The C.S.A Challenge, Part 1 I have finally done it! With a little nudge from a Living Social Deal, I signed up for my first ever C.S.A box. These Farm-Fresh-To-You delivery boxes are great on so many levels, as they promote local and seasonal ingredients, AND encourage you to try cooking with vegetables out of your box (heh.)

Bright and 6:00am early this morning, on my way to teach a bootcamp, I was surprised to find sitting on my doorstep (open for the world sample from), the newly arrived C.S.A box.  I am embarrassed to admit as a Nutritionist, that it has taken me this long to sign up.  But the time is right! These days I am working/eating at home more often and have the time to truly commit 100% to the C.S.A challenge.

So I'd like to share my journey with you, as I delve into the depths of "the box" and together we will face all the challenges the veggies have to offer.  Because I imagine, like me, many of you might be sitting at home, hesitant, non-committal and wondering what would you do with all those veggies? Let's find out.

Box Contents

1 bu Beets 1 bu Carrots 1 bu Leeks 1lb Summer Squash 1 pt Blueberries 8 ct Black Plums 1 Cantaloupe 2 ct Cucumbers 2 ct Green Bell Pepper 2 ct Broccoli 1 bu Green Leafy Lettuce

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C.S.A Endeavor #1: Not-So-Creamy-Broccoli Soup

I currently have so much broccoli I can not close my vegetable drawers. I've been wondering: realistically, how much broccoli can two people eat? Well it turns out, that when cooked down and blended,  a lot!

I scoured my favorite cookbooks/journals for broccoli soup recipes, but all I found was

cream-heavy variations.

So then I turned to some

healthy blogs

and found many bland, vegan varieties. Something in between will suit my tastes best.  Lots of flavor without the junk.

The recipe I concocted is a classic broccoli soup meets nutritional boosters dish. I've added tofu for protein, and although that might seem scary to a few of you, the result is a creamy, full body soup. As some of you may know there is a controversy surrounding soy products.  One of the main issues is that soy does not contain a whole protein, so it can be difficult for the body to process. However, as demonstrated for centuries in the Asian diet, when combined with other proteins ( ie: fish or chicken broth), it becomes a whole and lean source of protein.

Secondly I've added nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a nutrient dense super food, packed FULL of B vitamins and happens to have a very cheesy flavor ( of course, dairy free.) I did use chicken broth to 'up' the protein, but feel free to go with vegetable broth if you prefer the dish vegan. So without further ado...

Leandra's C.S.Awesome Broccoli Soup

INGREDIENTS

1 pound of broccoli (stems included)

2 leeks

4 cloves garlic

1/4 white onion

2-3 Tbs olive oil

4 small red potatoes (optional)

1/2 container of tofu

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

4 cups of chicken broth (Proud to say, I used home-made)

salt, fresh pepper and cayenne (to taste)

DIRECTIONS

Heat 2 Tbs olive oil in a large pot. Chop the leeks (excluding most of the green tops), dice 3 garlic cloves, and thinly slice the potatoes. Add all to the heated oil and cook about 5-10 minutes until the leeks begin to caramelize. Lightly season with salt and pepper.  Then add 2 cups of chicken broth.  As this cooks continue to scrape the bottom of the pan to include the sticking bits. Once the chicken broth is added, cook until the potatoes soften (aprox. 10-20 mins.)

Meanwhile chop the broccoli (including the sweet stems!) in to large florets.  Remember, all of this will be blended later so the size is not important for the outcome. (But remember: slicing all your veggies approximately the same size helps them to cook at a more even pace. ) Once the potatoes are 85% cooked, add the broccoli to the pot and pour in the remaining two cups of chicken stock.Bring to a simmer and cook approximately 10 minutes, letting the broccoli cook until al dente.

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While the broccoli cooks put your tofu, white onion, remaining garlic clove and nutritional yeast into the food processor. Season with 1 tsp of salt and of pepper. Add a little of the soup liquid if    needed to help blend smoothly.  Blend until creamy. When the broccoli is cooked, add the "creamy" tofu mixture into the soup. Mix together.

Then in small batches, transfer the veggies and a little broth into the food processor and blend until smooth. Once blended add it back to the soup and continue until all veggies have been blended smooth. Season with salt and pepper and cayenne to taste.  Cook another 5 minutes to blend the flavors.

The soup can be served with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast and ground pepper.