What a bizarre week this is. We have plenty of signs of spring and even summer in this week's box: strawberries, rhubarb, and avocados. But we also have some tenacious reminders of the winter: broccoli and oranges. Add to that the fact that we had a lovely weekend last weekend, but are now in the midst of a heat wave (mid-to-upper 90sF forecast for tomorrow), and my head is spinning a bit.
Not that I'm complaining (not much, anyway--I could do without the heat). I lamented to a friend a few weeks ago that I was disappointed that broccoli season was over, and now I have three darling little broccoli crowns fresh from the farm. Someone also seems to have heard that I was growing weary of all the asparagus, and made sure that it was left off of the list this week. There are also plenty of items that lend themselves to hot-weather cooking. More on that when I get to the actual box contents.
My meal planning and early-bird preparing seems to have clicked into place this week, just in time for Bike to Work Week. This month is National Bike Month, this week is Bike to Work Week, and tomorrow (Thursday) is Bike to Work Day. I'm not sure why we need both a week and a day, but I don't object: as one who commutes by bike two or three days a week, and as a cyclist in general, I'm all for encouraging broader awareness of cyclists' rights and responsibilities on the road.
Dizzy, by the way, says hello to everyone. She has decided to take up residence on my shoulders as I write this post. Shoulder perching has become a favorite activity of hers lately, and the Suitor and I can hardly bend over without her jumping up onto our backs.
But enough of all this. Fruits! Veggies! Herbs! Here's what I found on my doorstep this afternoon:
- Baby lettuce (8 ounces). Salads: the orange/fennel salad I mentioned last week (Friday or Saturday), and a cold Thai noodle salad tomorrow evening. Cool, fresh, no-need-to-turn-on-the-oven salads are what I'm going with for dinner these days. I see this heat wave as a warm-up (no pun intended) for the late summer months, when temperatures in the 80s an 90s are a regular feature of my days.
- Baby fennel (1 bulb, with fronds). It's adorable, really. Only about an inch in diameter and as bright and crisp as can be. It seems a shame to chop it up and put it in a salad, but even more of a shame to subject it to any sort of heat. So, salad it is.
- Strawberries (1 pint). They look a bit past their prime, but perhaps that's just the effect of the heat. Nevertheless, they're still tasty. I'm trying to be good and stretch the one basket out over two, maybe three days. I'll be lucky if I make it to two.
- Carrots (1 bunch). These little guys are, as usual, going to work with me over the next couple of days. It's my end-of-the-week jolt of Vitamin A.
- Cilantro (1 bunch). Noodle salad... and Chinese chicken salad. The latter sounds like a nice, cool dish for hot weather, and once you make it, it is. But the making requires frying wontons and rice sticks, and frankly, I don't want to stand over a pot of hot oil until the daytime high temperature is back down to the low 80s at most. Thus, the Chinese chicken salad will have to wait until at least Saturday.
- Napa cabbage (1 head). Thank goodness this cabbage is a more reasonable size than the stuff I normally find at the store. The store-bought version is usually as big as a watermelon, and I can never use it all. This one is the size of two grapefruits stuck together, which is a much more manageable size.
- Broccoli (1 bunch). I feel like such a dork for being so excited about broccoli, but I haven't had it in weeks (months?) and I've missed it. I might put it in the skillet chicken, pasta, and broccoli, but I have half a mind to give it a good, quick roast so that its flavor shines through.
- Haas avocados (4). These are the cutest little avocados ever: each is the size of a small pear. Confession time: I am in most respects a California girl through and through, but an affinity for avocados is not one of them. I am going to try making a small batch of guacamole on Friday to accompany the fajitas, in the hopes that making my own guac will convert me. I really do want to like avocados: they've got good fat, and you wouldn't believe the horrified looks people give me when they learn that this born-and-bred Californian doesn't care for avocados.
- Rhubarb (1/2 pound, or 2 stalks). Since I still haven't had time to use the other two stalks, I'm looking forward to a larger-than-expected crumble this weekend. Or perhaps a small crumble and something else. Sorbet? Maybe.
- Italian parsley (1 bunch). This actually looks like a bit of a hybrid between Italian and curly parsley, but as long as it tastes good, I don't mind either way.
- Onions (2). One red, one yellow. One of them (maybe both) will be sliced, marinated, and grilled with the steak for fajitas. Anything not used in the next couple of days will keep just fine in the fridge.
- Minneola tangelos (2 pounds). For eating, although one will go into a salad. I ate one this evening, and the sweetness and flavor just about knocked me over. I'm looking forward to eating the rest of them!
So, that's what I'm up to. How is everyone? What are you cooking this week?