Among other things, I’m a mom to an almost five year old and a two month old. Before I was a mom I had hobbies and crafty creative projects going on in my life; now my main hobby is making good food. It works out nicely because my family likes to eat. And for this hobby I love the CSA season. There is nothing better than taking something that we’ve never heard of and turning it into something delicious, especially if my daughter agrees that it is delicious.
I get really excited about it. When I talk about it at social functions and family reunions, I’m met most often with people looking at me like I have three heads (oh, really you made kohlrabi “french fries”… ) but sometimes my excitement finds a kindred spirit. I’m guessing that in the CSA community there will be more in the later camp and thought I’d share my strategy and a couple of recipes that we have liked in the past few weeks.
When we get our share on Saturday, I spend a little time mapping out the menu for the week and finding recipes to incorporate the share, bonus points when you can find something that incorporates multiple ingredients. (Note, this is all in my head, you don’t actually win anything other than a dinner and no wasted veg.) I have a few go to cookbooks for recipes, but mostly I work from Internet searches. There are tons of great cooking blogs and recipe sites out there waiting to help. I have some criteria that I need to filter for:
- It has to be quick and easy (something that can be prepared while being asked a million questions and stand interruption from a crying baby).
- Doesn’t aggravate our kid’s food allergies, egg and dairy.
- Sounds like something we’d probably enjoy.
I sometimes follow recipes, but usually I use them as a suggestion or inspiration for what I actually do in the kitchen. I find flexibility helpful in making the recipe search go more quickly. When I’m done with the menu, I have a map for the week, including plans for any picnics so we can take in a movie or concert in the park or extra easy nights that only one parent will be around, or dinner guests. No more wondering at 6pm, with grumbling tummies and hanger (hunger+anger) brewing, what to do with the turnips staring at you. (By the way, the answer to that is order pizza.) And I have a shopping list for anything else I need to make it all work.
Here are some recipes that have worked for us in the last couple of weeks. We’ve been having fun with the weed greens and have heard they’re not that popular. At the risk that there will be less weed greens for us, these are recipes we’ve discovered and enjoyed.
For amaranth leaves we use this recipe. It is delicious with any berries you have. The flavors in this salad complement beef, if you want meat too. I also think it would be great with some crumbled goat cheese or blue cheese. And we used this week’s zucchini and purslane together in this salad: We served this with turkey meatballs and multigrain baguette, but it is hearty enough to stand on its own and the leftovers made a great lunch the next day.
And finally, I have to mention the success of our Sunday dinner because it was pretty enough for pictures and it won bonus points for using lots of items from the share (chard, scapes, potato, turnip, blackberries, plums). The menu was:
- grilled organic pork chops
- Sautéed chard, shallots and garlic scapes
- Potato-turnip puree
- Blackberries, plums, and nectarines with almond vanilla “ice cream” for dessert
The chard was sautéed in olive oil and a splash of rose wine we had in the fridge. I didn’t use a recipe, just made that one up. Here is the puree recipe. I was flexible on this one: 1) I used scapes instead of garlic cloves 2) I used non-dairy butter and milk and it turned out good but thinner than if evaporated milk was used. If you’re ok with a thinner texture you could use regular milk.
I hope this gives you a few ideas for how to use all the good things in our shares. — Andrea Foley-Murphy