Dining al Fresco Out of a Brown Box

By: Elizabeth Webber Akre

Ok, I am not IN a brown box. But I am in love with a brown box. This past Saturday was my second delivery from Brown Box Veggies. I am their new biggest fan. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the “Veggie Girls” stock up a big box of fruits and veggies to deliver on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month. They reach out to as many local farms as possible to grab what’s fresh and what is being harvested right now. Then, they pack the box FULL of what they’ve found and sell it to people like us for only $22! I couldn’t duplicate what I received for $22 in a grocery store, and the produce was fresher and didn’t go bad on me before I could use it all.

Brown box #1

My first box was so beautiful, I almost cried when I opened it. Even my little one got excited helping me unpack. The box contained broccoli, parsley, tomatoes, spinach, kale, Carolina Sweet onions, squash, zucchini, pears, oranges, potatoes and asparagus. A true cornucopia. We used every bit of it with delight.

This past Saturday was my second go-round. Sorry that I didn’t take a photo of box #2- we dove in and never looked back! This time, we received Carolina Sweets, cabbage, collards, oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, radishes, romaine, corn, strawberries, apples and dill. Lots and lots of dill. I’m talkin’ about two humongous bunches, each about 3″ around and 12″ long. My head is reeling trying to figure out what to do with all of it. This week might be the week I dive in and try to make my own pickles.

But, first, dinner. Of course, when you think of dill, one of the first ideas you have is salmon. Since my daughter is eating salmon (happily!), I’m cooking it every chance I get. I whipped up this dinner and we ate al Fresco on the patio. Now, my title makes some sense, huh? Salmon with dill sauce, sauteed pea pods, and yellow rice.

Salmon with dill sauce, sauteed pea pods, and yellow rice.

Salmon with dill sauce, sauteed pea pods, and yellow rice.

Here’s what I did: I salt and peppered two 6oz. (skinless) salmon fillets. I placed them on foil and topped each with some slices of Carolina Sweet onions and lemons and wrapped up the foil tightly to enclose them. I baked them for about 20 minutes or so at 350°. While that was happening, I mixed together these ingredients to make a sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp. light mayo
  • 2 Tbsp. sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine
  • 1 1/2 tsp capers
  • 1 tsp finely chopped Carolina Sweet onion
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp horseradish
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • pepper

Then, we just drizzled the sauce over our salmon and devoured it! I’m a sucker for anything pickled, so I think I’ll add a few more capers next time. I have actually eaten capers out of the jar with a spoon before. (The first step is admitting it, right?) Thank you Veggie Girls for my jam packed boxes of loveliness. And, you may be the reason that I finally embark on this pickle making project. The idea of canning is a little intimidating, but I can’t let all this dill go to waste! If any of you need some dill, I can hook you up.

Elizabeth also writes “Gastronomy (by a Wanna-be Chef).” She loves all things food and wine and how they fit into our lives.

Brown Box Full of Green. And Red. And Yellow…

By: Elizabeth Webber Akre

I love Facebook.  I’m always amused to hear someone say “I don’t do the Facebook thing” because they have no idea what they’re missing!  Yes, it’s fun to reconnect with old college friends, play games (I was once addicted to the Mafia) and laugh at funny photos.  But what I really love about it is how much I’ve actually LEARNED from Facebook.  You may ask, “like what?”  Well, let me tell you.

I learned about Pinterest! Thank you FB people. I also learned about Zaycon Foods via Southern Savers’ posts.  Huge thank you there.  Just this past Friday I got my delivery and now have 20 pounds of beautiful boneless, skinless chicken breasts resting comfortably in my freezer.  Most recently, I learned about Brown Box Veggies from my blogger buddy April’s  Facebook  page.  I’ve been telling myself that I wanted to belong to one of these vegetable co-ops but haven’t come across one that I felt was really affordable for my family.  Some of them are just plain expensive and they send so much produce that I was really more afraid that we wouldn’t be able to make a dent into it before it started to spoil.  But, I’ve now found the answer…Brown Box Veggies.

Here’s how it works: you place your order and pay for it on their website.  They deliver on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month.  The BBV people work with local farmers to spotlight their produce in their boxes. So, each time you order, you’ll get an assortment of what’s in season.  Then, you choose one of the many distribution points they have around town for pick up.  In my case, I picked up at the Ole Timey Meat Market on Rosewood Drive, which is so close to my house I can walk there.  Chances are you’ll find a pick up location close to your neighborhood, too. Now, here’s the best part of all: this beautiful bunch of goodness is only $22.00.  It can’t get more affordable or more convenient than that.  And if you’re like me, any opportunity to support local farmers and merchants is golden.

Brown Box Veggies

I placed my first order a couple weeks ago, and I was eagerly waiting to get my veggies on April 6th. My daughter and I went to the market to pick them up and when the lady opened the box to show us what was inside, we both squealed with delight.  (Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but you get my drift!) Ours contained the following:  Carolina Sweets onions, broccoli, kale, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, spinach, parsley, apples, oranges, pears, asparagus and red potatoes.  I was absolutely thrilled.  I’ve been telling everyone I know about it ever since Saturday morning!  Brown Box Veggies also offers a salad box and an all-fruit box.  The BBV lady also showed me one of the salad boxes and it was equally beautiful…lettuces, tomatoes, avocadoes, just to name a few.

Spinach is one vegetable that I’ve always loved.  I cooked it last night by simply sautéing it with garlic and touched it off at the end with a little lemon juice.  It was perfect.  In fact, my husband has determined that this is how I should cook it from now on. I did some reading online about these Carolina Sweets.  I didn’t know anything about them until now, so I’m excited to experiment with them.  I am thinking something like an onion tart so I can showcase the onion itself.  Have you ever cooked this type of onion before?  Suggestions?

ElizabethIf you’re interested in fresh, healthy fruits and veggies from our home state, I suggest you check out Brown Box Veggies.  I am certain I could not have bought everything that came in my box for only $22.00 at the grocery store.  And, it can’t be any more easy and convenient.

Support local!

Elizabeth also writes “Gastronomy (by a Wanna-be Chef).” She loves all things food and wine and how they fit into our lives.