The organic box veredict, and artichokes vinaigrette.
So, my organic vegetable box arrived on Tuesday, promptly at 8:30 am, just in time to slice a tomato for breakfast pa amb tomaquet.
A tomato, you say? I was surprised, too, but this is Spain, after all; the seasons tend to become fuzzy, especially in a droughty sunny year like this.
The contents were:
6 big tomatoes on their stems
a generous handful of cherry tomatoes
a non-curly head of frisee. I think I might swap this with my mother, and get her garlic shoots instead
tiny pickling onions
a head of broccoli
four oranges, four pears, six bananas, and the courtesy parsley and bay leaves.
If I have one quibble it´s the plastic everything came wrapped in. If the stuff arrives in a neat little box, why do they need a plastic bag for each offering? Surely the box is enough, except maybe for the garlic shoots, which could have made everything smell, and which were, in fact, unwrapped anyway.
We used the garlic shoots in a risotto on Tuesday evening, with mushrooms (not in the box). Wednesday seemed perfect for steaming the broccoli and serving it alongside some rice noodles with minced pork and a nice and kicking garlic black bean sauce. Today for lunch we´ve had the cherry tomatoes in a salad, the artichokes with vinaigrette, and a fruit salad with a mix of the stuff in the box plus some kiwis I had.
The veredict so far? Very positive. I only signed up for this because they promised very fresh stuff. I don´t mind pesticides so much, really, but the idea of a piece of fruit being picked while very green and then languishing in storage for weeks seems plain daft. The rest, all the sustainability and ecology and good health are all very well in their way, I guess, but mostly a bobo concern that I´ll indulge as long as it doesn´t incomode me in any way. It´s the taste that matters. Yesterday´s broccoli may have been more chock-full of nutrients than others, but what leapt to the mind straight away was the fact that is was tender and almost buttery, and so flavourful that I didn´t add salt (though there was plenty of soy in the noodles, so that may have played a part).
So anyway, here´s my favourite way with artichokes. Rather than coring them ruthlessly and reducing them to just the tender little hearts, I like to strip them of just the very obvious hard outer leaves, and the tops. Boiled briefly, they are then allowed to cool for a little while, before being handed out, with little dipping bowls of vinaigrette. You tear out two or three leaves, dip the bottom, bite it, and toss the hard tops into a pile of debris on the side. In a few moves, you´ll be at the heart, and that you can dip whole and munch happily in its entirety.
I wouldn´t recommend it for a first date, but it makes for a more fun way of eating artichokes, and they don´t go so fast, after all that boring prep work.