Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Adventures in CSA 2013: Week 3 Share

Week 3

We were out of town for Saturday's pickup, enjoying the less-edible "greens" of Harriman State Park, but friends nabbed our share for us and held on to it until we got back. Here's what it consists of this week:

Week 3 Produce (no fruit until July)

Swiss chard
Napa cabbage
Garlic scapes
Japanese turnips

Looks like some salads are in order. What would you make with these ingredients?

More week 2 More week 2

Bonus! Week 2 Revisited!

If you read the posts about last week's share, you may remember that I did my volunteer shift and took home some extra vegetables during week two. I wanted to let you know that I did, in fact, try the bok choy skillet supper recipe I found online. It uses bulgar wheat, which I'd never cooked with before -- but which is very easy to prepare. It was pretty quick, too. Most of the time spent on this dish is in cutting and chopping veggies during prep. Finished, it was surprisingly flavorful -- especially considering some of the online reviews suggested it wouldn't be. Since I had "full-sized" bok choy (the recipe calls for baby), I just cut the greens off and arranged them alongside the stalks in the pan.

Modifications: We are not vegetarians, so we used chicken stock (which changes the flavor), and we also subbed in portobello mushrooms (chopped) for the button mushrooms. I also doubled the tomatoes, and it could have handled even more. Our skillet is pretty large. Oh, and I "cheated" when it came to the garlic-infused oil, by doing it on the fly with some smashed cloves of garlic in the pan with olive oil. I removed them before finishing the dish (and ate them on their own: yum!). This dish used up our remaining bok choy and garlic scapes (I used the scapes in place of shallots). Top with a drizzle of soy sauce.

Here's the recipe, in case you'd like to try it. Toddler- and grownup-approved!

What are you making this week?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Adventures in CSA 2013: Week 2 Recipes

CSA Week 2

Greetings! We've been cooking and eating the vegetables from our second summer CSA pickup for most of the week, and I've got another consumption update for you.

Here's what we received for Week 2:
(this was my volunteer shift week, so the numbers below are "official." I actually took home otherwise unwanted extras of a few things -- like a few extra scapes; extra bunches of turnips, arugula and bok choy; and a dozen eggs. The eggs, by the way, are a game-changer. Amazing. I immediately decided to sign up for an every-other-week egg share for the rest of the season.)
  • 1 head Lettuce
  • 1 bunch Arugula  
  • 1 bunch Broccoli 
  • 1 stalk Bok Choy
  • 1 bunch Tuscan Kale
  • 2 lbs Summer squash
  • 5 Garlic scapes
  • 1 bunch Japanese sweet turnips -- CHALLENGE VEGETABLE
Here's How We Ate It:

Wk 2

Zucchini and grilled garlic scapes on flatbread - Dan conceived of and made these sandwiches with pocketless pita bread. He sauteed the grilled scapes and zucchini together before layering them on the bread, then topped them with feta and a homemade yogurt-cucumber-dill sauce. Garlic scapes are mild, and this was lovely.

Week 2

Omelet of kale and garlic scapes - Farm-fresh eggs made this a standout. The eggs were as creamy as the melted havarti dill cheese, and the kale gave the dish some texture. I almost made a really embarrassing pun here, it was so good.

Week 2

Bok-and-Broc stir fry - This dish was based on a Mark Bittman recipe for stir-fried broccoli. I made the variation with (soaked) dried mushrooms, added bok choy, and topped with cashews. Frankly, I cooked it too long and it became mushy. I kept waiting for the liquid to evaporate, and it just wouldn't. I also found the finished product a little bland, so I don't think this is a recipe worth repeating. We added a lot of soy sauce and a bit of Sriracha to make it more palatable.

Week 2

Arugula and Lettuce soup (adapted from this recipe) - The recipe for this soup is attributed to Emeril Lagasse. I added an extra cup or so of chicken stock (I just used the whole box) and two bunches of arugula (because I only had one head of lettuce). I also adjusted the herbs, using dried tarragon and parsley to taste (along with fresh garlic and chives), and about 1/2 tsp. of Penzey's Sandwich Sprinkle. The cream is definitely the kicker. It's a good soup before the cream goes in, but it's a great soup after.

