Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Adventures in CSA: Week One!
I've been wanting to for several years, but this is the first summer I've purchased a share in a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) venture. For 22 weeks I'll be able to pick up assorted fresh vegetables in the Judson Memorial Church gym in Washington Square.
My goals are to eat as much of what I'm given as possible (thereby wasting as little as necessary), create new dishes I've never made, and to prepare vegetables I haven't prepared before (I'm calling those "challenge vegetables").
This week's bounty: 1 lb. squash (green and yellow), 2 giant heads of lettuce, 1 lb. small cucumbers, 2 bunches of spring onions, and 2 heads of bok choy. The bok choy were the challenge vegetables in the group.
I had to skip town before I could consume everything (I only had a little over 24 hours between picking the food up and leaving for the airport), so I donated 3 cucumbers and a lot of lettuce to friends, but I was able to create a few tasty dishes we really enjoyed.
1. Squash and Spring Onions with Toasted Pine Nuts (pictured above), adapted to use spring onions. Original recipe from The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without by Mollie Katzen.
2. Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Leftovers (not pictured) -- I'd never made bok choy, but people on Chowhound, a site I often look to when faced with challenging vegetables, seem to like to stir-fry the stuff. I used toasted sesame and peanut oil, fish sauce, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar. First, I fried up the stems in the oils, adding sauces as I went. Then I added the leaves and balsamic. Finally, I threw in leftover chicken pad Thai from the night before. It was quite good.
3. Cucumber, walnut, and Feta salad (not pictured). Dan made this guy. He added some of the leftover green tips of the spring onions with this; I tossed the rest because I didn't think they'd stay fresh in the fridge for our friends.
Not bad for a day and a half! I'll be out of town for next week's pickup, but am looking forward to week three.