43 Comments
May 31, 2023Liked by Alexandra Stafford

I used the compostable bags for a few years but didn’t like finding bits of them in my sort-of finished compost, and they seemed like an unnecessary expense. I started putting a handful of wood chips in the bottom of my kitchen compost container and that has worked wonderfully. Not only do I get ‘dry’ ingredients in the outside compost pile/heap, but the chips soak up moisture from coffee grounds and other wet materials. They also keep the bottom of the kitchen compost container cleaner; the stuff dumps out easier and leaves less sticking to the base. After dumping, I add a handful of wood chips and start afresh. I’ve been doing this for probably two years now and it’s working very well all around.

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Such great tips. Thanks, Allison! Time will tell if the compostable bags continue to hold a place in my kitchen — thus far I'm liking it, but I haven't had a chance to see how well they break down yet.

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May 31, 2023Liked by Alexandra Stafford

Funny timing...dinner tonight is your fresh corn polenta with garlic slow roasted tomatoes and garden basil and a loaf of fresh sourdough bread that I just pulled from the oven.

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That sounds amazing, Erinn!

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May 31, 2023Liked by Alexandra Stafford

Eric Ripert’s Vegetable Simple lives up to its name and I refer to it all of the time.

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Ordering now! Thank you :)

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May 31, 2023Liked by Alexandra Stafford

Yay. Farm share news is always a delight.

Regarding compost, we toss all the acceptable stuff in an old blender we keep on the counter. When it’s half to two-thirds full, we add 1/2 cup or so of water and blend away. This Purée de Compost then makes its way into a freshly dug hole in any flower bed or available spot and is covered up. Speeds up the process.

Thanks Ali, your newsletters always brung a smile. The Souvlaki chicken thighs are SO good, too.

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Wow, never heard anything like this, but it makes total sense. Thanks so much for sharing and thank you for the kind words, too :)

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May 31, 2023Liked by Alexandra Stafford

If anyone is still working through a root vegetable backlog, this pasta was truly excellent and cleared out all my straggling parsnips! Worked well next to a very acidic salad with asparagus in it to acknowledge that spring is actually here, despite the lingering roots. https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1015979-pasta-with-parsnips-and-bacon?smid=url-share

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Thank you for sharing! I could use more parsnip recipes in my repertoire. Will be making this one for sure later in the year... I didn't do a winter CSA this year.

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May 31, 2023Liked by Alexandra Stafford

To add to the vegetable-focused cookbooks: East by Meera Sodha, Fresh India by Meera Sodha, Vegetables Unleashed by Jose Andres, Flavor by Ixta Belfrage, Tara Wigley, and Yotam Ottolenghi, Veg-Table: Recipes, Techniques, and Plant Science for Big-Flavored, Vegetable-Focused Meals by Nik Sharma, Eat Your Vegetables, Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook by Joe Yonan, Love and Lemons Simple Feel Good Food: 125 Plant-Focused Meals to Enjoy Now or Make Ahead by Jeanine Donofrio

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Kristyn, oh my goodness, thank you! I have had Meera's books and Jose Andres's as well on my to-buy list for too long. Going to add a few of your suggestions to my collection. Thank you!

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Agree with all of Meera Sodha’s books. They’re wonderful.

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May 31, 2023Liked by Alexandra Stafford

Yay! You're back!

I'm the world's laziest composter in the sense that I compost just about everything and don't worry about the rules. We have chickens, so they get a lot of the stuff that is more like leftovers, but for the rest, I have two big piles hemmed in by a wooden pallet that I dump everything in willy-nilly. When I close the gardens down in the fall, I spread what's in the piles in the garden, and then top with the leaves our friends who live in fancy neighborhoods that actually rake their leaves drop off at our house. Everything composts down over the winter in lasagna-layered fashion. I usually have to supplement some of the beds with compost from a local place every few years, but our soil is generally great from this lazy method. Other than actually collecting the compost and dumping it in the piles, the whole process takes maybe an afternoon in the fall.

My husband has worms that he keeps for vermicompost. He is WAY fussier than me in terms of greens: browns ratio and all of that stuff that makes composting very intimidating. While his compost tea is amazing for the garden and orchard, he also spends a ton more time and energy than I do for not much more benefit if you ask me - or him for that matter!

