CSA 2018 – Week 15: Keeping it Simple

CSA Newsletter – Week 15

Keeping it Simple

We all know by now that this modern world we live in is becoming faster and more complicated by the day, and it’s hard to not get caught up in it. It’s easy to become obsessed with perfection—the perfect response to an email, the perfect caption for your Instagram photo, the perfect meal to serve to impress your friends with. Whatever it is, it’s all too easy to let yourself get anxious about these things, as if life could possibly be less amazing just because you couldn’t find that one exotic ingredient for a dish you’re preparing for a dinner party.

I’m someone who falls into these modern-day traps regularly, so I find myself seeking out simplicity in order to balance myself out. One way that I like to rebell against productivity and content obsession is to make super simple food that doesn’t look particularly “pretty.” I love to stir fry onions and carrots together with tamari and eat it with fresh cilantro on top and nothing else. It’s a plate of brown mush and I love it. Sometimes for dinner I’ll just have roasted potatoes with butter with sauteed cabbage on the side. Simple. Maybe it’s a little burnt. Maybe it’s not salted properly. Who cares. We all do simple random little things when we’re in a rush or just don’t want to put in the time, but we rarely value those simple things as much as I think they deserve.

This life is too short to not enjoy even the simplest of things to the fullest. A baked potato with salt and butter is a beautiful thing. Slices of cucumber dipped into ranch (that’s right, ranch, not some artisanal aioli) is a beautiful thing. Staring blankly out the window while you pick at your teeth is a fine way to spend a few moments, or more. Respect!

Looked at another way, the complex things in this world that impress us so much are actually quite simple. And the simple things that we often shrug off are actually incredibly complex. It’s all perspective. So we might as well enjoy the beauty in things whichever way we happen to see them in the moment.

Best, Laura Bennett

Table of Box Contents

  • Purple Carrots—tis the season of roasted roots! I love roasting carrots whole, but roasting purple carrots whole is next level beautiful.
  • Red Shallot—don’t forget, shallots are a cross between garlic and onions, which is why their flavor is so much more potent than a regular onion, and why you can see shallots trying to clove up, growing in funny shapes. Use like an onion in any dish.
  • Sweet Corn
  • Purple Cabbage—In my opinion, purple cabbage is one of the most beautiful vegetables that we grow. Sure, from the outside it’s just a heavy purple ball. But slice that thing in half and boom! You’ve got a striking piece of art created from the folds of deep purple and bright white leaves. Plus it’s super-duper sweet! 😉
  • Swiss Chard—the oxalic nature of chard lends it to have somewhat of a mouth-drying effect when eaten raw. To combat this, I love to lightly braise chard with butter and garlic.
  • Pepper Party!
    • Sweet Orange Bell
    • Sweet Red Italian
    • Red Jalapeno
  • Nicola Potatoes
  • Persian Cucumbers
  • Yellow Storage Onions
  • Fresh Dill
  • Lettuce Surprise
  • Cherry Tomatoes


Cabbage Confetti Quinoa

“When my friend Kyra feels under the weather, her husband, Jason, whips up a batch of quinoa and cabbage as ‘comfort food’ to speed her healing (much more healthful than my comfort food, tapioca pudding). If you can, start with chilled cooked quinoa—leftovers from the fridge are perfect—since freshly cooked quinoa is a bit too moist here. Otherwise, cook a batch of quinoa and let it cool before adding it to the pan. This dish tastes amazing with just the vegetables and spices, too, so you can skip the quinoa altogether and enjoy the colorful ‘confetti’ by itself.” 

—Adapted from Laura Russell’s book on Brassicas.


  • 1/2 Small Head Red Cabbage
  • 2 tbsp Butter/Vegetable Oil
  • 2 large cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 Sweet Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Turmeric (or fresh!)
  • Salt
  • 2 cups White Quinoa, cooked


  1. To chop the cabbage, cut out the core with the tip of a knife and place the cabbage cut side down. Cut into about ¼-inch-thick slices, rotate the slices 90 degrees, and cut across the slices to create roughly ¼-inch pieces. You should have about 4 cups.

  2. Put the butter, garlic, and ginger in a large (12 inches or wider), deep frying pan over medium-high heat. When the garlic and ginger start to sizzle, add the bell pepper and cook, stir it occasionally, for about 3 minutes, until starting to soften. Add the cabbage, turmeric, and a pinch or two of salt and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes, until the cabbage wilts. (The cabbage is perfectly delicious at this point. If you like skip the quinoa and eat the dish now.)

  3. Stir in the quinoa and another pinch or two of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes more, until hot. Taste and add additional salt if needed. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Crispy, Buttery Smashed Potatoes

“Joe Rossi… and his daughter Gabrielle co-manage Rossi Farms, where they grow eighteen varieties of handpicked heirloom potatoes. The power of potatoes to satisfy deeply and completely should not be underestimated. The essence of this humble ingredient is most successfully captured with the simplest of preparations. Here, high heat, butter, and herbs transform fingerling potatoes into a crunchy, wildly addictive cross between a French fry and a baked potato.”

—Recipe adapted from Gabrielle Rossi of Rossi Farms, from the Portland Farmers Market Cookbook


  • 2 lb Potatoes, unpeeled
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 tbsp Butter, melted
  • 1 tsp Garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tsp finely chopped Herbs, such as Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley, Chives, or a combination


  1. Add the potatoes to a large pot and cover them with cold water by several inches. Generously salt the water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the potatoes until just before they are fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and let them cool for 10 minutes.

  2. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

  3. Lightly coat a baking sheet with oil. Evenly space the boiled potatoes out across the sheet and, using a small glass or a fork lightly coated with oil, gently flatten each potato by pressing down until it mashes into an oblong shape. Brush the potatoes generously with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, sprinkle them with salt and pepper to taste, and bake them for 10 minutes. And the garlic and herbs to the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, brush the potatoes again, and bake until they are golden brown and crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes more.