Cooking from CSA/Farmers Market
So we just subscribed to a local CSA share, and I'd love to start a thread about tasty ways to prepare all the great produce! Is there anyone else cooking from a CSA? What produce are you getting and what meals are you making?
Here's what we did yesterday:
Indian spiced lentils w/ CSA beet greens
Raita with CSA cucumbers, hot pepper and radish
Pasta with braised fennel from Deborah Madison's Farmer's Market cookbook (note: I think the recipe has potential but it didn't knock my socks off. In the future, I would use less lemon than she suggets to let more of the fennel flavor shine through)
Grilled CSA squash with TJ chicken sausages
CSA watercress and arugula salad w/ cranberries, goat cheese and walnuts.
What about you? Anyone else having to find creative ways to cook CSA produce? We still have 4 betts to use up (thinking cold gazpacho/borscht soup or roasted for salad) and a large bunch of radishes. I'm not sure at all how we will use all the radishes. We have sweet cherries (don't know what kind), a few peaches, and several cukes and zuchinni.
I'd love to hear what other folks are doing!
cucumbers -- cucumber salad w/ salted, drained and rinsed cucumbers, rice vinegar, sugar, red onion and dill
the others I am gave away as a gift(!)
sugar snaps -- par boiled and served as crudites w/ dip
will cook more and toss w/ sesame oil & toasted sesame seeds
scallions -- scallion & chive dip (for crudites) w/ sour cream, yogurt, a bit of mayo and romano cheese
zucchini -- grilled, of course
also sauteed w/ corn, peppers and onions/scallions
Great idea for a thread!
Is this your first year with a CSA? Just wait -- it's still early! By the end of the season you'll be frantically trying to use all the produce. You'll be giving it away, and canning, and freezing, and...you'll miss it so much in winter.
I try to keep the recipes simple (because I'm lazy and) because I want the flavors of the veg to star. So far this year I've made zucchini soup with pesto to use both zuke and basil. Raw fennel salad with green olives. Baked fennel with parm-regg. As you say, roast beet salad (with walnuts and blue cheese). (Later on, I'll pickle beets to use throughout the winter.) Cuke salad with dill. I made an Oriental-style coleslaw with the napa cabbage and snowpeas. Lots of stir-fries. I made a raita with one of my cucumbers, too, along with an Indian zuke dish.
Earlier there was an abundance of strawberries, and that was a treat.
I'm in the Northeast. It would be fun to hear what you're all getting in your area.
This is our first CSA, and we've only had one delivery so far (I signed up late.) We're in the midatlantic/DC area.
I'd love your recipe for zucchini soup w/ basil, sounds perfect! I guess I should start collecting my tomato sauce and zucchini bread recipes now for the late summer glut. I'm sure we will have more tomotoes than I'll know what to do w/, as I already have 5 plants growing in the yard!
Any thoughts for a pint of cherries? (not sour or pie). We've been eating them raw, but there's still lots to go!
Can't wait to see what folks get and what they do w/ it!
I noticed a similar soup in the Favorite Zucchini Recipes thread currently on Chowhound that you might want to check out. I got this recipe from my aunt, who's been making this for years.
Zucchini Soup with Pesto
3 lbs. zucchini, sliced
2 medium onions, chopped
3 Tbl. olive oil
6 cups chicken broth (I use water + Knorr veg cubes)
3/4 cup (7 oz.) pesto, homemade or bought
Grated parmesan, for garnish
Basil leaves, for garnish
In a large pot, saute onions in oil until limp, about 10 mins. Add zuke and only 1 cup of the broth. Bring to boil, cover, and simmer until tender, about 15 mins.
Puree in food processor or blender. Return to pot, add remaining broth, and bring to boil. Off heat, stir in pesto.
Garnish bowls with grated parm and basil leaves..
Makes about 11 cups
here in the mid-atlantic we're getting greens, fresh garlic and shallots, snap peas, cabbage, brocolli, and the first of the zucchini, at the farmers market, the stone fruits and berries are just starting to come in - the first peaches, blueberries, black raspberries, red raspberries, cherries . . . .all good!
