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As I told you last time, we get loads of salad greens among our organic CSA. We love that, but notwithstanding the Salad Sac it’s sometimes still hard to keep up… Causing the veg drawer in the fridge to overflow. A perfect moment to put lettuce soup on the menu!

I’m sure some of you can relate to this, so today I’ll share the recipe with you after my menu plan at the end of this post. There will also be a translation available for Dutch readers.

But first: this week’s veggies!

Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 24, 2012

Amelishof organic CSA vegetables wk 24, 2012

  • strawberries again!
  • pak choi
  • parsley
  • Romaine lettuce
  • vine tomatoes
  • garlic scapes (flower stems)
  • Batavian endive (escarole)

Another sunny bouquet of vegetables and fruit. :)

Menuplan 6-12 June

  • Mihun with bok choi, broccoli stems, chestnut mushrooms and ginger stir-fried in light soy sauce, ‘apple juice tempeh‘ and salad with miso dressing (miso, ume vinegar, sake, agave syrup, cumin, sage). Cantaloupe and strawberries for dessert. [Wednesday]
    Veggie stir-fry, mihun and 'apple juice tempeh'
    Mixed salad with miso dressing
  • Leftover pumpkin curry with cashews, pimped up with peas, baked garlic scapes, Thai noodle salad with leftover rice noodles (La Dolce Vegan! p.80), cantaloupe and the first 2 strawberries harvested from the balcony for dessert. [Thursday]
    Pumpkin curry and baked garlic flower stems
    Cold Thai noodle salad
    Cantaloupe and 1st strawberry harvested from balcony
  • Snow pea salad with Japanese dressing, (VEGAgerechten p.191), garlic-sunchoke soup (freezer stash) and bake-off mini baguette. [Friday]
    Garlic-sunchoke soup
    Snow pea salad with Japanese dressing
  • Potato mash with endive, faux ‘chicken’ from the Vegetarian Butcher and tomato salad with homemade basil dressing (La Dolce Vegan! p.91).
  • Saffron couscous with vegetable goulash (La DolceVegan! p.140; challenged by Dani on NVV forums).
    Saffron Couscous with La Dolce Vegan!'s Veggie Goulash
  • Courgette & fresh peas in persillade, lentil loaf, escarole salad with mustard vinaigrette (Eethuis Iris’ Verrukkelijk vegetarisch p.41) Fry’s schnitzel and baked potato.

Lettuce soup

Lettuce soup

Ingredients
Serves 3-4

  • 1 tbsp neutrally flavoured cooking oil
  • 1 potato
  • 1 shallot
  • white of 1 leek (sliced)
  • 1 bundle garlic (sliced) or garlic clove
  • about 3/4 litre vegetable stock (fresh or instant)
  • 1 head of ordinary lettuce
  • 1 dl soy millk
  • 1 tsp tarragon
  • black pepper
  • optional: a dash of white wine
  • optional: chives to garnish

Preparation

  1. Clean the vegetables
  2. Cube the peeled potato.
  3. Tear the lettuce into pieces.
  4. Shred the shallot.
  5. Heat the oil and gently sauté the onion, leek and (bundle-)garlic until the shallot is transparent.
  6. Add stock and potato and bring to a boil.
  7. After about 10 minutes add lettuce and simmer for a few minutes more.
  8. Add soy milk, wine, tarragon and more (hot) water if necessary.
  9. Purée the soup.
  10. Flavour with salt and pepper to taste and heat the soup before serving without letting it boil.
  11. Serve in bowls and garnish with chives.

Enjoy!

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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.

Lettuce

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!!!

At this moment I have a backlog of 4 bentos to post. It may not be wise to tick them off in chronological order but I’m going to anyway! Pigheaded Gnoe. ;)

Starting of with March 23rd’s First Spring Friday Bento!

First Spring Friday Bento (23-03-2012)

Below you see the salad tier: next to a bird’s nest of small Batavian lettuce leaves, gherkin, alfalfa sprouts, caper berry ‘eggs’ and dried cranberries for colour, there’s some more of the South-West American quinoa salad with avocado, bell pepper & sweet potato on a bed of aragula and topped with fresh cilantro. You may remember that from my Spring eQuinox Bento?

