This week our share included 5 ears of corn, 1 delicata squash, 1 bulb of fennel, 1 quart of green beans, 7 plum tomatoes, 1 pint of Golden Rave tomatoes, 3 Carmen peppers, 3 slicing tomatoes, 1 small bowl of arugula, 1 small bowl of spinach, 1 small bowl of salad mix, and a head of garlic.
A lot of the tomatoes are coming to the site split this year, and as a result we’re having trouble with fruit flies. I may need to keep them all in the fridge though that’s not great for their flavor. Can’t stand those little buggers flying around!
You’ll notice there are two bulbs of fennel and in the photo above, and no corn. That’s because I got to use our site’s exchange box for the first time. I really had no desire to pick up my corn, and a member before me had left their fennel in the box for someone else to take. Lucky me! I exchanged my corn for the fennel. The corn is really at the end of the season now, and these ears were sent to our pick-up site with the tops cut off. I’m sure they were starting to get rather gross. I’m going to roast the fennel with some onions and the red peppers tonight, along with the dumpling squash from last week and the delicata from this week.
Speaking of last week, I picked up our Week 13 share just an hour before we headed out to our first Rosh Hashanah dinner, and there wasn’t time for a picture nor did I write down what we received. I know there was corn that I left at the site (all leftovers are donated to a local women’s shelter, so nothing goes to waste), the dumpling squash mentioned above, and otherwise some spinach, lettuce, assorted tomatoes, and garlic. Whatever else was there, I’m not sure — nothing that made it into my Rosh Hashanah cooking.
Disclaimer: I received four LYFE Kitchen frozen meals from the company for free, but with no expectation of a review. I only accept samples of products I would purchase with my own money.
As a Chick in the Kitchen reader you know I’m a big fan of making extra when I cook, and freezing everything from soup to meatballs to smoked brisket to grilled chicken so I can easily pull healthy, homemade food out to eat later. That’s the best kind of convenience food, I think! I love our vacuum sealer, which helps me keep the food I make safe and secure until we’re ready to eat it again. So, I’m already a believer in frozen food. Especially when it’s my food.
As a blogger, I get a lot of pitches to try new products and I almost always say no. I have no reason to accept a free sample of a partially-hydrogenated oil spread when I would never buy or use one on my own. So yes, I’m picky — even about what I’ll try for free. I was intrigued by LYFE Kitchen‘s frozen meals, however. They are everything I try to do with the food I feed my family: no high-fructose corn syrup, no hydrogenated fats, nutritionally dense, and reasonable salt levels (each meal has less than 500 mg sodium). The beef, chicken and turkey LYFE uses have all been fed a an all-vegetarian diet, without growth hormones or antibiotics.
I also try not to microwave food in plastic, so I was won over by the paper pouch LYFE uses to package their meals. There are none of those sad black plastic trays here; no pulling back a plastic film to stir your meal. Instead, you place the unopened paper pouch on one of your dinner plates, and then the food cooks en papillote, with the bag puffing as it cooks. Once it’s done, slice open the end of the pouch and slide your food onto the plate. It’s easy and so much more visually appealing than a tiny meal contained in a plastic dish. Also, there’s no chemical smell of plastic while it microwaves.
We tried four meals from LYFE:
Chicken Chile Verde with Polenta and Black Beans was my favorite meal. Polenta feels like a treat to me, as it’s not something I ordinarily cook. The verde sauce tasted very fresh, like it was full of herbs, and it wasn’t a far stretch to think I had heated up leftovers of my own cooking. This meal felt the most special to me, and plated beautifully as it slid out of its pouch.
Whole Grain Penne Pasta with Turkey Meatballs My 9 year-old son taste-tested this meal, and he gave me a bite so I could report back as well. He gobbled it down. The sauce is slightly sweet and fresh (not that deep, overcooked flavor), and the pasta is al dente — no mushy noodles here. The turkey meatballs were just the right texture. My son’s main complaint was that the serving size wasn’t large enough. (It is if you add a salad, but he could not be convinced.)
