Organic Food Delivery Box

One week ago, a package arrived on our doorstep.

It was food. Not just food- organic food. Organic produce, to be more precise. I found a deal on LivingSocial for It’s Organic — a company that delivers fresh, local organic produce to your door once a week (or less frequently, if you prefer). My roommate and I decided to go in on the (discounted) $35 box together, and this is what we got. Some pretty standard late summer staples like melon, pears and plums (plus, an avocado and giant head of lettuce that aren’t pictured)…But also some lesser known foods as well. A couple in particular stumped me:

We got 2 rutabagas (1st photo) and a half dozen patty pan squash (2nd photo). Hmmm…

We both got to researching how to cook the suckers, and got some ideas. It was like an at-home round of Chopped! Here’s a box of secret ingredients — ready, go!

I remembered seeing patty pan squash on Anne Burrell‘s show before, but I was pretty sure she just said things like “oh little patty pan squash, you’re so cute and tiny but you don’t have much flavor or pizazz!” while playing with the squash and making it do a little cutesie dance. Then she just blitzed it into oblivion and made the squash barely recognizable or something. Upon further research, I found that a lot of people stuff them (like a bell pepper), but these were much too small to squash so I just sliced them up and sauteed them one day for a snack!

A mandolin would have come in handy right about then…

For a little bit of added flavor, I sauteed them in some of my favorite cooking-oil-that-can-also-be-used-in-your-hair: coconut oil!

My friend Ian actually made this coconut oil himself in Panama (or was it Costa Rica?) and brought a bunch back about a year ago. I’ve been slowly been using it up since then. It kicks simple sautes up a notch and is killer when melted and added to marinades — especially for fish. The squash was pretty good, but I don’t think I’ll be going out of my way to find it at the market anytime soon!

As for the rutabaga (which is basically a turnip), I decided my two options were to roast it, or mash/puree it. Because it got back up to 95 degrees this weekend, my decision was made for me: there was no way I was turning on the oven! So I boiled the rutabaga along with a carrot, added some milk and ginger, and got this:

Kind of a funny color, but it was actually really good. My mom makes carrot ginger soup every year at Christmas, so I played off those flavors and got something not half bad!

It was definitely fun cooking “out of my comfort zone” with these ingredients. Since a lot of seasonal Farmer’s Markets will be ending in the coming weeks, I may just have to sign up for a monthly shipment of fresh produce.

Are there any foods you don’t know how to cook, or that are just plain strange to you?

Farmer Fresh Fiesta Friday

There are so many wonderful things about summer. Sunshine, swimming, bright colors, barbecues, vacation, weddings…just to name a few. But since this is my first summer of living on my own out of college, I’m learning there’s another great thing about summer: all the best produce is fresh, cheap, and bountiful!

This is the weekly Certified Organic Farmer’s Market at Capitol Park next to the State Capitol (and my office). Every other week, I usually stop by and get a few things like fruit and veggies for myself, or almonds and pistachios to share at the office. Pretty much every day of the week, there is at least one Farmer’s Market going on somewhere in Downtown Sacramento!

Normally I only need to stop by every other week, though, because I have another farmer supplying me: my dad! Check out how his garden looked a few weeks ago:

Doesn’t it all look great? I’ve pretty much stopped buying zucchini at the grocery store or farmer’s market because every time I go to my parents’ house, I come back with a zucchini the size of my face. No, seriously:

I have a feeling tomatoes and corn are next!

Check out some of the ways I’ve been using up all my Farmer’s Market finds:

Grilled Veggie Tacos that I showed y’all on my Day of Eats

After my Mexican Pizza recipe, I think you all know that I’m a fan of piling things on a tortilla and calling it a pizza. In lieu of refried beans, I often mash some avocado instead! Above is roasted veggies, below is steamed/sauteed (with my favorite coasters!).

Charred corny goodness.

OK this is not at all Farmers Market fresh, but I just wanted to share this tip I recently tried: add a touch of french vanilla creamer in your plain oatmeal! What?! Amazing!

Fudgey ZUCCHINI cookies from Two Peas and their Pod! The zucchini is perfectly hidden by all the chocolate!

Inspired by Edible Perspective’s Curry Zucchini Roll ups, I tried my hand at Caprese Zucchini Roll ups (they have basil, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella & a bit of avocado stuffed inside!), but kind of majorly failed. They wouldn’t stay together, but at least they tasted good!

Last night’s dinner: a kale salad with cherry tomatoes, avocado, and homemade balsamic vin all over the bowl. Kale isn’t exactly in season right now, but for some reason I keep buying it at the market…

Now, I’ve covered Farmer Fresh… Why the Fiesta in the title?

This week is Fiesta in Santa Barbara! A week of parades, carnivals, parties…….and confetti eggs.

I will use a few photos of my friends and I in 2010 as a demonstration:

They seem unassuming enough, right?

We thought so too…

But then…

…the aftermath!! (p.s. not my hair! Don’t worry, I didn’t turn into a brunette in a matter of minutes ;P)

And even though I don’t live in Santa Barbara anymore, I’m still feelin’ the Fiesta — the law firm I work for has their California headquarters in Santa Barbara, and gives all California employees a half day on “Fiesta Friday”! Ole! Have a great weekend!

Also, I’ll just leave this here.