Driving into the farm

CSA Member Appreciation Lunch and Carrot Dig

I can’t believe I’ve been a member of my CSA for eight years now – that’s right, eight! When I first selected this CSA out of the many options available in our area, I did it out of sheer convenience – the pickup location was one block over from my house.   Now, eight years later, I know I made the right choice – the produce is always fresh, they are continually improving their customer experience, and always adding new, local products to the mix.  I promise, I’m not being paid to promote them – I do it just because of my food nerdiness.

The member appreciation lunch was an opportunity to tour the Herbert Family Organic Farm, and dig up some carrots to take home.  The carrots we got from there were absolutely delicious – no need to find a way to use them up in meals, they were great just as is.  That being said, I’m considering making a coconut milk and carrot rice pudding out of what I have left – that will be a future post.

I think that pictures will do this visit much more justice than the word I type here.  If you haven’t joined a CSA, I highly recommend it – it will change how you view your food.  Don’t know where to begin? http://www.localharvest.org is a great resource!

Driving into the farm
Driving into the farm

 

The best vegan cookies I have ever had
The best vegan cookies I have ever had – www.tripleheartbakery.com

 

Digging for carrots
Digging for carrots

 

Our carrot loot for the day!
Our carrot loot for the day!

 

Beautiful old trees on the property
Beautiful old trees on the property

 

Eating with the Seasons - that's my CSA
Eating with the Seasons – that’s my CSA

 

My daughter was thrilled that she got to sit on the various tractors
My daughter was thrilled that she got to sit on the various tractors

Vegan Banh Mi – A Top Contender for Best Sandwich

I’ve always been fascinated by the Banh Mi, but haven’t ever hand the chance to try it, as I always question whether it is really vegetarian friendly or not.  However, I had two opportunities in January on separate occasions to try it at a trustworthy place – the first was at a Google cafeteria, and the second was at a Whole Foods while vacationing in Boulder, Colorado.  Both sandwiches were so flavourful and delicious – I was determined to recreate them at home after my trip.

I started off by baking tofu that had been marinated in soy sauce and freshly grated ginger – I didn’t marinade it for very long, and then baked the thin slices in the oven at 350F for about 30 to 40 minutes.  You could easily skip this step by buying baked tofu at the store, which is one way to turn this into a quick meal.  However, I did all this on a relaxing Sunday, and it didn’t really feel like work.

I marinated the radishes and carrots in a sugar/vinegar mixture and allowed them to sit until I was ready to assemble the sandwiches – the pickled veggies are always my favourite part of the sandwich.

Once I was ready to build the sandwiches, I toasted the bread and then spread a generous layer of vegan mayo/sriracha mix onto all of the pieces – if you aren’t into vegan mayo, mixing some sriracha into hummus would also work well.

Toasted french baguettes with vegan sriracha mayo

I then assembled the sandwich with a layer of baked tofu, leaf lettuce, thinly sliced cucumbers, fresh mint and cilantro, the marinated veggies and sliced jalapeños.Assembled vegan banh mi

Because we had the sandwiches for dinner, I wanted it to be a heartier meal.  Serving pho with banh mi seemed like overkill with the carbs, so I opted to make a simple tamarind soup.  Its quite common to find tamarind paste at the grocery store these days.  I sautéed mushrooms, cabbage and onions and then added vegetable stock mixed with a small teaspoon of tamarind into the pot and brought it to a boil.  Simple and super easy!Tamarind Soup