Ok, so your kitchen tools are locked, loaded, sharpened and ready to go. Your pantry is stocked up with your go to staples. You have a fridge full of fresh produce that's stored to maximize its storage life. Now its time to get down and dirty and actually prep some of this food.
Here are a few methods I use that make produce taste amazing without a ton of effort. They pull together in a snap and are great for when you totally forget that you have a family to feed until 30 minutes before dinner (which, even though I basically live surrounded by food, I seem to do far too often).
Stir Fry: One of my favorites when I'm not sure what I want to do with something. I sauté chopped vegetables in oil, perhaps add some chicken or tofu, then a dash of soy sauce, wine vinegar, and chili sauce. I'll usually serve over rice.
Curry: Very similar but I add a can of coconut milk, a tablespoon of curry paste, a bit of ginger, and some spices like turmeric and chili powder.
Sauces: Want to be sneaky? Get out that grater and grate up a carrot or zucchini, add to to your pasta sauce, done.
Soup: There's a little thing I like to call CSA soup aka everything but the kitchen sink soup. Chop up your veggies, sauté them with onion, garlic and herbs. Add stock or water and let simmer. Then add some quinoa or lentils to top it off. You'll have yourself a hearty, easy meal in no time.
Grilling: I'm not sure what it is, but drizzling sliced veggies with olive oil and adding a touch of salt then throwing them on the grill seems to make things way more delicious with very little effort. Bonus points if you marinate them in oil and vinegar beforehand.
Omelets: Rest and reset on your weekend with a big ol' veggie filled omelet.
Smoothies: Less chewing and more fruit flavor while still fitting in your greens. Try freezing portions in muffin tins for an easy breakfast.
Things that are a little less simple but will give you a longer shelf life:
1. Dehydrating: Use either a specialized dehydrator or a cooling rack on a baking sheet in a low heat oven to make sun dried tomatoes, kale chips and more.
2. Pickling: I prefer lacto-fermented methods for all the wonderful probiotics but vinegar based pickling methods are just as wonderful for keep your produce crisp longer.
Sometimes you really find yourself on the final moments of a vegetable's useable life and just can't bring yourself to work it into any meal. That's where my two favorite exit strategies come in:
1. Freezing: If you want to get fancy with it you can blanch, dry, and then vacuum seal your produce to prevent freezer burn. However, seeing this is an exit strategy even if you just toss them in a half hearted sealed ziploc you can take them out later and use in a soup.
2. Broth: The ultimate way to use every bit of the harvest. Keep your veggie scraps, throw in any produce you don't feel like using, maybe add some chicken bones, salt, and herbs and let simmer in your crockpot on high for 4-6 hours. You'll have a flavorful broth to add to your meals throughout the week or ladle into ice cube trays and freeze for later.
Once you made it all the way through, COMPOST! Our soil needs beautiful organic material to keep it healthy. Give back all your can to the Earth and keep more out of the landfill by starting your own compost pile.
Worms bins are another option if you realllllly want a pet but your landlord says no. ;)
If you're the kind of person that needs a bit more direction than that, not to worry, each week I will be publishing detailed recipes along with your CSA share!