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Sharing the Share: CSA Week 1

June 12, 2008
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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!)
  • radishes
  • scallions
  • 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!)

12 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2008 7:44 pm

    We get our first box next weekend…can’t wait!

    We’ve made braised radishes…there is a recipe in Deborah Madison’s Veg. Cooking for Everyone. Basically, saute shallot in butter, add water and radishes (halved if they are large), and braise until tender, and liquor is reduced. Add the radish greens and fresh thyme at the end…REALLY delicious!

  2. June 12, 2008 8:29 pm

    Those veggies are beautiful, very photogenic! I can’t wait to see what you come up with.🙂

  3. June 12, 2008 10:52 pm

    oooh how can I find an organization like that in my area?

  4. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink permalink
    June 13, 2008 5:59 am

    Amy: This is so fun! If we have to live without FNP, this is a more than suitable replacement. I’m waiting with bated breath to see your CSA creations. Have fun!

  5. alynna permalink
    June 13, 2008 6:00 am

    With the Asian greens/bak choy, the typical Chinese method would be to fry them with a bit of garlic, ginger, soy sauce and oyster sauce. But you could also try boiling or steaming the vegetables and serving them with minced meat that has been fried with hoi sin sauce, pepper and sesame oil. Goes well with rice, of course.🙂

  6. Betsy permalink
    June 13, 2008 11:44 am

    I’m glad your CSA began – those strawberries and veggies look beautiful! I’ve been having alot of fun with our shares, especially since we’re newtimers at this. Earlier this week I made a turnip cake recipe that is similar to making potato latkes – it was delicious (but anything with that much oil is bound to be). If you do a google search several recipes will come up (most with bacon as an ingredient, which I know you love🙂 Last week I roasted some radishes with sesame oil and soy sauce and incorporated them into a stir fry with chinese cabbage and some other veggies and rice – it was pretty good. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  7. June 13, 2008 11:54 am

    I like to pair aggressive greens with sweet dried fruit, like raisins or prunes, to balance any bitterness. Just saute with olive oil and garlic as usual and throw in dried fruit and a squeeze of lemon during the last minute of cooking.

  8. June 13, 2008 8:09 pm

    After several seasons with my CSA, I have really grown to love some of the greens you mentioned. Last week I tried an arugula salad with strawberries from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food and loved it.

  9. June 13, 2008 8:43 pm

    Lauren – thanks for the great radish suggestion; I would not have thought to braise them but it sounds delicious. I have that cookbook, so I’ll be looking up the recipe!

    Thanks, LyB!

    EJH, you can go to localharvest.org and click on the CSA link at the top — you can search by zip code for all the CSAs in your geographic area. Hope that helps!

    Thanks, Kristin! The FNPs are not going away completely…but this should be a fun new show and tell series for me to try.

    alynna – thanks, I think I’m going to try stir-frying the baby bok choy with the garlic, ginger, soy and oyster sauce that you mentioned. Sounds delicious!

    Betsy – hiya!🙂 Wow, you’ve been busy — I have to admit that I giggled a bit reading the phrase “turnip cake,” it just sounds so incongruous (but intriguing.) Can’t wait to hear more about your share.

    Hannah – ah, thanks for reminding me! One of the ways I like to cook kale is with some golden raisins…that’s a great idea.

    LS – that salad sounds delicious!!

  10. carolina permalink
    June 13, 2008 8:49 pm

    hi amy,
    strawberries with some good tangy yogurt would make a phenomenal frozen yogurt…don’t know if a pint is enough though! the radishes dipped in a nice sea salt and enjoyed with bread and butter and a really icy tasty ale/beer while watching the sun set : P…you could turn the scallions into a great korean pancake…the bitter greens, not familiar with all of them, if anything like rabe would do well with a really quick blanch, a saute with olive oil and plenty of garlic and a touch of red pepper flakes, it would taste nice as a side dish with grilled sausage or chicken, or in a salad with warmed up goat cheese coins and roasted pepper…yummy!! enjoy that beautiful bounty of goodness!!

  11. June 14, 2008 11:25 am

    You should try braising the radishes. I know it sounds bizarre but they’re so good!

    See them here: http://vanillabasil.blogspot.com/2008/03/march-madness.html

    I apologize for the sheer length of this post, they’re down towards the end of it.

  12. Thardy permalink
    June 9, 2010 2:31 pm

    I am new to CSA we just got our second pick up yesterday.
    Beautiful kohlrabi, green leaf lettuce, bok choy, spring turnips, mixed salad greens, some kohlrabi greens and a italian pepper plant. The portions are still small , one kohlrabi and 3 turnips but the salad greens are amazing. Plaming to cook the kolrahbi greens tonight. Can’t wait for the strawberries to be ready up here! Yours phots are gorgeous!.

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