Sunday, July 5, 2009

Adventures in CSA: Week Three, Part II

Great 'Scapes

Hello! Remember me? I'm the one with all the greens. Here's what I picked up last Sunday at our CSA spot:

3.2 oz Baby Greens
1 head of Lettuce
1 Napa Cabbage
1 lb Swiss Chard
4 oz Purslane
4 Beets
4 Garlic Scapes (pictured above. Scapes look so cool!)

I shared the first half of this week's culinary journey with you on Wednesday. Now I'm back, as promised, to report on my household's CSA vegetable utilization since then.

And so, without further ado, we have also eaten:

Potato Gnocchi; Beet Pesto

6. Potato Gnocchi with Garlic Scape Pesto. I've made potato gnocchi before with good results. Allow me to share this less-than-complex recipe:

  1. Boil whole, then cool, peel and mill or smash fine (do not use a food processor; I tried it once and it turned to glue): 1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes
  2. One at a time, mix in 2 eggs.
  3. Stir in 1/2 cup flour.
  4. Then add another 1/2 cup flour a little at a time, stirring after each addition.
  5. Split the dough in half and roll out each half into a 1-inch diameter log. Cut (I use my kitchen shears) into 1/2 inch slices and refrigerate until a pot of water boils. Note: I boiled the water that I'd used to cook the potatoes. Conservation!
  6. Drop gnocchi into boiling water and remove when they float.
  7. Toss with sauce/toppings of your choice.
Scape Pesto

On Wednesday, my topping of choice was pesto. To use another CSA ingredient (and challenge vegetable) I consulted these two blogs and customized my own pesto from the four lovely, curly garlic scapes I was given this week. This pesto comprised:

  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic scapes (one or two more wouldn't have been wrong)
  • the juice of 1 enormous lemon (I should have only used half)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Whiz in a food processor (or blender), heat, and serve!


7. Beet Lemon-limeade. Because it was quite hot in my friends' apartment Tuesday night, when I made Katzens's "Complete Beets," I boiled the beets to cook them rather than my preferred method (which is baking them wrapped in aluminum foil inside a moderately hot oven). Boiling them meant I had precious "beet water" left over after they were cooked.

The leftover liquid makes a nice base for a vegetable soup. I also read that some chefs cook pasta in the red water, or create colored sushi rice with its natural dye. But I wanted to try making it into a beverage, so I bought a few extra lemons and went all trial-and-error with them, some sugar, and the ruby-red beet water. It was delicious.

Want some? Here's what you do:

After boiling beets, reserve water. Refrigerate until cold.
Strain to remove impurities.
Fill a large pitcher almost all the way full with cold, strained beet water.
Add the juice and pulp of 4-6 good-sized lemons and/or limes (or to taste). I used four lemons and one lime.
Add approx. 2/3 cup granulated sugar (add a little at a time and taste as you go)

Side Salad

8. Lettuce Side Salad. A few lettuce leaves escaped my attention. When I found them in the refrigerator, I made a small salad for Wednesday's lunch of leftovers. In it? Pecans, pepitas, and goji berries dressed with a hastily-made concoction of pomegranate molasses, olive oil, lime juice. Mighty fine.

Shiitake Slaw

9. Deep-Flavor Shiitake Slaw, from Mollie Katzen's The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without. I've made coleslaw before with bagged cabbage, but this recipe looked like something special (as did my CSA Napa cabbage). It includes cabbage, carrot, cilantro, red bell pepper, and dried shiitake mushrooms (reconstituted). I basically tripled the recipe and added red pepper flakes to the dressing of raw honey, peanut oil, sesame oil, walnut oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, and garlic. Leftovers are to be topped with chili-lime cashews and fresh watercress.

The chewiness of the dried, soaked mushrooms was rubbery on its own but lends a special texture to the slaw. I was quite happy with how this turned out.

Bitter Greens duo
(photo by Dan)

10. Bitter Greens with Sweet Onions and Tart Cheese, also from The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without. I used the chard in this recipe, sauteeing the stems with the onions and adding the greens later. I also made feta my cheese-of-choice. Served hot over rice, all three combined were a very fine dish. It produces a lot of juice, which is well-suited to being mopped up with crusty bread.


And that's the way the CSA crumbles, folks. Questions? Comments? See you next week -- which is now. Week four starts today!


p.s. Last Sunday evening, fresh from the pick-up, I read an article about the farmers who provide the food for our CSA. I was charmed and impressed, as well as happy to be helping to support their business.


nanio said...

In context, I think I passed judgment too quickly on the beet lemonade. That looks tasty.

Jennette said...

It really didn't taste much like beets. I wouldn't lie about something like that. ;)

laura said...

That bitter greens recipe from Mollie Katzen is one of my favorite ever! We have that just about weekly all summer - excellent as a side to scrambled eggs, or over pasta or polenta. Works with kale, chard, collards - anything really!

Jennette said...

Laura -- thanks for posting. She is the Wizard of Veg!!

Mechanic said...

i have dandelion greens which i have not really explored any options with... they are now a week old and i am feeling wasteful. any ideas?

also, kohrabi is delicious raw and in slaw! who knew!? i guess it takes receiving six in four weeks to find out... :)

Jennette said...

Mech. -- You could definitely make the dandelion greens into "Bitter Greens with Sweet Onions and Tart Cheese." I bet it would be delicious. And then it doesn't matter if they've wilted a little.

I still haven't gotten kohlrabi. That would be a fun challenge vegetable.

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