Well, since we have a lot of greens and it's been unsufferably/unseasonally hot here, we've just been chopping it up raw to add a bit of crunch and variety to our (seemingly endless) green salads. Or, just chopping it up raw, adding a sprinkle of salt and eating it as a refreshing snack or to dip in guac or something.
But, my other favorite preparation of it (when I don't mind having a hot oven going in my kitchen), is to bake it--sort of au gratin style similarish to this:
We've got a lot of argula right now, too, so we're enjoying argula+watermelon+feta salads.
I made a curry with diced kohlrabi and chickpeas, served over rice... it was really, really good! The idea was to use it in place of the potatoes. Let me know if you'd like my recipe.
I must say though that I do prefer it raw, in slaw or tossed into a green salad... something about that crunchiness w/the subtle sweetness that is just sooo good...
This is the first year that I have belonged to a CSA, and I'm totally overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of the weekly share--I can't imagine how much produce there will be mid-summer.
I've been finding good recipes for most of the veggies, but must admit that the kohlrabi stumped me. I ended up gratining it.
For the radishes, I made a yummy salad with sliced radishes, a couple of chopped hard-boiled eggs, plenty of parsley, and a dijon-shallot vinaigrette, salt and pepper of course.
Another salad that uses lots of things that need to be used up is roasted sliced beets, steamed sugar snaps, and dill over arugula, with a honey-mustard dressing. Sounded a little odd to me at first, but it all went together really well.
Can't wait to see what's in tomorrow's delivery!
I like making a veggie and rice dish. I chop up all the different veggies (doesn't seem to matter what's in there) and then lightly sautee with some white wine, parsley, basil, lemon peel and salt/pepper. Then I just toss it with wither brown rice, wild rice, or couscous. Last night we used tomatoes, baby turnips, eggplant, scapes, carrots, baby potatoes, chard, spinach, radishes, and onion. It was delicious!!!!
Tonight I'm using the last of the chard with some hot sauce, the it's back to market on Friday to stock up for the weekend..
Great post! I, too, joined about 4 months ago and am loving it. I get a lot of greens. Here is a dish everyone seems to enjoy:
PASTA WITH GREENS/CHARD
Slice the greens and/orchard about twice the size of matchsticks... it doesn't have to be exact, you could tear it, even. Then, cook the greens with chopped onion (or shallots), garlic (chopped or slivered) and chopped parsley. (You could also add chopped tomatoes.) Then toss it with fresh cooked pasta and grated parmesean or pecorino.
There are a number of variations, such as adding butter or a little chicken broth or other herbs. I use whichever greens I have, such as spinach or turnip greens or, particularly tasty, beet greens. Greens are really wonderful this way as a 'pasta sauce'.
I've been thinking of joining a CSA and this thread is convincing me to do it soon! Here's the issue: I usually only cook for myself, and while I eat a lot of vegetables, it sounds like I'm going to be overwhelmed by the amount of produce. I'd probably have to find a friend and split the box, right? Anyone have any recommendations for CSAs in NYC?
You certainly can get A LOT of produce, depending on the farm. I am able to get shipments every other week, rather than every week, which helps. Hopefully, you can find one with that option. So far, I have kept up, but it can be work. I make time every other Friday (when I pick up my shipment) to clean and prep and store everything for the coming week. I imagine as the summer ends, I will start doing some freezing as well. This has been wonderful for composting, as you end up with a lot of ends and tails and leaves, etc, that work so well in compost and keep you from creating much trash.
If you try localharvest.org, you might be able to find a CSA in your area. There are a number of other websites, also, just google CSA. Lots of sites for wonderful recipes out there as well.
Sophia, I'm in the same situation as you....usually cook only for myself, eat lots of vegetables, and I live in NYC. If you're anywhere near me, I'd be happy to split with you.
Re: someone's earlier kohlrabi request. I cut off the outside of the bulb, slice it up into large,rectangle-ish sticks, then add salt, and "grab" it with my fingers to mix it through. I leave it for a while, toss out the water that's come out, and then add minced garlic, mirin, and rice vinegar. After placing it in the fridge to chill, I've now got semi-pickled kohlrabi to enjoy during the summer!
