Dear CSA members,
With social distancing, curfews, and restrictions on holiday gatherings, what’s left for us to mark the end of this strange year? Why, year-end lists of course. In the spirit of community and jolly bandwagon-jumping, we thought we’d share with you our top 21 meals of 2020.
Family meals are precious to us. Thrice a week, we receive, sort, check, pack, and ship the harvest for our growing community of subscribers and partners. Coming together over breakfast and lunch, we celebrate the bounty that our farmers send us. We pray over each meal, grateful for the chance to be together, for everyone’s health, and for the clarities that the pandemic opened up. Over dishes lovingly prepared by each team member, we share stories, dream together, talk about what’s on the news, and pray for peace and justice. We are in awe of the minor miracles that sustain us. With each meal we are humbled by our blessings and bounty, and pray for opportunities to serve as we do our work.
And so without further ado, here’s an album of our top 21 meals. Why 21? We thought even as we look back, we cannot wait to also move forward. And also, we didn’t know what to take out—they were all so good! (Kuwento and majority of the cooking by Joyce!)
1 Best Avo
When you have the best avocado, you’ll get the best avocado toast. We enjoyed its perfect creaminess atop crusty homemade sourdough, our sweet and juicy cherry tomatoes, and some salty feta.
2 Black Rice Burger
Getting creative with our tampipi’s contents and some pantry staples, we made this Japanese-inspired burger using black rice as burger buns, gabi and oyster mushrooms as burger patty, coleslaw, and some superb slapdash BBQ sauce using cherry tomato vodka we made during the early days of the lockdown.
3 Black Rice Risotto with Leeks
A variation on the classic pumpkin risotto, this dish uses our sweet squash and is garnished with buttered leeks and preserved lemons then drizzled with truffle oil. Simple but indulgent.
4 Broccoli Beet Sandwich with Kraut
There’s nothing more satisfying than cobbling together a delicious meal from what’s available, be they leftovers or veg in the ‘rejects’ pile: broccoli and beets sandwich with kraut. Made special with preserved lemons from super-subscriber Lea Co.
5 Celebration Squash
We needed to test our Celebration Squash before offering it in our Christmas product collection. Also known as perks of the job.
6 Cara’s Celery Pesto
Celery as pesto? Say it isn’t so! It is! And so good! We love it when we get to explore other unexpected culinary applications of fruits and vegetables. This meal marked the first of many appearances of Cara’s celery pesto in our family meals. Great with panini-grilled veg and cauliflower mash!
7 Char’s Fried Rice
The first breakfast after the first of many overnights at the office as the lockdown changed our logistics sked. We love this for sentimental reasons–and because kimchi and fried rice.
8 Curry Laksa
When cooler weather comes in and you can’t decide whether to have noodle soup or curry, you make laksa.
9 Deconstructed Lasagna
This meal, like a lot of things in life, made us wish we had wine. Deconstructed lasagna using our big juicy tomatoes, which were available only for a short time, eggplant, lasagna sheets, and cashew cream.
10 Ernest’s Ramen
Ramen lunch! Featuring Ernest’s yummy broth, Char’s soy egg, and alugbati and cabbage sauteed in Mabi’s shio koji.
11 Gabi Cheese
We enjoy using plantbased cooking techniques to push gulay boundaries–such as thinking beyond sinigang for gabi and turning it into cheese sauce.
12 Hand-crushed Cherry Tomato
What makes it Good Food? Combine fresh and ferments, resilience and creativity, and throw in zero waste, too (coconut sapal).
13 Kimchi Bowl
An explosion of flavors and textures. Char’s soy egg, crunchy mild greens, kimchi sourdough pancakes, pole beans sauteed in garlic, lemongrass and failed kaya jam, which surprisingly made it sweet and somewhat “meaty”, topped with our favorite ginger-garlic-leek-sesame condiment from Joyce.
14 Mabi’s Bean Dish with Preserved Lemons
We love Ottolenghi and we loved this bean dish cooked in our preserved lemons, rosemary and thyme, which Mabi sent over. Paired here with sauteed greens and cashew and cucumber raita.
15 Mabi’s Tom Ka Gai
It was the early days of the lockdown and all the restaurants were closed, so it was a pleasure and a comfort to be eating this Thai soup.
Simple but oh so soulful: ginataang munggo, ginisang talbos ng sayote, and sweet and creamy kalabasa.
17 Polenta Eggplant
When our tireless resident chef and food waste rescuer makes a request for her birthday, we make sure to deliver. Char’s version of Ottolenghi’s recipe with chevre from super subscriber Lea.
18 Sayote Tops Squash Slaw Habanero
This is how you enjoy gulay. Different but complementary flavors, varied textures, a combination of the raw, cooked, and pickled. Joyce made the squash-taro-bean-lemongrass-coconut bonanza and blanched sayote tops with soy-sesame sauce. Char made the cabbage-radish slaw. Cara’s pickled onion with habanero was a welcome punch.
19 Squash Upland Eggplant Bake
More festive feels with this squash eggplant bake from Joyce who always manages to make everything Christmasssy. This dish was made in October, mind you.
20 Wrap Fest
Roti flex taught by our resident roti master, Cara.
21 Vision Day Sustenance
This meal powered us through a 12-hour visioning workshop: our favorite Mabi fried rice and seared mushrooms from Gio. Ernest and Joyce prepared the broccoli and eggplant stirfry and the kebab-spiced cauliflower and cherry tomatoes, while Char and Cara checked out Unka Roja videos on Youtube. Best enjoyed with Cara’s pickled onions and habanero. The food, not the videos.
Thank you for sharing the year with us. Haiyaaa…
Peace, love and patola,
Joyce, Cara, Gio, Mabi, Char, Ernest, Kuya Luis, and Ate Celia