This week was one of the more fun weeks to cook – not only because I got a fabulous box full of vegetables from our friends at Bialas Farms, but also because I received my first box of artisanal food products from Hatchery.

I’ve been wanting to test out the Hatchery subscription box for a while since I tend to fall hard for small-batch producers. My first box didn’t disappoint, a true compliment for the range of vegetables that I received from the farm, including:

  1. Poblano Chiles
  2. Yukon Gold Potatoes
  3. Green Peppers
  4. Red & Yellow Onions
  5. Beets
  6. Radishes
  7. Eggplant
  8. Cilantro
  9. Zucchini
  10. Cucumber
  11. Lettuce 



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Cooking with this range of unique products has been fun.



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Pictured: Lafaza Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean, Bella Nut Sunflower Maca Cinnamon Honey Nut Butter, Not Ketchup Cherry Chipotle dipping sauce, Modern Gingham Preserves Coffee’d Tart Cherry jam, Fogg City Spice Co. Smokey BBQ Seasoning and extra virgin olive oil from the Other Brother Company.

Breakfast couldn’t wait; I immediately spooned some of the Coffee’d tart cherry jam onto Greek yogurt and topped with a handful of homemade granola. I could wake up to this every day.



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As you may have seen on previous CSA posts, the majority of the recipes featured use my Bialas Farms produce. But in some cases, when I hit the farmer’s market to pick up my farm share box, I stop by the neighboring stands to gather some additional items – namely berries, stone fruit and melons.



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I try to make these posts as inclusive as possible, recognizing that many people receive these types of fruits in their CSA boxes, and/or may be shopping for similar summer items at the farmer’s market. So please excuse me if I meander a little and share dishes that have been prepped with food that goes beyond my CSA box specifically.

I’ve been making ice pops all summer long with the berries that we’ve been buying in bulk. Before we headed up to the lake, I’d ordered a few different pop molds on Amazon, which I thought could be a fun activity for the kids. This week we tried a blackberry and vanilla bean combo which was a straight up disaster. I’m still not quite sure what happened to a few of the pops, but the two different sections froze separately and at different temps, making them really tough to unmold. 



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Which led to a lot of this…



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And a little of this…



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To make the blackberry and vanilla bean ice pops:

If you dare to make the blackberry pops, the recipe was inspired by Food 52 but instead of using yogurt as the second layer, use homemade vanilla bean ice cream. Remember to save the leftover pulp for the blackberry chia seed jam if you’re going to make that as well.

We had much better success with jam. With plenty of blackberry pulp left over from our pop-making exercise, I made a thick and rich blackberry & bitters jam. Now this… no unmolding, no melting, just a perfect jam to use in combination with the honey sunflower butter from my Hatchery box.



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To make the blackberry chia seed jam:

I used the recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod to make this blackberry jam, adding the leftover pulp from the blackberry and vanilla bean ice pops during the cooking stage.

As I mentioned last week, we’ve been eating a lot of rich meals this summer. But sometimes a light meal is necessary. I’ve been eating plenty of salads, and this one is a new spin inspired by the featherlight wisps of radish that I’d used as a garnish recently. I wondered what it would look like if I made an entire plate of wispy vegetables, which is how the idea for this radish, zucchini and peach carpaccio came about.



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Drizzled with a light & lemony yogurt dressing and a scattering of cilantro, it was almost too pretty to eat. The kind of meal you’d serve at wedding shower, or on Mother’s Day. But I did summon the nerve to eat it, and in fact piled it onto an open-faced sausage sandwich when I realized that eating light meals leaves me way too hungry!



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To make the zucchini, radish, and peach carpaccio:

Thinly slice a few zucchini using a mandoline. Then slice the a few radishes. Pile the vegetables on a platter and thinly slice a few white peaches over the top. Season with salt and pepper. In a bowl, whisk together some Greek yogurt, a touch of milk (or as I used, half and half since I was without milk), a little lemon juice, and then season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the lemony yogurt dressing over the top of the carpaccio, and then a few drops of really good olive oil (I used my Hatchery Other Brother olive oil), scatter some cilantro over the top and you’re all set.

My Hatchery BBQ seasoning from Fogg City Spice Co. piqued my interest, and I was curious about what kind of layered flavor it would give to my favorite pomegranate chicken.



