Sunday, May 15, 2011

what to do with fresh produce: 1

We got our first CSA haul last Tuesday. My goal this year is to not let ANY of the wonderful CSA bounty go to waste, nor to let any of our bountiful garden output go to waste. I'm being optimistic about our garden. Last year was so pitiful it wasn't at all difficult to use it all since we got a handful total. This year is going to be awesome though. So to inspire myself and have a place to document recipes I try, I'm going to blog how I handle the produce. I doubt anyone will read this. Maybe I'll share it with Mare. :-)

From the CSA:
Lettuces and mixed greens (Arugula, Tat Soi, Red Mustard and Mizuna): YUM!!!!! I've been having salads for lunch every day, using 3-4 lettuce leaves and a large handful of greens to add spice. Personally, I'd be happy eating straight greens, but I want to use up the lettuce too, which is too bland to eat on its own in my opinion. In the salads, I've included radishes and cucumber, and I also like fruits - strawberries in particular, but not necessarily with the radishes. Different days, just to be clear. I added boiled egg one day for some protein. I don't always add dressing, just salt. I did make a grapefruit vinaigrette and use that until it was gone. For vinaigrette, add the following to a blender: 1/4 cup grapefruit juice - usually from 1 grapefruit, 1/4 teaspoon grapefruit zest, 1 tablespoon honey (local honey from farmer's market!), 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, 4 scallions sliced thin - only white part, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Turn on blender and blend. Then veeeeeerrry slowly, while the blender is on, drizzle in 1/2 cup oil (1/4 cup canola+1/4 cup olive). This gets messy. I put on the top and take out the middle plastic part but still have to shield it with my hand or a paper towel to keep the vinaigrette from dressing everything in the kitchen. Put in a plastic squirt bottle and keep in the fridge - squirt on salads all week long. Yum. This recipe is one we got from A Chef's Kitchen.

Earliglow Strawberries (2 quarts): The first quart disappeared from snacking. I used some of the second quart for today's salad (see above). Still have a few to use up...

Bright Lights Swiss Chard: I think you have to use swiss chard the day you get it. I adore swiss chard when it's freshly picked. Otherwise, meh. I sauteed garlic in a olive oil with salt, added the swiss chard (which I washed thoroughly and cut into 1" squares). Sauted for about 5 minutes, then stirred it up and flipped it over. I didn't get to eat any. It was gone by the time I was ready for my dinner. I do think I added too much olive oil. You don't need much. Next time I might even try the spray oil.

Asparagus: This went into Risotto with spring onions and parmesan. Saute spring onions in olive oil, then add risotto - I used 1 1/2 cups for my family - and stir for a few minutes to coat the rice with oil. Add 1 cup of white wine, and decrease heat to low/medium. As the wine cooks off and is absorbed, add a large ladle of warm veggie broth one at a time, stirring and letting liquid be absorbed between ladles. Once risotto is the right consistency, add asparagus and shredded parmesan. I cut the asparagus into 1 inch lengths, and blanched in boiling water for 2 minutes, then put it into ice water until ready to add to risotto. This keeps it bright green. Was going to also add green peas (the steam-in-your-microwave kind), but there was more asparagus than I thought there'd be. We just ate the peas on the side.

Spring onion: (see above for risotto)

French breakfast radishes: Added to my salad one day. Still have some to use up. I'm not sure what to do with radishes other than snack on them or put in salads. Radish butter, maybe?

From our own garden:
Cilantro: I harvested a bunch and set it in a jar of water while I decided what to do. The internet says you can keep fresh cilantro for a few days like this. Don't know if it needs to also go in the fridge or not. I ended up making black beans with brown rice. Soaked the beans all day, then cooked for about 30 minutes. In a large sauce pan, I sauteed 1 1/2 diced yellow onions. Added black beans (a couple of cups?), salt, and ground ginger. (yes, ginger). I chopped up all the cilantro and added it (maybe 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro leaves?). I also added some lemon juice. It was supposed to be lime juice, but I didn't have any. Lemon didn't taste bad, but I'll use lime when I make this again. Made some brown rice to go with it. It wasn't spicy enough for me - I'd add chopped jalepenos or habaneros if I were making it just for myself - but the family loved it.

Strawberries: nowhere near as good as the variety from the CSA. Maybe they'll get sweeter as the summer goes on. They might be good for smoothies when we get more. I need to pick them - there's starting to be a lot.


Mom said...

Yumm. I will try the black bean and rice dish sometime. Got all kinds of dried beans, but not black. Next grocery trip :) I only use my cilantro in soups and a few sprigs in salads. Sounds very healthy, Julia.

Holly Jahangiri said...

You are making me SO hungry - but it's good, because you're making me hungry for good, healthy GREEN things. :)