Sharing the Share: CSA Week 1
As I mentioned before, B and I signed up for a share this year at one of the Community Supported Agriculture organizations in the area (we’re lucky enough to have a number of them around here!) We had a share at a CSA back when we lived in the Boston area, and loved it — this is our first year with a share here in Ithaca. We chose the Full Plate Farm Collective, which is a multi-farm CSA; all three participating farms practice organic farming methods and two of them, in addition, practice biodynamic farming. We had our first pickup this week!
The first year we had our share was a huge culinary education for me: even though I generally knew what would be harvested each month, week to week, it was always a surprise what we’d bring home. I learned to cook with ingredients I wasn’t all that familiar with (kohlrabi, asian braising greens, etc). I also gained a lot of confidence in how to cook without recipes — my cooking simplified, in a way; there was no need to make a complicated recipe when I had produce that was ready to shine all on its own. I gave up a bit of the extensive meal planning I had been doing in favor of just going with the flow of what was being harvested and what was fresh. If you’re interested in food and love to cook, joining a CSA is invigorating and challenging (in a very good way!) Having all that delicious, beautiful, just-harvested produce is pretty inspiring.
So, I thought it might be fun (for me, at least — I hope it’s fun for you too!) to do a little “show and tell” each week with the share. I’ll give you a rundown of what we got, and any ideas I have of how I’m going to use things…and feel free to comment with any ideas you have for how I could use some of these great ingredients!
So here we go: this week, our share included:
- strawberries (yaaaaay!)
- red leaf lettuce
- asian braising greens
- haikuri turnips (spring/salad turnips)
- some type of bok-choy/pac choi like green
First things first: the strawberries!!! What to make with them…we only got a pint, so I’m thinking we may just eat them in their unadulterated glory.
Turnips — these are small spring salad turnips; really mild and crisp and subtly sweet. Along with the radishes, I sliced some really thinly and tossed them with sesame oil, lime juice, a little rice vinegar and chives…made a great crisp side salad (more to come on that recipe soon.) I’ll save the greens and saute them like I would spinach, with some garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. I only used a few turnips in the radish/turnip salad, maybe I’ll roast the remaining ones? I’d never turn down a roasted root vegetable.
Radishes — maybe slicing these up in salads; they’re really mild. Maybe slice them onto buttered baguette slices, sprinkle w/salt and pepper?
Asian braising greens — B is more a fan of these than I am, though I’m going to give them another shot. It’s a mix of spicy baby greens, including tatsoi, arugula, red mustard, mizuna, red russian kale, curly cress, and amaranth. We had these in past years in our share, and I seem to remember turning my nose up at their strong mustardy taste. Hmm. But I’m always game to try things again — I’ll probably stir-fry them or braise them to serve as a side dish.
What do you think? Any ideas? Ways you like to cook these ingredients?
Stay tuned for that crunchy sesame radish & spring turnip salad (I promise, it was delicious!)