Loosened from the mud, I find myself floating in a world of possibility.

So can you.

CSA Box #4, a dinner party, and the library

I feel like I'm finally getting in the swing of things! An impromptu dinner party with another couple put me into the pressure mode. Taking up all the responsibilities of cooking, I decided to use up some of my CSA goodness. Yesterday was a day of cleaning the house, finding some recipes, cooking, and picking up the CSA. I just love having people over because my house gets so clean!

Here's what was in the box:

Sweet Overwintered Parsnips
Spring Radish
Salad Mix or Arugula
Green Garlic
Egyptian Walking or Potato Onion
Hon Tsai Tai
Pea Vine

My mother came with me to pick up the CSA. This is my fourth year with HVF and my third year sharing the box with my mother. Yesterday was the first time she came with me to pick it up. I showed her the routine and the time we spent together was a lot more fun than I had imagined. Sharing the box is bringing us closer and that is a very good thing. I'm always so surprisingly happily shocked with how she prepares the veggies.

There was a slightly tense moment when I was showing her the routine. The place was crowded and a line was building behind us. So, I took the box outside the porch to unpack the box. My heart dropped when I saw the huge quantity of thick, fat parsnips at the bottom of the box. That's when my mother started chattering away in Gujarati about how much she enjoys parsnips. It was shocking to me. Are we from the same family? I have tried and tried to enjoy the parsnip. Truly I have. But, I just don't like them.

She tells me how she's been using the parsnips instead of potatoes for her potato and cauliflower curry. Now, I don't really think of it as a curry, but I don't have the right English word to describe this dish other than to say it is a veggie dish. She described it to me and suddenly my heart is feeling a little more open to this parsnip thing.

Sometimes I wonder what people think about our conversations. My mother is bilingual and her side of the conversation is a mix of Gujurati and English, while I always respond in English. It used to make me uneasy when I was young immigrant child trying to find my place in the world. But, now I feel like it's sort of our "inside" thing. And I'm thrilled that even though speaking is difficult for me, the comprehension is still there in my brain.

Anyway, so, I happily gave her ALL the parsnips, and the spinach. We split up everything else. Then she was gone and I had to change into cooking mode. The menu: pork roast, scalloped sunchokes, wilted greens, gravy, and berries for dessert. Thinking it would be another cloudy, overcast day I was thrown off by warm sunshine. The kitchen got hot but I persevered.

The husband in this couple that came over for dinner is a very picky eater. The wife will eat anything! I planned to make scalloped sunchokes. I sliced them thin and boiled them with some onions, made a basic white sauce, mixed the two together and baked it for 30 minutes, topped it with cheddar cheese and then I let it finish in the oven until it was bubbly and the cheese was melting. The thing is that I didn't tell the husband that it was sunchokes and not potatoes until we sat down to eat. I happy to say that he liked them!

Here's the recipe for the Hot Wilted Greens. I picked this one because of that new black cherry balsamic vinegar that I bought from Annona Gourmet a couple of weeks ago. I ended up using the whole entire bag of saute greens. And that was a huge relief!

It wasn't the best meal that I've prepared mostly because I had couple of new recipes. But nearly everything got eaten and I felt a sense of accomplishment with using CSA veggies. At the beginning of every CSA season I have hopes and dreams of trying more elaborate recipes, but then as the season gets going I always end looking for simple ways to prepare food. Maybe that's just the kind of cook that I am.

Over dinner, we talked a lot about the library and the wonderful resources available to those living in this city. One of the goals of this blog was to explore living off the grid. And, yet, I also find myself wanting to explore all those resources that are on the grid. In addition to the large archive of books, there are also CDs available at the library. Lately I've been listening to Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, and Howlin Wolf - all music I found at the library. I'm thinking about featuring some of my library finds, re-visiting music that has been around for a while. Hmmmmmmm.......


  1. I laugh out loud reminiscing on how we pulled a fast one on Mister picky eater. Those were the best scallop potatoes he ever had.

    Minneapolis Libraries rock! Let's keep our libraries open!

  2. Good times!

    Yes, keep the libraries open!

    love always,


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