Saturday, June 16, 2012
Adventures in CSA (2012): Week 1 Wrap-Up
Greetings! How are you doing with your CSA season so far? Here's the first of my posts wherein I tell you what we've made with our CSA share each week. I promise to let you know whether I'm keeping up and what's going to waste. This week sees a few uneaten items, but none of them have spoiled, so they'll be carrying over to join week two's allotment. Here's what we had to work with in the first week of CSA produce:
CSA Bounty - Week One (veggies only)
1 bunch broccoli rabe -- CHALLENGE VEGETABLE!
1 bunch kale
1 bunch arugula
2 pints snap peas
1 head lettuce
8 garlic scapes
1 bunch radishes
The first part of a CSA season is usually greens-heavy, and I expect that. But I'm sorry if you get a little bored by how many salads we eat. Dan and I do try to vary the ingredients in them as much as possible.
Chicken salad (CSA lettuce). With tomato, sunflower seeds, lemon, olive oil, and a tomatillo-chile-cilantro dressing (not pictured). Dan prepped the chicken with a guajillo pepper rub (by a brand called Los Rancheros) and grilled it. It was really good chicken, by the way. That rub was great.
Here's the problem with CSA lettuce in our house (and, really, all greens) -- our cold water pressure is abysmally low. How are we supposed to de-grit the leaves? If we use hot water, they fall limp. If we use cold water, the pressure is insufficient to get the dirt off. My new theory is a quick soak and swish in icy water from our fridge. I'm going to try that next time we get lettuce and I'll let you know how it goes.
Chicken tacos (CSA radishes). Leftover chicken grilled for our chicken salad formed the base of these. Black beans, tomatoes, tomatillo sauce, cilantro, and avocado were also on hand. The cilantro came from the farmers market adjacent to our CSA pickup spot.
Simple kale salad (CSA kale). Kale salad is the new kale chip. I mean, I love homemade kale chips, but the recipe fails me about half the time. I think it has to do with the humidity in the air. Sometimes they're perfect and sometimes they're limp and oily.
Our current favorite thing to do with kale is any one of the variations on lemony, salty kale salads. You can find a ton of recipes on the internet, but here's the basic formula:
Wash kale well, take off the stems, slice the leaves very thin (yes, you're going to eat it raw) and squeeze lemon juice (to taste - one lemon per small bunch of kale is what we use), a tiny amount of olive oil, and coarse salt (to taste) over it. You need to let it sit at least 10-15 minutes before eating it, so the lemon juice can break down the kale a little. Optional add-ins are things like tomatoes, Parmigiano-Reggiano or other hard cheese, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries. It's really simple and good even without any of those things, though. And that's how we ate it alongside our chicken tacos.
Garlic scape pesto and broccoli rabe pasta (CSA garlic scapes and broccoli rabe). This was Jess's suggestion, as it was an idea she was given for broccoli rabe (my challenge vegetable this week) from a friend of hers who is a chef. She used green garlic, I believe, but I've made garlic scape pesto before. It usually has a mild flavor, but this year seemed a little sharper. Anway, it was still good. Dan made the pesto with pine nuts and cheese, then sauteed the broccoli rabe with onion and red pepper flakes. Pretty tasty!
Raw sugar snap peas. Yum. These are great with hummus, but we didn't have any in the house.
I think Dan and I find some specific vegetables more tricky than others to "use up" in a week. I know cabbage has always been an unexciting item in my mind. There just aren't that many different cabbage recipes that I'd like to make. And kohlrabi remains something of a mystery. What's the best way to prepare it? I'm also not that into bitter greens, though I keep trying to cook them into something amazing. That's probably my palate. Radishes interest me in theory, but unless I'm butter-braising them, I'm not all that crazy for their flavor, and they linger in our refrigerator a bit too long. This week, we hardly used any of our radishes, so I'm going to have to come up with something for the remaining ones ASAP. Any ideas?
Unused at the start of Week Two
1 bunch radishes
1 bunch arugula
1 pint snap peas
We're going to make an arugula, radish, and snap pea salad today for lunch, then cook the rest of the peas and radishes (separately) somehow. I'm off to look at recipes now. See you soon with Week Two's share post. What did you get in your CSA this week?