It’s Week 36 of Dinner Plans and we’re celebrating the last days of all the glorious summer produce!
I love this time of season where we observe the transitions between summer and autumn. There are whispers of a changing season. Temperatures are still warm and we’re experiencing monsoonal like rain here over the weekend but I spotted the first of the delicata squash in this week’s CSA pickup which signals autumn is near.
Peppers, sweet corn, and tomatoes make their final appearance in these weeks leading up to fall. Our box was brimming to the top full of so many goodies. It’s going to be a great week!
Seasonal Cooking Tip: Maximizing Produce That’s Seen Better Days
Some weeks, I’ll come across items in the produce where I need a game plan to use it before it spoils, quickly. Mother Nature’s sometimes unpredictable weather can have an affect on harvested produce. For instance, this week’s tomatoes are split. The recent period of rapid, heavy rain in our region is causing fruits like tomatoes to expand faster than their skins are able to stretch. The result? Cracking or splitting skins.
This produce is still edible though we need to act quick. Here’s 3 ways I’ll try to make the most of produce that’s seen better days:
- Roast Split Tomatoes to Make a Sauce: The rainy season we’ve had here in Southern California has done a number on our tomatoes. This week, I’ll dice and roast the split tomatoes we had in our box, taking care to cut around the split areas, then blend them with garlic, onion, and herbs for a quick tomato sauce I can freeze for future meals. This tomato sauce recipe is a good recipe to build from.
- Add Wilted Greens to Soup Stock Base: I’ll add wilted greens to a vegetable stock base on Sundays for meal prep. Think: broccoli green stems, spring onions that have wilted, browned basil. This will add flavor to your stock which you can use for soups or to cook up grains. Once done, add the cooked scraps to your composter or green waste bin.
- Donate Produce to a Community Garden for Compost: As a final step, if you have produce that has seen better days, find a local community garden to donate near spoiling produce for their compost. For those in the Los Angeles County area check out LA Compost for Compost Co-Ops near you. They are a non-profit focused on providing community composting access and have amazing resources to help you on your composting journey.
DINNER PLANS FOR THE WEEK
It’s Labor Day Weekend here in the US and it signals the unofficial end to summer. We’re back to autumn routines with school and work which means meals need to be quick and efficient. The former classroom teacher in me also eyes the calendar for our next holiday break. Savoring these last “slow summer” days before that pace picks up and we’re counting down to Thanksgiving Break come mid-October.
Here is our game plan for dinner this week:
Sunday: Vegetable Lasagna using the Paddy Pan Squash, Chard, and Broccoli Greens
Monday: Creamy Corn Pasta with Tomatoes and Basil
Tuesday: Shishito Rellenos with Sheet Pan Nachos
Wednesday: Herb Roasted Chicken with Maple Roast Delicata Squash
Saturday: Peaches & Greens Pizza (see the caption in this Instagram Reel for the ingredient list)
From favorite recipes to new things with a wide variety of ingredients, cooking delicious food with our CSA definitely gets us out of a dinner rut and reduce food waste. I share meal ideas for our busy weeks with our weekly newsletter. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to be in the know when they’re live. 😉
Cheers to a nourishing week. ❤️