Forgotten herbs & stand-up salads (with a little sass) 9/21/2021

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  • New & noteworthy: Pawpaws. One more round of watermelon. Concord grapes. Fennel. Broccoli. Purple sweet potatoes. Parsnips. White salad turnips. PUMPKINS.
  • Just in time for some late season grilling: a huge beef restock. Steak options galore to take advantage of the tail end of grilling weather, and plenty of roasts for chilly nights. (We brought in a whole beef this time, and don’t have space to display it all right now — if you’re looking for something in particular and don’t see it, please ask!)
  • Coming from the kitchen: Chicken Noodle Soup. Cheesy Broccoli Cauliflower Soup. Grilled Mediterranean Chicken Breast. Herby Chicken Salad. (And, of course, bread and hummus!)
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I did my stuffed delicata! Pictured here before going into the oven. I browned some well-seasoned ground lamb, oiled and salted the scooped out delicata halves, and popped it in the oven while Dusty and I had a pre-dinner drink on the patio. On the side, some steamed carrots with cumin and an arugula salad sprinkled with olive oil and sherry vinegar. One of my favorite things about this meal was that such a huge chunk of it was veggies — depending on portioning, we might be talking most of the recommended daily 5 right there — but with loads of textural and flavor variety. Between the savory lamb, the creamy and sweet delicata, the carrot-y carrots (which also added some visual interest as I did a combo of purple and orange), and the peppery fresh pop of the arugula…it had pretty much everything.

Except the fresh herbs I forgot to chop and sprinkle on top. I meant to do cilantro, parsley, and mint. I forgot. By the time I remembered, I just wanted to eat. Oh well. Next time. (There will be a next time. Maybe next time with some sweet Italian chicken sausage. Or hot Italian. Or a Mexican-inspired ground beef, and rub the delicata with some ancho chile powder. The possibilities are endless, and all delicious.)

Pictured here are only half the delicata boats. I live in eternal fear (not really fear) of Dusty thinking I haven’t made enough to eat, so I did two squashes for a total of four boats. I’d say I needn’t have worried as we had two remaining, but the other squash (Dusty’s squash) was a lot bigger, so if I’d done just this one he might not have been satisfied. But if I’d done just the bigger one, I wouldn’t have been able to finish my portion and a half-eaten delicata boat does not make for attractive leftovers. A whole delicata boat, on the other hand, makes pretty great leftovers, fits perfectly in one of those plastic lasagna containers you’ve held onto, and microwaves very well. So might as well go ahead and grab two squash, cook up the whole pound of meat, and take care of lunch tomorrow while you’re at it.

Pro tip: If you’re worried about the stability of the squash on the pan, slice a thin strip off the middle of the back (before stuffing and baking) so it has a flat surface to rest on.

Also, you know you can eat the skins on these guys, right? SO EASY. SO GOOD.

My other eating victory this week is also another return to a fall favorite — the ruby streaks Caesar salad. We made the dressing for an accompaniment to steaks on the grill (which were awesome), but my new favorite thing has been big piles of ruby streaks heavily laden with the leftover dressing and that grilled Mediterranean chicken breast on top.

Caesar salads here are always homemade dressing, which itself is always heavy on the anchovies and the garlic and always made in a quantity sufficient to cover a few days’ worth of salads.

You could do a little gem Caesar, or even a spinach or green leaf lettuce Caesar, but I think nothing beats the ruby streaks Caesar. If you’ve been around for a little while, you’ve probably heard me rave about this before.

The wispy little fronds of the greens capture the dressing perfectly, while their al dente firmness stands up to its thickness. And the flavor — it’s like Caesar PLUS between the garlic and lemon pop of the dressing and the mustard kick of the greens. If you like a salad that can stand on its own (and maybe give you a little sass), this is for you.

Anyway! I’m writing earlier than normal in an effort to make dinner earlier than normal in an effort to get to bed earlier than normal. Just trying to find routines that work and feel physically/mentally/emotionally sustainable, you know?

All this talking about the food I’ve eaten over the last few days has made me really hungry. I’m thinking some tonight is some late-season tomatoes chunked and briefly simmered (with garlic, of course), tossed with whatever pasta I’ve got in the cabinet. Maybe I brown some ground beef first, with oregano and red pepper flakes? Maybe one of those Italian sausages I was fantasizing about pairing with delicata round two? Maybe use the rest of that Caesar dressing on some little gems this time, just for a change of pace? Hopefully a nice glass of wine, and an early bedtime.

And I hope you’ll do delicata round one if you haven’t already — just don’t forget those herbs!