My girlfriend Amy found Central City Co-Op here in Houston back in June. She suggested maybe we should investigate it together. See, Amy is my better health cheerleader: she encourages, provides recipes and advice, and tries to get me to exercise. Given my doctor’s recommendation that I go exclusively organic (fat chance but nice idea) and Amy’s persistence, I thought I’d give it a try.
To my surprise, our co-op experience has been a lot of fun – if for no other reason than Amy and I (and now Emily and Brooke too) are splitting shares and learning how to cook all sorts of nifty things we’d never have tried on our own (bok choi and beets for example). We’ve had so much fun, we’ve joined the co-op! Between the four households, we split two medium shares and two fruit shares every week – that’s about $16 each for all organic and as much local as possible. This is what one share of each looks like:
So now that we have all of this produce, what to do with it? Amy to the rescue (again)! Amy loves Cooking Light, and now I do too. Marrying what we have been getting at the co-op with recipes from CL, here are some recent favorites:
Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Green Mango (I use the green apple instead of mangos and it is lovely; it’s also great just to do the meat marinade and serve with saffron rice.)
Berry Cobbler with Sugared Almonds (This recipe is very forgiving. I used frozen raspberries, and a combo of nectarines and plums – five in all since they are smaller – along with blueberries and it was lovely!)
As I mentioned, we’ve also tried new things. Here is what I learned about bok choi (think Asian cabbage). The stalks are edible but cook slower than the leafy greens so you should start them early and add the greens at the end. And it is quite good sauteed in olive oil, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. I mixed mine with lightly steamed green beans and broccoli – tasty!
I haven’t made my beets yet (we have a bit of a backlog – our house hold is not used to the volume of fresh produce we are now experiencing!) but Amy recommended this recipe.
Will keep you posted on what more we learn as we expand our horizons (at least my horizons – Amy is already quite well-rounded). I will say that eating healthier and exercising more have so far netted extra pounds, not fewer but Rome wasn’t built in a day! (And I think that’s meds-driven and not lifestyle – I do what I can.)
More fun fruit and veggie recipes will follow, I’m sure. And keep an eye out for a future post on fun fish recipes too.