Hi! My name is Melissa Cortina, and I’m delighted to be working with Out Of The Box Collective to bring local and sustainable food to your door. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a native Angeleno, cook, and butcher, and I recently joined the Out Of The Box team. I’m excited to bring my experience apprenticing as a butcher in Italy, working as a cook in a James Beard award-winning restaurant, and managing Lindy & Grundy’s Meats in Hollywood to this new adventure. Since I joined the team, we have been working hard to make some exciting changes to our boxes, our recipes, and the experience of you, our customers. We’re looking forward to revealing them to you soon! But enough about me, let’s get on to this amazing box we put together for you..
This week, I curated a box that I think represents me perfectly, not just because I’m a part-Mexican Italophile, but also because I find myself increasingly busy and in need of recipes that are simple, fast, and require as little dish-washing as possible. Because I’m a butcher by trade, I chose the meat selections carefully. The thighs are the juiciest, most flavorful cut on a chicken, and we sourced ours from Marin Sun Farms, a cooperative of sustainable growers. For my carne asada, we sourced the traditional skirt steak from Watkins Ranch, an Ojai-based grower of pastured beef.
The Carne Asada Tacos are a nod to my heritage, and wouldn’t be complete without real handmade corn tortillas from The Farmer And The Cook in Ojai. They’re made with a bright, tangy marinade that perfectly utilizes winter’s abundant citrus.
The Baked Rigatoni with Tiny Meatballs and One Pot Farro are both Italian in nature, but adapted from one of my favorite food blogs, The Smitten Kitchen. I love the farro dish because it miraculously cooks in one pot, with no sauteing or other required steps. The rigatoni, on the other hand, requires a little more work, but is well worth the effort.
Baked Eggs with Chard and Garlicky Yogurt is a go-to dish for me because it’s healthful, comes together quickly and, while it bakes, you have time to wash the dishes. I like to think of it as a “whole vegetable” dish, because it uses not just the chard leaves, but the stems as well. To make the dish even better, we included Bellwether Farms Carmody, a delicious semi-soft sheep’s milk cheese from Petaluma.
The Last Winter Salad is so named because I really hope it will be the last winter salad. I don’t know about everyone else, but I can’t wait for tender asparagus, fava beans, strawberries, rhubarb, and all the bounty of Spring.
Lastly, I’m delighted to include Pop Up Pastries, makers of delicious, handmade pop tarts in this week’s box. I love sweet treats, and any box that I curate must include one, so I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.
Like the sound of this box? Order these ingredients, sourced locally and delivered to your doorstep in LA here.