We made a basic stir fry last night with the CSA green beans and radishes, adding the chicken and red pepper I had on hand. Some how, the kids in our family will only touch veggies if they've been stir fried but seldom in other forms! The radishes were great in the stir fry, I wish I thought to use more that way.
I roasted the beets, and we'll make a soup or salad with that. And we'll open the watermelon for the 4th!
We've been getting a big bag of spinach each week - have made spinach frittata, sauteed spinach, cold spinach with soy and sesame, spinach salads...
Kale - sauteed with beet greens, added into chicken soup
Zucchini - sauteed
Zucchini blossoms - fried, fantastic!
Beets - Just roasted a bunch of them, have been adding them to salads... also made a great salad out of beets, blue cheese, and pecans
Last week, made a pasta primavera with CSA squash, carrots, broccoli, spinach, green beans, and garlic scapes - that was a good way to use up some veggies
We've gotten a few big bags of herbs - could use more ideas for fresh sage and oregano!
This week we got purslane - not sure what to do with it yet.
I've already seen our produce quantities and varieties increase - can't wait to see what the summer holds!
I accidentally planted too many zucchini plants this year (I swear I planted 1 and now I have 4), so in anticipation of picking up my CSA box (with zucchini no doubt) I thought I'd go pick some blossoms and fry them. But I've never done this before!
Do you stuff them with ricotta or goat cheese or something else? Battered and fried? Egg and flour dipped and fried? Just fried?
There are plenty of recipes out there for stuffed blossoms, but I like them fried on their own. I've made them twice, the first time I used a Food Network recipe that called for an egg/flour batter and deep-frying, but I thought they were a bit heavy. Next I just did a milk wash and dipped them in flour with salt and pepper, and panfried them, and they were great.
here's my favorite way of cooking zucchini blossoms:
cut out pistels (stem inside blossom), rinse well to get out insects, and dry.
Mix up grated mozzarella w/ herbs -- parsley, basil. Stuff a tablespoon or so into blossoms and set on plate.
Mix up Marcella's pastella: 1 c. water in bowl, whisking in or straining in 2/3 c. flour, stir w/ fork until sour cream consistency. Adjust water/flour to get the right consistency.
Pour vegetable oil into frying pan, heat until hot. Working with one blossom at a time, make sure ends are twisted closed, dip into pastella, and put into hot oil. Repeat. Turn and cook until brown. Remove to paper bag and drain; add salt. They won't make it to the table!
This is also our first year doing the CSA thing. We're 4 weeks in, and I'm already overwhelmed by the amount of greens and radishes we're getting here in Brooklyn.
While I love Frank Stitt's wilted greens recipe, I can only justify so much slab bacon! The girlfriend made chard ravioli this week that was tasty.
We got fennel two weeks in a row, and made a carmelized fennel and onion pizza. The recipe came from cooking light. I am not a huge fan of fennel but carmelized it took the edge off of it and was great texture in the pizza.
We also make spanikopita one week with our spinach
And of course lots of sauteed greens with lemon and red pepper flakes.
I am now working on trying to figure out how I can freeze/preserve some of this for the winter, so I can enjoy the tastiness then.
Farm stands are my weakness. (OK, maybe fresh produce is the weakness but I digress) I swear I can have a fridge and garden full of veggies and yet I still go to the markets and buy stuff. I actually just came from a market...this is after I just picked a bunch of stuff from the garden this morning...which I wrapped up next to the stuff I got on both Friday and Thursday from two other markets. (I need a therapist)
ANYHOW...I just decided to throw a little last minute farm party late this afternoon to use up some of the goods.
