What to do with a Mystery box of winter vegetables

Yesterday I picked up my Mariquita Farms winter veggie box. It was ginormous and full of all sorts of great winter vegetables, and I find myself wanting to make a plan for how I am going to use them. Being winter veggies, I think their shelf life is longer, so I am not worried about using them all this week, but knowing how I want to use them between now and the end of the year sounds like a good idea.

In our box, we found Orange Cauliflower, Broccoli Romanesco, Beets, Chantenay Carrots, Escarole, Red Chard, Potatoes, Savoy Cabbage, Red Onions, Cilantro, Pumpkin, and Parsnips. Here is my box plan for December 2010:

Orange Cauliflower and Broccoli Romanesco: I use these two vegetables interchangeably (sort of). These days, with the cold winter weather, I like roasting cauliflower with olive oil, salt and pepper. There is also a roasted cauliflower and chicken dish we enjoy, as well as my daughter’s favorite Cauliflower Curry. Raw cauliflower with ranch dressing is a good pre-dinner snack, and I still dream of the day when I can bring back the cauliflower puree, as an alternative to mashed potatoes.

Beets: Roasted with goat cheese in a salad for Christmas dinner.

Chantenay Carrots: Soup, probably. Every recipe I make lately calls for a carrot or two. Also good as pre-dinner snack (with ranch dressing, gah!)

Escarole: I like it as a salad and also in a beans & greens-style soup. Last night, I served it with roasted beets, orange segments and pomegranate seeds as a fancy plated salad.

Red Chard: I like it steamed or sauteed, or perhaps in a frittata with some of our chicken eggs.

Potatoes: Mashed with braised short ribs for Christmas dinner. I am also making a new smashed potato, where I boil/steam the potatoes first, then fry them in oil after giving them a quick smash on the counter top. So crispy, so lovely.

Savoy Cabbage: I might try a stuffed cabbage again, or perhaps the cabbage risotto we like. Sauteed cabbage and onions is also a tasty side dish.

Red Onions: Also useful in soup, or perhaps the braised short ribs. Never a problem to use onions.

Cilantro: Humm, not sure about this. I do have some pork for a New Mexican green chili dish, and that uses cilantro. I also like making pesto out of cilantro. And if I get an avocado in our Frog Hollow Farms box, I might also make guacamole.

Pumpkin: This is a white pumpkin, and I am hoping the inside will contain dark orange flesh. Perhaps a risotto, maybe a pie. I also found a dish in the new Dorie Greenspan book I splurged on. Shouldn’t buy cookbooks before Christmas. But it was for a stuffed pumpkin. With sausage. O.M.G.

Parsnips: Julia from Mariquita Farms swears by roasting parsnips, I am not sure what I plan to do. One of them is kinda large, so it might be better off in a stock pot. The other one I might make a parsnip/carrot or potato mash.

The cauliflower and romaneso came with large outer leaves. I am going to trim some of those off and use them for my stock bag. The carrot tops will go to the chickens, who are collectively laying about 7 eggs a week (I think only 2 chickens are participating regularly, but I am not exactly sure). And I still have quite a collection of squash on my counter top from November veggie boxes, so I may have to think about roasting/pureeing/freezing for later.

4 comments

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  2. What a delicious selection! I’d love to have some roasted root veggies right now.

    Try the beet greens and chard in a creamy winter greens gratin:
    http://www.houseofannie.com/creamy-winter-greens-gratin/

  3. I LOVE this discovery and challenge each time we pick up our box. Especially at this time of year, I find it thrilling to have ‘new food’ since we are eating primarily from our stores of food from the growning season.

    Deborah Madison has some great cookbooks focused on seasonal and farmer’s market foods. She has a great recipe for brocoli romanesca, cauliflower and brussel sprouts that is beyond delicious! They tend to be some of my first ‘go to’ cookbooks for these mystery boxes!
    Boulder Locavore recently posted…Some Enchanted Evening- Frog Belly Farms Longmont COMy Profile

  4. Stephanie M at Together In Food

    Yum! You can also eat the cauliflower greens. I like them roasted with the cauliflower; here’s a link to method and a few other recipes for the greens: http://togetherinfood.wordpress.com/2010/11/10/roasted-cauliflower-cauliflower-greens%C2%A0recipe/.

    On carrots, if you’re tired of eating them with ranch :-), they are great tossed in olive oil and salt and roasted in a 400 oven til tender. They caramelize, and I bet your kids would like ’em!

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