Sunday, June 28, 2009

CSA Week 5

Although it seems that I have been neglecting to update my blog, I have really been waiting to post a new entry because we didn't get a share this week. Partway through Week 5, Darbi sent an email to all of the CSA members to ask if we would mind skLinkipping a week due to the rain and some other conditions affecting the crops. She and Adam are going to add a share on to the end instead of providing one for Week 6. I had finished most of my share by Tuesday, but some leftovers along with local chard and squash from Ellwood Thompson's will tide me over until next week's pick up.

The first meal I made with our produce from the fifth week (and some leftover squash and potatoes from the fourth week) was the Summer Squash Gratin from 101 Cookbooks. Instead of fresh oregano in the sauce, I picked basil from the pot on my front porch. It was more reminiscent of pesto, but to me it made the dish lighter and more summery than oregano would have. I substituted cheddar for the gruyere, because we always have cheddar in the fridge, and used two Tablespoons instead of four to mix with the bread crumbs.

This gratin isn't at all traditional, but the cheese and butter really give it a rich base. I was able to eat the leftovers for the next three days along with dinner on Tuesday night, and I looked forward to it every time. The sauce also served as a delicious salad dressing for the whole week, since the recipe said to not use all of it in the gratin.

Davy was sick all week, and Thai food really appealed to him on Wednesday. We got take out and had Swiss chard sauteed in olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice on the side. On Thursday night we went to a friend's house for a cookout. We contributed braised kale and broccoletti to eat alongside grilled bison, steak, corn, and potatoes from the farmer's market.

I kept the remaining greens ate them with leftover Pad Thai for lunch on Monday. The next day we grilled pork chops, squash and onions, and roasted carrots and potatoes from the last of our produce. The carrots had gotten a little soft after a week, but they were still sweet and roasted nicely with the potatoes. We had a small serving of the root vegetables left after dinner, and we finished them off in a frittata with chard and cheddar on Saturday. The picture below does it justice - it slid right out of the pan, which was a victory because our frittatas usually stick at least partially.

I am impatient for a new round of vegetables to work with, though having a week off didn't seem to hurt our eating at all.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

An Almost Summer Share

Darbi posted on the Fertile Crescent Farm blog that this week's and next week's shares would be a little lighter as they transition into summer. My refrigerator is still full after receiving:

- baby carrots

- kale

- swiss chard (bonus)

- broccoli rabe

- mesclun mix

- new potatoes

- spring onions

- lemon cucumber

- regular cucumber

- zucchini

- baby squash

Thursday, June 11, 2009

CSA Week 4

Last Wednesday I rediscovered an ingredient that always makes me more excited about salad. Feta cheese just tastes like summer, and I tend to forget about it for awhile so that it's always exciting when I buy it again. Cucumber and pine nuts rounded out a delicious salad that I ate last week. Davy used the rest of the salad mix for lunch with leftover boneless wings.

We ordered a pizza from Arianna's after kickball on Wednesday despite planning to make a stiry fry with our pak choi. As a compromise, I sauteed the greens with sesame oil, garlic, and soy sauce to eat with our pepperoni and spinach slices.

On Thursday I finished the cous cous, feta and squash dish for lunch, and ate the rest of the pizza for dinner.

Keeping with the half homemade/half takeout idea from the night before, I found a recipe for braised kale that rekindled my enthusiasm for eating leafy greens. It's a very easy method that can be adapted to different amounts and types of greens, and I used it again Saturday night with collard and mustard greens. The only change I made was omitting the garlic (we were out of it the first time and I opted to leave it out the second time). I used a yellow onion on Thursday, and the baby leeks on Saturday. Both worked very well to flavor the dish without overwhelming any of the other tastes.

I incorporated the Swiss chard into Shannon's birthday lasagna. It was only enough for one layer, but it certainly contributed to the meal. I sauteed the rest of the yellow onion in olive oil, and kept the chard on the heat for a very short time, just to wilt it. I've eaten the lasgana once so far since Saturday, and there are still a few pieces remaining to look forward to.

The turnips, potatoes, and squash were still in my refrigerator when the next share arrived, but they are less perishable. If all else fails, I can always turn to the new block of feta in my cheese drawer for inspiration.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

CSA Weeks 2 and 3

I know I am at least a week behind on my CSA posting, but first I have to mention the delicious strawberries shown in this picture. Shannon spent a Friday morning in Chesterfield picking berries, and there was a huge bowl on the table when I got home from work. They were gone in two days, and were so perfect that they didn't need anything besides a quick rinse.

But Back to Week 2, which featured some grilling in honor of Memorial Day, and a few made over sandwiches. We only had half a bag of salad to contend with that week, and the standard add-ins - olive oil, sunflower seeds, freshly ground pepper, red wine vinegar - made their appearances.

I had neglected a few spring onions from the winter co-op, and mixed them into the new spring onions with olive and spices to throw on the grill. They were smoky and sweet, a refreshing side dish to the cheeseburgers and chicken leftover from the holiday.

While steamed broccoli isn't something out of the ordinary for me to make on a week night, this broccoli was noticeably more flavorful than anything from the grocery store despite some yellow florets.

On the same night I roasted the small Japanese turnips and revamped a tuna sandwich with some of the mesclun mix and fresh toast.

Friday night was another grilling event, this time with marinated flat iron steak, grilled potato chips, and Asian greens with warm ginger dressing. The tatsoi, mizuna, and baby pac choi wilted part of the way with the dressing, and I covered them to trap some of the heat and help them lose their excessive crunch.

I improved upon another leftover sandwich with the salad mix Monday for lunch. The greens lightened a portabello and pesto panini from Can Can. For dinner that evening Davy and I made a quick stir fry/fried rice dish with our leftover Asian greens, the remainder of the steamed broccoli, rice, and some of the grilled steak.

The fried rice provided lunch the next day, and by the time of the next pick up all that we were left with was a small amount of the salad mix.

Last Tuesday night Davy made a shrimp and white bean dish with cous cous from Real Simple. He substituted our garlic scapes for scallions, and sauteed mizuna and tatsoi with garlic and fish sauce to have on the side. We had leftovers for lunch on Wednesday, and then the vegetables were put on hold for a few days while I was out of town.

I brought the Swiss chard and turnips to my parents, and on Saturday night we sauteed the chard with garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. The greens were a satisfying addition to the grilled salmon and potatoes we also ate for dinner.

After a few more delays, I managed to saute the baby squash and spring onions to combine with cous cous. It was nice to use the last of the produce and cous cous from the shrimp dish, and by stirring in feta the dish made a healthy summer meal. We ate the cous cous Tuesday night, and decided to start the next CSA week at the same time by making a salad with the new bag of mesclun mix. We also got a small cucumber, which added some crunch and some much-needed variety to the salad.

The pak choi still looks healthy in its plastic bag in the fridge, and the mustard greens had to be given away so that they wouldn't be rotten by the time we got to them. Overall I think we did a decent job eating what we had around, but I'm sure the challenges of after work activities and weekend trips will continue throughout the summer.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Greens Greens Greens

There are several varieties of greens in our share this week, along with other tasty vegetables:

- collard greens

- Swiss chard

- mustard greens

- kale

- baby squash

- cucumber

- salad mix

- turnips

- baby leeks

- new potatoes

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

More Variety

This week we are receiving another round of familiar and unprecedented items (and no salad mix):

- garlic scapes

- turnips

- baby tatsoi

- Swiss chard

- mizuna

- mustard greens

- baby squash

- round zucchini

- pak choy

- spring onions