Here's the menu:
fresh baby carrots
sliced cucumbers with salt and pepper
fresh mozz with tomatoes and freshly picked basil
Mix of garden lettuces and baby chard, with crumbled goat cheese, cranberries, black olives, and raw baby peas
Sauteed Softshells crabs in capers, white wine, and lemon slices
Corn on the cob
Baked Zuccini Sticks (zucs cut into strips, seasoned with italian spices and breadcrumbs)
Dark chocolate brownies with fresh cherries baked into them
We just got our first delivery from Desert Roots CSA on Thursday. They are located in Queen Creek. We were on the waitlist for three months before being offered a share. With only two we opted for a half share to see how much it was.
the first delivery was:
a good sized spaghetti squash
two ears of corn
3 small eggplant
3 different varieties of summer squash
a bunch of baby carrots
3 small head of garlic
a bunch of basil
an enormous 'specialty cucumber" I've never seen anything quite like this huge light green cuke
We went out last night so I haven't used anything yet but we're grilling the eggplant, corn and squash tonight. Going to make carrot soup later this week and picked up some fresh mozz for the tomatoes for a caprese tomorrow. The veggies are small(It is summertime in the desert after all, must adjust expectations). Hopefully the quality is good. We figured we'd take teh summer shares and stick with it through the fall and see what we think.
There are a few CSAs in the Phoenix area. They all had waitlists when I investigated earlier this year.
Just got our second week of delivery including:
Tonight, we made a caldo verde soup w/ kale, chorizo and chicpeas. I ususally enjoy that in the winter, but we had everything on hand, and I love that soup! We also add a little hot smoked spanish paprika.
Earlier, I made an omlet with squash and fennel leaves with gruyere cheese. Very tasty.
With so much different produce, I feel I resort to dishes I already know. I'll have to work to explore more recipes.
we had eggplant, basil, zucchini, cucumbers, green leaf lettuce, beets, and corn this week. I made a zucchini carpaccio salad, slicing the zucchini into ribbons with a vegetable peeler, then tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and minced shallot. Delicious, refreshing. I made another salad with the cucumbers, slicing them thinly, tossing with sour cream thinned with a bit of vinegar, minced basil (instead of the traditional dill), salt and pepper. Also delicious.
We've been enjoying our CSA bounty. Here are some recent dishes that come to mind:
Cherry compote--to serve w/ yogurt or ice cream
Beet/Tomato Gazpacho--this was amazing! We made a mostly traditional tomato gazpacho w/ a few surprises from out CSA---tomatoes, green, red,poblano and hot peppers, cukes, beets (only 1), cherries, garlic, sherry vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Not very traditional, but very very tasty! Earthy, tangy, slightly fruity but with a kick.
Grilled zuchinni w/ salmon smoked on cedar board..nice, subtle taste.
Last night, we used an Indian recipe for beets cooked w/ mustard seeds. Beet flavor shines through, but the mustard seeds gave it a nice balance. Served w/ kebabs, rice and raita w/ CSA cukes and tomatoes.
Sure, I can share. I must warn you, though, that I'm not sure its a "conversion" recipe. At the end of the day, they taste very much like beets. This is from Julie Sahni's Classic Indian Cooking.
6 med beets (about 1 1/2 lbs)
1/2 tsp tumeric
2 tbsps light veg oil
1/2 tsp blck mustard seeds
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp sugar.
Remove stems and leave from beets, and slice into think sticks. Boil beets and tumeric until cooked but firm. Heat oil on high, quickly cook mustard seeds, 5 seconds. Add beets, salt and sugar, cook 1-2 minutes.
I think I added more mustard seed, and omitted the sugar b/c I find beets sweet.
I also saw a recipe on epicurious today for roasted beets w/ cumin and mint that looked great, a little more flavors including lemon. I'm planning to try it if I get beets from our CSA again. I know many people prefer roasted beets to boiled, so this might be a good option for converting your husband. If you end up giving it a shot, let us know how you like it!
I'm telling you, though, you should try a beet/tomato gazpacho sometime! It was great!
Thanks for the recipe. I sounds good to me, as does the roasted beet recipe. That's o.k. if they do not convert him. I am not sure if his dislike is due to texture or taste.
I love icy cold beet borscht with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt when the weather is very hot. I'll confess to using the bottled version. The beet/tomato gazpacho sounds delicious. Thanks for your ideas. p.j.
