What I Made With My Share

Editor’s note: Meet Stacy Cowley, one of the new Red Hook CSA food bloggers. Each week she’ll share her adventures  in cooking through a small share. Expect some success — and even some epic fail. She bares all, with a dash of dark humor.

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For my first week of CSA cookery, I had grand plans. I had a shelf of cookbooks. I had new pasta recipes to try, exciting soup creations, and a rack of fresh Penzeys spices queued up.

Then I made a fatal decision: I invited friends over for Sunday brunch. And opened wine.

The cooking plans rapidly devolved. “We could go to the store and get ingredients for pancakes …” I suggested. “Let’s  make KITCHEN SINK SALAD!” my friend Catherine answered.

What goes in kitchen sink salad? Anything tasty and available, with little regard for traditional flavor combos. Off to pillage the CSA box we went.

The peas were the first to fall. A shelling frenzy yielded a big bowl, which we snacked on while developing the rest of our game plan. (I kept the empty pea shells in a freezer bag, to turn into pea pod soup. (More later* on that little experiment.)

“Bacon!” Catherine suggested.

“Does bacon go in a salad?” I asked dubiously. “Bacon goes in everything,” she sensibly answered.

My fridge coughed up frozen bacon, a hard-boiled egg (the sole survivor of the deviled eggs I turned my first half-dozen egg share into), a leek, a chunk of cheddar cheese, and a vast assortment of mustards.

Seriously, we discovered that I had 11 kinds of mustard on hand. My only explanation is that the bottles spawn when left unattended.

The CSA box yielded more salad components: garlic scapes, thyme, and my bag of mixed salad greens.

Our fellow salad improviser, Stacy (above, with Catherine), went to work with the thyme, mustards, chopped garlic scapes, olive oil, some balsamic vinaigrette and a whisk. Ten minutes later, a dressing emerged.

We flung that together with the cheese/bacon/sauteed leek/chopped egg and more garlic scapes, and declared it lunch. Next week I’ll try something more ambitious, but tipsy “thow everything in there!” salad seemed good for a maiden CSA box voyage.

*Later that day I made the pea-pod soup, using chicken stock from the downtown Brooklyn farmers’ market and subbing in leeks and garlic scapes for the onion/garlic. All seemed groovy, and I tucked the soup in the fridge to chill overnight. The next day, I pulled it out to serve … and discovered a wiggly, gelatinous blob. Eep!

Seems fat-filled chicken stock may not have been the cleverest choice. Next time, I try veggie. Fortunately, a minute of microwave nuking and a bit of water stirred in thinned the soup enough to serve. The taste was mainly chicken, though, so — a second attempt will be necessary.

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