Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More than parsley

Yesterday was my first CSA pick up. This is year I have decided to boogie down with the local farms, in a more committed way than groovin' at the Farmer's Market.

I have "every other week" vegetable and fruit shares that I am splitting with JB. From the point that I got the notion to do this, I have been waiting in anticipation for this day, like a kid on the night before Christmas, anxiously pestering the main organizers by email and phone to make sure that they got my contract and my check, speculating about what produce would come my way, worrying about whether I'd be able to cook and eat it all. Day dreaming about tomatoes, all aflutter over produce.

Yesterday I picked up:

1 head of Lettuce
2 bunches of Kale
1 bunch of Radishes
1 bunch of Scallions
1 bunch of Chard
1 Kohlrabi
1 Bok choi
4 garlic scapes
2 quarts of strawberries

Split by two this doesn't seem like a lot of food. "Seem" being the operative word in that sentence. For now, I am grateful for this, especially considering how small the fridge is in my new place. As the growing season progresses who knows, who knows. Still, it's clear that a half share won't last for 2 weeks. This was made clear to me by a co-worker who warned me that the product got from a CSA was much like what you get from a farmer's market in that the food is READY when you get it and won't keep passed a day or two without you cooking, blanching, or freezing it.

With this in mind, I ate the radishes and the kohlrabi raw with salt and a little cider vinegar. Kohlrabi crunches like an apple but tastes and smells more like a turnip. If we get more of it, I will have to get my mom's turnip kim-chi recipe and give that a go.

The strawberries are small and tart and sweet and fragile. I am already half through eating them and hoping that the rest not have turned to mush by the time I get home tonight.

I made colcannon, which is basically mashed potatoes with chopped, cooked leafy greens mixed in. In my case, kale, for others it's cabbage. At first I added half of my batch of kale to the taters which made it very potato-y with some green stuff in it. So I boiled up the rest and added that and had something that was more like a blend of potato and leaf. It was about 3 or 4 cups of Kale leaves chopped up and boiled in super salted water for about 7-10 mins. Didn't use the cream, used 3/4 of a stick of butter, some milk, and some of the kale water to keep things from getting too dry. Added scallions to the mix at the end. It was friendly, like having your mashed taters and creamed spinach in the same bowl.

In tackling the chard, I tried just frying the stems with garlic and capers and then wilting the leaves with them. Unfortunately, the leaves and the stems were much tougher than my internet recipe suggested. I cooked them, and cooked them, and added water, a little chicken bouillon, and a bay leaf and cooked them some more. At the end, they came out tough and wilted at the same time. In the less cooked parts, with the consistency of seaweed. A little bitter, so I added some balsamic vinegar and threw them in the fridge. Will have to dig up alternative means of preparation.

There are bok choi, lettuce, and garlic scapes in my fridge, waiting for me. The scapes in particular are of interest. Apparently if you have a lot of them you can make a pesto. But with two I think that is unlikely. Perhaps in an omelette.

And by the end of the week, I will fall back into anticipation and day dreaming about vegetables.


At 11:26 PM, June 30, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

try to stir-fry the bok choi with fresh ginger, garlic and oyster sauce. Add some extra firm tofu and sake if you like to make it saucier. Eat over rice - healthy and delicious,

Great preparation to share the next pint of ice cream


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