Thursday, November 12, 2009
Adventures in CSA: Weeks 18 + 19, Part III; Weeks 20 + 21, Part II; and the ghost of Week 22
This is it, everyone. My "CSA Adventure" was sweet as pie, but I've used up all of the farm share produce in the house and the season is at its close.
I haven't decided yet if I'm going to join a winter CSA (the pickup locations and times are less convenient), but I was upstate during the final pickup (Week 22) of my spring-summer-autumn 2009 CSA and missed out.
For me, it all ended with the following leftovers from the previous four weeks.
Weeks 18 and 19:
a little celery
1/2 lb peppers
Weeks 20 and 21:
1lb sweet potato
We got to all of it before anything went bad. So, what did that victory taste like?
1. Beets with Blue Cheese Sauce and Spiced Walnuts. Oh. Hello, gorgeous. You're going right into my "Best of the Season" recipe list. I didn't roast the beets for this recipe, as I'd already boiled some beets and had them waiting to be eaten in the fridge. I think roasting would have intensified the flavors and made it even more delicious, but the dish was still excellent.
2. Raw Peppers and celery with Hummus. The difference between these peppers and store-bought peppers was startling. They had so much more flavor and snap than anything I've gotten from a grocer.
3. Sweet Potato Buttermilk Pie. I saw a link to this Lee Brothers' recipe in my RSS reader and thought it looked "special" enough for some CSA sweet potatoes. It does have a singular texture that is more like cheesecake, as promised. Lemon juice lends a surprising citrus angle to this pie, and I actually used half lemon and half lime juice (because I had a half of each sort of fruit in the refrigerator ready to go).
I topped each slice with a little unsweetened whipped cream when Dan and I ate the first and last slices at home, but it also traveled well (to Cold Spring and back) naked, where it pleased both sweet-tooth-people like me and not-so-sweet-tooth-people like Rachel.
My pie crust recipe came from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. I made his version sweetened with a little sugar (as the pie filling is not very sweet) and enriched with an egg yolk (from a specially-bought CSA farm-fresh dozen eggs).
As soon as it was eaten, Dan asked me to make another. That spells success as far as I'm concerned.
4. Beet Roesti with Rosemary. An NPR web page offered up this recipe from Mark Bittman and Melissa Block. Easy to prepare and fun to cook, the beets turned an amazing burnt-red color in the pan. Eating it was an odd experience, though. The first few bites were delicious, but a bitter, rich flavor began to take over and eventually I found it slightly nauseating.
Dan enjoyed it more than me, but agreed that it was very strong. This is a dish better shared with a large group than eaten in its entirety by a couple. I also think it would have benefited from a sour cream garnish.
5. Kale Chips. I just don't want anything else anymore. They're. So. Good. I made these in Cold Spring (remember that trip upstate with the pie I just mentioned?) and they pleased half of the children and all of the adults in attendance. Young Max thought they were a bit peppery, and he was right, but at least I got the amount of salt right on this batch.
6. Final Stir Fry (of the season, not of my life). CSA Kohlrabi, celeriac, celery, and garlic with non-CSA sweet-potato (cooked chunks), mushrooms, onion, and rice. I used the scrummy lime, habanero, cilantro, and mint sauce from David Chang's awesome Brussels Sprouts recipe to finish the dish and tie all the flavors together. It was missing only peanuts. Mental note: buy peanuts!
Oh, sad. It's over.
Well, for my compatriots who did pick up Week 22's vegetables, I do want to offer the following links to recipes I would have liked to have tried with the final week's share:
1lb beets - Roasted Beet Risotto (use the greens, too, if you have them).
3 turnips - Baked Turnip and Sauerkraut Casserole
3 radish - Radish, Mint, and Feta Salad.
1lb greens - If it was kale -- and I always hope it's kale now -- I'd make more Kale Chips!
1lb carrots - Carrot and Lots of Garlic Soup.
2 garlic - [see soup, above]
1lb onions -I'd Caramelize them to eat on just about anything!
Happy seasonal eating, everyone. And thank you so much to Rachel T. and the staff and volunteers at Judson who made the CSA program run so well on their (and my) first try, offered recipes, and were friendly faces at pickup. I've really enjoyed myself and I can't think of anyone I'd rather have had handling my veg.
If you've enjoyed reading these CSA posts and would like me to continue posting in this same vein, please let me know. It might give me the encouragement I need to do a winter share. And of course, I hope you'll hang around for the snacking and baking (hello, Cookie Party prep!) that is to come. Also, I'll be posting soon with a list of my absolute favorite new recipes from this long adventure.
Otherwise, see you next spring!