Thanks! I got beets, cilantro, and green beans from my CSA this week, so I tried the roasted beets with cumin recipe from epicurious last night. I used the cilantro in a chermoula recipe and marinated and grilled some chicken breasts. I also did a long-cooked green bean recipe from Mark Bittman/Paula Wolfert in which you mix a big bunch of green beans, a 14.5 oz can of tomatoes (no fresh ones here yet), half an onion, olive oil, salt and pepper then simmer it for 1.5 hours before adding some lemon and a little more olive oil.
My meal planning wasn't so great because everything included lemon and olive oil, but individually it tasted really good and used lots of my CSA vegetables!
I'm sad that I just discovered this thread--it's great to see what other people are getting and what they're doing with it. The best thing I came up with so far was to do make a pizza with caramelized walla walla sweet onions and a few garlic scapes.
I use the recipe from Bitt
man's How to Cook Everything (he says that it's from Paula Wolfert). It looks very close to this recipe:
except that Bittman's recipe didn't have any sugar in it, and he says to cook for 1-2 hours instead of 2-3.
I did like the epicurious beet recipe--the toasted cumin and beets were really nice together. Fortunately we had a kind of cool day yesterday, so I could stand to turn the oven on to roast the beets.
I've been trying to think of ways to put away the bounty for shorter, darker, colder days (aka winter), and freezing soups would be a fantastic way to do that. I've also made some pea shoot pesto that I've frozen... I have oodles of fresh basil in my garden that I will probably freeze with olive oil (to be made into pesto later.)
this is our second year eating from a csa, and i must admit it is going much better than the first. personally, i had to make a keen mental switch in thinking about dinner not as 'what do i want to eat' but 'what do i have to eat and how can i make that satisfying.' my partner and i are really enjoying it and eating about everything we get.
lots of cucumber salad, sometimes with onion from the farm, sometimes with dill, sometimes with sour cream AND dill. sometime just vinegar.
tomatoes are coming in fast and furious, so enjoying those on sandwiches and just by themselves.
gratineed gnocchi with starburst sqash and onion
refrigerator bread and butter pickles
refrigerator pickled okra
beats and all sorts of root vegetables
eggs in all iterations (we get a dozen eggs every other week)
potato salad with pesto (also from the farm), beans, onions and sour cream...
last night i made a polenta and tossed in a farm egg at the end then topped with sauteed squash, onion and fresh tomato
i'm so hungry thinking about it. tonight, i'm tossing some of the cherry tomatoes (purple and yellow teardrops this week) with housemade mozzarella from central market and basil from the garden. why do i have to work late?!?
I'm joining a CSA for thier 4-week trial (finally got around to doing it!)
If we like it, we'll stay on--it sounds like a much better alternative to the weekly produce shop. I'm also lucky that in Southern California our growing season is pretty much year round!
This is a great thread and when I get my box on tuesday, I'll sure need the help! I've never cooked beets or chard before, both things in the box.
I used my abundance of yellow squash to make zucchini and rosemary soup (subbing the yelllow for zucchini). I can't rave about this soup enough! I added half a minced green pepper to the onions, and added a few tiny potatoes to the squash. The immersion blended worked great for this. The addition of the potatoes made the soup seem as if it had cream in it. I also added juice of one
lemon to brighten it a bit. It makes a lot so I've frozen some. Here's the recipe:
For fennel, I like to saute chunks in good virgin olive oil, add some giant green olives, and serve with sweet italian sausage (this is a variation of a Lidia's recipe).
For beets, I make a beet hummus - boil the peeled beets to soften, process with chickpeas, almonds, garlic, and some vinegar (again, this is from a basic recipe from epicurious) - vibrant color, great with pita chips.
Someone's comment of switching your thinking from "what am I in the mood for" to "what do I have available and how can I make it into a good meal" is essential - my kids have tried so many new vegetables and are much more aware of freshness, local produce, and variety.
I'm so glad I found this thread. I've been loving the CSA and having no problem using up the stuff, but this week I find myself overrun with green bell peppers, cubanelle peppers and corn (lot's of other stuff in this week's box, but I'm not as worried about usin it up.
