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Sustainable Salad Sac

You may have noticed that we get a bunch of lettuce in our CSA every week. And I’ll be honest with you: when it still needs to washed once I’m making lunch, 8 times out of 10 I just leave it sitting in the fridge. Guess what happens after a week or two…

So. I need to wash my greens right when they come in. I used to spin them dry and store ‘em in plastic zip-lock baggies. I reused these, but that doesn’t really feel like the most appropriate way for sustainable living with local veggies.

Now I’ve discovered the Salad Sac! Additional advantage: there’s one step less in the process because you don’t dry the leaves before they go into the bag – its wetness moistens the fabric so that the lettuce stays crisp and is ready to use.

You know what? It works! Here’s a pic that I took on the morning of our next CSA, when I had the last salad leaves of the previous week for lunch.


A plus of plastic over cloth is that it’s transparent. As the salad sack is rather big I sometimes put several leafy greens in together and there’s a lot of digging around to get the right stuff out. Or Mr Gnoe doesn’t dare put in his hand at all as he has no idea what’s in there. ;) Then again, transparency would allow light to filter in, which is not helpful in keeping the vegetables fresh!

But it would be wonderful if the bag came in different sizes. Of course I’ve thought of making some pouches myself… But I think it may be a special kind of terry cloth, maybe even treated (although it’s supposed to be 100% cotton). Any thoughts on that?

I haven’t yet tried to put in things like sliced cucumber or other chopped vegetables. But the ‘instruction tag‘ says that works too!

Now just in case anyone wonders: I bought this article with my own money and am not in any way connected to the manufacturer, nor do I get paid for a (positive) review. I’m just a happy user! :)

On with our colourful organic CSA vegetables of the past three weeks.

Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 21, 2012

Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 21, 2012

  • red Batavian endive
  • pointed pepper
  • spinach
  • pumpkin chutney
  • rucola
  • spring onion

Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 22, 2012

Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 22, 2012

Don’t you just LOVE the purple of the beets and mustard greens?

  • Swiss chard
  • mustard greens
  • mizuna turnip tops
  • curly leaf escarole
  • beets
  • bundle garlic
  • ramson flower (daslook)

Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 23, 2012

Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 23, 2012

This week’s veggies:

  • leek
  • plain lettuce
  • spring onions
  • basil
  • tomatoes
  • strawberries!!!

It’s December and the gift giving season has definitely started. This week I received my parcel from Lavender Lines in the awesome Great Grocery Bag Exchange that Carin from A Little Bookish hosted. YAY!

Of course we all want to live ‘green’ (right?), so why not Bring Your Own Bag to the store?! Or better still, bring a friend’s bag! The cool part of this international swap is that you get to have a unique reusable bag from another country to lug your groceries back home in :) And mine-came-from-bilingual-Canada. Ha!

Curious? Well, here’s the loot Colleen sent me!

Bookhobo's Great Grocery Bag Exchange

Yep, you’re seeing that right: next to two bags, I also got some special Canadian goodies. :)

Oh, but the cat was not included! That’s our Handsome Man, Ringo. He was curious too ;) If you’re one of those rare cat-haters, here’s a link to a picture without him. :-o

The small red bag came from Claire de Lune, a wonderful Canadian candle shop, as Colleen describes it. It’s cute and it does smell sweetly of candles! :)

The bigger blue bag is from the Co-op grocery store. This bag is truly Canadian in that it has a French, and an English side. I can’t believe how global I’ll look carrying this! :) It’s pretty sturdy and I already used it to bring a bunch of heavy goodies to my aunt.

Please don’t tell anyone but there’s a secret to this bag too… Come closer to the computer so I can whisper it in your ear!

*low volume* There’s a small zipper pocket inside to put my money in! *volume up*

Colleen was so sweet to include her favourite Canadian chocolate bars: Coffee Crisp and mint-flavoured Aero. I visited Eastern Canada in 2000 but I can’t remember having come across them. So they’re rrrrrreally special! I’m saving them for a treat on one of my hikes or to cheer me up when I’m feeling down. Well, if I can resist them that long anyway ;)

I am a bit worried though :\ Colleen writes: I should warn you — they’re addictive!
Before you know it I’ll need to order them on-line in large numbers… LOL

So, a BIG Thank You! to my friends across the Atlantic: Colleen and Carin. I’ve had a great time participating in the grocery bag exchange and will continue to do so whenever I use my bags. Can you picture the jealous looks I’ll get? :)

Great Grocery Bag Exchange logo

Check out other Grocery Bag Exchange posts at A Little Bookish!

