Vegetable Truce.

We’ve been failing you, friends. Maya’s weird diet thing seems to have collided with the time that my Mac finally told me that it refuses to hold any more pictures. So I’ve been using my weekly IF-time allotment to delete files (to make room for more pictures) rather than creating new content.

To add to the technical difficulties, I’ve been feeling stuck recently. This is my first year with both a CSA and a functioning vegetable garden. Rather than freeing me, the new weekly allotment of summer squash, fennel and beets have sort of put me into a corner. I’m being micromanaged by my vegetables. No longer do I have free will to cook and eat what I please. Nope. Instead, I have two bulbs of fennel sitting in my fridge at this very moment, taunting me: “If you don’t use me, you’re a failure of a Locavore.” Being someone who doesn’t like to be told what to do by her boss, let alone a bag full of basil, I’ve been tempted to eat at KFC more than ever before.

beet3

I recently decided to stand up to my vegetables and make an agreement: I’d use them, but they can’t be all self-important and demand to be the main course all the time. And sometimes, I just might hand them off to neighbors and friends, and they’ve got to be okay with that.

“Beets”, I said, “I’m going to use you because I like you, but you’re only going to be a salad. And I’m going to put goat cheese in there. And truth be told, I’m probably going to like the goat cheese as much as or more than I like you.”

beet1

“And Pretty Lettuce, I’m going to use you, but to be honest, I’m not quite sure about how I feel about you. So chill out and stop trying to get my attention. You’re going to have to grow on me.”

beet2

“Cilanto and Onions, you’re nice and all, but just understand that you’re going to play a supporting role to the tilapia and sour cream in my fish tacos. And no, the lime is not local. You really need to be a little more open-minded to strangers”

That, my friends, is how you reason with vegetables. You just have to let them know who’s in charge.

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6 thoughts on “Vegetable Truce.

  1. Jaydubs says:

    Man, I have to say I really don’t like beets. Or fennel. They’ve been sitting in my fridge languishing for weeks (eep!) now. I may just offer ’em up to my mom, who likes beets (like, A LOT) and licorice (which I’m extrapolating to mean that she would like fennel, too).

    I thought the lettuce was good, though–I used the last of it for dinner yesterday: pasta topped with the last of the pesto my dad made last year, some shredded basil and the products of my first-ever attempt to grow broccoli (surprisingly easy!). Salad was that lettuce, farmer’s market tomatoes and cucumber from the garden (again, the first time I’ve tried growing it, again, surprisingly easy).

    I’ve enjoyed the creative challenge of the CSA, but yeah, sometimes the obligations to use everything we get can seem a bit overwhelming.

  2. Susan says:

    I’m with you. I am a slave to my CSA, but it is stretching my cooking muscles. I mean, how many flippin’ ways can I eat a zucchini?!? Zucchini bread, zucchini cakes, zucchini casserole, zucchini soup, zucchini lasagna, zucchini chips… tonight it’s going to be zucchini linguini… Aaaaaarrrgh!

    I’ve found that my dehydrator and my freezer have been my savior. Can’t possibly eat another leaf of chard? No problem! I just chop it up, bag and freeze it, putting off the crisis until sometime in the dead of winter, when I’m struck with nostalgia for Ohio-raised veggies.

  3. Matt says:

    @Susan, will chard keep in the freezer without turning to mush when thawed?

    @Jill, I’ve had a really good onion, beet, and fennel salad before, using rice vinegar. I used some of my fennel in a chicken, turnip and carrot dish with white wine reduction (YUM).

    @JayDubs: the fennel I’ve been getting from the CSA has been VERY weak in terms of taste. Not sure what’s up with that.

    I haven’t gotten any zukes or cukes from the CSA yet (which is good — I wouldnt mind a zucchini now and then, but there is such a thing as too much). Going to try my hand at a nice light cucumber salad tonight.

  4. maya says:

    @Susan, love “zucchini linguini.” Say it five times fast — such fun! I have (via my mother, and Moosewood) what is possibly the best way to use those suckers…talk about childhood memories. I’ll put it on the list of things to make this summer and share w/ y’all.

    @JayDubs, as an avowed licorice fan, I’d say that the chances of your mom digging the fennel are pretty good. I could eat pounds of both. I’m sure you’re aware of this, but the anise flavor really diminishes if you cook it for a long time, like an onion. Wish I could remember the way I prepared it last time around — if it comes to me, I’ll let you know.

  5. Jenn says:

    I too feel micromanaged by my vegetables. I have 4 kohlrabi in my fridge that I still can’t manage to eat!

    I don’t particularly like licorice, but I adore roasted fennel.

  6. Matt says:

    Check you local library for farmers market friendly cookbooks! A great resource and good introductions to the mystery CSA items.

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