Week 2

Yoshi's Japanese Turnips (recipe online here) - The advice at our share pickup for Japanese turnips was to eat them raw. They're not bad that way, but I wasn't in love with them, so I looked online for a way to cook them and thought this recipe had promise. The verdict? This dish is going in my "Best of 2013" recipe list. I honestly never thought I'd enjoy a turnip as much as I enjoyed these. The recipe suggests you try different combinations of "cooking liquid," and I look forward to making this again with vinegar. For my first try, I used half Tamari soy sauce (definitely should have been low sodium) and water. With cheese or without, and even a bit too salty, this was a revelation.

Week 2

Zucchini pancakes - I used Mark Bittman's recipe, but didn't have time to chill the patties, so they didn't quite hold together in the pan. For the most part, though, these are dead simple -- zucchini, onion, egg, salt, pepper, parmesan and breadcrumbs. Fry in an awful lot of butter. We topped them with more cheese, of course. Despite declaring, "I don't like squash," even the kid ate (and enjoyed) it.


That's it for week two's share. I do have a few bits and bobs bouncing around in the fridge -- a few more scapes, another bunch of turnips, and that extra head of bok choy -- so I'm looking for something that doesn't involve a stir-fry to use up the scapes and bok choy. What do you think of a Bok choy skillet supper (recipe here)? I'll let you know if I try it.  I'll also be making that Japanese Turnips recipe again, by golly.

What did you especially love or loathe in your share this week?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Adventures in CSA 2013: Week 2 - Share

CSA Week 2

Well, we didn't get any asparagus or strawberries or rhubarb, which is a bit disappointing (the share is always greener in someone else's CSA, right?), but we still took home a fun assortment of greens and other goodies this week. 
Week 2 Produce:
  • 1 head Lettuce
  • 1 bunch Arugula  
  • 1 bunch Broccoli 
  • 1 stalk Bok Choy
  • 1 bunch Tuscan Kale
  • 2 lbs Summer squash
  • 5 Garlic scapes*
  • 1 bunch Japanese sweet turnips** --CHALLENGE VEGETABLE

Notes from the farm, via the CSA blog:
 * The immature flower of the garlic plant, we snap garlic scrapes off in the spring because they're a great treat, and doing so will make the garlic bulb larger. Can be used in cooking like garlic, or raw like chives.
 ** The fresh turnips are best eaten raw; the exterior has a little bit of radish bite and the interior is super sweet and mild. Great on salads or just as a snack. You can cook the greens too!
CSA Week 2

Most exciting this week? Those turnips! I wasnt expecting a "challenge vegetable" (i. e. something i haven't prepared before) this year, but I don't think I've gotten this variety of turnip before. I guess there's still a frontier out there!

Also, I'm always thrilled to see green, curly garlic scapes. Should we make pesto this year, or something new?

Also: Still no fruit? C'mon, fruit! I need fruit!
CSA Week 2

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Adventures in CSA 2013: Week 1 Recipes

I'm back to share what we're making with our CSA fruits and vegetables. First up, here's your reminder of what we received this week:

Week One (Vegetables Only)
  • Lettuce 
  • Mizuna
  • Green garlic
  • Bok choy 
  • Radishes 
  • Green kale 
  • Spinach 
And now on to the Dishes Made this Week:

Salad of Mizuna and Lettuce (not pictured) with quick-pickled red onion, kalamata olives, feta cheese, and sunflower seeds. It was dressed with oil, vinegar, and crushed fennel seeds.

CSA Wk 1
Chicken Sausage and feta lettuce wraps: After a conversation about stuffed cabbage at the office on Tuesday, I knew I wanted to make more lettuce wraps this year. I think they're a great way to enjoy the crispness and mild flavor of really fresh lettuce. This night, we went super-simple and actually used them as a sort of "hot dog bun" with some chicken and apple sausages (which Dan sliced in half). Feta cheese as topping was a flavorful accompaniment.

I have started compiling a list of other combinations of ingredients for filling that I'd still like to try, so bring on the lettuce!

More Ideas for lettuce wraps
Sweet potato, onion, and carrot
Shrimp, avocado, and tomato
Turkey and guacamole
Bacon, tomato, and onion
Cashew, carrot, corn, rice, and tofu
Mushroom, rice, and black beans

CSA Wk 1
Potato Salad with Grilled Green Garlic: Dan combined two potato salad recipes from the internet, and it turned out really good. Normally, I prefer a mustard-based potato salad, but this one was oil-based without being greasy, and had a fennel flavor that was pleasantly surprising. The green garlic was grilled on our grill pan, and not unlike spring onions. I think I'm coming 'round to warm potato salad.

