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Prefab Sprouts – Adventures of a First-Time Food Co-op Member

May 12, 2008

Laura’s Blog Entry

As I sit here eating my yummy veggie sandwich, I am reflecting on what a great weekend we had. It seemed to go really slowly – and we got lots done – a rare combo.

We had our first pickup from our food co-op, or CSA (which stands for Community Supported Agriculture.) I have wanted to participate in one for many years, and finally found one in our area that didn’t require working at the farm. Sorry, I’m much too lazy to do that!

The way the co-op works is that you purchase a share in the co-op, and then each week, from late May until late November, locally grown seasonal produce will be delivered to a central location for pick up. The food doesn’t travel far, which reduces the use of fuel to truck it across country, plus the food retains a higher nutrient value as well as taste. Our pick-up point is at the home of a co-op member. We we got there on Sunday the food was all set out on their screened in porch. I just read off the blackboard what I got to take home. Here’s what we got:

Kale, spinach, green onions, bean sprouts, and a tomato plant. The plant was an unexpected bonus! We’ve had to rework our meal planning routine a bit to accommodate the food pick up. Normally I get up on Sunday morning and leisurely put together a meal plan for the week, along with a grocery list. Then Neil has started doing to shopping. We used to all go, but the charm of a family shopping trip has long worn off for me. Now Neil can go try all the samples and have a good old time and I can stay home and help Mari get her homework done.

Now we’ll have to pick up the CSA food and then see how that fits into my weekly plan. I think I can rough out a menu, and then just tweak it depending on what we get.

So what have I used so far? Well, the veggie sandwich I am eating included some of the fresh spinach and sprouts. I also grated some carrots and sliced some cucumbers. It would have been even better with tomato. Oh, and I topped it with a light cream cheese mixed with peppercorn ranch dressing. It is really amazing if you have a good hummus to slather on.

Yesterday I was able to substitute the green onions for regular onions in the Tortilla Soup that I made. I’ll put the recipe for that below. Neil had requested a batch of the soup, which I hadn’t made for a while. This led me to hatch a little menu scheme last week. First I made a grilled pork tenderloin that is to die for. And couldn’t be easier. Then I used the pork in the Tortilla Soup. Never fear, vegetarians, the soup can be made without the pork. Read on after the meat business…

Pork Tenderloin
(Created by Brian W.)

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/2 pounds or so)
I jar of Patak’s brand Cilantro and Ginger Marinade and Grill Sauce

(This little bottle of magic can be found in the Indian section of our grocery store. It is a paste that is technically a curry base. It is completely amazing. I kid you not. There are other flavors, but this one has been our favorite so far.)

Spread about half the jar of marinade onto the pork tenderloin. Really thick. Place tenderloin on a oiled preheated grill. Grill with indirect heat. I heat both sides of our gas grill for a few minutes on high. Then I turn down one side to low and put the meat on that side. Keep the other side on high. Cook for approx. 45 minutes. Turn after 20 minutes.

Use a meat thermometer. I let it get to about 165-170 degrees. Remove from heat and let rest on a platter covered with foil for 7-10 minutes before slicing – if you can wait that long!

Even the picky child loves this. It is not hot and spicy, but extremely flavorful.

One tenderloin serves the 3 of us, plus makes a batch of the following soup:

Tortilla Soup

Olive Oil
1 medium onion, diced (or 4 large green onions, green stalk and all, diced)
1 4 oz. can diced green chilies (found in the Mexican aisle)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 cups chicken (OR VEGETABLE) broth
1-16oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
8-12 oz. left over pork roast or turkey, etc. cut into bite-size pieces. (You can also shred up a rotisserie chicken) (OR USE 1 CAN OF YOUR FAVORITE BEANS)
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
Grated Monterey Jack cheese
Broken Tortilla chips – or bake your own tortilla strips – I am too lazy

Heat a small amount of oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Saute onion until translucent, about 4 minutes.

Add the can of green chilies, garlic and spices. Stir for about 1 minute.

Add stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil.

Add meat or beans and turn down to a slow simmer. Simmer 1 hour for best flavor, although you can eat immediately if you like. I add in the parsley for the last 15 minutes because I like it cooked down a bit, but you can use it as a garnish, if you like.

Taste for salt and pepper. If you are going to use tortilla chips, I wouldn’t add too much salt becuase the chips are salty. The bean version may need some salt, though.

Fill bowls with soup, then sprinkle with shredded cheese and tortilla chips.

Serves about 8.

Next up: Discovering Kale! Never tried it. Hope it’s not gross!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 12, 2008 8:30 pm

    Mmmmmm… tortilla soup.

  2. May 17, 2008 5:26 am

    Thanks for the veggie option x

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