Friday, October 5, 2012

VeganMoFo2012 Day 5: Cooking from our weekly veggie box

It's already day 5 of VeganMoFo 2012, woo! The first week always goes by so quickly. Today I want to talk about our weekly organic veggie box. Last last year Chris suggested we should sign up to get a veggie box delivered and I was a bit stunned because he thinks most veggies are awful and that goes doubly for herbs. But I was also really excited and we signed up for one that guarantees that all the produce is from Sydney and instead of being delivered we can go and pick it up from a customer who has volunteered to be the pick up point for our suburb. They also have a bunch of extras that you can order like grains, flours, some non-vegan stuff (eggs, honey) and you can add extra produce as well. We chose the small box because I was worried about how much of it Chris would actually eat and about wasting produce in general.

Here's a look at the first box we got

Box 15.12.11: Cos lettuce, silverbeet, cherry toms, broad beans, peaches, potatoes, carrot, cucumber, avos, corn, onions and bananas plus I thought I ordered a 5kg bag of brown rice flour but I accidentally chose brown rice which ended up being ok.

So I decided I was going to be super organised from now on and come up with meal plans every Thursday after picking up the box and I tried to think of a few ways to use that giant bunch of silverbeet.

Silverbeet quiche

I loved quiche as an omni and I'm talking the quiche Lorraine my mum makes not shitty, bland cafe-quiche. But my days of eating that are long gone and I've been keen to try making a vegan, gluten free and soy free quiche. This was one of a few attempts and I have nothing written down but I'm sure it involved a carton of unsweetened Mimic Creme and chickpea flour. I'm going to have to make it again and write down the recipe this time.

Silverbeet rolls

These look pretty ugly, right? Like giant, fat caterpillars - not very appetising. I was sure I got the recipe from this old vegetarian cookbook but I've looked and looked and can't find the recipe (Note to self: this is what happens when you cook something and then try to blog about it 10 months later!)

I've never made anything like this because cooked greens usually make me want to be sick but I wanted to give it a go. They're stuffed with a brown rice risotto with mushrooms and corn and they're sitting in a plain tomato sauce. I don't think I'd make them again, unless someone has a better recipe?

Polenta Pizza with Cherry Toms and Mushies

Now this is one thing I really did enjoy. Those little tomatoes were just asking to be put on pizza but I wanted to make the base out of polenta.

Polenta pizza base
Boil 4 cup of water and then whisk in 1 cup of polenta. Once it's too thick to whisk, swap your whisk for a spoon and cook over low heat for another 5-10 minutes or until polenta has thickened more, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of Nuttelex. Line or grease a baking tray and spread the polenta in to form the base of the pizza. Set it aside to cool and firm up and preheat the oven to 200C. Once the oven is ready, spray or brush the polenta with some olive oil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and add your toppings. I used a tin of crushed tomatoes, halved cherry tops, sliced mushrooms, shallots, some soy free Cheezly and salt. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese has melted.

This was really good and it's something that Chris enjoyed, too. I think I'd like to try it again and get the polenta a bit thinner and I might bake it a bit longer on its own as well. I'd also like to try doing smaller pizzas on the pizza stone.

So let's skip forward to this week, here's the veggie box I picked up yesterday

Box 04.10.12: potatoes, beetroot, leek, lettuce, kale, bananas, sweet potato, apples, mandarins, zucchs and lemongrass.

The lemongrass came from the garden of the lady that I pick up from, she's got a great garden and a few weeks ago she gave me some cuttings from her perennial basil which I've now got growing in my garden. I've never cooked with lemongrass but I'm sure I've seen it in curry recipes and she suggested I throw it in with rice while cooking or in some hot water with ginger as tea. If you have a recipe I could use it in, let me know in the comments!

You might have noticed that little head popping up into the shot, it's Molly our new kitten. I introduced her a couple of months ago and she is getting so big! Being a stray she loves food and I think she will forever be trying to catch up on those couple of weeks where she didn't have much to eat. She thinks all the foods are hers and is constantly trying to eat almost everything and she likes to pop up when I'm photographing. I'll be doing a post later in the month featuring our cats and food photos, like I have done in previous years.

So over winter we were getting apples every week and up until recently I'd stopped eating apples because they used to make me feel a bit queasy. But lately I've been quartering and coring an apple each arvo and eating it with a drizzle of tahini or almond/peanut butter. I've also made a few crumbles and an apple cake as well as a stew with apples. Do you have any apple recipe suggestions?

And that's it for today, I'm off to bake some cupcakes!


dreaminitvegan said...

Nicely done coming up with those meals. What a great selection of produce and fruit you got in your boxes. I'm not one for cooked greens eaten like the way you made them either. The family will eat cooked greens when I finely chop them up and add them to a pasta, veg quiche, stir fry, scrambled tofu..stuff like that. I love apple pie!

Caitlin said...

i would love to know what your quiche recipe is, if you can figure it out, since we both eat gf and soy-free. i've never heard of silverbeet, but all of your meals look delicious! i LOVE polenta pizza. it's been years since i've made it for myself, though!