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Smokey undertones, covered with the usual sticky pomegranate gloss? Yes please, maybe Hatchery will send me some more BBQ seasoning if I beg…

 



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To make the BBQ pomegranate chicken:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and heat a sautee pan on med-high heat. Open a package of 4-5 chicken thighs and a package of 4-5 chicken drumsticks. Season each side with a few tablespoons of Fogg City Co’s Smokey BBQ seasoning. Heat some vegetable oil in the pan, and then sear each side of the chicken until golden. Bake the chicken for approximately 30 minutes, and then glaze with pomegranate sauce, click here for the recipe.

When you’re eating something as hearty as this chicken, all I need to do is pull together a quick and easy green salad (olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper) and a sautéed vegetable on the side. That night it was eggplant. The kids despise eggplant, but I love it; I will continue to serve it and one day, just maybe, they’ll get over it…



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Mornings are my toughest meal. It’s exhausting trying to find something that the kids will enjoy- usually it’s waffles or pancakes, but those take a lot of work. Muffins – they likewise take a little more advance planning. Toast? They’re not into it. Eggs, forget it. Sam usually ends up grabbing a hamburger bun and then slathers it in peanut butter and jelly. Lauren will make herself a fruit bowl. And Emma will beg for 30 minutes for waffles, even when I’ve told her that I don’t have waffles. It’s exhausting, I’m usually spent, and sometimes I need a quick and easy breakfast fix myself.

Recently I came across a recipe for seeded clusters online, and thought they’d make a quick topping for yogurt.



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Up early one morning, I whipped up a batch, but lo and behold, no yogurt in the house. So on top of ricotta it went, and perhaps it was even a better solution. Honeyed yogurt, tahini-baked seeds, sliced donut peaches, yes, yes, and yes.



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To make the honeyed ricotta with seed clusters and donut peaches:

Make the seed mixture by following this recipe using black tahini and shredded coconut instead of the flakes. Mix a tablespoon of honey into a cup of ricotta, add to a bowl, and top with some seed clusters and diced peaches.

If you’re not familiar with the blog, each week I write a post about a new food that we’ve explored together as a family. This has been our summer for watermelon as we’ve lucked out and found a vendor who sells a bunch of varieties at the farmer’s market.



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These sugar babies are so sweet, and after we’d worked through half a melon for snack one day, I decided to juice the rest. When I’m juicing fruit in the kitchen, a margarita is never far behind. Add to this heirloom juice some fresh lime juice and a salted chipotle rim, and you’ve got one killer cocktail on your hands.



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Best enjoyed sittin’ on the dock with a refill close at hand…



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To make the sugar baby watermelon margarita:

Make some fresh watermelon juice with any type of watermelon- but preferably a fun variety like sugar baby or yellow doll- by adding large chunks of watermelon to a blender and pureeing. Using a sieve with small holes or one lined with cheesecloth, strain the mixture to leave the juice and remove some of the pulp. Add some salt and ground chipotle pepper to a small plate, rim the glass with the cut side of a lime, and then rim with the salted chipotle mixture. Add a large ice cube to your glass, and then proceed with the margarita by mixing some of the watermelon juice with some lime juice and simple syrup along with tequila and triple sec. I never measure proportions, but if you need an idea, check out this recipe. Add a bit more lime as a garnish and serve.

…even better with some homemade baked potato chips. (just thinly slice, season and bake in a 350 degree oven until crispy).



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I had an excess of bacon, parsley and tomato piling up in my kitchen, so one night, decided to make them into one of our family’s favorite dishes: carbonara.



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Although it’s technically one of the most indulgent pasta preparations around, there’s something about loading it up with tomatoes and parsley that make you think that you’re being just a little bit healthy. And really, who cares about whether you’ve got an unhealthy dish on the table when you have a bunch of healthier ones to fill out your plate. That’s my eating mantra anyhow…



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Carbonara with sautéed corn, caprese salad, and a dessert of fresh peaches sounds pretty healthy to me. And if you want to check out the carbonara recipe, I use something pretty close to this one from Tyler Florence.

Even healthier? Our dinner the next evening which featured some thinly-sliced zucchini, sautéed in olive oil and topped with garlicky breadcrumbs.