I present to you not only our last CSA bag of organic vegetables in 2009, but also the last one of the season! We will have to buy our own veggies again until spring :-o

A huge surprise was the kiwi fruit — a first, and so cute! Other greens: red pepper, leek, elstar apples, rosemary, red cabbage and Brussels sprouts. Yum! We were also supposed to get some corn salad but it was hidden under the snow… Clever corn salad ;)

Aardvlo veggiebag week 51

Het op één na laatste Aardvlo groentenpakket van het seizoen… Het is dan ook al week 51! En we kregen weer eens nét wat we nodig hadden :)

  • boerenkool
  • kabocha pompoen (Japanse! :)
  • knolselderij
  • zomerworteltjes (wie had dat gedacht? ;)
  • knoflook
  • sjalotjes
  • pastinaak

Zomerpeentjes in de wintertas, dat is een verrassing! Laat ik nu net wortel nodig hebben voor inarizushi! Dat zijn zoete tahoebuideltjes gevuld met sushirijst (naar wens met wortel en zwart sesamzaad), ook wel tofu puffs genoemd. Het is een ‘snack’ in de bento’s van Japanse kinderen. De voorgeprepareerde zakjes kun je hier in vacuümverpakking kopen — en ik heb dan ook 2 pakjes op voorraad die dringend op moeten. Hm. Dat doet me eraan denken dat ik dringend weer eens verslag moet uitbrengen over mijn hamsteruitdaging ;) But first things first.

Een experiment om met ei gevulde buideltjes te maken, tamago no takarabukuro, mislukte deze week :( De gefrituurde sojazakjes zijn al voorgesneden en — helaas — gewoon te klein om een heel ei in te doen. Maar dat niet alleen: ze scheurden ook meteen… Ik denk (fluister) omdat ze door ouderdom wat te droog zijn geworden :\ Moet ik die dingen maar niet zo lang laten liggen! Nu het pak open is moet de rest snel op; hopelijk gaat het beter met de tofu puffs. Daar hebben we al ervaring mee, dus als die ook mislukken is de oorzaak duidelijk ;) *shifts blame*

Naast de zomerworteltjes ligt bevroren boerenkool. Zo van het land ;) Die kan niet lang bewaard worden en gaat dus als eerste in de pan. Als Hollandse boerenkoolstampot met vegaworst of nepspekjes, dan wel een ‘Indische’ variant: pittig gemaakt met lekkere sambal en daarbij gebakken tempeh en gefruite uitjes.

De knolselderij? Die gaat natuurlijk in een erwtensoepje (beproefd recept). Daar is het met die sneeuw buiten echt weer voor!

Friday bento’s are allowed to contain something extra. That’s just a personal rule ;) Otherwise I might be tempted to buy a bag of potato chips (or something of the kind) at the railway station on my way back home :-o The weekend starts on Friday after work, you see :)

Plenty Bento #91

So what nice foodies did I bring this time? Clockwise: grapefruit juice, fishy with FairTrade balsamico-mango splash for dressing and roasted nuts as salad topping, dried red fruit (cranberries & strawberries), corn salad, egg tortilla with onion, corn kernels and root parsley, celery leaf on top. More stewed pears, more switchback cut practice (on cucumber; looks better than the gherkin, doesn’t it?), raddichio, celery and goat’s cheese sprinkled with dried basil.

If you think this bento is lacking carbohydrates.. you’re absolutely right ;) But I had two sandwiches on the side that were too dull to photograph ;)

As I mentioned in my post about Earth Bento I learned the traditional cut called chigai-giri from Hiroshi Nagashima’s book The Decorative Art of Japanese Food Carving, which I allowed myself to buy because of the November Hello Japan! mission. But… you can all start practicing today! Just go over to JustBento (my favourite) for Maki’s tutorial and have fun :)

Mind you, she does say:

There’s more than one way to do this cut,

And that’s true. The technique shown in my new book is so ingenious there aren’t any leftover pieces! :)) Maybe I’ll share that with you some other time. [How-to posted]

CSA (& organic): corn salad, parsley, root parsley, pears, raddichio.
Organic: egg, cucmber, cranberries, onion.

Aardvlo veggiebag week 50Week 50 brengt niet één zak met groenten maar een hele tas vól zakkies! Het lijkt wel sinterklaas :)

Met de klok mee:

  • bietjes (gewone rode en choggia)
  • veldsla
  • spruitjes
  • wortelpeterselie
  • aardperen
  • stoofpeertjes

Om nog even in het thema van de klimaatconferentie te blijven: ons wekelijkse groentepakket is driewerf goed voor het milieu. Waarom?

  1. Het is groente van het seizoen (kost minder energie om te kweken),
  2. biologisch geteeld (= met zo min mogelijk belasting van het milieu),
  3. en komt uit de buurt (nauwelijks vervoer).

En dan eten we ook nog eens vegetarisch. Wij dragen dus ons steentje bij — en dat alleen maar door te eten ;) Zo makkelijk is het dus!

