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The Box Meal Plan

Every market day, we seek out recipes to make it easy for you to use all the items in the box. We recommend looking through previous posts if you don't like this week's recipes.
Posted 8/11/2014 8:27am by Bill Pastellak.

When it's too hot to want to spend much time over a stove, we try and keep an eye out for recipes that make great leftovers. These recipes are easy to modify to include meat or go vegetarian, but they also can adapt to whatever you have in the fridge. Less stove time means more time for everything else!

It's easy to see why hummus abounds in the summer - it's light, served cool, and a refreshing snack that can even be on the healthier side. This Sweet Potato Hummus is no exception! The sweet potatotes add to the smooth, creamy texture, and if you're feeling especially local, you can use butter beans as a base for the dip, too!

Homestyle Butter Beans are a flavor rich, savory addition to brunch. Of course, if you don't want to get up two hours before eating, this is a great recipe for making the night before - it's easy to have this simmering while your actual dinner is underway! Don't forget that most recipes that call for butter beans can use lima beans, or vice versa, and that beans freeze well! If you're not able to get to them right away, save 'em for later! 

A lot of the time, lunches need to be easy to assemble and convenient to eat. This Curried Chicken and Apple Salad Wrap is both! Of course, chicken salad is always a great solution for leftover chicken, so this is also designed to need mere minutes to put together. If you want to take this wrap in a vegetarian direction, some scrambled tofu or egg salad make delicious options!

Burgers are such a staple of summer, and this Eggplant Burger with Honey Beer Glazed Shallots is a wonderful addition to the family. This dish is vegetarian, but the texture and flavor of the eggplant is toothsome enough for any carnivore.

Posted 8/8/2014 9:03am by Bill Pastellak.

This weekend's recipes are all about combining flavors! These recipes are all flexible, so it's easy to keep more or less vegetarian.

Recently we shared an exciting five spice peanut recipe, but sometimes you just want the classics. Boiled Peanuts are easy with nothing more than peanuts, water, and salt. The simplest of flavor pairings!

Goat Cheese, Peach, and Honey Toasties are a decadent breakfast for rushed mornings. Of course, any spreadable cheese and stone fruit will do, but the sharpness of a goat chevre (especially a lemon-dill chevre, if you knew where to get that...) pairs really well with the sweetness of the fruit and honey: a great way to wake your taste buds up!

An Arugula, Watermelon, and Feta Salad is a delightful lunch for these humid summer days. The bitterness of the arugula, the sweetness of the melon, and the salty zest of the feta play off of each other to make this very simple salad a wonderful rotation of flavors!

This Broad Bean Salad is a delicious vegan dinner on its own. The beans only need a few minutes to cook, and combined with a light lemon dressing, they make an easy, nutritious meal. If you are looking to build out your dinner a little, the beans make a balanced bed for a poached egg or browned chicken thigh.

Posted 8/4/2014 9:06am by Bill Pastellak.

A fun aspect of a lot of summer produce is the variety within types - with so many kinds of fresh peas, of stone fruits, or of peppers, recipes can be less rigid commandments and more guidelines for improvisation. 


Hummus is a great homemade snack to have on hand. It goes with veggies or bread or chips, so it's ready to go, no matter what else is in the fridge. A Spicy Pea Hummus is a light take on the traditional dip, and a fun way to snack healthily.

Fresh peaches at breakfast are hard to beat, but it's the sad truth that peaches aren't in season all year. For now, making some Vanilla Peach Slices with a modification of this recipe, is an easy way to hang on to some summer sweetness once the season winds down.

If you haven't pureed them into hummus, the fresh peas in season these days are a tasty filling for lunch wraps: this one features Spicy, Curried Peas with a Cucumber Apple Salad. The textures compliment each other fantastically, and this is another temperature flexible option - the peas are delightful warm out of the pan, or made the day before for the office!

Five Spice Mushroom Rice is a low key dinner, and it's easy to make enough for leftovers which are great as a side in a more complex meal or to have on hand for lazy evenings. The Chinese Five Spice blend is a delicious seasoning to make at home and keep on hand for anything from rice, to pickling, to marinades.

Posted 8/1/2014 9:21am by Bill Pastellak.

With the balance of sweet and savory items in the Box these days, we're really enjoying recipes that play opposing flavors off of each other. Especially when you're aiming to avoid ovens and longer cooking times, this kind of culinary trick can make quick, simple recipes pack a lot more punch! 

Five Spice Boiled Peanuts are a great snack or starter for a meal. Unlike their dried or roasted counterparts, boiled peanuts are almost comparable to edamame in experience. This particular brine gives this classic southern treat a unique kick, and keeps your taste buds on their toes!

Who doesn't love Homemade Aplesauce? With the arrival of apples to the market, we are looking forward to plenty of breakfasts completed with this super simple addition (if you haven't paired applesauce with potato pancakes, do so immediately). If you have the patience to make multiple batches, this recipe has several fun suggestions for modifying the flavor, though we'd love to hear if you come up with any one-of-a-kind ideas!

