keepin’ it local in the kitchenette

there’s no question about it: cooking in a kitchenette sucks.  and yet we have all these nifty wedding gift kitchen gadgets, accompanied by notes from friends encouraging us to cook together, and we do enjoy cooking.  i did a search of “how to cook in a small kitchen” or “cooking in nyc” but everything i came across included a full-size fridge and a kitchen you could actually walk into–oh to be so lucky!

so we’re creating our own resource for kitchenette cookers.  we’ll see if it ends up being any help to anyone–at least it will get us out to our local markets and into the “kitchen!”

we ventured over to the green market at union square today.  jay was psyched to discover red jacket orchards from his home in upstate new york, so we bought their apples.  we walked past every stall before stopping for lunch to discuss our plan of action.  we fully intended to get some eggplant, squash, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic… but then jay got distracted by some goat’s milk ice cream (yum) and i got distracted talking to a farmer.  turns out the central valley farm out of asbury, nj has a CSA option that is very city-friendly.

CSA stands for community supported agriculture–and if you don’t already know about it, i encourage you to learn more.  most CSAs i’ve encountered have included so much local farm fresh produce, i would never get around to eating it all.  most CSAs also ask that you pay for the entire season upfront–this is what ensures the farmer that his/her crops will be viable in the coming season.  buyers are like share-holders that keep local farming alive.  but central valley farm has a CSA program that allows us to buy one bag of produce–whatever is fresh off the farm that week–for $20.  and you only pay on the weeks you need it–no up-front commitment.  because jay and i had already bought apples and ice cream, we only had $18 remaining, which the farmer was happy to accept knowing he’d just secured a new weekly (or bi-weekly) patron. 

one thing i like about CSA is that it takes the decision making out of produce-shopping.  i hate making decisions!  instead we just take what’s fresh (this week it’s spaghetti squash, tomato, bell pepper, yellow string beans, potatoes, a turnip and a head of lettuce) and get creative cooking with it.

so tonight’s dinner:

we took the spaghetti squash, cut it in half length-wise, scraped out the pulp and seeds, placed it on a cookie sheet rind-up, and baked it at 375 for 40 minutes. 

jay cut organic chicken thighs into pieces and threw them in a large skillet.  at that point we realized we had no olive oil in the house (gasp!!!) nor did we have onion or garlic–next time we’ll include those ingredients, but you work with what you’ve got.

once the chicken pieces were browned but tender, we turned down the heat and added diced tomatoes and bell pepper, seasoning it with salt, pepper, oregano and red pepper flakes.

we took the squash out of the “oven” (i’ll have to take a picture of our combination microwave/oven sometime) and used a fork to pull the strands of squash from the rind.  we added it to the skillet, mixed it all together and served it up.

it was delicious.  shredded parm kicks it up a notch.

things we learned: we need olive oil, onion and garlic (how have we survived without these essentials for 2 months??)  we also learned that using the drippings from the chicken instead of olive oil added a lot of flavor to the veggies–like cooking rice in chicken broth.  we wished we’d had one more tomato.

it was a yummy, easy, healthy dinner.  it was also jay’s first time to eat spaghetti squash.  he liked it.

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One thought on “keepin’ it local in the kitchenette

  1. Mrs. Miller says:

    Chris and I had speghetti squash for the first time a few weeks ago and we were fans too. I feel SO badly for you without a kitchen. My kitchen gadgets and someone to cook for are two of my favorite things about marriage. 😀

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