Sunday, June 20, 2010

CSA Adventures 2010: Week 1

CSA week 1 Week 1 (alternate)

The 2010 CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) season started for me this past week.  Last Sunday, I picked up my first "share" of produce.  I've prepaid for 22 weeks of organic vegetables and 20 weeks of fruit, participating with the same CSA I joined last year (Judson Memorial Church's program with Norwich Meadows Farm).

Last year was my first year eating my way through 22 weeks of "share the risk; share the rewards" crops.  I never knew exactly what I was getting from distribution to distribution, and I was thrilled by the challenge of not knowing what each week's share would hold.  I tried a lot of new recipes and found many new favorite dishes.  I intend to challenge myself to do the same this year, wasting as little of the produce each week as possible.  

Please check out my archive of CSA-related blog posts here.

And now, here's my report on week one!

CSA Distribution Week One

This Week's Produce
Garlic Scapes 
1 Head Arugula
2 Pac Choi (Bok Choy, etc.)
Japanese Turnips -- CHALLENGE VEGETABLE!*

I'll note amounts of each vegetable/fruit variety whenever possible, but I didn't write them down last week.

*A "Challenge Vegetable" is what I call a vegetable with which I've never before cooked (to my memory).

Recipes Made - Week One

Butter-braised turnips and radishes

1. Butter-Braised Radishes and Turnips.
Source: Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything, a cookbook I own and turn to often.  Almost the same recipe can be found here (I didn't have any Noilly Prat, which is vermouth).
Notes: The radishes and turnips are nice and juicy after braising, but I found them too mild.  Happily, a little extra balsamic vinegar drizzled on top of my second helping was a good remedy.

Bok Choy stir fry w/chicken
(photo by Dan)

2. Chicken and Bok Choy Stir Fry.
Source: Dan's brain, after looking at a variety of stir fry recipes online.
Notes:  Dan cooked the mushrooms and onions together, but sauteed the bok choy separately and then set it aside.  The chicken was marinated in soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and red pepper before being cooked.  Then, the mushrooms and bok choy were thrown back in, peanuts were added, and seasoning was adjusted.  I still love a CSA stir fry.  We'll be eating a lot more of these (over rice) this season.

Paprika Kale Pizza

Paprika Kale Pizza

3. Smoked Paprika Kale and Garlic Scape Pizza.
Source: Kale recipe from Bon Appetit, via the blog Simply Recipes.  Pizza heating happened as described here.
Notes: I chose smoked sweet paprika.  I had to add a lot of salt to finish the dish, but the paprika-sauteed kale and onions made a nice pizza topping. Mine wasn't as flavorful as the Simply Recipes blog post suggested it could be, but maybe I wilted my kale a bit too severely.  Dan sliced two garlic scapes thinly and added them on top of the pizza before putting it in the oven.  We had some good mozzarella on there, too, but our sauce was just plain tomato sauce (too lazy to jazz it up).  The dough was bought at a local pizza place, Carmine's II.  Kale on a pizza is...mwah!

Pickling radish leaves

4. Pickled Radish Leaves.
Source: Japanese Country Cookbook, by Russ Rudsinski, via Chowhound.
Notes: I liked the idea of this quick-pickle recipe, and I couldn't believe how easy it was.  Plus, this way I got to use up the radish tops in a creative way.  However, though the recipe said to marinate them 30 minutes or longer, they weren't very pickle-y after two hours.  Soy sauce (serving suggestion) completely overpowered them.  I'm going to leave them soaking in the fridge overnight and then try them again, to see if the flavor gets stronger with more time.


5. Egyptian-Spiced Salad of Arugula with Avocado, Garlic Scapes, Croutons and Onion.
Source: Dan's brain.  He used cumin we bought in Egypt, lime, and olive oil to dress it, and I thought the flavor was superior to many other homemade dressings we've whipped up.  We were lazy and didn't make our own croutons this time, but I'm not unhappy with the flavor of Mrs. Cubbison's garlic and onion croutons.

Items Remaining at the end of Week One

Some Garlic Scapes

Planned Recipe(s) for Remaining Items

6. Grilled Garlic Scapes
Source: The blog A Cooking Life made them look not unlike grilled asparagus, and since my scapes are a little tough, I think they'd benefit from the softening powers of the grill.  I'll have to grill them indoors, though, on my stovetop grill pan, because my elderly Italian neighbor (as I've mentioned) threatened us with a kitchen knife the last time we dared grill outside in our front yard plot of cement.  She only speaks Italian, so I'm not sure what her beef is, but I digress.  I'm excited to try the grilled scapes ASAP.  I'll report back in my next post.

Final Thoughts on Week One

Do you participate in a CSA program?  What was in your first week's share?

Whether or not you have a CSA share, if you have recipes to recommend for any of the seasonal vegetables mentioned so far, please leave them in the comments.  Though I am happy to revisit recipes I loved last year, I'm always on the lookout for new ideas to try.  

I hope the kale keeps coming, too, as I am excited to make and eat more of my beloved kale chips in the near future.  You should hear me at CSA distribution.  I'm like a kale chips ambassador over there.



Mechanic said...

kale chips are worth getting evangelical about!

Jennette said...

Amen, sister.

Related Posts

Related Posts with Thumbnails