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Sunday, March 20, 2011

One man's trash is another man's meal

I thought it was quite sweet that the good farmers of Abundant Harvest Organics sent me flowers this week. It almost made me feel a little bashful.

Until, that is, I read the newsletter. Of course, these aren't meant to be a lovely centerpiece for my dining table. They are meant to be used in the dishes that I serve on the table.

Readers, meet the arugula flower. I myself met it for the first time yesterday. According to my newsletter, I will soon get to experience this flower added to salads, cooked into soups, or as a garnish. I'll let you know soon how that pans out.

The rest of the box contained more expected items... the usual excess of oranges and tangerines, more potatoes, more carrots. I was optimistically hoping that we were nearing the end of the root vegetable season, but alas, I hoped too soon.

Not only did I get the potatoes and carrots again, I also got more parsnips (and if you recall, I have a hate/hate relationship with parsnips). I don't feel good about it, but if these here parsnips don't get a new home soon, they are likely going to end up, just as they are, in the composting bin. Anyone want them? They're fresh! And organic! And there are only five left! Grab them now while you have a chance!

And to top it all off, I got not one, but two new root veggies this week. Say hi to my new beets!

And say hi to my new beet tops! ('Cause apparently, according to that darn newsletter, I am supposed to eat both the root and the leaves.)

Speaking of leaves, I also got these babies:

 What are they, you ask? I don't know if I should let you in on the secret. Mostly because my friends, the farmers of AHO, didn't let me in on the secret. These particular green and red leaves came in a bag, with lots of other kinds of leaves, called "stir-fry mix." I completely understand what I am supposed to do with it, but it's kind of a bummer that I can't brag about the exotic things I am eating. Being able to say "I stir-fried some baby vegitula, the leaves of a farmiosa,  and some horticoptia for dinner," sounds so much more impressive than saying "I stir-fried some stuff for dinner."

In happier news, I also got some baby artichokes. I can't wait to find a recipe for a fabulous dip! Who's coming over for cocktails and appetizers? You don't need to bring a thing! (except a bag to take home your new parsnips.)

I believe that you can learn from any situation, if you are open to it. And here is what I learned this week:

Vegetables are something that plants produce. Like this broccoli...

... but why stop there? You don't have to limit yourself to just the vegetable that comes from the plant. You can also eat the plant itself... the leaves, the roots, and even the flowers are all up for grabs. Shoot, at some point you might even find me fashioning clothes and carving tools from the parts that remain.