CSA Wk 1
Pickled Radishes: For this recipe, I turned to the Momofuku cookbook. They didn't discuss radishes, per se, but I mostly followed their formula for quick-pickling liquid. First, I trimmed off the tops and bottoms, then sliced the radishes thinly.  Once I put them in a jar, I mixed up and poured this concoction over the top:

1 cup hot tap water
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
6 T. sugar
2 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

The recipe suggests waiting several days before eating the pickles, but I have a feeling radishes are harder to "overcome" than some vegetables. They're so naturally sharp, after all. On day one (today) these still had a slight radish smell, which didn't mix particularly well with the smell of the brine, but they didn't taste terrible. I'll try them again tomorrow. I think they'll be better.

CSA Wk 1

Kale Salad
: Dan's the kale salad pro in our family, but I composed this one myself. I took one head kale (washed, trimmed and sliced into ribbons), 1 lemon (squeezed over the top), a fair amount of kosher salt, "massaged" this with tongs and let it set for a while so the lemon juice could start breaking down the kale leaves. Then we added parmigiano-reggiano cheese, avocado, and sunflower seeds. Dan completed the dish with this dijon honey mustard dressing.

Week 1

Bok Choy and Spinach Stir Fry
: Dan stir-fried the bok choy and spinach with peanuts, ginger, garlic, onion, and fish sauce. This turned out slightly more bitter than is usual, but I'm very forgiving of stir fry. I love this sort of dish to use up items at the end of the week.

Sooooo... that's everything for week one. I think the sausage and feta in lettuce "bun" was my favorite. It's hard to go wrong with sausage, though. That felt like a bit of a cheat. What did you make from seasonal produce (CSA or greenmarket) this week?

p.s. I received the three cotton muslin produce bags I ordered, and I'm already wishing I'd bought more.

Emily said...

Emily said

I said, "I only like grape nuts with too much sugar."

Emily said, "Heat them up and put a little butter on them."

So I did. Thanks, Emily.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Adventures in CSA 2013: Week 1 Share

 My boy, with part of the haul.

Here we go again!

I joined a new CSA this year, the East Williamsburg CSA.  I was hoping to get in to this particular one last year, but the timing didn't work out, so I'm pretty psyched.  Friends have been members for several years, and I always thought their weekly shares looked like the best deal in the neighborhood. Our pickup is also in a lovely community garden a short walk from our house (which makes getting there with a two-year-old much easier).

Once again, my goal is to provide you with coverage of the entire season -- what we get and what we do with it -- and I'm relatively optimistic that I'll make it to the end this time. I'm not pregnant. I don't have a newborn. I don't really have any excuse other than boring standard "busyness" to not share with you what we get each week. As long as I keep things simple, don't go crazy with the formatting and editing, and don't beat myself up if I'm lacking a photo or get behind, I think I'll make it there. 

As usual, I'll be trying out new recipes, in addition to going back to some old standards. I'd love ideas for my veggies. Comment here if you'd like to share what your family is enjoying in CSA goodness each week.

Week One Veggies* and notes from the CSA blog
* We purchased a fruit share, too, but that doesn't start for a few weeks, I think.
  • Lettuce 
  • Mizuna (a salad green like arugula, but with more serrated leaves and milder spiciness) 
  • Green garlic (immature fresh garlic; use the root as you would garlic; leaves can be used as a garnish or in stock) 
  • Bok choy 
  • Radishes 
  • Green kale 
  • Spinach

Ah, I remember this! The beginning of the season is always heavy on the greens. I ordered some cotton muslin and mesh bags for storage this year, and I'm looking forward to swapping them in for the Ziplock baggies of previous years.  What gets me excited about this share? Bok choy! I love young bok choy in a stir fry. Also, my toddler loves pickled radishes (we get them as a side from the nouveau-Korean place in the neighborhood), so I think I'll make some at home. Dan is an excellent salad maker, so the kale is a welcome item, too.

What would you make with all of this? I'll share the outcome soon.

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