With the exception of thickening up the sauce a bit (one can of organic tomato paste), the use of Dave's Killer Bread crumbs, and a small sprinkle of cheese, John and I made an eggplant (almost)parmesan entirely with ingredients from the CSA and our garden! Eggplant, an insane variety of tomatoes, basil, oregano, garlic... all grown within 50 miles of here (or less). A wild, wild weekend night, I know - but delicious!
This brings me to thinking about using food as a reward -- in a healthy way. I have a terrible, terrible lifelong habit of using food to reward myself. Been a long day? Get takeout. Been a failure of responsibilities at work? Get a milkshake at lunch. Achieved a great goal? Pizza! Need to celebrate a birthday or accomplishment (of mine, or a friend's)? You get it.
So the CSA cooking was a reward for a long week spent out of the house every night for work... use the summer abundance to reward myself for staying in. But I think I'm figuring out how to make that reward a little healthier. We joined a CSI this year too: Community Supported ICE cream. (I said a little!)
A tiny, local, amazing chocolatier here in town wanted to buy a fancy European ice cream making machine, but didn't have the money. So they got 30 people to pay $150 to get ice cream every other week for a year. Money up front for them, and a year of ice cream for us. You pick from chocolate, vanilla or a seasonal fruit sorbet, and pick up to 4 mix-ins from their list... Marcona almonds, brownie bits, candied ginger, etc... and pick it up the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month.
Now, I do not need decadent ice cream every other Saturday, clearly. So we split it with some very good friends; ice cream once a month? Perfect! And the pint is ideal: enough to last 10 days or so, enough to be excited waiting for the next month's installment, enough to keep the ice cream special. We think about it a bit, order it by the deadline, go pick it up on one day a month, and savor it. It's made by a local business and feels like a one-of-a-kind treat.
Could I never buy a pint of Ben and Jerry's again? I'm thinking about it. It falls into a food rule I love: if you want to eat it, eat it. But you have to make it. No drive-thru fried chicken. No Burgerville milkshake. No PastaWorks pasta.
I'm not committing; I'm just thinking about it.