Farmer’s Market Frittata with Sweet Potato Hash and Garden Salsa was nice for a lunch with a salad on the side, though I can’t see eating something this elaborate for breakfast. There are layers of heat here, and I liked that spice. The eggs were bit too dense but the tasty herbs and goat cheese in them compensated for the less-than-perfect consistency.
Orange Mango Chicken with Whole Grains, Kale, & Broccoli was my least favorite of the batch. Although the sweet sauce wasn’t gloppy, it was too sweet for my taste and I found both the grains and greens too plain. It reminded me most of those diet frozen dinners I avoid. However, the chicken stayed tender and didn’t get that rubber-like texture than can happen when poultry is microwaved.
I was really thrilled to be able to pull some of these LYFE Kitchen packages from my freezer last week, when our daily highs hit 100 degrees and I was low on my own home-cooked frozen meals. I would consider buying them again as a convenience food, though they would supplement and not replace my own frozen meals. Locally, you should be able to find LYFE Kitchen at Shop Rite in Croton and Thornwood. Let me know if you give them a try!
The boys had social engagements this afternoon, so I flew solo on our farm share pick up today. It’s a good thing, because it was much more chaotic than usual, with one woman flitting in and out of the line, filling her bags out of order (all the vegetables are lined up in bins along a low wall… just follow along the bins and you get all your vegetables). She stepped on my toe and I was unduly enraged. Then there was another gaggle of women who seemed to be splitting up a single share several ways, in line, while having leisurely conversation without regard for the people piling up behind them.
The bright spot was behind me — I got to say hi for the first time this season to Allyson, of Garlicky Kale with Toasted Breadcrumbs fame. I do enjoy getting to see friendly faces year after year, and was also excited to see a new member who also has a son at my boys’ elementary school.
This week we received 1 bunch of radishes, 1 arrowhead cabbage (my favorite type of cabbage, it’s so delicate), 2 kohlrabi, 1 head Salanova lettuce, 1 piece summer squash, 1 bunch Red Russian kale, 1 zucchini, 1 bunch broccoli rabe, 1 bowl arugula, 1 bowl salad mix, 1 pint sugar snap peas, 1 bowl tatsoi, 1 bunch scallions, 6 garlic scapes, and 1 small handful each of basil, cilantro, and parsley (not pictured above).
I’ve already sauteed up the tatsoi, zucchini, yellow squash, and some garlic scapes for dinner. I also sliced up most of the radishes, sprinkled them with a little salt, and then dipped them in cream cheese as a snack. I have a memory of my grandpa shaking out a small layer of salt into a dish and then dipping radishes into the salt before eating them. So I guess I am in very good company, enjoying my radishes!
Then there’s the kohlrabi. I don’t remember ever working with it before! It apparently tastes like a mild broccoli stalk, or like a cross between a young turnip and cabbage. I have a feeling I will prefer it raw, so I thought this ‘Carpaccio’ of Kohlrabi with Radishes and Blue Cheese looked nice (but oops… I don’t have many radishes left). J. is always a fan of making pickles, so that’s also an option.
As always, I love to hear what you’re cooking with these or similar ingredients.
I am visiting my sister (and newborn niece) in Brisbane, Australia this week and we are cooking up a storm! She and her husband are vegetarian, so our meal plan reflects that.
In between spending time with my family and cooking, I have been cuddling with koalas and petting this guy:
I’ve also had a lot of fun shopping in their local grocery, Coles; at their produce shop, Fruity Capers; and at the Davies Park Market. We are headed to a giant market this weekend (Eumundi Markets), so our Saturday and Sunday meals will reflect what we buy there that looks good.
I'm Dara, the Chick in the Kitchen. Living in the suburbs of Manhattan with my two school-aged boys and husband. Feeding my family something more diverse than a different shape of pasta each night. Read more about me and CITK, and keep in touch: