Tuesday, May 17, 2011

CSA Meals - Week 1

Tonight is the beginning of the second round of produce, and I'm in surprisingly good shape considering the pounds of greens we got last week.  I gave our radishes, bok choy, some broccoli rabe, and about half of our lettuce mix to my parents.  

The highlight of last week, for me, was the container of beautiful strawberries we got in our share.  We polished them off in just a couple days, and I put them in a salad for lunch one day.  They added a welcome burst of flavor to the lettuce.  The salad also included a medium-boiled egg, my first ever homemade, which came from one of my co-worker's chickens.  

I've stressed this before, but fresh eggs taste so much better than grocery store eggs, especially if you're eating them on their own.

We had a large bunch of Asian greens, and I'm not sure what all of them were, but they were pretty.

I chopped them and Davy sauteed them with garlic and sesame chili oil.  We sprinkled toasted sesame seeds on them after they'd wilted down.


Davy was having a rough week, so I decided to make one of his favorite Chinese take out meals to go with the greens, which is sweet and sour chicken.  I used a recipe I found on How Sweet It Is, and it turned out very well.  The chicken is crisp, tangy, and not greasy at all.  We served the chicken over rice, and the recipe mentions making extra sauce, but we had the right amount.  Next time I would consider adding some chili flakes to the sauce, or even some sriracha for a little kick.  

before the sauce

finished product

The gigantic bunch of broccoli rabe was taunting me every time I opened the fridge, and on Thursday I decided to put it to good use.  It's hard to tell from the picture, but this is an overwhelming mound of greens.

Mimicking one of the best pastas from Mamma Zu, I browned sausage without the casing (a spicy chicken and red wine variety from Trader Joe's) and blanched the broccoli rabe.  

Once the sausage was ready, I added the greens, garlic, and rosemary, and let the broccoli rabe cook a little.  Once it was warmed, I threw in cooked pasta - about half a pound of cavatappi - and stirred in tomato sauce and about a half cup of ricotta.  Luckily I really enjoyed the pasta, because I ended up eating it three more times.  It's a pleasant blend of flavors and textures; the ricotta makes it slightly creamy, the greens add a slight edge, and the sausage is spicy and savory.

When I went to Trader Joe's, I also purchased shelled pistachio pieces and their Light Champagne Vinaigrette in anticipation of a few weeks of salads.  On Friday I used them with the salad mix, and they worked well together, not to mention they added some variety to my boring routine.  

I wanted to change the normal sauteed kale routine, too, by making kale chips.  I think I baked the pieces for too long, because they came out more brown than green, and the taste reminded me of pumpkin seeds.  They were also very unattractive.  Kale chips may have to be conquered this week, or the next time we get a bunch of kale.

On Monday, the only veggies left were the garlic scallions, peas, and kale.  I'm not usually into peas, but I figured that these had to be better than what I'm used to since they're in season.  I shelled them and dropped them in boiling water for about five minutes.  

While they were in the pot, I toasted four thin slices of bread and sliced a hard-boiled egg.  I spread a thin layer of pesto on the bread, followed by a layer of ricotta cheese.  When the peas were done, I drained them, rinsed them in cold water, and pressed them into the ricotta.  I topped everything on the plate with pepper and lemon juice, and admired my work.  The meal was relatively simple to put together, and light but filling.  It would be great for a hot night when cooking isn't very appealing, or if you needed something quick and healthy.  

There aren't going to be any strawberries in Week 2 because of all of the rain and we still have some sauteed kale to finish in the fridge, but I'm eager to see what this week brings.   

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