CSA Newsletter Week 20
I like to plan my food ahead of time most weeks. While perusing cookbooks and magazines, I’ve discovered it can be difficult to find books that recognize that vegetables have seasons. My bookshelf is full of food plans or menu suggestions that combine vegetables from all seasons in the same recipe or in the same day’s menu, not recognizing that watercress and red bell peppers do not thrive in the same weather. Sometimes it can be near impossible to follow a menu plan correctly apart from extra grocery trips and more money spent on non-seasonal produce.
We’ve gotten used to expecting that we can have any season’s vegetable at any time of the year, and from any location no matter how far. I can’t complain about having plenty of vegetables available since I do my share of taking advantage of them, but I wonder sometimes if so much variety is really best for our digestion and bodies in general. Aside from the fact that seasonal foods are what we’re usually in the mood for (we crave pumpkin pancakes in October, but not in April), I’ve also heard that plants that grow in certain weather are the ones that are best for our bodies at that time. For example, it’s not only that fresh tomatoes and chilled cucumbers are refreshing on a hot day, and a hot root and onion stew is comforting on a cold day, but that these foods also somehow affect our bodies’ processes to better cope with our environment. I don’t know if there’s evidence to support that, but the idea appeals to me.
Complex carbs (like those in root vegetables) are supposed to have a calming effect. I heard when you combine them with protein for dinner, they “stimulate calming neurotransmitters that help you doze off.” (That’s a quote from Kristin Kirkpatric, RD, manager of wellness nutrition services at a Cleveland clinic.) Sounds to me like yet another reason to consider taking up hibernation in winter!
Butternut: Pureed winter squash goes well in a smoothie. To make a Cocoa Coconut Smoothie, blend up ½ c. squash puree, ½ Tbsp. cocoa powder, 1 Tbsp. walnut oil, ¼ c. light coconut milk, ½ tsp. vanilla, ½ c. espresso, ½ frozen European pear, and 1 medjool date (this will blend better if soaked in hot water first to soften it) and ¼ c. water or milk (I like to use the water used for soaking the date).
Yellow Acorn Squash
2 Onions, 1 Red Cipollini
2 Rutabagas: Roots like rutabagas make great home fries. Chop into sticks and roast in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment at 400 F for 25 minutes. See the back for how to make homemade aioli.
Bulk Juice Carrots
Culinary Dandelion: This nutritious, healing superstar is back! Dandelions are cultivated for their skin-toning benefits, as a diuretic, blood detoxifier, and aid for liver, kidneys, digestive issues, and arthritis. It’s more tender and peppery than the weed variety, but still bitter, so it’s best blanched or braised.
Colored Sweet Pepper
Potatoes, Lettuce, Tomatoes