Culinary inspiration · Nov 21, 06:13 AM something we need during the summer and fall months. For the past few years, we have bought a “share” from Angelic Organics, an organic/biodynamic CSA farm in northern Illinois. A “share”, in CSA terms, is part of the farm’s produce. Hence, every week from late June through early December, we swing by the Uptown drop-off site to pick up a box of vegetables that the farm has produced.

We also get a box of organic fruit every other week. That’s not produced at the farm – where in Illinois can you grow pomegranates? – but rather they work with a supplier who sources the fruit from organic growers on the west coast and, occasionally, Mexico.

Being only two of us, and neither of us vegetarian, it’s a challenge to keep up with the weekly deliveries. Furthermore, while most of the farm’s produce is familiar (to me at least), they grow an amazing variety of veg. Getting things like kale, jerusalem artichokes, celeriac, and daikon radishes has meant that we’ve needed to expand our culinary horizons. (Actually, the daikon radish from ‘04 lingered in the crisper drawer until we finally threw it away last May. This year’s we gave to a friend who spent several years in Japan. Perhaps we’ll do better in ‘06.)

Angelic provides recipes in its newsletters and weekly e-mails, which has given us some very tasty and reliable recipes, but one can only eat so much Portuguese Kale Soup or Roasted Root Vegetables. I also have a number of recipes from friends that I really, really like and have passed on in turn to other friends. Yet, again, one can’t live on Armenian Lentil Stew alone.

Christian is usually the one who tires first of our old standby recipes and goes searching for something new to cook. The following currently are our (nearly) fail-safe cookbooks and related sources:

  • The New Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker
  • A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen by Jack Bishop, a wedding gift from good friends.
  • Eating Well magazine. No stupid “lifestyle” articles, just food-related health information and lots of recipes.
  • The recipe search function. Enter one key ingredient, and voilà, you have 23 recipes containing rutabagas!
  • Quick, Simple and Main-Course Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin, a recent find at a used & rare bookstore near my workplace.

Any other ideas out there?


  1. I envy the variety of foods that you now know about and can cook and actually enjoy eating. While I think I have come some distance from my youthful finickiness (sp?), I still retain a lot of suspicion of unfamiliar food. It does sound like you are pressured to some extent by all this bounty. Can you get a smaller share or share a share with someone next year? <br /> Love, Mom aka Janice<br /> P.S. My friend serves daikon radishes with dip at parties—sort of spicy jicama, I think.

    — Mom · Nov 21, 09:58 AM · #