April 24, 2010

Food from the Co-Op

I recently started participating in a fruit and vegetable co-op. How it works as quoted from the organization: "Use collective purchasing to get high quality food at prices usually reserved for grocery stores and restaurants. Save money while you work together co-operatively within your community." Each Monday I sign up (and pay) for my "contribution." On Saturday I go to a local location and pick up my produce. It is half fruits half vegetables. In addition to the fruits and vegetables there are other offerings. A few weeks ago I purchased extra strawberries and I made freezer jam and froze some chopped strawberries. This week I purchased the additional "Mexican Food Ingredient Pack."

It is never guaranteed what items you will receive so it has been giving me an opportunity to find try new fruits and vegetables and try new recipes. the best part is the cost. It averages out to about $0.50 per pound. There are very few fruits and vegetables you can purchase in the grocery store for that price. I enjoy the challenge of trying to use everything within the week. If we were eating all of our servings of fruits and vegetables we should have no problem accomplishing that. The key to that sentence is IF. While we try and try it just doesn't always happen. With the weather warming up and the opportunity to grill it will get easier and easier.

Anyway. . . all of that to talk about dinner and dessert tonight. Both weeks we have received celery so I have a lot of celery. In looking for ways to use it (besides eating it raw) I found a Cream of Celery Soup recipe. I served the soup with a romaine lettuce and apple (both from the co-op) salad with Ranch Dressing from the mix I made a couple weeks ago and Roasted Garlic Artisan Bread purchased from a local artisan bread bakery. After dinner PE had a sweet tooth so I decided to find a recipe that would use the blackberries we received from the co-op. I settled on Quick Blackberry Cobbler.

The soup was a little bland but the addition of salt and pepper was all it needed to perk it up. The ranch dressing while delicious was runny. I need to figure out a way to make it thicker. The cobbler was very easy to put together and smelled amazing while it was baking--it didn't taste too bad. Actually it was delicious!

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Cream of Celery Soup
from allrecipes
Print Recipe

2 1/4 cups chicken stock
9 oz celery, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 oz carrots, julienned
1 1/2 oz onions, chopped
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
2 1/4 cups hot milk
3 Tbsp butter

Pour the chicken stock into a large pot, and bring to a boil. Add the celery, carrots and onion to the pot. Whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, and milk; add to the pot along with the margarine. Boil for 10 minutes, then strain out the vegetables by pouring through a sieve, or if the vegetables are large enough, a colander may be used. (I just pulverized my celery and carrots in the blender before adding them to the soup - instead of draining them out - and it worked fine).

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Quick Blackberry Cobbler
from Mommy's Kitchen
Print Recipe

1 cup self rising flour or substitute*
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
2 cups blackberries
2 - 3 Tbsp additional sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Add butter to a 9x9 inch baking pan and place in the oven so the butter can melt. While the butter is melting, mix flour, sugar and milk together. Batter will be a bit lumpy. Remove pan from the oven and pour the batter over the melted butter. Top with blackberries and sprinkle with additional sugar if you like about a couple tablespoons. Do not stir. Cook for 30-40 minutes or until brown on top and the cobbler pulls away from the sides of the pan. Let cool a bit and serve with fresh whipping cream or vanilla ice cream.

*Self Rising Flour substitute: For each cup of flour add 2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt.

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