As someone who develops recipes professionally and lives, breathes, and of course eats a mountainous amount of delicious food, I am often asked, “How can I eat well if I’m on a budget”? This question is usually followed by “why don’t you weigh 700 pounds?” to which I reply “being tall has its advantages, as does owning a great pair of running shoes”. But the former question is a little more complicated to answer.
I have many tips and tricks, and most of them involve advanced planning. Trips to places like Cash n Carry for big bags of flour, restaurant-style kitchen gadgetry on the cheap, and surprisingly good cheese, are invaluable in budget-minded meal planning. But sometimes you don’t want to think, you just want good food to come to you, and that is where Community Supported Agriculture or CSA’s come in. The basic concept of a CSA is that you, the consumer, sign up for weekly (other plans are available) deliveries of seasonal produce, meat, or diary from local farmers, and in exchange, you receive a big box of goodies from which to create great meals.
Onesuch CSA in the Seattle area comes from Oxbow Farms. I recently test-drove a sample delivery from Oxbow, and I received leeks, two kinds of squash, turnips, potatoes, carrots, Romaine lettuce, and more. This bounty proved more than enough to keep me in the green for the week, in more ways than one. I took it as a personal challenge to use everything in the box, and one of the more inventive creations was the doughnuts I made using delicata squash in place of some of the liquid.
Squash and pumpkin puree make great substitutes for butter and eggs in many recipes, and doughnuts are no exception. The inclusion of delicata squash in these doughnuts tinged them orange and imparted an underlying sweetness to the finished product, which I enhanced by frosting them with maple crème fraiche frosting and crumbled bits of candied bacon.
Signing up for a CSA will ensure that you, also, can get creative in the kitchen, and the benefits are many. You’ll eat healthier for less money, and you’ll also be supporting local farmers, which helps them to put food on the table for their own families. For more information about Oxbow Farms CSA’s (they deliver in winter, too), check out their website.