Middle tier: half a kiwi fruit, leftovers from a lentil dish with Mediterranean veggies, braised rutabaga (koolraap), smoked tofu, and simmered kabocha pumpkin from my freezer stash.

On Fridays one can be somewhat indulgent so the top tier is my ‘snack box‘, containing a cute flower cup with dry roasted almonds, salted sunflower seeds and a small piece of vegan ‘milk’ chocolate with hazelnut. Next to that two tiny plum tomato skewers with a basil leaf and pickled onion. A sauce fishy is filled with tomato-tahini dressing for my “bird’s nest salad” and lying in a cup of pepitas meant to top the quinoa. I plan on posting the dressing recipe sometime in a sequel of the Taste of Tahini Hop!

Finally there’s gingerbread with soy butter and agave syrup on the side, plus a (vitamin) C-BOMB: freshly squeezed orange, blood orange, pink grapefruit and lemon.

Even though I had this lunch almost a month ago, the recollection makes my mouth water!

Now are you curious to see my O-Hanami Bento?

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Yesterday was Spring Equinox ánd I was going on a hike with my brother, so I couldn’t let the chance pass to make a celebratory bento. Especially since I wanted to do something with quinoa for week 11 in the Vegweb Cooking Challenge 2012.

What I didn’t consider was that I really didn’t have much time to cook… So I just got to make the salad and ended up with a not-so-spectacular, half-a-bento to share with @variomatic. Still, it may not look very festive — we were quite happy with it. And I’m learning to be less of a perfectionist. :)

Spring eQuinoax Bento (20-03-2012)

Contents
South-West American quinoa salad with avocado, sweet potato, orange bell pepper, red onion, cilantro and a lime dressing on a bed of red Batavian lettuce and rocket. Pepitas for topping hiding under two ‘sour key’ candies (zure sleutels). Rosemary crackers on the side.

Although we enjoyed the salad during our break, I was a little disappointed by it: it tasted a bit dull even though I had added African Peper Mix to spice it up. It was okay, just nothing special — and I like my foods to be exactly that! ;P

I have some other interesting quinoa salad recipes up my sleeve, so let’s wait what those shall bring.

Today was definitely a feast of new beginnings. It marked my brother’s AMAZING accomplishment of loosing 50 kilos in 14 months. It was the first time in about 7 months that we took up another stage in our Groene Hartpad hiking project. And I hadn’t made a bento in two weeks. ;) YAY for spring! :)

Organic CSA vegetables week 24, 2011

Our tomcat Ringo coming to check out the escarole among the organic vegetables again…

Amelishof organic vegetables week 24, 2011

  • Radishes
  • Broad-leaved endive
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Chinese cabbage (napa, michihli)
  • Red & green basil
  • Broccoli
  • Scapes (garlic flowers)

Organic CSA vegetables week 25, 2011

Amelishof organic vegetables week 25, 2011

  • Pointed green cabbage
  • Rhubarb
  • Red lettuce
  • Rapini (turnip tops)
  • Courgette (zucchini)
  • Snow peas
  • Parsley

It’s the last rhubarb of the season and I haven’t figured out yet what to do with it. Any ideas?

Here’s the rest of our menu plan!

Menu plan June 22-27 2011

  • Pea soup from a can [Wednesday]
  • Sambal goreng cabbage tahu (Vegetarisch Indonesisch kookboek p.93) [Thursday]
  • Szechuan noodles (leftover sauce) and Chinese cabbage with coconut (Exotic & Traditional Vegetables p.2) [Friday]
  • Simple dinner with guests before going to piano recital: Cream of tomato soup (La Dolce Vegan p.114), salad with snow peas, brownies [Saturday]
  • Imam’s Eggplant, mashed carrot salad & tabbouleh (World Food Café p.37, 39 & 31)
  • Tomato, cucumber and green pepper mezze (World Food Café p.37), Turkish lentil soup (Met machtig mooie menu’s de wereld rond p.36), leftovers

From the menu plan I previously posted I’ve already shown you the Couscous salad with Orange Basil-Tempeh and Sweet Miso Dressing. Here are the pictures of two other dinners I photographed.

