Summer is here, and we are feasting! Each summer, I get a good percentage of my food from my two CSA’s – our summertime farm share, and our meat share. The rest I supplement from local farmers markets, Trader Joes, and Whole Foods.
Our meat and eggs are from Walden Local Meat Co. – if you are interested in trying out a meat share, you can get a $20 referral discount to Walden this month (and through August 30th) by leaving my name – Sam Tackeff or thesecondlunch – as your referral! They do home and office deliveries in the greater Boston area, and the small packages start at just under $50 a month.
Life is just better when farm season has started. We had the first farm pickup of the season last week, and I headed out on Friday afternoon to get my bounty. It’s actually quite a schlep from home – over an hour – to get to the farm, but I’ve been a sharer at Stearns Farm CSA since I went to college at Wellesley, and it’s definitely one of my happy places! We get an alternate share, so I only go once every two weeks.
:: June 17th produce at Stearns Farm CSA ::
To pick: 1 quart strawberries, and I snuck a small handful of mint and thyme.
Pre-picked: a large head of escarole, three heads of lettuce, lots of bok choy, a pound of spinach, a bunch of radishes, and garlic scapes.
If you are overwhelmed with your own share, or curious how I organize: here’s a post I wrote for tips for organizing my CSA share. I have a great system down!
:: The Weekly Meal Plan: Week of June 20th, 2016 ::
This week’s prep: hard boil eggs and pre-peel some of them, defrost and cook another piece of meat from my meat CSA (chicken thighs, chicken sausage, pork chops), Cook down bok choy with cubed pancetta and sherry.
Sunday: beef arepas with pickled onion, avocado, and radishes. This was a Blue Apron meal that I ended up modifying for our taste – didn’t make the arepas, but added green beans to the beef, cut the onions, and pickled the radishes instead.
Monday: roast chicken and potatoes with green beans. This ended up being a bit of a dud, because somehow I managed to overcook the potatoes and the green beans because I wasn’t paying attention to them. Whomp!
Tuesday: chicken Italian sausage from Walden and a green salad with a green herb tahini green goddess dressing. I started getting some great chicken Italian sausages in my meat share, and requesting them every month. I chopped up them up and tossed them in some sauce. The salad had fresh lettuce from the farm!
Wednesday: Turkish stuffed peppers with rice and currants – my mom actually made these, but when I make them myself, I usually use a riff on this recipe. Yes, that’s a bit of a blast from the past. I was trying! http://www.thesecondlunch.com/2009/04/summer-stuffed-peppers/
Thursday: wild cod and potatoes with fresh herb aioli over salad – keeping dinner light, but I’ve been loving some fresh herb sauces with a little bit of home made mayo or even just an olive oil slurry. Simple and summery!
Friday: out. Alternately, I have some defrosted pork chops that need eating! We’ll either do takeout from one of our favorite places or I’ll finally get some propane for the grill!
Saturday: Ottolenghi’s chicken and cardamom rice. I’ve been craving this one for weeks!
Sunday: shakshuka (eggs in tomato sauce) – it’s been far too long since we’ve had eggs braised in tomato sauce, and I have some extra sauce left in the kitchen from this week’s sausages. I also have a surplus of eggs that need cooking – I get three dozen a month from Walden as an add on to my share.
What’s cooking on your table this week?
Yes, it’s Wednesday afternoon. Yes, I try to make a meal plan over the weekend. Yes, I try to batch cook over the weekend. Sometimes… even with best intentions, my planning fails me. Sometimes, life happens, and you just can’t stomach sticking to what you’ve planned. Here’s what I remind myself every time my systems fail me and I feel a tinge of frustration – fail to plan, plan to fail. My personal goal is always to focus on creating sustainable systems and habits.
Sometimes those plans fail me, but the reality is that they fail far less often than when I don’t stick to any system at all.
This week I wrote my meals out on a scrap of paper, forgot to transfer them to my Evernote, and I’ve already opted for Trader Joe’s convenience food and a burrito. Last week at least I deviated from plan by doing a lot of spiralizing (like that zucchini with peas and pesto you see up top). So now it’s back to the grind to feed myself well.
We ended up having quite a long week with the pup under the weather, but he’s nearly 100% back to his own self after a nasty bout with Giardia. Yup, that’s the parasite that you filter and treat your water for when hiking. He’s feeling a lot better now and begging for treats again like a normal batpig. I on the other hand, am suffering from a bit of a summer cold. Wish me better!