I'm particularly interested in ideas for the peppers. The corn is fantastic, but we've been getting a dozen ears each week, and there is only so much corn on the cob we can eat. Help!
re: Hungryin theBurbs
On the rare ocassions that my garden yields too many peppers, I cut up the peppers, and freeze them using the foil pan or cookie sheet to freeze, and then place the frozen pieces in a zip-lock bag. Great for adding (frozen) to spaghetti sauce, soups and stews come winter. Not good for raw uses like salads.
re: Hungryin theBurbs
We got a lot of green bell peppers last year--I'm not particularly fond of them, but I think we had early rain so they didn't ripen and become red bell peppers. I was successful with peperonata, which is basically sliced peppers sauteed in olive with onions over low heat for quite a while, and finished with vinegar. Most recipes call for red bell peppers or a mix of colors, but it worked OK for me with green.
I also must be the one person in the world who's not particularly fond of corn on the cob (it sticks in my teeth something fierce), so I've found some alternate ways of preparing it. The best was once when I grilled the cobs, and took some extras that weren't eaten that night, sliced off the roasted kernels, and stirred them into polenta as it was cooking for the next night's dinner. I've also done a kind of succotash, which uses lots of corn.
It doesn't have anything to do with corn or peppers, but I made something that turned out really well last week--the day before my CSA pickup, I was left with zucchini and summer squash, onion, garlic, and a handful of basil. I quartered the squash lengthwise, brushed it with olive oil, and grilled it along with the halved onions. I made a pesto with the basil and garlic and some pine nuts and olive oil (I even made it in a mortar and pestle, which gave it a very different texture from that made in the food processor). When the squash came off the grill, I cut them crosswise so that I ended up with grilled chunks, and added them with the chopped onions and pesto to fettucine. I added a can of chunks of decent sockeye salmon. I think the zucchini and pesto combo came out really well--zucchini doesn't have that much flavor, but it added some sweetness that was really good.
What kind of eggplant did I get? It's green and round......I thought it was a Thai eggplant, but the web tells me that the big ones are the size of golf balls. This is MUCH larger, more like a (smaller than) soccer ball, and green and white striped. It feels lighter in weight than I would have imagined. Any thoughts? And recipes? Thanks.
Perhaps you can figure it out here: 39 varieties of eggplant:
This is where the farmer who raised my tomato seedlings found the seeds for our "Thai Red Turtle Egg" tomatoes. (Hi Sam!
)I love seeing the dozen kinds of eggplant at our Farmer's market.
It's good in a soup with lemon
Sautee about half of it in butter with some sliced onions, then add 6 c chicken broth, 1 c dry white wine, the juice and peel of one lemon, yellow part only. Simmer 15 min then puree. (I love my immersion blender)
If you're feeling energetic, mix some sour cream with more dijon mustard than you would think, plus some chopped tarragon and chives if you have them, and dollop this on top.
We're still debating going the CSA route, but we've discovered two wonderful farmer's markets within a 20-min walking distance of our house.. Saturday dinners are getting tastier each week, I tells ya. :)
Last week's finds:
* Baby fennel - made a salad of thinly sliced fennel and Vidalia onion with oranges and oil-cured olives, dressed with olive oil and lots of fresh pepper
* Canteloupe - one quarter we ate with some good prosciutto immediately, and the remainder will be turning into a canteloupe sorbet tonight
* Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil - sliced tomatoes fanned onto a plate with bocconcini slices, drizzled with olive oil and garnished with basil chiffonade
I'm sorry fresh pea season is over... we ate a ton of peas while the getting was good, though.
Our CSA took a two week break and just started with deliveries again yesterday.
I made some enchiladas for tonight with the squash, corn, red onion, bell peppers and anaheim peppers we received. Also got a few tomatillos so will make some salsa later this afternoon also.
I'm debating if we're going to continue with the CSA after the summer season ends and we go into fall. We're in Phoenix so summer probably wasn't hte best time to test them out...I'm getting really tired of armenian cucumbers, spaghetti squash and zucchini. We get these every week. Would have liked more variety but again this isn't prime growing season here. We're trying to decide if we should give it one more go in the fall or go back to shopping the local markets instead. I might also prefer picking up what I'm in the mood for, though the challenge of using up what's been deliveried has been fun.