The Chatfield CSA at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield
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Sept. 9 - Vicki's Vegetable Ventures

Posted 9/9/2011 5:53pm by Vicki Phillips.

On vacation

We returned earlier this week from a great family getaway in Hilton Head. While there I was reminded how much better our vegetables have been this summer coming straight from the Chatfield garden.

On our last night in Hilton Head it was our turn to cook, so we went to the nearest store, a large grocery chain, for some country pork ribs, broccoli and potatoes. Back at the beach rental house, we started cooking the broccoli by steaming it. But when the grilled pork was nearly done and the broccoli had miles to go, we resorted to drastic measures. The broccoli got plunked in boiling water for 5 or 10 minutes and still it was not cooked to my liking.

Ditto with the potatoes. They baked for an hour at 450° and never did get fluffy and soft inside. Now, I don’t expect store-bought veggies to be as young and tender as our CSA goodies, but this broccoli and potatoes seemed particularly old and tough. So when I returned home and picked up my CSA share from neighbors Teri and Debi, those fresh-picked tomatoes, broccoli, peppers and potatoes were a sight for sore eyes.

Report from the veggie-sitters

Before leaving town last week I delivered my unused share to Fred & Barb and Alan & Deb. They made good use of nearly everything, with only some potatoes left for roasting.

Squash and zucchini were fried up with a nice herb blend. Tomatoes and sweet peppers were dropped into a salad with green olives and topped with shish kabob chicken. Heirloom tomatoes, hot peppers, garlic and tomatillos combined for a lively salsa.

Even Fred was stumped by the fennel. He consulted with his friend Steve, who turns out to be Italian and uses it all the time. So Fred found a way to incorporate it into one of his magnificent meat dishes. In his words, "That root thing we peeled and sautéed in butter and garlic to serve with grilled lamb chops."

Serendipitous find

I rarely turn on the TV in the morning, but yesterday morning it was on, tuned to the Food Network, of course. I was busy with chores so wasn’t watching it, but Ellie Krieger caught my attention with a vegetable tart. I sat down and watched her make the whole thing. "I have all those ingredients!"

Last night for dinner I made the tart using our eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, purple onion and basil. With five CSA items in one healthy dish – and succulently delicious besides – I definitely hit the sweet spot where flavor meets nutrition. The dish is called Cornmeal-Crusted Roasted Ratatouille Tart.

I should watch Ellie Krieger’s show more often. As a dietitian, she’s always mindful of minimizing fat, salt and other naughty ingredients while maximizing use of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Perfect for us CSA shareholders!


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