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Really into you lazy, no-rules method :) :) :) So wish we had chickens... one day we will. My brother-in-law does the worm composting as well. I'm happy to hear it's more time consuming because I think I'm just too squeamish to get down with that. Thanks so much for sharing all of these tips!

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May 31, 2023Liked by Alexandra Stafford

I'm psyched for this year's CSA newsletter--thank you!

Vegetable-focused cookbooks to consider adding to your list--Steven Satterfield's brilliant "Root to Leaf," which has been joined by his new book, "Vegetable Revelations." Nigel Slater's "Tender" is also great. :)

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I cannot believe I do not own Tender... will add soon. My sister-in-law has Root to Leaf, and I spent hours curled up with it when I was visiting her in CA a few weeks ago. Love it!

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Jun 3, 2023Liked by Alexandra Stafford

My most used cookbook is River Cottage Veg by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. It's over 10 years old and you may not be able to get it in the US. There's a great archive of vegetable centred recipes on the River Cottage website.

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I'll look for it! Thanks :)

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Jun 2, 2023Liked by Alexandra Stafford

Hi Ali,

I just bought Vegetable Revelations by Steven Satterfiewld. The recipes are just enough different to take rem out of the "same old" category. Additional ingredients, such as ponzu, are readily available in the grocery store. Now all I have to do is leave the book on the counter so I remember to use it!!!!

Speaking of books, when does yours appear...can't wait.

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That one has been on my list! And thank you... it comes out next spring: April or May 2024 :)

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Jun 1, 2023Liked by Alexandra Stafford

Hi Ali. Do you know of anyone close by (Niskayuna/Clifton Park) who offer a farm share that is available? Would love to join but haven't been able to find one. I

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Pattie, I just searched localharvest.org but I'm not finding anything that close to Clifton Park. My CSA, Roxbury Farm, has a dropoff in Niskayuna — that might be your best bet in terms of proximity: https://www.roxburyfarm.com/. You can still buy a full share if you are interested, and if you want a half share, you can email Richey (erwoodzell@gmail.com), who can ask around — often people are looking to split shares.

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May 31, 2023Liked by Alexandra Stafford

Looking forward to weekly vegetable ideas! Somehow I need more inspiration and handholding with vegetables so that I don't stick to the same few preparations that I've worn out by now.

I've composted for years, with all different methods. But we've always generated more food waste than we could keep up with and because we live in a city we really need a good rat-proof system.

About 10 years ago we moved over to a Bokashi system. It's not composting per se, it's fermentation. You do it in a 5 gallon bucket and sprinkle on bran containing beneficial microbes each time you empty the kitchen container. See here for an explanation: https://www.planetnatural.com/composting-101/indoor-composting/bokashi-composting/ Or look at the Teraganix site, and many other sites online. It is so much easier! I doesn't smell bad. (In fact I visited friends in Berlin who lived in an apartment and their bokashi bucket was under their dining room table.) It is easy to till into the garden and it's like rocket fuel. A big plus is that once you fill up a 5 gallon bucket you only have to wait a few weeks before it's useable.

I've become a bokashi evangelist!

Claire

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Claire! This might be the ticket for me! Going to read all about it. Sounds very doable and would solve my generating-too-much-waste-to-keep-up problem. Also, this is hilarious: "In fact I visited friends in Berlin who lived in an apartment and their bokashi bucket was under their dining room table." Love!

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Fascinating! Never heard of this.

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May 31, 2023Liked by Alexandra Stafford

Loved the book list and details in this newsletter.

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Thank you :)

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May 31, 2023Liked by Alexandra Stafford

https://food52.com/shop/products/4628-bamboo-compost-bin

We don’t compost but do have chickens, so collect scraps for them. I love this compost bin. It looks good on the counter and the replaceable charcoal filter in the lid lasts forever. I have yet to have smelly food with this and have been using it for years. I did spar the handle to ensue it lasts through washing.

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I have the same one! Thanks for including the link.

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May 31, 2023Liked by Alexandra Stafford

Another classic vegetable-themed cookbook is The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash (1982) based on the PBS program from WGBH in Boston

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Thank you, Sally! I think I've read about this one over the years. Will check it out.

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May 31, 2023Liked by Alexandra Stafford

We have asparagus in abundance and so have canned 18lbs of the best organic. Thinking ahead to a no asparagus season.

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Such a gift!

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