Thursday, May 14, 2009

CSA: Celebrating Seasonal Abundance

Beauty Shots
Above: Farmers Fresh CSA New Member Pack &
Below: This Week's Produce

It may be raining outside, but it's a beautiful day inside my house because I picked up my first Farmers Fresh CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shipment of the year. I waited a bit late to join in this year -- the program started in March, but I'm so glad I signed up. The box is filled, literally filled with lettuces, beets still clinging to bits of soil, and snow peas, snow peas! vibrant green and just-picked crisp, crying out to be stir-fried!
The new member pack was a nice surprise, a Farmers Fresh tote filled with grains, honey, coffee and the makings for herbal tea. This is a picture of the member's package, along with my girls' opening the presents: goat's milk soap samples and lip balms.

And this is what I plan to cook with the CSA bounty:
1. Strawberries. The favored Mercer method of strawberry consumption is to clean the berries, hull and halve them and serve them with a bowl of demerara sugar. I used to mail order demerara, but now you can buy organic demerara at Kroger or Wal-Mart, just look near the granulated sugar. It has the molasses taste of brown sugar, but it's less refined and less moist, so you get non-melty crunch with each luscious bite. If I get ambitious, and if the berries last long enough, I'm tempted to make a simple pavlova, with a slow-baked meringue base and simple sugared berries serve on top.
2. Snow peas. I could go all Martha and make that ridiculously time-consuming, but very tasty, stuffed snow pea appetizer. I think that will have to wait. I think shrimp and snow peas will make an excellent stir-fry for supper. Maybe some fried rice on the side, which will incorporate the beautiful green onion.

3. The beautiful green onion can be used in the fried rice/stir-fry combo mentioned above or perhaps in a comforting potato soup. BTW, I've been waiting all year for the CSA potatoes. I have a collection of leek greens in my freezer, so the onion greens will surely go into my next batch of vegetable stock.

4. This week's herb bundle includes cilantro, admittedly, not a favorite, although I'm not one of those cilantro haters who detect a soapy taste in the green herb. This month's Fine Cooking has a recipe for Kohlrabi and Radish Slaw with Cumin and Cilantro that deserves a try.

5. Loose Leaf and Hydroponic Lettuces. Initial game plan is to use them in salads, but I'll keep in mind a Jacques Pepin recipe that uses a vinaigrette-dressed salad as a base for a simple pan-fried piece of fish.
6. Beets. I love beets, especially pickled beets on a Greek Salad (see last summer's post). A few months back I made roasted vegetables with dill from a Gourmet Cookbook recipe. I think that may merit a second try. Served with a nice piece of steak, or perhaps a roasted chicken breast.

No comments: