Tag Archives: organic produce


The history of Pretty Smart Raw Food Ideas is directly tied to my first venture into CSAs.  Some years back, I saw an announcement for a CSA a couple of blocks from my home, and I signed up right away.  As CSAs often deliver vegetables folks have never seen before, I began to hear people asking what they should do with what they had received in the box.    Me? Being raw, I just went on-line, found out about the vegetable in question, and then started experimenting.  People started asking me for recipes.  I asked the CSA if we couldn’t have a way to publish recipes for the benefit of the members. They poo-poo’d my idea.  My blog was born the next day, with raw recipes for the vegetables I found in my box. 

Now, I have found  a CSA which allows you to casually  join whenever you find out about it, and allows you to pay by the week.  (I have had to leave that first CSA because they require an up front payment which I could not manage).  I’m telling you this because, if you have thought about a CSA, but didn’t sign up for one in the spring (most CSAs require you to sign up before May), there is a CSA that you can still join.

Corbin Hill Food Project is a CSA that works with local farmers to provide low cost organic vegetables and fruit (and other products, as add-ons), mostly in low-income neighborhoods (that doesn’t mean that you can’t join if you are not low-income – it just means that you might have to travel a bit).  The beauty of this CSA is that you can sign up at any time during CSA season (summer to fall), and, if, for any reason, you cannot receive your share the next week (for example: you will be away, or you can’t afford it), you can put your share on hold, simply by notifying them a week in advance.  If you are interested, please visit Corbin Hill Food Project to find the most convenient location for you to receive your share (I’ll be going to the Community Kitchen and Food Pantry on 116th St in Harlem – it’s familiar to me, and I want to support its programs, and, also, the commute there and back home is reasonable, even if it is not right near my home – heck! Fairway, Costco, and Trader Joe’s involve commutes so it is not really that big of a deal). 

The first deliveries are June 18th and June 19th (depending on your chosen location – I’m set to receive my share on Tuesday, the 18th), and the last day to sign up for that week is June 10th. 

Just saying.



POST #929


I am very excited that my CSA is starting up this week – the first distribution is on Thursday! Yippee!  I cannot wait!CSA WK 1 veg

This year, I’m really going to work at eating more of the things in the box, even if I think I don’t like them (i.e. I’m going to work at consuming more lettuce and chard, instead of always trading them for something else)

POST #776
This is what they said, and what we got:

 GOT                                               TRADED FOR

Swiss Chard – 1 bun……………….1 hd cabbage

Red Potatoes – 3 lb bag…………….5 cucumbers

Cucumbers – 3-4 pcs

Genovese Basil – 1 bun

Green Cabbage – 1 hd

Fresh Yellow Onions – 1 bun

Sungold Cherry Tomatoes

Green Beans – 1 bag

Red Tomatoes – 3 lb

 As I mentioned in my last post, I was in a serious time-squeeze this afternoon.  I was working with a private student until 4pm – fortunately, she didn’t have any extra questions right at the end.  I flew out of the building by 4:05, made it to the subway station at @4:10, and, fortunately, a train pulled in right after I had reached my standing spot.  Made it to the community center where we pick up by 4:45.  (Play the Lone Ranger Suite).  Got my box, looked inside, went over to the trade box, saw the cabbage, grabbed it, went back to my box to get the chard, and back to the trade box to deposit it. Back to my box, baggy-ing everything as I took it out of the box (as I always do – makes it easier when I get home) Switched out the small cabbage for a larger one, and traded the potatoes for 5 cucumbers. 

All that took me about 15 minutes, and then I was on the run to my apartment, drop off the goods.  Made it to the apartment in 5, dropped the bags in the kitchen, changed clothes, and was back out on the way to the subway by 4:15.  YES!!!

Ate all of the cherry tomatoes on the train back to work.

That basil is pretty interesting looking.  The leaves are about as big as baby spinach leaves.

The cucumbers are quite large.  I’ve got about 10.  I can eat some of them, but I’m thinking of cutting up maybe half of them and trying out a raw sour pickle recipe.

With the cabbage, I’m going to make up a garlic dill jar, and then maybe a “kimchee flavor” jar (using kimchee spices with regular cabbage). 

The tomatoes?  Well, it’s summer… Mix some with cucumbers and onions for a salad, chop up some more and mix them into whatever piques my fancy (I’m still low on fancy and eating desire – got into those coral silk pants I bought 2 years ago, at last!)

I do want to get up to Fairway and pick up some cashews and almonds so I can make up some pates. 

 I’m thinking of making up a couple of batches of crackers, since I seem to be on a “fast food” diet tangent.  If I have crackers, I can put stuff on top of them and eat easy.



POST #762

I have lost my calendar, so I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to volunteer today, so I went over to the community center early.  The truck was there, but no one had started to unload it yet.  There was one volunteer there, setting up the tables.  I offered to go out and start unloading the truck.  Great fun, some kids had opened the fire hydrant right by the driveway we use to unload the truck.  Swell.

I got the truck to move to the other side of the street – no way we could unload in that spray (I only have one pair of shoes, and I had to go to work tonight).  Then I started to unload the truck.   I got two loads into the community center before the other volunteers arrived (hey! great exercise! Good for the abs and the biceps — a little hard on my back)

As it turned out, I did not have to volunteer tonight, so after we had unloaded all the boxes and piled them on tables, I just grabbed my share.

Here is what they said and what we got:

What they said, and what we got:
Zucchini – several pcs……………4 big zucchinis
Cipollini Onions – 1 bun
Red Beets – 1 bun
Radicchio – 1 hd
Carrots – 1 bun
Broccoli -OR- Cabbage– 1 hd…..cabbage
Magenta Lettuce – 1 head
Romaine Lettuce– 1 head

I am probably going to juice the carrots and a beet.

I have enough sauerkraut for a while, so I’ll probably make some kind of slaw.

Interesting salads on the way – what is magenta lettuce? Does it taste different?

10/28/10 CSA SHARE: What they say we will get and what I think I will make

Here’s what they say we will get:

Arugula…1/4 lb.
Golden Beets…..1 bun.
Daikon Radish….2 pcs
Sweet Potatoes….3.5 – 4 lbs
Green Cabbage…1 hd
Toscano Kale…..1 bun.
Guy Lon (Chinese Broccoli)… 1 bun.
Leeks….2 – 3 pcs
Mixed Red and Golden Delicious Apples

I love golden beets – mainly because they don’t stain your hands.  One of my students has reported that she added lemon juice and ginger to her grated beets – that sounds like a good thing to try out.

Toscano kale is also called lacinato kale and dinosaur kale.  I wonder why it has that many names.  I find it funny.  Regardless, I think I will make some more kale chips .  The chili/cheddar-cheezy ones I made a few weeks ago were really yummy, and the “smoked jalapeno” cheezy ones I made were very nice and spicy.

It’s time to make Amazing Sweet Potatoes again.  Yumm!

I’ll be making sauerkraut this week, of course.  What else to do with cabbage?  Perhaps I’ll make a little coleslaw, as well. We’ll see.

Daikon Cheeze Bites!  I’ll use my usual cheddar cheeze instead of the fancy one I originally posted – the usual one has fewer ingredients, so is cheaper and easier, and I like it better.

06/04/09 CSA SHARE: What We Got & What Happened!

CSA WK 1 veg

What I got in my box:

1 bunch Baby Bok Choi
1 bunch Beets
1 bunch French Breakfast Radishes
1 bunch Rhubarb
1 bunch Japanese White Salad Turnips
1 bag Arugula
2 heads of Lettuce (one red-leaf, one butter)

The French Breakfast Radishes
are most curious – the look like little fat white and red fingers. Why are they called Breakfast Radishes?  I mean, do French people actually eat radishes for breakfast?  Anyway, they came with beautiful greens.

The Japanese salad turnips
are pretty plump little white turnips with lovely greens.

The beets are pretty little medium sized ones (not as tiny as the ones I picked up at the farmers’ market yesterday)  with nice greens.

Rhubarb! We did not get rhubarb at all last year, after I had spent all that time the year before coming up with a rhubarb recipe.  I got about 8 stalks in my box today.

We also got a surprise box of delicious sweet strawberries! Yumm!

The fruit share started today
, too, and we got a big box of strawberries (a pound, maybe?)

