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The first in a mid-winter series on how to turn the less popular veggies available at your local market or CSA box into real food, cooked simply that you would like to eat and your children or other picky family members may try as well (no guarantees). MCA staffer Kristina Bostick subscribes to a year-round CSA and shares how to cope when there is just too much ___.
We are taking broccoli on first in our winter veggie series as its one of those veggies that can positively sing when cooked right. It's a familiar crop that is available most of the year round. It also can go bad very quickly, unlike your potatoes or squash that can hang out on the counter for weeks. We split a large share from our farmer with another family - thereby dividing pick-up duties. It works really well, except you get to choose what you'd like in our CSA and we sometimes have a communication breakdown and get lots more of something when we hadn't touched the share of it from last week. That is why I found myself staring down 4 small heads of broccoli in the fridge - in varrying stages of "use it now." This is part of the beauty of a CSA - forced vegetable creativity. Lets dive in:
1. Roast it: We first turn to Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten - who personifies simple but flavorful cooking. This recipe appeared on a blog with the title "The Best Broccoli of Your Life" and it is- roasted with lemon and parm. This is the go-to around here and one of two children try it. Roasting is generally the best way to handle broccoli. If you have only had overcooked steamed or boiled broccoli, no wonder you don't like it.
2. Asian Peanut Sauce Leanne Brown wrote a digital book for her grad program called "Good and Cheap" with detailed recipes and cooking tips for folks living on $4/day - that is what a food stamps budget works out to. This free resource has been downloaded millions of times. The title is apt, it is good food - like noodles and veggies in homemade peanut sauce - with an eye on cost per portion. Only the grown-ups liked this one but it was great.
3. Broccoli Apple Salad I have not made this, but it looks like a kid crowd pleaser. Call it apples and tiny trees, that works sometimes here.
4. Broccoli Pesto Noodles Also from Leann Brown of Good and Cheap. Leann says broccoli that no longer looks its best works in this one.
5. Empanadas You could make these with almost anything, these happen to be egg, cheddar and broccoli - but it is surely time consuming. I made them on a rainy, cold Sunday afternoon. There are enough eggs in it that if you have your children help they may actually get enough practice by the end to crack them without getting shells in there - maybe. It all paid off as the 2 year old liked them a lot. Also from Good and Cheap and her advice about adding the cornmeal gave it a really nice crunch.
5. Buddha Bowl This one is an aspirational recipe for me, I have not tried buddha bowls out on the family yet, but the idea is an endlessly customizable bowl featuring grains, veggies roasted and raw, a protein (usually chickpeas, sometimes chicken) and a sauce. Roasted broccoli is a popular choice and here is one with cauliflower too - which according to the crisper drawer, will be our next installment. Stay tuned.
The Revolving Barn Door She listed her few acres of land, got a farmer who wanted to start small and build his skills- he did and moved to bigger acreage. Now she's taking on a new farmer to start again. That's two new farms grown on two acres.
The Institutional Farmer Asbury Methodist Village is committed to vital living for its senior residents - going so far as to seek a resident farmer for their new campus farm. Farmer Gigi is planning her first season of crops and engaging the residents in growing food close to home.
The Taste of Home Land Link was able to match Farmer Tanya with acreage to grow crops from her native Zimbabwe - including Kiwano, or horned Melon.
"Like life, liberty and democracy, clean water is not something we can take for granted."
~Scott Fosler, keynote address at December 3 Regional Water Forum
Various studies and reports relating to regional water availability and storage were cited during the forum. To be clear, MCA and partners acknowledge these ongoing efforts but stress the imperative to coordinate via inter-jurisdiction and interagency our efforts to maintain and protect our regional water supplies, both quantity and quality.
The ICPRB has released the following report on water supply alternatives:
The water forum hosted by MC Sierra Club in partnership with MCA and other local non-profits drew a crowd of nearly 100 on a sunny winter day. The goal was to begin a collaborative discussion focusing on regional water resources challenges and how we might best address them and featured representatives from WSSC, Montgomery Parks and the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB). When asked about the lapsed 50 year water plan, the panelists' responses were both surprising and troubling, highlighting why groups have launched this initiative.
"What plan are we talking about?"
"To my knowledge there are not people sitting down and saying 'ok lets make a plan for the next 50 years'."
Speaking for many in the audience, Caroline replies, "Uh-Oh".
The answer is almost certainly yes- but read on for caveats and some myths debunked.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) sign up time is upon us now, hoop houses across Maryland are full of tender little plants just waiting to be sown in the field. Joining a CSA is buying a stake in a farm's harvest in advance of the growing season. Each week throughout the season, you pick up (or are delivered) a box of whatever is ready for harvest. We will run quickly through the well-familiar pros of this sort of set-up that anyone considering a CSA already knows:
More Money to the Farmer ~ Freshest Food ~ Connection to Community ~ Food Discoveries ~ Non-mealy, real deal tomatoes that someone else weeds
So is a CSA for everyone? No - in the interest of really enjoying the experience you have to know that a CSA is a commitment for a number of months. A committment to pick up (or have delivered) the box and eat or cook and eat its contents. So- if you are not planning to cook (or learn to cook) at least 3 nights a week a CSA is not for you. You might solve this by splitting the CSA with a friend. Said friend can also split the pick-up duties.
Local Food Connection
Community Supported Agriculture
Restaurants & Retail
Artists of the Reserve
Montgomery Countryside Alliance
P.O Box 24, Poolesville, MD 20837
301-461-9831 • firstname.lastname@example.org
MCA is proud to announce that we have been once again recognized as one of the best small charities in the D.C. region by Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington. A panel of 110 expert reviewers from area foundations, corporate giving programs, and peer non-profit organizations evaluated 270 applications.
MCA is known as an effective and innovative non-profit whose efforts to preserve and promote Montgomery County’s nationally recognized 93,000 acre Ag Reserve have brought increased public and governmental support of local food production and farmland and open space preservation. Most importantly, MCA’s efforts are putting more farmers on the ground and keeping them there.