want to roast the cauliflower, but that might have to wait. I saw Rachel's post for a Buffalo cauliflower. How great is that? Need to try it, for sure, with bleu cheese dressing for dipping. Maybe I will share that one with my girlfriends when we get together.

The recipes ideas are endless, always with a twist. Here is to happy eating!

1 comment:

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