I immediately traded out my head of  butter lettuce  for the box of strawberries that was in the trade box.

This was also my night to do my volunteer shift.  Wow!  That was so interesting.   I was the coordinator for the winter share, so I understand  (I think) what the coordinator needs to do.  This year, it seems they have about 3 coordinators (one for opening, and two for closing).  That is probably not a bad idea (coordinating is not as easy as it looks, requiring people skills which you never even thought had been invented or would ever be required, unless you were born a psychopath), as long as the coordinators can coordinate with each other and deal with the volunteers..  (I do not think I would like to be in on that at all, to be truthful).   I was very interested to see that my idea of how to set up the tables has been carved in stone now – it is in the set-up guidelines.  My ideas about how to close (take down the tables as the number of boxes goes down, ending up with only one table for boxes by 1/2  hour before closing – makes for ease of cleaning the floor before closing time) have also been written into the procedures (private smile of satisfaction)

Since I was a volunteer only, I could see what the coordinators were doing and just stand back.  When one of them said something about some reactions they had noticed from people coming in to get the boxes, I was able to tell them how I would react to what they were doing – a couple of them kept opening boxes and shoving them at the members as they came in, and they did not understand why the members preferred to select their own unopened boxes.   I do understand – I want to be the one to open my own box (I mean, how can I know if it is untouched if it is opened? Oh, I am sure it is untouched, but I want to be the one to open my own box, and I don’t appreciate hovering either – I saw some people who looked like they wanted to sock the coordinator who was hovering over them.  Yes, I am going to have to have a talk with myself before I go in next week, so I can deal politely with that situation, should it happen to me.)

I also did know how to close, and I had read the new guidelines on closing, and I knew where the guidelines were posted, and I was able to read them, and I knew what had been done at closing in the last two years of spring/summer and winter distributions.  For everyone’s good luck, I have now finished my volunteer obligation (unless someone bails and they need a substitute – I have volunteered to fill in)

LA LA LA! At the end of the evening, we volunteers got to raid the “trade box”, and I got one more bunch of rhubarb, a head of butter lettuce,  and another bunch of turnips.



Last night, I made butternut squash soup. In figuring out how much squash and carrots I needed to make the soup, so I could write a fancy recipe with exact amounts, I ground up an excess amount of squash and carrot, and ended up with about 2 cups of squash and a cup of carrot left over. I have never eaten squash cookies before – voila! A star is born.


1 C cashews (or other nuts, if you prefer)

2 C butternut squash, grated in the food processor (or other winter-type squash)

1 C carrot, grated in the food processor

1 apple, peeled, cored, diced

1 C ground flax seeds

Water as needed to make a stiff sticky dough


  • Place cashews in the food processor and grind fine.
  • Add squash, carrot, and apple and continue to process until finely ground and well mixed.
  • Remove mixture to a large bowl.  Add ground flax seeds and mix well.  Add water or apple juice as needed to make a stiff, sticky dough.
  • Place 1 – 2 T mounds of dough on teflex-lined dehydrator trays (it is easier to do this if you put a mesh screen under the teflex sheet.) Mash the cookie mounds to about 1/2 inch thick cookie-like shapes.
  • Dehydrate for 6 hours at 100 degrees.  
  • Remove trays from dehydrator. Place a mesh screen over surface dried cookies, and place a dehydrator on top. Flip the assembly, then remove the dehydrator tray and mesh screen, and carefully peel the teflex sheet from the cookies. Return the cookies, now on mesh-screens on dehydrator trays, to the dehydrator, and continue to dehydrate 2 – 4 more hours, or until the cookies have reached the desired firmness.

If you want a sweeter cookie, you can add some agave syrup or dates to the cookie dough before dehydrating.

NEW YEAR’s RECIPES (with raw food you need to plan ahead…)

Where I am from in the South, traditionally, we eat black-eyed peas, collards (or other greens, like kale), and pork, on New Year’s Day.
The collards are green, like money, and symbolize prosperity in the New Year. The black-eyed peas symbolize good luck, and the pork also symbolizes prosperity (because the pig is the only animal which eats while it is moving forward)

I don’t eat pork, duh, but I do keep up the tradition of greens and black-eyed peas.