Bento #90 is just a small one, but full of earhtly goodies! Let’s call it a vote of confidence in the climate conference that is being held in Kopenhagen these days… Okay? :\

Earth bento #90It contains oven roasted root vegetables (onion, potato, Jerusalem artichoke, parsnip & celeriac) on a bed of corn salad, accompanied by a specially cut gherkin and crowned by a goat’s cheese star. Stewed pears on the side.

Except for the gherkin everything is organic. I guess I could have made the traditional Japanese Switchback Cut a bit sharper (and it looks better on veggies with a discernible skin anyway), but hey I am proud of it! :)

So don’t say that you don’t know what I’m talking about — just look closer! ;)

Except for the cheese and gherkin all ingredients are organic & local.

Aardvlo veggiebag week 49Als er geen pastinaak in het groentenpakket van de Aardvlo had gezeten dan was de tas van deze week (#49) net een reuzen-knikkerzak geweest… Met een gigantische appel (groter dan een mango — dat wordt een lekker toetje ;) en kleine kooltjes. Er zat trouwens een tweede raddichio in de tas maar die was verlegen zo klein dat ik hem even over het hoofd had gezien ;)

  • Pastinaak
  • Selderij
  • Bloemendaalse Gele (slobberkool)
  • Boskoop appels (zijn het echt 3 dezelfde?)
  • Veldsla
  • Roodlof

Deze week (#48) vonden we in de groententas van de Aardvlo:

  • Aardvlo veggiebag week 48 2009aardperen (oei)
  • boerenkool
  • postelein
  • prei
  • puntpaprika
  • romanesco’s!

Waarom aardperen toch zoveel namen moeten hebben… Ze zijn ook bekend als topinamboers en Jerusalem artichoc (Jeruzalemartisjok). Zo’n naam roept vragen op. Behoren ze tot dezelfde Helianthusfamilie? Nee. De aardpeer is familie van de zonnebloem. Wat kan de reden dan zijn dat-ie zo heet?

Lijkt de smaak op gewone artisjok? Die exotisch ogende groente wordt gezien als delicatesse en de oerhollandse aardpeer lijkt meer een paria in de Nederlandse keuken :\

Uiterlijk dan? Tja, ze hebben allebei een soort ‘schubben’… Maar de artisjok is een graag geziene gast in bloemboeketten en de topinamboer niet.

En waarom eigenlijk Jeruzalem???

Zucht, nog een maandje en dan is het seizoen van 2009 voorbij :( Moeten we zelf weer bedenken welke groente we kopen ;)

I didn’t have time before to update you on this week’s bento #86: Gringo Bento. Called that way because of the Mexican foodies :) Although the American Heritage Dictionary classifies gringo as ‘offensive slang’, it has a positive ring for me because it sounds like the name of my gorgeous tomcat Ringo :)

Gringo Bento #86

Don’t you love the (organic) blue maize tortilla chips?! This must be a very healthy bento because I even exceeded the five colour rule ;) How many tints do you count?

The tier on the left contains corn cob, a slice of zucchini, parsley, homemade salsa picante (recipe below), a piece of carrot and something I call an avocado gringo, because it’s neither a quesadilla nor a burrito since it hasn’t been baked or grilled afterwards like the first, nor wrapped liked the latter. It consists of four layers of multigrain wheat tortilla with guacamole, salsa, lettuce and cheese in between.

As you can see I brought some red grapefruit in another side container. The bento box tier on the right contains pepitas (popped pumpkin seeds), sour cream for the bean dish, dried strawberries as a sweet, a mix of corn salad and plain lettuce and frijoles (kidney beans) with red bell pepper, corn, onion and zucchini.

It was yummy :)

CSA (and organic): lettuce, corn salad, corn, parsley, carrot.
Organic: wheat tortilla’s, tortilla corn chips, onion.

Salsa picante

Making salsa picante is really easy!


  • 4 tomatoes without skin & hearts, roughly cut (look at Gnoe’s tip!)
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and roughly cut
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded (or sambal, chili sauce or tabasco to taste)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 4 tablespoons of tomato ketchup
  • salt & pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a food processor and shred until smooth — or almost smooth. Et voilá!

If you don’t have a blender just cut the ingredients with a knife. This recipe is so flexible! You can use leftover tomatoes that have gotten overripe, or you could replace them by canned tomatoes, pureed etc. Instead of ketchup you can also take some tomato paste and add a bit of sugar or honey for sweetness. There’s almost no excuse not to make this salsa!

Last but not least, here’s Gnoe’s tip to undress tomatoes ;) The easiest way to peel tomatoes is to immerse them in boiling water for 1 minute after cross-cutting the skin. Drain, and immerse in cold water for about 5 seconds (or hold under the cold tab). The skin comes right off!

Recipe courtesy of Eethuis Iris

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!


Currently grazing

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Gnoe herding...