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To make the sautéed zucchini with garlicky breadcrumbs:

Slice some zucchini crosswise and add to a pan on med-high heat that’s been coated with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Sautee until golden, adding a pinch of salt and pepper towards the end of the cooking time. Meanwhile, heat another smaller sautee pan on medium heat and add a little olive oil. Add 1 clove of minced garlic and sautee for a minute or two until fragrant but not brown. At this point add a big handful of fresh breadcrumbs and sautee until golden, seasoning with a little salt and pepper at the end. When the zucchini is done (i.e. tender but not floppy), pile it onto a big plate and scatter the breadcrumbs over the top.

I’d made some pasta to serve on the side (half of which I kept plain for the tomato haters in the group – 1 or 2 of the kids, depending on the day), the other half which I covered in a fresh, raw tomato sauce made by blitzing a few tomatoes in the food processor with some basil and a touch of olive oil plus salt and pepper.



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We were halfway through dinner when I realized that aside from a tablespoon of parmesan cheese on top of my pasta, we were eating a vegan dinner. After I’d struggled in January to stick to my vegan cleanse, it’s nice to know that vegan meals can slip through under the radar like that. Which is what having a CSA does to me – loads my diet with vegetables so that clean eating is a given, not a choice that I have to make.

While lunches have been a breeze to prepare this summer – quick-fix salads are easy when your greens are bagged and prepped – dinners haven’t been too far behind. If you have one key player (your main) and a few supporting bowls of sliced or sautéed veggies, dinner can be on the table with minimal effort. Chicken legs are easy because I just sear and then bake at a low temp from anywhere from 30 mins to 2 hours – honestly, these things can’t be overcooked. A few days ago I prepped a Mediterranean-style chicken with olives and lemon, 4 ingredients and so delicious.



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To make the roasted chicken with lemons and Castelvetrano olives:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and heat a sautee pan on med-high heat. Open a package of 4-5 chicken thighs and a package of 4-5 chicken drumsticks. Season each side with a healthy dose of Hungarian chicken seasoning (I’m a little obsessed with my container of Szeged Chicken rub). Heat some vegetable oil in the pan, and then sear each side of the chicken until golden. Scatter some sliced lemons and Castelvetrano olives on top, squeeze the whole thing with a half lemon and bake forever. Or anywhere between 30 mins to 2 hours, there’s something about chicken legs + a little moisture that makes it impossible to dry out.



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On the last night before our new CSA box arrived, we welcomed Rodney back from a 10-day work trip and feasted on some vegetarian tacos (aka clean out the fridge tacos), made all the better with a heaping spoonful of this fiery poblano salsa.



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To make the poblano salsa:

Pulse a few small tomatoes in a food processor until they make a chunky puree, season with a little salt, and then pour them into a sieve with small holes (to remove some of the excess juices). While the tomato pulp is draining, finely dice a few more small tomatoes and add to a bowl, along with a finely diced shallot, a finely diced yellow pepper, a finely diced poblano pepper, and a handful of chopped cilantro. Add the tomato pulp back into the diced vegetables to thicken, squeeze a half a lime on top, a touch of vegetable oil, and then season to taste with a little more salt and pepper. I was keeping this somewhat mild so that my kids could eat it, but you can always add a finely diced jalapeño for extra heat.

And if you squint and ignore the Cotija cheese on the table, this meal was almost vegan as well, something I recognized when we were halfway through our dinner. While I don’t try to stick to a vegan diet, I do love it when I eat a healthy dose of plant-based foods because I know that my meal is primarily based on healthy vegetables.



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To make the vegetarian tacos:

Sautee some fairy tale eggplants and sliced zucchini in some olive oil in batches on medium-high heat until golden. While the vegetables are cooking, cover a stack of flour tortillas with a dishtowel and sprinkle with water. Warm in a 200 degree oven on a baking sheet until ready to serve. To serve, set the table with the following: homemade guacamole (avocado, lime, and cumin are my standard recipe), sliced radishes, crumbled cotija cheese, the sautéed eggplant and zucchini, and the poblano salsa.

So that’s it for this week, hope you’ve all been enjoying the last few weeks of summer. Until next week…