Monday, July 5, 2010

CSA: June 2010

Week 4 (6/3/2010):
- 1 quart strawberries (PYO)
- 1 quart snow peas (PYO)
- 1 lb spinach
- 1 lb swiss chard (rainbow colors!)
- 4 heads of lettuce (2 green leaf, one smaller, tighter head type, and one called "deer tongue!")
- 1/2 lb arugula
- 2 bunches kale (I believe it is the Red Russian variety, different from last week's)

With the last kale of May, we made the kale chips.  They would have been delicious if they weren't so salty!  We may try again sometime, but we have been getting a different variety lately and are not sure how it would work with this type (Red Russian, I think).  The lettuce was, of course, used for salad.  Having just gotten used to having six heads, we went through it pretty fast.  Some spinach and arugula were tossed in for a mixed salad.  The strawberries were eaten quickly.  My sister Deanna made a pasta dish using the spinach, a combination of Jamie Oliver's classic tomato spaghetti and a recipe from Giada with spinach and asiago cheese (the cheese is a new family favorite).

Here is where we started to get lazy.  The kale and chard went unused as did much of the arugula.  The snow peas weren't used until Thursday when the next batch of veg had already stormed our fridge (see below).  We (well, I should probably say I) resolved to make a better effort in the upcoming week.

Berry Pine Nut Salad (29 Minutes to Dinner)

Week 5 (6/10/2010):
- 1 lb spinach
- 1 lb chard
- 6 heads lettuce (1 little weird one, 2 deer tongue, 1 green leaf, 2 red leaf)
- 2 bunches kale
- 1 bunch scallions
- 1 bunch radishes
- 2 heads radicchio
- 1 qt snow/snap peas, 1 pt each (PYO)
- a few sprigs of mint
- 4 summer squash (2 light green zucchini, 2 pattypan)

We made Asian chicken rolls (from the Pampered Chef book Grill it Quick!) on the grill - these are chicken tenderloins rolled up with a long, thin slice of carrot and one of the zucchini as well, secured with a toothpick and coated with Asian seasoning mix and a delicious glaze.  Bits of zucchini and carrot were chopped up in a rice pilaf, with some scallions mixed in.  To go along with this, I made sesame snap peas with carrots and red peppers using last week's snap peas.  That seemed to be a hit, but I thought the peas were too bitter - maybe because we waited so long to use them.  Deanna used up the zucchini we didn't use for the recipe in an omelet. 

My mom had a barbecue with her friends on Saturday, which is when I found the mint which I had forgotten in the bottom of my cooler.  (Oops...)  Fortunately, Ken had trimmed the mint at his parents' house so we were able to make mojitos!  (My favorite drink.  Yum!)  With some of the mixed lettuce and snap peas, we made a Berry Pine Nut Salad from a Pampered Chef cookbook (Berry-Pine Nut Chicken Salad, minus the chicken, from 29 Minutes to Dinner), which also had toasted pine nuts, red onions, blueberries, and a raspberry vinaigrette.  It was a beautiful salad (I made quite a nice presentation, thank you) and everyone seemed to really enjoy it.  (I had it the next day, though, and I did not like it.  Oh well!)  Since it was a barbecue, we also made grilled radicchio.  Some people liked it, some didn't - I think it might have been better if we were able to marinate it.  The next day we had a lot of barbecue leftovers for a lunch with the grandparents, and we added in the roasted spring vegetables, which has become a family favorite and was the exact reason I chose radishes from the choice group this week.  Instead of chives, my mom sprinkled scallions on top.  Later in the week, I used some of the remaining scallions to make the Otsu from Super Natural Cooking (also available on 101 Cookbooks). 

