|7 Days of Mariquita Madness|
|March 11, 2009|
For one reason or another, we haven't ever committed to a CSA, and with the Mariquita Mystery Box, we might remain uncommitted.
In a rash experiment, I picked up my Mariquita Mystery Box last Thursday, knowing full well that I was going out of a town exactly one week later. Dr. Mathra was extremely skeptical of this little venture, and because of his skepticism and the need to tighten purse strings, I was spurred on to make sure that absolutely nothing got wasted.
I started keeping track of our nightly dinners on Twitter, which might have sounded like bragging, but I knew it was the only way I was going to be a proactive about detailing what I was doing with all these veggies.
This is what I was working with:
Ruby Crescent Potatoes
Cauliflowers (romanesco, purple, or orange)
Orach (old fashioned purple spinach)
Curly Parsley (retro!)
Japanese Red Mustard Greens
(This list doesn't reflect that we also got two additional sheafs of greens -- one of them kale, the other a still a mystery -- so figure that in as well.)
Now, I forgot to weigh each quantity of veg before tearing into them, but luckily my friend Sam picked up the same box and did some accounting herself. She figured that since the box cost $25, we were paying $1.56 per pound, and that means we got 16 pounds of pristine, farm-fresh, local vegetables. Sam calls it "the best recession deal around." I quite agree.
Aside from the sheer gustatory wallop this box packs, the little tips Mariquita includes on their Mystery Box sheet are invaluable. They have cooking ides and recipes, but I personally love the "Fridge Management" section.
Fridge Management: Everything into the fridge. Remove greens from turnips and beets as soon as you arrive home. Cook them or toss these green tops within one day. If space is an issue: cook up the chard & mustard soon.
So, here's what I did over the course of seven days.
Thursday: Puntarelle and green garlic pasta, Erbette chard sautéed with kalamata olives and preserved lemons, and orach salad.
Friday: Caramelized turnips with shredded leftover mustard-crusted roast chicken and pasta with green garlic-sautéed mustard greens, roasted cauliflower romesco, and red pepper flakes.
Saturday: Roasted cauliflower romesco, pesto beets, and Trader Joe's truffled flatbread.
Sunday: Farro with preserved-lemon sautéed Erbette chard, caramelized shallots, and chunks of Chinese BBQ pork.
Monday: Farro with wilted radicchio, gorgonzola, and bacon-caramelized onions. Pasta with vermouth-spiked arrabiata (made with baby carrots and curly parsley) and wilted spicy greens. Raw radicchio salad with lemon vinaigrette and flakes of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Tuesday: Apple-balsamic kale chips and baked lentils with goat cheese and Monday night's leftover vermouth-spiked arribiata sauce with wilted spicy greens.
Wednesday: Leek and potato soup with garlicky orach and sautéed fava beans with parsley, olive oil, and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
And, because I knew they would last until after my trip, I still have a drawerful of the potatoes, two heads of radicchio, and tons of baby carrots to work with next week. I'm also still eating my way through the curly parsley and a two more heads of radicchio.
Looking back, I know I wasn't the most enterprising with my produce -- there's a lot of pasta in there, for instance -- but now that I know I can make it through a huge box of our own in close to a week, I plan to get more creative in the future.