Thursday, September 10, 2009

Apple of My Eye

In this week's CSA box:

A pair of ripe, fragrant, homely (so you know they're good) pears.

A half-dozen crisp and sweet apples, the best of which was snagged by Little Miss (above).

So much for the eating-out-of-hand produce. The real meat-and-potatoes, so to speak, are:

Two zephyr squash, with their distinctive half-green/half-yellow coloring. Possible stir-fry candidate, or maybe I'll give in and make a squash casserole. I love the smell of squash and onions frying in butter. One of the Proustian smells of my childhood, and a top-5 favorite, right up there with standing downwind of the Krispy Kreme store.

Pac choi, aka bok choy. Screams stir-fry to me.

Basil for pesto. I love the CSA basil. It's very dark and unbelievably spicy and fragrant.

Green beans for braising. I've made the green bean soup for the summer, and this bunch has a date with a smoked turkey leg and onion, cozied up in the Dutch oven for an afternoon at 300.

Acorn squash. Just table decor until October when I will roast it with other squash. I hope a butternut is in my future.

Okra. The slightly clogged arteries of my Southern heart go pitter-patter when I see okra. Dori Sanders has a parmigiana technique for okra that is interesting and flavorful, but more time-draining than I need, so I will make a quasi-gumbo beginning with bacon, then canned tomatoes, onions, garlic, seasoning and simmering. Served with sauteed shelled shrimp and steamed rice, it's much less work than gumbo, and the simple flavors are appealing to my kids. Besides, when I need a real Louisiana fix, I head to the excellent Cajun restaurant near my home, Gumbeaux's. (you know it's authentic if they mess up on the French plural and possessive.)

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