Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More Squash

No eggs this week, but there is plenty to keep me busy:

- 3 yellow squash
- an heirloom zucchini

- a bunch of spring onions

- healthy sized turnips with leafy green tops

- kale

- a cucumber

- a cute little head of garlic

- a few pounds of little red new potatoes

Friday, June 20, 2008

CSA Meals - Week 3

I didn't think it would be possible, but somehow I managed to incorporate most of the herbs and vegetables into delicious meals before the weekend.

For the first night, Tuesday, I made a frittata with two of the spring onions (and their green shoots), yellow squash, zucchini, and local goat cheese. It had layers of light, seasonal flavors that were perfect for a quick summer meal. The freshness of the eggs shone through and I have a feeling that frittatas may play more of a role in my kitchen in the next few months.

Wednesday was a kickball night so I put together a quick carbonara with macaroni. The recipe, which I halved, called for an egg yolk. Compared to the sauce made with a normal grocery store yolk, the pasta had a much thicker, creamier coating. I used my homegrown Italian parsley for the first time, along with the garlic from the farm, which was mild and sweeter than store bought garlic.

Based loosely on a Jamie Oliver recipe for crostini with greens, I let the swiss chard and turnip greens get tender for a few minutes in boiling water, then drained them and added lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. There were three cloves of garlic in the pot, which I removed and mashed with a fork to mix in with the greens. It was a simple procedure that yielded wonderful results.

On Thursday we grilled pork tenderloin with chimichurri sauce (made with basil from the share, parsley, and cilantro instead of oregano). If you haven't tried chimichurri sauce or made it yourself, I've had success with an Emeril Lagasse recipe and it's a great warm weather dish. To go with the meat, we put the baby carrots, turnips, zucchini and squash in the grill basket and tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Everything tasted delicious and the turnips were pleasantly sweet. The chimichurri also went well with the black beans I sauteed with olive oil, garlic and green onions. The onion was tough and it is the first item I haven't been thoroughly pleased with, though that may have been my fault for not cooking it long enough.

It is now Monday and the only produce left is a small spring onion and green beans. The plan is to steam the beans, grill a piece of mahi, and eat orzo with pesto on the side. I'm already getting impatient for tomorrow's share.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Grocery Bag's Full

Standing below the shade of Fertile Crescent Farm's tent, I watched in shock as the contents of the brown bag I got to take home kept increasing.  Along with the weekly half dozen of eggs, I was also entitled to:

- several stems of basil

- the last of the season's radishes

- baby turnips

- a cluster of small orange carrots

- a healthy looking bunch of swiss chard (red and green)

- green beans

- a tiny head of garlic

- red and yellow spring onions

- two yellow squash

- an heirloom zucchini

- an eight ball zucchini (spherical in shape)

- small cucumber

- heirloom cucumber (yellow and also spherical)

I left the Byrd Market feeling very fortunate and excited about this week's share.

Monday, June 16, 2008

CSA Meals - Week 2

Summer traveling is probably going to interfere with the amount of cooking I do in the next few months, but getting produce on Tuesday is helpful.

I went through the two small heads of lettuce pretty quickly by eating them with some leftover Greek nachos for dinner on Tuesday and with the rest of my steak from Wednesday night for lunch the next day.

On Wednesday I cut the heirloom zucchini and yellow squash into strips, then marinated them in a little lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. They were grilled with several shitakes and two beautiful strip steaks from the Belmont Butchery. I threw together a barley risotto with the mushrooms, zucchini and squash, a shallot, fresh basil, lemon juice, and homemade chicken stock. It was a much faster process than regular risotto because I used instant barley, and the result was a light and summery side dish.

For dinner on Thursday I took two turkey sausage links out of the freezer, squeezed the meat out of the skin and sauteed it with olive oil. I added the sausage and more chicken stock to the leftover risotto to revive it, and it was just as enjoyable as an entree as it was with the steak.

Since Friday involved some car travel, we transported the turnip greens, collard greens, and some chard I bought at Ellwood Thompson's for a late dinner. The greens, which we cooked according to a Dave Lieberman recipe, could have used a little more time but were still wonderfully flavored with bacon, sugar, garlic, and vinegar.

Tonight I plan on sauteeing the rest of the garlic scapes stir fry-style with some broccoli and chicken. We get eggs again tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to a frittata in the next few days, as well as making chimichurri sauce later in the week.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's Tuesday Again!

Time for another round of produce from Fertile Crescent Farm - half of this share:

1 bunch collards

1 bunch Japanese turnips

1 bunch radishes

2 heads baby lettuce

1 bunch garlic scapes

1/2 pound shitake mushrooms

1 small bunch basil

3-4 yellow squash and heirloom zucchini

Sunday, June 08, 2008

CSA Meals - Week 1

I was afraid that with a grocery bag full of vegetables I wouldn't be able to use everything in a week, though it turned out to be easier than I expected. The first dinner, a recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks, used all of the kale. I also sauteed the sugar snap peas in a little sesame oil and added a few sesame seeds at the end. Both the kale and the peas were unbelievably fresh, and I was able to reserve half of the rice mixture for another dinner and lunch.

The instructions were clear enough that I was able to achieve poached eggs, and I learned that they only need a few minutes as some of them turned out more well done than I would have preferred. I could definitely tell the difference between the farm eggs we got in our share and regular grocery store eggs. They were richer in taste and color.

For two of my weekday lunches I ate a tuna, red onion and white bean salad with handfuls of the mescaline mix. It was firmer and help up better than bagged salad. The remainder of the mescaline was mixed with some leaves of the baby lettuce, and the lettuce will be finished tonight in a salad.

On Wednesday we made Pad Thai and substituted garlic scapes for the scallions. They were mild and sweet, and complimented the dish nicely. The last of our half dozen eggs also went into the Pad Thai, and I could easily see the yellower yolk when it was finished. The stir fry mix - prize choy, mizuna, and Fun Jen Chinese Cabbage - accompanied dinner. It was sauteed with some sesame oil and soy sauce, and finished with sesame seeds (yes, I'm on a sesame kick at the moment).

Now that it's Monday again I am eagerly awaiting the next newsletter and list of produce from the farm!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


The first share from our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) arrives today at the Byrd Market, and I can't wait! We are supposed to get six fresh eggs, and half portions of each item on the following list:

· one bag of arugula

· one bag of mescaline mix

· one head of an heirloom variety of lettuce, either Rossimo Red, Jericho, Buttercrunch, or Freckles

· One bunch of Kale, either Red Russian, Lacinato, or Winter Bor

· one bunch of a mix of Asian greens—Prize Choy (a pak choy), Mizuna (spicy), and Fun Jen Chinese cabbage, a great mix for a stir fry

· sugar snaps

· Radish

· garlic scapes (according to our supplier, garlic scapes "are the firm, round seed stems that grow from the garlic as the bulbs size up. The lower portion is the most tender, but the entire scape is edible and can be used like a scallion.")

Stay tuned for more about the produce!