Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Adventures in CSA: Week 5 Recipes
I'm late! I'm late! For a very important post!
It's too early in the season for me to be half a week behind, y'all. Here I am, at last, with a (hopefully) better-late-than-never report of how we ate our CSA vegetables during week 5, which ended this past Saturday. I hope you haven't been hungry, waiting. You have to eat to keep your strength up!
Week 5 Produce (vegetable share, and first week of fruit)
4 or 5 cucumbers
1 head green cabbage
1 bunch tatsoi - CHALLENGE VEGETABLE
4 or 5 garlic scapes
1 head Tuscan kale
1 head lettuce
1 bunch dill
1 bunch carrots
1 pint cherries
1/2 pint blackberries
1 jar blackberry jam -- CORRECTION: it was actually black currant jam
Okay, I just have to interrupt myself here to say that the classical music radio station I'm listening to while typing this is now suddenly playing Jingle Bells. Is that because it's been so hot we're wishing for winter? Or has someone fallen asleep at the switch?
Despite the brutal heat in NYC this week, I'm not wishing for winter. I'm too into these summer vegetables and fruits. So, without further ado, descriptions of what we et last week begin . . . NOW.
Cucumber Sesame Salad - We were invited to an impromptu backyard-baby-pool-and-salads potluck party, and this is what I pulled together to take as our dish. I found the recipe in an issue of Cooking Light magazine. It called for miso or low-sodium soy sauce, and I didn't have any miso in the house, so I used the latter, but I'd love to make it again with miso. It was very good, and I think miso might make it "next level," if you will grant that a cucumber salad could be "next level."
Instead of toasted sesame seeds, I actually used a toasted sesame seed and salt mixture called gomashio. You could make your own if you can't find it in stores (or are the sort of person inclined to make your own condiments). It added a depth to the dish that I appreciated.
Side note: Have I mentioned how glad I am to have a subscription to Cooking Light? If you're like me, you might be put off by the "Light" in the title. For years, I assumed it was a "diet" magazine, and I'm mightily suspicious of the diet industry. But, thanks to a post recommending this magazine to food-lovers on the Chowhound home cooking board (a great place to find ideas for CSA veggies, by the way), I know now that I can blithely ignore that "Light." It really just means "healthy," as far as I'm concerned. Over the past few years, I've found each issue to have really approachable ideas, attainable ingredients, multiple recipes I want to and am able to make -- in the time I've allotted myself in life for cooking, if you know what I mean -- and it has a focus on seasonal produce that keeps me subscribing. Above is a picture of my recipe file. Most of the pages from magazines have been ripped out of Cooking Light.
p.s. No, the Cooking Light people didn't put me up to this. I've never gotten one red cent from them, and they have no idea I exist. But I love them anyway.
Back to week five's CSA share, and the food it inspired!
Tatsoi and Kale Rice Bowl - Dan put this dish together. I couldn't really detect the difference between the tatsoi and kale, once it was all cooked together, but I suspect the tatsoi may have been responsible for some slightly more tender bites. There was also some chicken in here, and maybe some garlic scapes, as well as dried (soaked) mushrooms and soy sauce. The leftovers were good for two or three days, though the chicken got a teeny bit chewy with reheating.
I like having dried mushrooms in the house. They've been working well with off-the-cuff CSA dishes.
Apple Cider Blackberry Popsicle - Look, I tried to talk the kid into a more seasonal beverage, like lemonade, to pair with the CSA berries, but he's a fiend for both Halloween and apple cider. We made several of these with our Zoku (again, not a paid advertisement; I got two as a gift from my Aunt Debbie) and they were yummy! The best news is that the kid gets full before he eats a whole popsicle, so I "have" to help. The worst news is that I think these need to be eaten outside, or followed by a thorough floor-mopping, next time.
Chai-Spiced Carrot Cake, topped with blueberries - If you've read past years' posts (and you should, because I used to have a lot more time to blog thoughtfully and creatively!), you may know that I make a carrot cake every year around the beginning of July. That's because it's Dan's preferred birthday cake, he happens to have a birthday every year in early July, and I aim to please.
I really think the Cooks Illustrated recipe I use (online here) results in the best carrot cake of any I've tried, and lately I've been using the 2005 print issue's "chai spiced" variation, which includes a good amount of black pepper and cardamom. Sebastian said "no nuts," when asked to weigh in on that option, and he's a boy after my own heart. I was happy to oblige. I like nuts, but not so much IN cake.
New this year was my idea to top the cream cheese icing with CSA blueberries. Yes to blueberries on carrot cake! By the way, in case you're wondering if you can accidentally use a whole stick of butter in your cream cheese icing (instead of 5 Tablespoons) and still have it taste good, that answer is also yes. Yes, yes, yes! Everything is yes (except for nuts, which is no), when it comes to this cake!
p.s. I no longer subscribe to Cooks Illustrated, but that's another story.
Black Currant Jam on Toast - The jam the farm sent us is excellent. My "secret" to toast-making is to use slightly more butter than necessary. Butter it IMMEDIATELY upon its emergence from the toaster. Then, let it melt with the pieces of toast sandwiched together (butter-sides-in) before separating your slices and putting on the jam. You probably already do this. It's not rocket science, after all. My secret to a lot of things is to use slightly more butter than necessary. I'm pretty sure this doesn't even technically qualify as a secret.
Blackberries and Whipped Cream - Most of our CSA cherries and blackberries were devoured raw, but a few made it into some whipped cream we happened to have in the house (leftover from introducing our son to the classic banana split). My shame: it's not homemade whipped cream. It almost always is, I swear! I wasn't the one who went to the store!
Scrambled Eggs with Spring Onions and Garlic Scapes - I'm not sure where the spring onions were from. Maybe left over from week 4? At any rate, they weren't too wilted, so I sliced them into rounds (greens and whites) and sauteed them in butter until they almost melted, then scrambled some eggs on top of them. When the eggs were almost cooked, I cut up and added the grilled garlic scapes (grilled on an indoor grill pan that may have still had some sausage grease on it). Sebastian thought the scapes were green beans; he's so unsophisticated!
Simple Salad - It looks dull. It wasn't. These fresh lettuces we keep getting are so delicious and tender they hardly need anything added to them. Dan dressed this week's head with lemon juice, walnut oil, and coarse salt. I couldn't stop eating it.
So, that's most of it! A few odds and ends:
The dill we got just barely made it to the beginning of week 6, and you'll see what we did with it, and one leftover cucumber, in the next recipe post. I also just realized we didn't use the cabbage in week 5. Better dig through the fridge and see what kind of shape it's in!
Did anything from your CSA share go missing in your kitchen this week?