The joy and the curse of the veg box is that you never know what you are going to get. Potatoes, carrots, onions are usually a given, but then what. Just as you've getting used to a steady stream of turnips, celeriac, beetroots, cabbage and the like, when (I assume) the polytunnel starts to bear fruit (well, veg) and the green veg starts its assault. Chard, cavolo nero (posh kale), delicious, punchy salad. We get delicious mushrooms in our box on a reasonably regular basis, and cauliflower too. A joy indeed, but really, it means waiting till the box comes before you start meal planning (if that's how you roll, and I do), even if it's only a loose nod to the contents of the cupboards, the freezer and, yes, the box, before replenishing as necessary.
Otherwise, I'd end up with lots to cook and nothing coherent to eat.
There were a number of reasons I was keen to get back to a veg box - in our rented house, there has been limited scope for veg growing and as it's always been a temporary measure, the Husband has restrained himself from too much planting. I much prefer buying from a local organic farm too, and veg box schemes mean you can get your veg delivered - much as I'd like to spend my days flitting from farm shop to farm shop, it's just not practical. Finally, if I buy from shops where I make the choice, especially in supermarkets, I tend to steer away from anything I know the children will turn their noses up at. I know, it's weak, but you have to pick your battles...
Presented with a box of veg means that the kids are, in turn, far more likely to be presented with something that they wouldn't neccessarily choose, but sometimes I reserve the goodies - things I know they will be sniffy about but I love - to cook with just for the Husband and I - and this reflects the sort of cooking that really sums me up - not really following a recipe and just seeing how it turns out. It's not quite as free and easy as it might seem though - I nearly always have chorizo or bacon in the fridge, which makes it much easier to produce a meal rather than a plate of deliciously cooked veg.
I've been getting my veg from the Troed y Rhiw organic farm based a little further up the coast from us, and it's been a pleasure. A good variety of great quality, reasonably priced, organic vegetables turning up every week - what's not to like?
To call this risotto is stretching it, but I used risotto rice, so risotto it is. I also made use of what I think were scallions in the veg box, larger than spring onions, and delicately garlic flavoured and scented, as well as some delicious chard and lovely mushrooms.
Chorizo & Chard 'risotto'
For 2+ (depending on how hungry you are)
125g dried mushrooms (extravagant, but they were hanging about and needed using up - don't go out and get them especially)
75g diced cooking chorizo
a splash of olive oil
2-3 scallions, trimmed and chopped
2 large fresh mushrooms, sliced
a couple of handfuls of chard, stalks and leaves separated, stalks quite finely chopped, leaves sliced up
150-200g risotto rice
around 600ml good quality chicken stock
salt & pepper
grated parmesan, to serve
Put the dried mushrooms in a small bowl & just cover with some warm water. Leave to soak for half an hour or so.
In a large frying pan, gently cook the chorizo till the fat starts to run, then chuck in the scallions & the chipped chard stems (leave the leaves for later) and cook for a little longer - a couple of minutes, maybe. If it looks a bit dry, splash in a little more olive oil.
Drain the soaked mushrooms - add the liquid to the stock - and add the soaked and fresh mushrooms to the pan. Stir a couple of times, then add in the rice, cook for a minute or so, then start doing the risotto thing with the stock - add a little at a time, about a ladleful, and gently cook away till the stock is absorbed before adding another ladleful.
After about 15-20 minutes test the rice to see how it's doing. You want it to have a little bite left, but for it all to be creamy and delicious. When you think it's nearly done (sorry, can't be more specific - just guess. I do), add the chard leaves to the pan and stir them in so that they wilt down, and add a good grind of black pepper too, and salt if required.
Once everything's cooked, serve your risotto with grated parmesan.