Our first box from Door-To-Door Organics arrived yesterday. This is a cool service that delivers a box of assorted produce — all organic but not necessarily local, as I discovered when I opened my box and found a bunch of bananas — to your house once a week. I guess they do focus on local food as much as possible and have close relationships with many Colorado farms, but since they deliver year-round, they have to look a little farther afield so their customers don’t have to subsist on a diet of leeks, nettles, and potatoes in the winter.
I have been looking into doing a CSA farm share but haven’t committed yet. So I thought the box would be a nice supplement to our weekly farmer’s market outings, especially since, as I wrote a couple weeks ago, it’s pretty slim pickings at our farmer’s market this time of year.
Well, of course I kind of forgot I had signed up for the box until I found it on my porch. And — even though I ordered the “small” version — it was big. A slight feeling of panic seized me as I unpacked what seemed like an endless bounty of fruits and vegetables and simultaneously realized that we won’t be eating at home for the next few nights. I mean, I know I shouldn’t be scared by the presence of Swiss chard, piles of cherry tomatoes, and a few extra avocados — but did I mention the box was big?
While they do have some items you can order specifically, in general the box’s contents are a surprise. Here’s what we got:
- 1 lb. strawberries
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 2 avocados
- 2 cucumbers
- 2 zucchini
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 cantaloupe
- 5 bananas
- 1 bunch Swiss chard
- 1 bunch spinach
- 1 bunch green leaf lettuce
- 1 bunch carrots
- 4 peaches
So, after dutifully photographing it all (I know, I know, my photography skills are lacking), I took a deep breath and started chopping. In addition to a gorgeous salad, which used up most the lettuce, some tomatoes, an avocado, and a few strawberries (dressed with my favorite Lemon-infused olive oil, sherry vinegar and some shredded Parrano cheese, yum), I made a sautéed veggie pasta dish that my husband declared was one of his all-time favorites. In addition to feeling very proud of myself for dispatching with a good fifth of the box’s contents in one meal, I made something that’s worth repeating (I can say this because my husband is extremely picky and old enough to have eaten a lot of pasta, so if he loved it, you probably will, too. Plus it’s super easy.)
Here’s the recipe:
Vegetable Pasta Sauté
- Cook some whole wheat penne or other pasta (Tip: Whenever I cook pasta or any other whole grain like brown rice, I make GOBS extra, usually at least double the amount we need for one meal; that way, it’s easy to throw together a pasta dinner at 8 p.m., which was the time when I discovered the box on our porch – another contributor to my mild panic attack, I’m sure.)
- In the meantime, heat some (when I say “some,” I guess I mean about a capful or tablespoon to start; you can add more if you need it, but don’t get carried away with too much oil) extra virgin olive oil in a skillet with some crushed garlic (Another tip: Keep a small jar of crushed garlic in your fridge, so whenever a recipe calls for minced garlic cloves, you can cheat and grab a spoonful.).
- Cut one large zucchini into bite-size chunks and sauté. Add some sliced mushrooms if you have them.
- Remove the stems from a bunch of fresh spinach (in this instance, I think the whole bunches of spinach taste much better than the bagged baby kind) and rinse it REALLY well to get all the sand and grit off.
- When the other veggies are slightly browned, add the spinach and a few basil leaves if you have them (which I think you should; the plants grow like weeds anyway).
- Add a few drops each of balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.
- When spinach is wilted, add the (cooked, drained) pasta to the pan along with half a cup of milk. Toss it all together. Top with salt, lots of fresh ground pepper, some crushed red pepper, and of course grated Parmesan cheese.
Easy, quick, and extremely satisfying. Serve the kiddos before adding the red pepper if they aren’t down with spicy.
Now, about that Swiss chard…