One thing that I’m doing different for the second half of the week (to course correct) is spending an hour batch cooking on Wednesday evening to make our meals for the next few nights. Our CSA share starts on Friday, and so space in the fridge is at a premium, and I have a backlog of Blue Apron meals to cook.
:: The Weekly Meal Plan: Week of June 6th, 2016 ::
This week’s prep: cook chicken sausage, hardboil eggs, and defrost and cook another piece of meat from my meat CSA. We didn’t do any grilling this week because we were on nursing duty with the pup, but now that he’s feeling a lot better we’ll spend more time outside. I still need to head out and refill the propane tank for the grill.
Wednesday: steakhouse salmon with potatoes, green beans, and mushrooms. Every other Wednesday I have one of my business mastermind groups meet, so I try to make the meal healthy and efficient, and eat some sort of brain food to celebrate women getting things done. Salmon always fits the bill.
Thursday: seared pork chops and fig compote with sautéed kale and farro salad. I’m always a fan of a pork chop. Which reminds me that I’d like to re-season my cast iron this week.
Friday: miso-glazed chicken wings with purple rice and zucchini salad. I’m not the biggest fan of wings, but these came in the Blue Apron box and I do love miso on chicken. (Also, they are mini drumsticks which makes life better.)
Saturday: lobster rolls. I have a race on Saturday, and I’m going to want to reward myself. Given that I’m a New Englander, that means lobster rolls.
Sunday: beef arepas with pickled onion, avocado, and radishes.
Happy Monday! In good news, I re-signed up for my farm share this summer, so we’ll be eating well all summer long. The photo is a sample from last summer’s haul.
We had an unexpected vet visit this weekend, because the pup was having tummy troubles. He ended up getting fluids, some anti-nausea meds, and plenty of rest, which gave me a good excuse to curl up with him on the couch and work on my weekly meal plan. By the end of the afternoon he was still feeling under the weather, so he got a fancy overnight stay, and we’re hoping that he can come home today. Having a sick fur baby is terrible.
It’s been a while since I’ve formally written out a meal plan – lately it’s been a combo of meal kit boxes, and last minute trips to the store for simple dinners. With my latest training cycle coming to an end, I need to just eat mindfully before my next big race, so I’m planning things out again!
I’m also testing out a blender (from an un-named company), so there will be a few sauces and green smoothies this week in my rotation for side salads and lunches. I’m thinking a spring pesto and maybe a ketchup.
:: The Weekly Meal Plan: Week of June 6th, 2016 ::
This week’s prep: cook chicken breasts and rice for pup’s bland get-better diet, grill chicken thighs and vegetables outside for week long lunches. It’s my start of grilling season, and I’m hoping to spend a lot more time cooking al fresco this summer now that I have access to a larger grill than my mini one.
Monday: chicken steamed buns over spiralized carrot and mint salad. This is one of our leftover meals from last week that I had stocked in my refrigerator. I’ve been having fun with my spiralizer lately – something about the season that makes me want to spiralize ALL THE THINGS!
Tuesday: salmon with creamy barley and zucchini salad. A Blue Apron meal that I think I’ll follow through with from their recipe rather than doctoring too much.
Wednesday: chicken picatta with fusilli pasta + garlic chives. We actually haven’t had pasta in a while. I may swap out my current favorite gluten free brown rice and quinoa pasta from Trader Joe’s for a little bit more protein.
Thursday: spiced lamb and beef tagine with lemon-garlic cauliflower couscous and labneh. This is a Blue Apron meal that I’m doctoring – swapping out cauliflower rice for the couscous.
Friday: out! or more likely takeout until it’s patio season and we can sit somewhere with the pup. Let’s face it, I may be in the mood for Chipotle.
Saturday: Thai marinated pork tenderloin with mango, cashews, and a mango-jicama slaw. A combination of a Cooksmarts meal (I subscribe to the meal planning service), and a salad that I like from Trader Joe’s.
Sunday: shrimp cobb salad with avocadoes, tomato, bacon, corn and eggs. Another Cooksmarts meal.
And now a question for you – what are some of the challenges you have around getting dinner on the table these days? I’m looking to build some new meal planning resources, and I’d love to hear more about what’s frustrating or challenging you.