ZuckerBaby said...

I think silverbeet is also known as chard? I had a Twitter conversation about names of vegetables recently, and I think that came up.

I love the polenta pizza! I'm going to have to try that soon - yum!

When I was getting lots of apples in my weekly vege boxes, I took to making and freezing apple sauce for baking. Just peel and cube the apples, put into a saucepan with a little water, simmer until it's a mush, cool and freeze.

Mel said...

All of your meals look delicious as usual. What a shame you don't like cooked greens, I've been enjoying silverbeet in red lentil dals and soups a lot this winter.

Your kitteh is so cute! She reminds me of my tortie I had when I was a child.

River (Wing-It Vegan) said...

Your veggie box came with a kitteh! Sign me up! :D

I've never cooked with lemongrass, so I have nothing to contribute there. The quiche and the polenta pizza look so very super tasty! I'll even take a fat caterpillar! :P

Mel said...

If your lemongrass supply keeps coming in, you will be able to find heaps of great recipes in Vegan Eats World! There are so many yummy Asian recipes in there that use it.

Nikki said...

I've seen lemongrass in some good looking Thai soup recipes. I'm curious about the silverbeet. Maybe we just have a different name for it here in the US? It looks kind of like collards. Your produce box looks great.

Emmy said...

I adore lemongrass! My favourite easy recipes to use it in are Brooklyn Pad Thai from Vegan with a Vengeance (which is gluten free if you use tamari and soy free if you leave out the tofu I think) and a Lemongrass Noodle Bowl from the ppk website (also good if you leave out the mock duck or use mushrooms and use tamari - I think, don't have the recipes in front of me right now). It also goes in lots of Asian curry pastes. Just remember to peel away the papery husk and use the inside. Lemongrass also freezes fabulously if you're undecided on how to use it.

Kittee Bee Berns said...

I am so calling chard silver beet from now on. Way more newage of a name, if you ask me. Great job on tackling that box! It would give me nightmares, I am such a waster.


Joey said...

I'd love to get a veggie box if it came with that cat in it! How cute is that kitty?

I saw this recipe the other day (it's not vegan but could be made so pretty easily) with lots of lemongrass in it - might be worth a go?

I though the chard rolls looked really nice! I made something similar a while back, with veggie sausages in, and did exactly the same thing - can't remember how I made it for the life of me, and have never been able to recreate it!

Belinda (miscdebris) said...

I use lemongrass in Tom Yum soup and also blend it in satay sauce with kaffir.

Oh I think your silverbeet rolls look really appetising. I want to eat them along with the polenta pizza - yum!

Dawn said...

It's all so pretty! Even the silverbeet rolls. Polenta pizza is always a winner too. I love that picture of your new kitty (and your cute pedi).

urban vegan said...

It all looks great but the polenta pizza is genius. This made me miss my CSA share. I didn't get one this year

VeggieAmanda said...

What a great assortment of vegetables! And the corresponding dishes look amazing! Polenta pizza- YUM!!

Geanna said...

Awww! What a cute kitty! I somehow missed her arrival in August, but she's such a darling - she's just a little older than my kitty. I'm glad the other cats have gotten along with her. And that's awesome that you changed your heading to have her in it.

cquek said...

Your photos always make my stomach rumble!

Richa said...

that quiche looks great and the pizza.. yumm!

Allysia said...

That is one hell of a gorgeous produce haul! The thought of making a soy-free quiche seems pretty daunting to me, but I'm sure it's very possible! And I like the idea of using polenta as a pizza base - now that I've had my first polenta cooking experience, I keep thinking of other things I could use it in and this would be a gooder. Have fun with the cupcake baking! :)

Erin said...

Your veggie box looks like it's full of really high quality stuff! I adore that you have local bananas. And by adore, I mean I'm totally jealous. I get a box every other week and it's always a little challenge to use everything up, but I really love that it keeps me focused on eating in season. Chard (which I think is your silverbeet) is one of the hardest greens for me to think of ways to use. It's good in risotto and soups, and I think putting it in a quiche was a great idea.

Tea and Sympatico said...

Aw, lovely cat. I usually get loads of apples this time of year from my mum although our rainy summer has meant a rubbish harvest this year. I make them into applesauce using the recipe in the Babycakes cookbook and use it in their recipes or stirred into porridge. Have you got that book? It's good for gluten free stuff.

Amanda said...

I always like having a peak at others' veggie boxes. Looks like you get some good stuff!

Tibik said...

You have a great blog. You could try making an apple salad. Finely chopped apples with a dressing of soy yogurt and orange juice.

Tibik said...

You have a great blog. You could try making an apple salad. Finely chopped apples with a dressing of soy yogurt and orange juice.

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I went vegan in 2006 and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I love baking cupcakes and reading books and often wish I could combine both activities without disastrous results. If I’m not in the kitchen you’ll find me photographing food, cuddling my three kittehs or re-watching my favourite tv shows over and over again with my boyfriend. Due to food sensitivities I don't eat gluten or soy and yes, vegan, gluten free and soy free food is still delicious! Twitter: CupcakeKitteh
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