CSA #7 – the health issue + monkfish and shiitakes

Vegetable share:
Zucchini (green, yellow)
Cucumbers, white and/or green
1 head cabbage
1 bu bunching onions
1 head radicchio
2 pieces dill (some have more flower than leaf – you can use the flower the same way, or use it for pickling)
3 ears sweet corn
1 bu beets

Fruit share: 1 Qt Sugar Plums and 2 lb peaches and 1 pint organic blueberries

Egg share: ½ dozen pastured eggs

Flower share: sunflowers, zinnias, snapdragons, sparkler flower (cleome), agyranthemum, etc.

We also harvested our first cucumber out of OUR garden!

The CSA we get comes out to about $40 a week, roughly. From the prices I have been seeing for produce lately, this is beyond a bargain for organic produce, and I strongly encourage you to join a CSA and start your own garden if you can!

Having said that, I would like to also use this post to address an issue that has been bothering me. There has been a lot of arguing over the past couple years about the cost of eating healthy VS the cost of fast food. There was this image from the NYTimes that at once annoyed the crap out of me.

First of all, WHERE on god’s green earth does one procure a six dollar chicken?!? And if that DOES exist, I am pretty sure you shouldn’t eat it, as it is probably stuffed full of antibiotics and chemicals and christ knows what. NO THANK YOU. Second of all, who eats rice and beans with bacon as a regular meal? Not the best of plans. However, it IS very possible to eat healthy and affordably, these are just horrible examples. I will show you how in a minute, and you can also reference my favorite cost-effective eating blog, Budget Bytes. I would like to address the bigger issue here, that the REAL problem in most cases is not the money, contrary to popular belief. The real problems are TIME and SKILL. If you were not lucky enough to be taught how to cook and eat as a child, you probably don’t think you CAN cook. The processes can seem daunting and these days you feel like you have to have 5700 fancy pieces of equipment when you don’t. Then there is time. How many of these people resorting to McDonald’s are doing so because they are single parents working two jobs to make ends meet and feed their children SOMETHING? There isn’t even time to sleep, much less plan meals, go grocery shopping and cook! It is very stressful. So go ahead and complain about Americans eating fast food all you want, but I felt it bore mentioning that a lot of people aren’t doing it because its cheap. It ain’t. Fast food is expensive now too!

Now, I am no professional, as this is why I feel like you should hear this from me. I taught myself the majority of what I know about cooking, and I am telling you that you can do it too. And on the weeks when you are so busy that you think your eyes might pop out, try this.

I like to make one big grocery store trip to go with my CSA goodies. This ensures that I have no choice but to eat fresh fruit and veggies and make my own meals each week. Lately I have been trying to be very healthy and so D and I went and used my Whole Foods gift certif on a bunch of fresh seafood! Each plate below was around $7 to make.

We bought cajun salmon burgers and made a great raw vegetable salad that D made an amazing fig dressing for that she will be posting soon, and that I will share with you, as it was marvelous!

We also got shrimp burgers that we ate with sautéed zucchini and salsa

And finally, the recipe I would like to share, rainbow chard and shiitakes with grilled monkfish. Two pieces of monkfish were $7.99! Monkfish are nice and meaty and hold up well for a variety of different cooking techniques. They aren’t known as the poor man’s lobster for nothing! My apologies for the horrendous photo, it was late and I was working and threw this together

Danielle had a cayenne peach sauce leftover from a food event she worked, so we put that over the grilled fish, and then I found this great recipe for Swiss chard with shiitakes which was perfect since we had a big bunch of rainbow chard to use from last week’s CSA. I halved the butter in the recipe and it worked out really well!

I chopped a bunch of chard in to bite size bits,

melted half the butter and some thyme in a pan, and added the sliced shiitakes. After they had browned, I added in my well rinsed chard and let it cook down according to the recipe, and Holy Shiitake! There is was. My new favorite chard preparation! The earthiness of the mushrooms cuts the bitterness of the greens, and since I used ridiculously fresh mushrooms, I was not concerned with upsetting my yeast/mold allergies! WIN!

The fish was tender and juicy but substantial enough that I did not miss having a carby side dish, which was the point of this week’s dinners. All in all, the plate was about $6.50, and took 15 minutes to prep and make. So don’t be scared!!! You can eat well and save weight in your wallet and on your body and mind! And please share your favorite tips for eating cheap and healthy as well!

3 thoughts on “CSA #7 – the health issue + monkfish and shiitakes

  1. I want that chard! It looks amazing.

    Love your take on the food poster. I had seen it around and I like the concept, but I agree it is poorly executed. Also totally agree that the problems are time and skill, not money. i wish more people would take the time just to dip their toes into the waters of cooking to find out it’s not rocket science! The more you do, the better you get at it, and the healthier you’ll be!

  2. Pingback: CSA 7 and awesome beet juice! | ugly food tastes better.

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