After not eating our kale or chard last week, I decided to take action and get creative.  Since we are sharing all this produce, I usually don't take any of it home - we most often cook at my mom's and eat there, or I bring home the leftovers.  This week, I took home the kale.  I've never really had kale before but I know that it is a nutritional powerhouse, so I really wanted to like it.  I've heard it tastes like and is in the same family as broccoli, so I decided we should try it in one of my favorite dishes - lemon pepper shrimp.  We threw in a little broccoli, just to give us that familiar flavor in case the kale was a flop.  It was delicious!!!  We used one bunch of the kale for that, so we had a bunch left over for the next night's dinner.  I had a bunch of things that I wanted to try, but I settled on a variation of the Matchstick Pasta on 101 Cookbooks.  I left out the pomegranate seeds, crushed all the pistachios for the sauce instead of sprinkling half of them on whole, and didn't break up the pasta.  Mine certainly wasn't as pretty, but it was a very delicious quick and easy weeknight dinner.

Week 6 (6/17/2010):
- 4 heads lettuce (2 green leaf, 2 red leaf)
- 2 bunches kale (1 Red Russian, 1 "regular")
- 2 bunches fennel (about 4 bulbs)
- 4 summer squash (1 light green zucchini, 3 dark green)
- 4 green garlic (bulbs and loooong stems)
- 12 heads broccoli
- 1/2 lb arugula
- a few sprigs each of rosemary, thyme, and oregano, and a bunch of chives (without flowers)

I was excited to see kale in the farm stand this week, since we discovered last week that we loved it, and I hadn't seen it on the list of available items on the farm's distribution blog.  We used it immediately in our lemon-pepper shrimp recipe, along with a few heads of the broccoli and some of the green garlic.  I chose the fennel from the choice group (the other option was the radicchio we weren't crazy about last week) as kind of a Father's Day present for my dad, who loves it and will eat it raw, roasted or grilled.  He finished it all off raw this time.  Deanna came with me this week and was super excited about the fresh herbs.

At the beach, we grilled some of the zucchini and last week's pattypan squash.  We chopped a bulb of the garlic to eat with steamed green beans - delicious!  For a quick and easy dinner when we got home on Sunday night, we made the Almond Soba Noodles from 101 Cookbooks using some of the broccoli.

Grilled Zucchini and Pattypan Squash

Week 7 (6/24/2010):
- 4 bulbs green garlic
- 2 heads broccoli
- 1 lb chard
- 2 bunches kale (regular variety)
- 2 bunches fennel
- 1 Chinese cabbage
- 1 bunch onions
- 6 heads lettuce (4 red, 1 different type of red, 1 deer tongue)

I have been trying to share with my family - it's hard for me not to snatch up everything I want and take it home with me.  I try to leave some, maybe even most, of the weekly produce for them.  However, I am discovering more and more that I eat a lot more vegetables than they do.  Last week after splitting the 12 heads of broccoli (6 for the two of us, 6 for the four of them) we used ours up fairly quickly, while they had some left over.  (We took it down the shore and made a salmon version of our lemon pepper shrimp to finish it off.)  I was disappointed to see only 2 heads of broccoli this week - it's one of my favorites.  We finished it off in our lemon pepper shrimp recipe, of course, with some kale in there as well.

I chose fennel again for my dad, which he ate raw again, and he says he's not sick of it yet.  I brought home the kale and chard for myself this week - I don't think we've eaten any chard yet this season and we've been collecting it for weeks.  It has a much better shot of getting cooked, much less eaten, at my house than at my mom's.  Plus, last week's bunch of regular-variety kale, which Deanna insisted on taking to make kale chips at the expense of my enjoying the red variety, is still in their fridge.  We ended up having some chard sauteed with garlic, kind of like spinach.  It was pretty good, but didn't blow me away.  I used up the rest of the chard, including the stems, in Walnut Miso Noodles.

The lettuce and onions were used in a salad - the onions were particularly delicious.  (My dressing recipe has evolved into something amazing: 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup white balsamic, a clove or two of garlic, a shallot, two moderate and controlled squeezes of dijon mustard, and salt and pepper.  Easy, classy and so delicious.)  The garlic was, unfortunately, forgotten at the beach, so hopefully it's still good next weekend.  I would like to look for more raw uses.  The Chinese cabbage was forgotten by everyone, so maybe it will turn up in next month's post.

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