Monday, August 16, 2010

The Great Produce Challenge

Thanks to my friends Katie and Janelle, I have discovered another excellent way to save on the grocery bill. Would you believe I got all these goodies for fifteen buckaroos? I did! I swear it! A few weeks back I joined a local food co-op (Bountiful Baskets, if you're interested) and have been enjoying the fruits thereof ever since.

The fabulous price tag does not come without a catch. Each week, I have to request a basket of produce at a very specific/sometimes inconvenient time and pick up the basket at an equally specific/ sometimes inconvenient time.

Also, the fruits and veggies I get each week are a surprise! Last week I was thrilled with every single item, but this week... well, there was eggplant involved. What more can I say?

Oh, but the mystery of it all! With it, I have invented a little game that I like to call "The Great Produce Challenge." My goal is to create interesting recipes to coordinate with my surprise fruits and vegetables and hopefully develop a tolerance for vegetables usually loathe. Last week, I made a fabulous stir fry and learned, that if diced within an inch of its life, zucchini is actually freakin' awesome. Broccoli too!

Other things I made: stuffed peppers, banana bread, Caesar salad, smoothies, fruit salads...

Another part of the challenge is to put ALL of the produce to good use. Since there is so much of it, this is a challenge indeed. I always make a sizable dent in the produce (alongside the produce I've purchased at the grocery store), but have had to chop, freeze, and can certain items to make up the difference.

As for the eggplant, I believe the compost pile qualifies as putting the produce to "good use." Don't you?


Dianna said...

You need to get a good baba ghanoush recipe - you will then love eggplant. I am still trying to get my neighbor's amazing family recipe. I will pass it on if I get it.

Chris said...

you can do a lot with eggplant, you know without tasting it, a search on the internet would give you some interestin ideas I am sure. Althouht a good baba ghanoush is fantastic, and if you roast it and slice it it tastes fabulous in sandwiches.

Audrey said...

I didn't grow up eating eggplant, but last year I decided I wanted to try and cook with it. What better recipe than eggplant parmesean? I have a great recipe that we all loved!

adrienne said...

I agree with Audrey--Eggplant Parm! Here's a meaty version: Brush eggplant slices w/olive oil & grill (I use my George Foreman's grill. Layer in a dish with your favorite spaghetti/meat sauce, sliced or grated mozzerella, & parmesan cheese. Repeat layers twice. Top with parmesan-Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes till hot & all cheese is melted. Ryan can't eat it, but it is so yummy! Its like lasagne with eggplant instead of noodles. In fact, I'm sure you could just use a lasagne recipe too, just substituting eggplant.

Matt and Melissa said...

Thanks for those great ideas! You Rock! I really like the picture with your little girl behind all the produce. She looks really thrilled :)
Thanks again for the produce tips!

Blake and Meg said...

You have inspired all of us here in Grapevine and we are going to start our own co-op! So excited! So now we just need you to pass along these amazing recipes and challenges to keep us motivated. Christina and I are going to be the Grapevine hosts.

Miss you guys!