I made a recipe from the back of a box of powdered milk and it wasn’t terrible

I’m moving.

It’s not like I’ve never moved before; I’ve probably done it more than the average Midwesterner. But having lived in the same city for 18.5 years, and having spent all but one of those years in the same neighborhood, it’s a bit daunting to imagine being in a new place. (And in case you’re wondering, I’m still going to be in Chicago half time, for now.)

It’s also an opportunity.

Continue reading I made a recipe from the back of a box of powdered milk and it wasn’t terrible

What’s in the box… week two

Each time I visit Midnight Sun Farm my back hurts less.

Although, I have to say those ladies who spend all day long bent over in rice paddies must have hamstrings of steel.  My typically workload on farm this time of year consists of weeding…. lots and lots of weeding… and after a few minutes of bending over my legs start to bark and I’ve now started in on the “crawl on your hands and knees” technique.  Very elegant.

What really excites me, though, is when I see the things that I’ve weeded (and a few things I’ve harvested and washed) showing up in my CSA box.

In my box this week were:

  • getting the rainbow chard ready

    salad mix

  • two heads lettuce
  • one bulb fennel
  • green onions
  • rainbow swiss chard
  • Hakuri sweet turnips, and
  • spinach

So, what became of this random box of green goodness?

I made several salads and another stirfry, but the true prize of the week was Frittata Night with my friend Kelly.

I totally made this recipe up based on something I’d seen Chef Giada do on the food network….. this is not really at all close to the recipe, so, it’s a Lauren original, and delicious.

Lauren’s spinach and chard Frittata


  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small onion, sliced or diced (depending how onion-y you like it)
  • 3 sweet turnips, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small bunch rainbow swiss chard
  • 1 small bunch spinach
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 C. half and half
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 – 4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • bacon bits (the real stuff, not Bacos, people)
  • 2-3 green onions
  • 4-6 sprigs fennel leaves


Add 2 TB vegetable oil to a high sided saute pan and heat over medium heat.  Add potatoes and cook until slightly softened and translucent (maybe about 5-7 minutes… just prep the other stuff while you do this and check on them occasionally, turning down the heat if they are starting to brown).

wilty greens ready for the eggs

Meanwhile, separate the leaves of the chard from the woody stem and chop the stems.  Add chard stems, onions, and turnips to the pan and cook another 2-4 minutes.  Add the spinach and chard leaves by the handful, and mix until the greens become dark and wilty.

Whisk the eggs in a bowl with half and half and and salt and pepper to taste.  Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and lower heat to low.  Cook about 5 minutes, covered, and add shredded cheese, bacon, fennel and green onions.  Return lid and cook until the cheese is melted and eggs are set.

I served this gorgeous thing with a side salad of spring mix, kidney and garbanzo beans, strawberries, sunflower seeds, leftover radishes and dried cranberries.  That, and about a bottle of red wine….

And it looked like this:

Lauren’s spinach and chard frittata with strawberry salad

This, friends, was a night to remember!

photos courtesy of Kelly Rose

What’s in the box… week one

Lauren’s first week as a work-share CSA member

This week was exciting for a number of reasons.  The weather in Chicago has been absolutely perfect, so I took my first of what I hope will be many summer jogs on the lakefront. I put in my first shift pulling weeds as a work-share at Midnight Sun Farm in Grayslake, and the resulting CSA box fed me all week long.

Throughout the summer I hope to give you a peak into what’s in my CSA box and the resulting gastronomical feats I achieve each week.  

The overall goals are:

  • To not let anything rot and have to go in the compost
  • To not buy produce from the grocery store all summer
  • To get that healthy glow that can only come from eating multitudes of fresh, local, seasonal produce all summer long

In my box this week were:

  • salad mix
  • one head lettuce
  • one head curly endive
  • asparagus
  • Carola spring potatoes
  • pea shoots
  • Prize bok choi
  • mixed radishes

So, what became of this random box of green goodness?

I used the potatoes to make a German Potato Salad with some leftover bacon, and substituted fresh arugula from my friend Ann’s garden in place of parsley.  I discovered about three days ago that it’s really delicious for breakfast with melted cheese on top.

Pea shoots and bok choi went into this stir fry with some sauteed tofu and onions, soy sauce, a slash of red wine vinegar, and a little bit of H20.

My favorite meal of the week has to be the grilled asparagus with black forest ham and pinapple skewers.  Ok, so I know pineapple didn’t exactly come from a farm in North Central Illinois….. In my defense I bought it a week ago before I got my first box and it was on its last leg.  The whole package deal of this meal, combined with my first time grilling and a glass of Cabernet made for a lovely, lovely dinner.

Lots of salad is in store for tonight and tomorrow to use up the greens and radishes, and then we do it all over again…