I'm experimenting with an organic food source called FoodConnect, which provides city slickers with organic food from locally sourced organic growers. I've opted for an initial four week offering of a small box, but with fortnightly instead of weekly pick-ups. Entries entitled Organic will just be me nattering on to myself about the food I get and what I do with it, so that I can properly supervise the experiment... If you're here expecting revelations about my writing, I apologise for going off piste, but hey, a girl's gotta eat. I was going to leave these entries hidden, but thought some people thinking about doing FoodConnect might want to get one person's take on it. So I've de-cloaked. Feel free to chime in with observations and recipes, or not...as you like
With the first box, I was initially disappointed as I repacked it into bags to take home. The fruit was pretty bruised (bruised, not blemished -- this wasn't about being organic, but handling), the eggplant had been picked too soon, so too small and not yet ripe. I'm not crazy about silverbeet, I hate fresh coriander, and I didn't need any basil, but it being the first delivery, there was no swop table set up. So I was grumpy as I left. And Wendy food-grumpy is not a pretty sight. Still, it was the first week, so I thought, well, let 'em settle in. And then I tasted the nectarines, the brown mushrooms, and the watermelon. I was less grumpy. Much less grumpy.
What I got, what I did with it
4 nectarines: The fruit was too bruised for hand eating, but it was lovely and sweet. Should have made a clafoutis, but settled on a crumble. Very nice.
4 gala apples: 2 went into an ersatz waldorf, 1 got eaten, and the last, which was pretty bruised from careless handling, got chucked into the crumble.
1 small slice watermelon, 2 plums: snarfed 'em. Delicious.
Salad and veg
1 small bag mixed leaf lettuce: base for a grilled goat cheese salad, and the rest --> a plain green salad with French vinaigrette
2 small not quite ripe eggplant: M'toubal, aka baba ganoush. The m'toubal was initially a bit bitter, but the next day the dip had lost that bitterness. I made it as I have dozens of times, so I don't think it was my recipe. I'm hoping the need to fill the boxes in time for a schedule doesn't result in more not quite or too ripe fruit/vege.
1 bunch basil: freezer pesto. I am rich in basil, as I have it in several places in the garden, and was too braindead when picking up the box to think to hand it off to someone who could use it, so I processed it with some parsley and garlic from my garden, with olive oil, and tossed it in the fridge in a ziploc bag with the air squeezed out. I'll be able to add pignoli and parmesan in the winter when my basil has gone to meet its maker.
1 bunch coriander: gave it to Mary Ann, my neighbour, as I don't do fresh coriander. (An unfortunate incident involving me, traveller's tummy and a Morrocan market gardener selling bunches of fresh coriander. Now I can't bear the smell of the stuff.)
1 bunch gai lan (Chinese broccoli) which I've never tried before. (I'm shy around Asian greens, as we haven't been formally introduced.) Stir fried some on its own with garlic, ginger and a dash of oyster sauce. It was okay, tasty, but on the bitter side. I added some to a mixed vege stirfry, that was quite fine.
2 large brown mushrooms. These were absolutely beautiful mushrooms. I put them in a stir fry, but I wish I had BBQed them and had them on their own, or perhaps stuffed them.
1 big bunch silverbeet, 4 potatoes: I made a variation on Stephanie Alexander's silverbeet and potato torte, which is basically just cheese and vege wrapped in pizza dough and done in the oven. Added some of the ruby chard from the garden for colour, used a combo of mostly mozzarella, some feta, and a chunk of cheddar that was ready to expire, instead of just the mozz in the recipe. Very nice. There was lots of silverbeet, so some got steamed as a side vege, some got added to a mixed stir fry, and I ended tossing some, because there was so much.
All in all, it was fun having vegetables thrust upon me, and coming up with things to do with them. I felt like a contestant on a cooking show (without the fancy benchtops and appliances). Am looking forward to the next box. Organic veg does not have a shelf life to speak of, so must remember to eat it all quickly. The things one is forced to do for the good of the planet....