My Tuesday Box from the Winter Gardens

Box of vegetables Each and every Tuesday, thanks to a great neighbor, I get a box of fruits and vegetables delivered to my doorstep from a Community Co-op. My friend who has passed on the box to me confided...

Box of vegetables
Box of vegetables

Each and every Tuesday, thanks to a great neighbor, I get a box of fruits and vegetables delivered to my doorstep from a Community Co-op. My friend who has passed on the box to me confided that these weekly unknowns added stress for her life, but she knew this box would bring enjoyment to mine. Each and every week I stare into the box for inspiration. I credit my grandmother with my sense of food adventure.

I remember as a child walking to a local meat market with Grams. She would rarely carry a list, but instead would gaze into the meat cases and determine what she would take home wrapped in simple butcher paper and transform into dinner. My mother would anxiously call the house phone before we left for the market asking what sides to include in her grocery shopping. My grandmother always replied, “We will call you back when we return from the market”. On the way home Grams would start rattling off ideas for sides and accompaniments, I learned to take a paper and pen as I could not remember all of her suggestions. She focused on the meat entry and built the meal around that core. As I look into my box, I try to channel her creativity as to how to best use this weekly fresh harvest.

Beets and Carrots
Beets and Carrots

This week the most beautiful beets were enchanting in their variety of shapes, sizes and colors, and the short stout carrots more yellow than orange looked to promise a different sweetness. I simply roasted these vegetables in my oven with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. I roast most veggies at 395 degrees on the convection roast setting for about 25 – 40 minutes depending on the hardiness of the vegetables. Turning the foil lined sheet pans after about 15 minutes.

The carrots and beets were sweeter than expected. Both root vegetables caramelized beautifully in the oven. I ended up serving these warm harvest treats over a Kale and Spinach Salad I created with the fresh greens in the box.

I have always loved my spinach, and it pairs well with kale. I clean and devein the kale and finely chop or chiffonade to appeal to most guests. A dressing that has become a favorite for kale is a classic Lemon Dijon that is sharp enough to take on the greens. I often dress a kale salad about 15 – 25 minutes ahead so as to help this dressing break-down and soften the greens.

Lemon Dressing
Lemon Dressing

Classic Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette

¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 small shallot, finely minced

2 - 3 tablespoons chopped parsley

3-4 cloves of garlic, grated on a rasp

¼ teaspoon of kosher salt, to taste

Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Whisk together all above ingredients:

Then drizzle ½ cup olive oil and incorporate to create the dressing. Taste to adjust seasonings.

This dressing can be made up to a day ahead. Store in the refrigerator. Shake or whisk well before dressing the salad. Again, a kale salad can be dressed ahead.

Then top with your secret ingredients which in this case were the warm carrots and beets from my Harvest Box.