Our flight from Berlin to Pittsburgh via Newark was delayed three hours. While we were lucky to find this out at midnight when my phone went "ding" and a text from United Airlines arrived, it still made for a very long day. I quickly called the taxi company at 1am and changed the time of pickup but after that, I am not sure that anyone really slept. It is sad to admit but the other reason I didn't sleep was that I knew that the delay would squash any hopes of picking up my CSA shipment later that day. Yep, that is really sad.
Our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) delivers our weekly produce to a local catholic church and our pickup times each Friday are between 5pm and 8pm. Had our flight been on time, we would have arrived at the church by 7pm but with the 3 hour delay, we would be lucky if we could get there by 10pm. What if there was another delay coming out of Newark? Prior to leaving Berlin, I emailed my CSA contact and explained our situation. We would just have to forego the shipment - could it be donated as our shipment the previous week had been?
We arrived in Newark tired and a bit grumpy and that would only continue as we went through passport control, picked up our bags, went through customs, re-checked our bags and then realized that we had to also stand in the normal security line, again. (I forgot how blissful it was to travel direct from Washington Dulles to Frankfurt, Brussels or Paris.) I checked my emails and I had received a response from my CSA Contact; she had contacted the driver. Good - better someone else get it than it just go to waste.
However, the more I thought about it, the more...I don't know how to explain it. I didn't want someone else to get my veggies. I wanted my veggies. I quickly emailed....couldn't I just pick them up at another location or perhaps the church would hold onto them and I would get them on Saturday morning. My contact apologized and said that the driver never received the message. The veggies would be a the church but she didn't know what they did with them after the 8pm closing. Right then and there, I decided that I would stop by on my way home...no matter the time to see if I could get them. Am I becoming a veggie maniac...how can that be...when most of the time, I just do not like them?
Long story short...we arrived at a very empty church parking lot just before 10pm. Might I just add that at this point, we had been awake for almost 24 hours and both Dear Daughter and I were really punch-y. DD always amazes me at the strangest times. When I explained our detour to her, I expected a full blown out war. No stops - only food and bed. However, she took it in stride and indicated to me that the church wasn't that far out of the way. So, here we were in the very deserted parking lot and looking into the entrance window, I could see the boxes! The food was still there and we were not the only ones who had not picked up. There was hope...except, what church would keep their doors open that late at night?
Evidently, this church does. I pulled the door and it opened. I stepped inside, opened my box, pulled out my bag, broke down the box and suddenly remembered to check the small cooler for my weekly cheese shipment. DD visibly cheered from the car. We did it!
Saturday was a long day. With the jet lag, I woke up at 4:30 am. We were completely unpacked by 6am and DD was awake by 7am. By early afternoon, we were nestled on the couch eating pizza rolls (terrible for you but oh so good when you need comfort/junk food) and checking out a series on Netflix (which we proceeded to watch 6 episodes of...back to back). We did manage to rally a bit for dinner and I cooked up two BIG-A_ _ steaks while DD made her specialty, Potatoes Gratin. We sleepily grinned as we relished bites of rare steak followed by spoonfuls of cheese crusted, cream infused potatoes. Let me tell you, we slept well that night!
However, by Sunday morning, I realized that I needed a bit of a food detox. We ate extremely well during our trip and I will tell you all about it later. My system needed a bit of a rest and my bag of veggies was just the answer. I never thought that I would enjoy a spinach based smoothie for breakfast followed by a vegetable broth based veggie soup for lunch, but it was wonderful. I woke up this morning feeling so much better...much less bloated and the scale was happy also. Recipes for these will follow at the end.
Let me tell you about box number 2 and my plans for their contents over the week:
A large bag of spinach: This is almost gone as I needed it for both the smoothie and the soup.
5 green onions: Never difficult to use but I have an idea for a frittata.
15 stalks of asparagus: Last year, we made asparagus fries and loved them (recipe on this site) but this time, I think that I will use them in the frittata with the green onions.
1 yellow squash: Easy to make into a gratin if I can find some good tomatoes.
1 bag of mesclun: No worries there...we need to eat more salads this week.
Now the two kickers: A large bag of pea shoots and romanesco (not one but three)!
Actually, I have no worries for the pea shoots. I have been waiting for these and I will try a pan roasted port chop recipe tomorrow with a pea shoot pesto, courtesy of the NY Times. However, I did not know what romanesco was...and now I do. It is the mix of my two most hated veggies (outside of canned peas)...my research says that it is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower! Seriously! It looks like an alien. I have seen them in markets and have fled...very quickly. Look at this? Can this be edible but more importantly, fast good? Help!
So I need ideas, please, for tried and good romanesco recipes. In addition, Saturday night's dinner will include lamb ribs...what do I do with these - the ribs are only about 3 inches long.
More about Berlin to follow but if you are looking for a small food detox...I highly recommend the following two recipes. I liked them, but more importantly, DD liked them.
Adapted from skinnyms.com
Ingredients for 1 portion:
1 cup loosely packed spinach
1/4" slice fresh ginger root, peeled
1/2 frozen banana (pre-sliced)
1/2 small mango
1/2 cup milk
4-6 ice cubes
Toss all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
Flush the Fat Away Vegetable Soup
Adapted from skinnyms.com
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can navy beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes - the recipe calls for no-salt tomatoes. I only had diced tomatoes with basil - worked out great.
32 oz vegetable broth
Salt and pepper
1/8 tsp allspice
1 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf
4 cups spinach, loosely packed
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil.
Mix all ingredients except for spinach and olive oil in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until the vegetables are tender. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Add olive oil and serve.