Lentil loaf with scapes (garlic flowers) and Turkish takeaway leftovers

Lentil loaf (from Food for Thought podcast) and Turkish takeaway leftovers

Szechuan noodles from Vegan Family Meals

Szechuan noodles from Vegan Family Meals

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Even MORE strawberries this week! We have to thank that to a mix-up with our vegetables: at first only iceberg lettuce and dill were delivered to our CSA pick-up point… Now that won’t do, right? ;) When it was fixed later in the evening we got even more lettuce, dill — and two boxes of strawberries which we weren’t supposed to get at all since we had them last week. Lucky us!

Amelis'Hof CSA vegetables week 23, 2011

  • Bok Choy
  • Strawberries
  • Red beets
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Chard
  • Garlic flowers (scapes)
  • Red bundle onions
  • Dill

So there’s actually another head of lettuce and a hand of dill in the fridge; they didn’t feel like coming out for the picture. ;)

Menu plan June 9-11 2011

Dinner plans for the next couple of days:

  • Salad with couscous, orange-basil tempeh and sweet miso dressing (Vegan Family Cookbook), Moroccan tajine (freezer stash) [Thursday]
  • Japanese meal at a friends house. Our contribution: Ginger Miso Soup with Kombu Dashi (Vegan Family Cookbook) [Friday]
  • Szechuan Noodles with Hot Spicy Peanut Sauce and Pak Choi (Vegan Family Cookbook) [Saturday]

I’ve already shown you our Mexican dinner (bento) and Summer Picnic Pie, so I’ll just leave you with a picture of the Hollandse pot (‘Dutch dish’) from last week’s menu plan: broad-leaved endive mash & bangers with mushroom gravy.

"Hollandse pot" (Dutch dish): potato mash with raw endive and mushroom gravy

Amelis'Hof organic vegetables week 22, 2011

  • Radishes
  • (Bundle) leek
  • Red Batavian lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Endive frisée
  • Bundle garlic (spring garlic)
  • Strawberries

Yum, I’ve been anticipating those strawberries for a whole week! So much that I couldn’t resist buying some in the days in between ;) The very last one ended up in yesterday’s cold noodle bento. These strawberries in our CSA vegetable bag come from about 3 miles from our home! #greenliving ;) We immediately had them for dessert last night, so no need to come over to have a taste! ;)

I did manage to keep Ringo from devouring the endive (he haz a taste for it), so you may want to hop over one of the other nights?

Menu plan June 2-8 2011

  • Asian fusion: tofu in tausi black bean sauce (leftover Chinese takeaway), nasi goreng (fried rice) and toemis spinach (Vegetarisch Indonesisch kookboek p.45) [Wednesday]
  • Mexican night: bean burritos with steamed spinach [Thursday]
  • Bihoen with faux ‘chicken’ (leftover Chinese takeaway) and Toemis endive (Vegetarisch Indonesisch kookboek p.46), pangek brown borlotti beans (Vegetarisch Indonesisch kookboek p.51), nasi koening (freezer stash) and salad with leftover miso dressing
  • Endive-potato mash with mushroom gravy (La Dolce Vegan p.181), onion and vegan sausage, salad
  • Tomato-garlic pie (Amelisbode wk.22), green salad
  • Gnocchi with grilled zucchini and tomato salad

I’ll leave you with two more pictures of dishes from last week’s menu plan. The noodle salad was good, especially with emping for topping (chopped nuts will probably be great too), so I’ll definitely make that again. The leek soup recipe was a bit of a disappointment though — will need to look further!

Mel's cold noodle salad

Cold noodle salad

Sunday night dinner

Leek soup, noodle salad and emping kurupuk

Shunbun No Hi

I don’t think people in Japan are feeling very celebratory after the disasters that struck the country this month (earthquakes, tsunami and serious trouble with the Fukushima nuclear power plants), but yesterday was a national holiday in honor of spring equinox, called Shunbun No Hi. It is a moment to reflect on our relation with nature, which seems only natural in light of the current events.