1 C dried organic black-eyed peas
1 – 2 T minced onion (to taste, optional)
1 – 2 T minced garlic (to taste, optional)
1 – 2 T extra virgin olive oil (to taste)
1 – 2 T apple cider vinegar (to taste)
sea salt to taste
black pepper to taste (optional)

Sprout black-eyed peas for 3 – 4 days (soak for 12 hours,
drain, and sprout, rinsing twice daily for 2 – 3 – 1/2 more days)
Mix sprouted black-eyed peas with minced onion and a minced garlic to taste (optional).
Add olive oil and vinegar, and mix well.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

You can also find these COLLARDS RECIPES elsewhere within blog. They are re-listed here for your convenience.

1/4 C apple cider vinegar
1/4 C sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 C scallions, white parts only, finely only
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t red pepper flakes
2 t sea salt, divided
1/2 t black pepper
1 bunch collard greens (or other greens)
1/8 C olive oil

1 – Mix apple cider vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes, scallions, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1 t sea salt and pepper. Set aside.
1 – Roll up 2 – 3 leaves into a cylindrical “cigar” shape.
2 – With a sharp knife, thinly slice the rolled greens crosswise into ribbons.
3 – Cross-chop the “rounds”
4 – Place in a large bowl.
5 – Repeat steps 1 – 4 until all greens have been chopped.
6 – Add in olive oil, remaining 1 t salt, and marinade mixture.
7 -Massage all ingredients until mass is reduced by half.
8 -Refrigerate and marinate for 1 – 24 hours

this comes out enough like old-fashioned Southern greens to satisfy your longing for Grandmamma’s cooking.

1 bunch greens (collards, kale, beet, turnip)
5 – 10 kalamata olives, finely chopped
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, slivered
fresh garlic, finely chopped, to taste, or garlic powder (optional)
chili seasoning, to taste (optional)

1 – Roll up 2 – 3 leaves into a cylindrical “cigar” shape.
2 – With a sharp knife, thinly slice the rolled greens crosswise into ribbons.
3 – Cross-chop the “rounds”
4 – Place in a large bowl.
5 – Repeat steps 1 – 4 until all greens have been chopped.
6 – Add remaining ingredients to bowl and mix.
7 – With hands, ‘massage” greens until bulk is reduced by half.
8 – Set aside to marinate for one hour (or up to 24 hours).
Alternatively, eat right away

Just in case you missed it – find my CHAMPAGNE Rejuvelac recipe here.

Get moving!!! There are only 5-1/2 days until New Year’s Eve. Yes, you CAN celebrate in style!!!

CSA WINTER SHARE INFO: What it is about, what might come

Here is how my winter CSA Share is supposed to work, according to the newsletter announcement:

20+lb share each delivery
$28 per delivery
5 deliveries

1 – Week of December 15th
2 – Week of January 5th
3 – Week of January 26th
4 – Week of February 16th
5 – Week of March 9th

Contents of share may include:
Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes (white & yellow varieties), Carrots, Red Beets, Celery Root, Rutabaga, Watermelon Radish. First share may include: Cabbage, Kale, Leeks (depending on the weather– no guarantees on this!)

I also signed up for a Mixed Apple Share ($21.25 total for 3 lbs per delivery) and 2 Cider Shares ($20 total for 1/2 gallon per delivery). It came out to a little over $200 for December through March organic fruit/vegetable/cider delivery. All I will have to get from the market will be greens and onions, as I see it. (I have a boatload of dehydrated tomatoes from the summer tomato share.) Oh, but I have already finished 1 of the cider bottles. Yum!

I got the job of “coordinator” (or whatever they are calling it) of the Winter Share Distribution, which is at a local community center. Yea!!! One of the interesting things about the job is that I have to count people and children, so that the center can get funding. Good! Probably more than half of the members come in bearing children. Some come with three or four. Good numbers!


Oh, you knew this!

cinnamon (to taste)
cinnamon sticks

juice apples through a Champion juicer.
Blend juice and cinnamon in a blender.

Pour into cups. Place a cinnamon stick in each cup.

For a warm treat, warm cider in the dehydrator for 30 mins.