Since we love chilled summer soups, we couldn't pass up this Cucumber and Yogurt with Herbs option. The tanginess of the yogurt and refreshing lightness of the cucumbers makes for a lunch we could eat for hours. The soup is also a great canvas for a few light toppings: some diced tomatoes or raisins and nuts will mix up your texture and add some bright bursts of flavor. If you're interested in upping the ante on your palate, try this with our goat yogurt! 

Though we'd recommend grabbing some local ground beef from Two Run Farm or Cleaver & Co., we can't argue with the deliciousness of these Apple and Cheddar Sliders. If you're comfortable going off book a little, sweet potato wedges would add some nice sweetness to balance out your burgers, though we won't try to talk you out of a cheese sauce.

Posted 7/28/2014 10:03am by Bill Pastellak.

You may have noticed a shift in produce available in the Box lately - as we settle firmly into the swealtering-est part of summer, we have some of the most identifiably New Orleans produce coming at you. Items like okra, eggplant, peppers, and sweet potatoes are great summer staples, and have so many fun uses!

Pickled Peppers are a great item to keep on hand for just about everything. They are great to toss into an omelet, on a sandwich, or in a marinade. They're also so ready to be personalized, that we like to have a couple varieties around. The banana and jalapeno peppers in the Box lend themselves well to some very sweet and very spicy options. 

As sweet potatoes come back into season, we will be bidding adieu to the summery new red potatoes we've been enjoying. An unconventional farewell breakfast dish for them is this Potato, Apple, and Onion Hash. It's a tasty combination of sweet and savory flavors, so no matter what mood you're in, this breakfast won't disappoint! 

Simple Purple Hull Peas are a classic southern dish, though "simple" does justice neither to the ease of preparing them nor their wonderful flavor. Of course, as is often traditional in the region, this recipe calls for cooking your peas in bacon fat - vegetarian it up as needed. Warm or cool, these peas are a great lunch at home or at work, since they're so portable, but they can also be a great side for a more involved meal.

Of course okra has been a staple of New Orleans recipes since time immemorial, but this Okra and Onion Stir Fry is a fun new take on the classic ingredient. Plus, this recipe is vegan, gluten-free! 


Posted 7/25/2014 11:28am by Bill Pastellak.

These hot and humid days can give us some fantastic produce, but they can also mean the last thing you want to do is turn on your oven. We're paying special attention this season to making sure you can enjoy all the bounty of the season without melting!


Toasted Pecans are delicious to munch on their own, though they also make a great addition to many recipes. We love doing some on the stovetop with a little butter and spices - having one batch of sweet and one spicy also keeps your snacking options open!


Squash Browns are a sweeter take on the morning classic. These butternut squash and onion fritters are especially great with some sauteed peppers and tomatoes on top!


Lettuce Cups with Spicy Shiitake Mushrooms and Herbs make a great light lunch. For the day of, the mushrooms just need a few moments in a pan, so there's no need to overheat your kitchen. With the shiitakes, lettuce head, and herbs from this Box, you're all set, and some toasted pecans can also make a great textural addition. This recipe is also nicely adaptable - if you're looking to make something a little heartier, add some browned ground beef or tofu.


It feels a little like cheating to include a recipe that's mostly cheese, but this Stovetop Mac & Cheese with Winter Squash is too delectable to pass up! We love that we can defy convention with our butternut squash in July, but who wants to roast? Keeping dinner on top of the stove instead of in the oven is a triumph, and the pureed squash makes a deliciously rich and healthy addition to a traditionally guilty pleasure food.

Posted 12/20/2013 12:22pm by Bill Pastellak.

Herbed Salt

I keep coming back to this recipe because it works. I almost never use my herbs before they shrivel up, so this recipe helps preserve them indefinitely. This recipe calls for salt, but if you want to make it sweet dishes,  just switch out the salt for sugar. Both preserve equally well.   

Broiled Grapefruit with Honey and Bananas

With citrus season in full swing, there's nothing more I enjoy in the morning than a nice, big grapefruit drizzled with honey. A little sweet, a little tart, a little bitter, it helps stimulate your appetite and get you ready for some heavier breakfast dishes. With raw honey in the box, we had to highlight it and I couldn't think of a better way than with this recipe. If ya got em, use local bananas from your backyard. So much better than what you can get in stores. 

Shiitake Mushroom & Tofu Potstickers

Now that we have tofu regularly available at the market, it makes using shiitake mushrooms that much easier (miso soup anyone?). This dumpling recipe takes some time, but the freeze well and can be pull out at anytime for a tasty appetizer or gathering with friends and family.

Haluski (Cabbage & Noodles)

Cabbage isn't in the box this week, but if you have been coming to the market recently, odds are you have a huge head of cabbage taking up space in your fridge. This is one of my favorite comfort foods which just happens to use and ENTIRE head of cabbage. Nothing fancy, but it does the trick.

Curried Radish Recipe with Coconut Milk, Banana Peppers and Shiitake Mushrooms

I'm a fan of this curried stew because it uses radishes in a way I never would have thought of. This recipe is from local food blogger Culicurious, so you know its gonna be good.