Stemming from Buddhist tradition, it is also a time to visit the resting places of ancestors, cleaning their graves and offering ohagi, sweet rice balls covered with red bean paste — it’s believed spirits prefer round food. :)

So when my plans got canceled yesterday morning while it was such wonderful weather, I picked up the Spring Equinox Bento I had quickly made the night before, packed my bag and put on my hiking boots. Destination? My father’s family grave. I hadn’t been there in a while so it felt really good to tidy up (yes, even scrub) and leave some spring flowers — in my country we usually don’t offer food to the gods or deceased. ;) And there was even someone there to greet me..! #MurakamiMoment

Murakami Moment: my ancestors' spirits coming to visit?

Afterwards I had planned to take a long hike but there wasn’t much time left, so instead I went in search of a small lake nearby to wait for Mr Gnoe. Together we went to the North Sea shore for a walk on the beach and to see the sun set. The sea is my mother’s resting place (sort of), so I had the most perfect day contemplating both nature & my ancestors. What a great way to start springtime! :)) But of course my thoughts went out to the people of Japan too.

Quick Spring Equinox Bento (#136)

Quick Spring Equinox Bento, 21-03-2011

As you can see there isn’t anything resembling a ball in my Monday bento, although there is some circular movement going on. ;) The only real round food I had were cherry tomatoes, but they had to make room for their tiny plum tomato siblings because these are smaller.

The main aspect of this lunch is my sunny tofu scramble in a night-blue cup symbolizing equinox: the day being exactly as long as night. It was my second time making tofu scramble and I ‘adventurously’ added some cumin and veggie BBQ sauce that was given away for free at the Asian store (nearing its expiration date). Nice.

Other foods:

  • Mixed salad with La Dolce Vegan!’s Sesame Miso Vinaigrette
  • Switchback cut banana
  • The last bit of creamy Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (recipe also from La Dolce Vegan!)
  • Italian scrocchi crackers
  • Grilled vegetables: zucchini & green bell pepper
  • Dried cranberries & apricot (sliced)
  • Cauliflower fox, oak-leaf lettuce & garden cress

On the side I also brought an apple, vegan sammy and a bottle of water.

Spring Equinox Sunset at Noordwijk aan Zee

Meet bento #95, my Lente Bento! Lente is Dutch for springtime.
So, does it look like a Spring Bento to you?

Lente Bento (Spring Bento) #95
Mr Gnoe and I shared this snack box yesterday on our hike in the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen (dune area near Amsterdam designated for water winning). I couldn’t see the North Sea, but I did hear & smell it! :)

Contents of the top tier: cinnamon bunny biscuits (with a white chocolate layer) in an alfalfa ‘hay’ nest with capers and chives ‘grass’ in front of some SPRING onion crackers. The cookies came from elm@’s surprise packet! The alfalfa sprouts stand for seedlings and the onion biscuits depict early spring sun and blossom at the same time :) Added is a cup of homemade blue cheese dressing. And… in Holland springtime is heralded by tulips, hence the apricot & basil tulips on the right :)

Kawaii usagi thermosBottom tier: blossom onigiri with avocado-wasabi filling (soy fishie hiding). The yellow sushi rice was coloured with saffron. The other flower is supposed to be pink(ish) but the beetroot didn’t dye as well as I thought it would. Next time I’ll check out some instructibles first ;) The garden cress (more young plant life), parsley and edamame are chosen for their bright green colour; the beans sprinkled with some FairTrade African Peper spices. And next to it you find a usagi RINGO (うさぎりんご) a.k.a. apple rabbit. ‘Ringo’ in capitals because it is the name of our cute tomcat :)

On the side we brought some Shincha (first flush sencha) tea in my cute new thermos. Remember what freshly cut grass smells like? Shincha tastes like that!

I’m submitting this bento in the 2010 Spring Contest on Justbento (ending today) and hapa bento’s April B.O.M.B. Challenge which is all about bunnies (open until April 10th). Usagi are true springtime animals and we had hoped to see some live ones on our hike yesterday — but we didn’t. No matter, because we saw lots of deer! 50 at least..! (Mr Gnoe says a hundred but I think he’s exaggerating ;)

Deer grazing near water

LupinenNiet alleen de clematis staat prachtig in bloei, we zijn ook erg gelukkig met onze lupine!

Nooit geweten dat één plant verschillend gekleurde bloemen kan hebben. Marvelous :)

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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