Tip: We now have fresh turmeric in-store. If you have never had it, I highly recipe grating a tablespoon or two into this curry. Fresh turmeric is light years better than the dried stuff and adds a nice slightly bitter, complex flavor to any curry dish.

Bruschetta With Arugula, Tuna and Beans

This recipe goes perfect with the day old country bread from Bellegarde Bakery. Arugula, Tuna, and Cannelini beans are a classic combo. This recipe calls for a number of common pantry ingredients, so you shouldn't have to make an extra trip to the grocery for this one. I recommend using high quality canned tuna. Cheaper chunk light varieties just don't cut it in this recipe.

Posted 12/13/2013 8:32pm by Bill Pastellak.

Grapefruit Curd

Grapefruit curd is not nearly as common as lemon curd, but just as tasty. The slight bitterness of the grapefruit makes it a great candidate for the egg yolk and sugar rich curd. Make sure to use a double boiler (or a stainless steel bowl placed on top of a saucepan with boiling water) for this recipe. You don't want a bunch of stringy egg white pieces floating in your curd. 
I've recently become addicted to pho and am constantly on the lookout for East Asian flavored noodle soups that I can make at home. This soup is a combines common Chinese & Vietnamese flavors, making for rich, flavorful  beef and noodle soup perfect for warming up during these cold nights.

Growing up in Pennsylvania with a Czechoslovakian  grandmother, this is a dish that I've eaten more times than I can count. Akin to the red beans and rice of New Orleans, this is cheap, easy comfort food known by just about every descendant of an Eastern European immigrant from my home state. Best part about it: it will use your entire head of cabbage. And like red beans, feel free to add a liberal dose of hot sauce.

Strawberries, black pepper, and balsamic might sound like a crazy combo, but it's anything but. This classic Italian flavor pairing is heavenly. Make sure to use high-quality balsamic or else the dish will suffer. Take it over the top by using some locally made vanilla gelato from La Divina Gelateria (available at the market) to finish the parfait.


For whatever reason, most people on use parsley for seasoning or too add some color to their meal, leaving you with a partially cut, wilty parsley bunch sitting in your crisper drawer. Fear not, this recipe makes use of that whole bunch. Gremolata is nothing more than parsley mixed with a little salt and citrus zest, but it does wonders as a condiment. Try it on top of rich stews or tossed with broccoli or carrots.

Posted 5/27/2013 11:46am by Bill Pastellak.


The organic blue (or purple?) potatoes in the box this week from Inglewood Farm are what make local food so much fun. Great ingredients like this only require the simplest of recipes to highlight their quality. Even better, the deep color of the taters comes from the free-radical busting antioxidants called anthocyanins.

Berry Parfait

With berry season in full effect in Southern LA., it'd be a travesty if you did not make this classic summertime dessert at least once.

Tips: Toss 2 cups of blueberries with half the sugar, 2 T of lime juice, and a 1/2 t. of cinnamon. Toss 2 cups of the strawberries with the remaining sugar, 2 T of lemon juice, and 1/2 t. of almond extract. Let sit for 30 min. Layer the berries separately in the parfait. You will not be disappointed.

 Spicy Pickled Green Beans

Perfect for Bloody Marys or just as a snack, homemade pickled green beans are super easy to make and beat the pants off anything you can get at the store. These will keep in the fridge for at least a week, but I doubt they'll last that long.

Zucchini Fritters

Like potato latkes, only better. Make sure to salt the grated zucchini before forming the fritters. The salt helps draw out excess water from the zucchini which would otherwise make for a soggy fritter.
Posted 5/18/2013 2:02pm by Bill Pastellak.

You don't really need much more than a little salt and butter for fresh green beans, but I've never met a dish where adding Parmesan and garlic was a bad idea.

Blueberry Cornbread

Blueberries and corn are a surprisingly good combo and this sweet cornbread is perfect as a breakfast pastry or light dessert. I like to use the Three Brothers Farm raw sugar at the market in lieu of the mix of white sugar and light brown sugar called for in the recipe.

Pickled Baby Squash

The beautiful baby squash in the box this weekend are great as quick saute with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, but I like to make things a little more complicated than that. This quick pickle recipe is a great way to preserve the delicate squash which don't do well more than a few days in the fridge.

Baked Kale Chips

Kale chips are as easy to make at home as they are expensive at the store. With a little bit of oil (I prefer canola or olive oil) and some salt and seasonings, you've got a tasty, crispy snack that's as addictive as potato chips. 

What's In the Box?February 27th, 2015

  About the Weekly Local Produce Box -For $25, customers can purchase a share of local produce from our network of farmers in Louisiana & southern Mississippi. The produce in the box is a mix

The Box Meal Plan: February 21st through February 23rdFebruary 20th, 2015

With mini English cucumbers back in the Box, an Asian Cucumber Salad is a great side or snack. The sweet and salty seasonings play well off of the refreshing cucumber, keeping this light without getti

The Box Meal Plan: February 18th through February 19thFebruary 16th, 2015

Greens are an important staple side dish: they're great with some eggs for breakfast, as lunch on their own, or to dress up any dinner. Thing is, sometimes they get a little repetitive. Lemon and Whit