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CSA 2013 - What's in yours and what are you doing with it?

  • r

I live in Zone 7, so our CSAs have just started. This week's is already a challenge:

pea shoots
radishes (with greens)
cucumber (hothouse)
tomato (hothouse).

The cucumber and tomato are easy.

The pea shoots had to be used up right away, so I quickly sauteed them with garlic and black pepper and peas, added them to alfredo-ish sauce, and had with pasta shells. Not bad at all. Pinching the tender leaves and tendrils off the tough stems was very tedious.

The radishes are tiny and red, and I think I can slice them for sandwiches.

Rutabagas I may use with carrots for this dal:

But that will not use all the rutabagas nor all the carrots. The weather is no longer suitable for oven roasting, so I am still thinking what to do. Any ideas?

The radish greens, kale, and spinach (from freezer) will likely make saag (may add paneer).

Has anyone else started getting CSA boxes? What is coming in them? What are you making?

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  1. OK: has no one signed up for a CSA? Is it too early for most of you?

    Does no one have ideas for rutabagas and carrots?


    1. Mine doesn't start until june!

      How about carrot ginger soup?? One of my favorites. I also love them roasted and then tossed with a ginger/butter glaze.

      I like rutabagas simply roasted. I cube and toss with olive oil. Spread on cook sheet , season with salt and pepper and roast at 425. Toss occasionally.

      They are also really good mashed with sour cream and butter and whatever herbs you like. You can throw a few cloves of garlic in to boil with 'bagas for added flavor.

      1. I'm not in the states.. so I'm not sure what CSA boxes are.

        The extra carrots can be added to stir-frys and salads, chopped into sticks as snacks. As for rutabgas, you could use them like potato in a stove top hash.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Musie

          CSA= Community Supported Agriculture

          You buy a "share" of a local farm or grower and you receive a box of fresh produce on a schedule (usually weekly,) that contains your share of what they are harvesting. There are also meat, dairy and fish CSA programs.

          1. re: weezieduzzit

            That sounds like a pretty cool idea, time to research and see if something similar is done in my neck of the woods.

        2. I am not currently part of a CSA. The carrots I got in my boxes last year were very fresh and juicy. So I mainly used them raw - grated carrots + roasted peanuts + chopped green chillies + cilantro + lemon juice. The natural sweetness of the carrots pairs very well with the chilli-lemon flavors.

          1 Reply
          1. re: gayathri

            Wow, that sounds really good. I never thought of using carrots in that way.

          2. We have year round CSA and right now this is what I have in my fridge:

            rutabagas (Usually mix with mashed potatoes, but this time I want to try pickling them)
            carrots (Kids love them- we almost never have enough)
            radish shoots (Salads/ sandwiches)
            cucumber (snacks)
            tomato (snacks)
            sun chokes (will make a soup or roast with asparagus).

            1. Shred or julienne some of the carrots. Toss with lemon, olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin and raisins.
              Let it sit a little so the raisins plump up

              It's a great combo of crunchy, sweet, salty, and spice

              1. I get a box of fresh, mostly organic produce every 2 weeks year-round. This Wed I'm getting red leaf lettuce, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, kale, apples, pears, bananas, a pineapple, turnips, and fingerling potatoes.

                1. Mine doesn't start until late May/early June. However, I have been making alot of spinach salad (with bacon dressing) and asparagus (mostly roasted and in omelet) with farmers market finds.

                  1. I think you are so lucky that yours has started already! Ours won't start until early june (Zone 6 here in CT). I will actually be out of town the first week, so our first box will go to the local homeless shelter. If I had rutabegas, I would probably give them to the shelter anyway- we are *not* fans of that veggie!

                    1. Thank you all for the replies and sorry for not checking earlier.

                      Musie: yes, CSA = community supported agriculture. It's a great way of getting fresh, local, foods and support smaller local farms. This year our choice was to go with the CSA or to drive every Sat morning to a farmer's market in the neighboring county where a lot of immigrant families come with varieties of produce from different countries/cultures. The CSA won for convenience, but I do plan to make a couple of trips to that FM.
                      My CSA also has bread, cheese, honey, etc options we can select if we like.

                      Gayathri: thanks for the shredded carrot+peanut+etc (=kosumalli) suggestion. That is a summer staple in our house, and is definitely going back on the list, as the carrots and cucumbers keep on coming.

                      Cheesecake 7: your variation sounds great too!

                      Foodiex2: Thanks for the suggestion, I did make a soup as you suggested: carrot+sweet potato+tomato soup, with cinnamon, ginger, red chili powder, then blended with
                      peanut butter. Chives floated on top. Adapted from the West African Peanut Stew from the Moosewood cookbook.

                      Justme: the rutabagas worked fine in the dal, along with carrots. I believe there are no bad veggies, only bad recipes :)

                      This week's box had more carrots, sweet potatoes, strawberries, radishes, cucumbers, lots and lots of lettuce.

                      I am going to try a salad with Moroccan style dressing (I don't know if it is actually Moroccan or just called that): olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, cinnamon, salt, pepper. The salad has lettuce, chick peas, oranges, artichokes, olives, shredded carrots.

                      Thank you all, and keep the ideas coming. This is the first year I have done a CSA and it is a fun challenge to only cook what comes in the box and not buy additional items from the store (though I have had to buy things like onions) unless there is a huge discount.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Rasam

                        This week the challenges were latocino (???) kale and turnips. The kale was finely shredded and added to a baked ziti dish. The turnips will probably be cooked along with potatoes and mashed into the same dish.

                        1. re: Njchicaa

                          Lacinato kale!!!! I love the stuff and bought 4 bunches. It's fantastic as kale salad. Or I sauté it with garlic and apricots

                          1. re: cheesecake17

                            Don't forget kale chips! I, personally, think they're best with lacinato.

                            1. re: weezieduzzit

                              Never tried chips with lacinato kale. It's not so easy to find, so when I do get it, a salad is my first choice.

                      2. lucky to get going so early. IT's going to be at least a month before ours starts.

                        Michigan pasties with the rutabagas.

                        Carrots (and radishes) for snacking.

                        I never sweat using up the root veg--it'll keep in your fridge for months. I just used up the last of last seasons carrots about a month ago. They were better than when I picked them in September.

                        1. I just joined a co-op and got my first box yesterday. It included:

                          9 red potatoes
                          4 tomatoes
                          1bunch leaf lettuce
                          4 bunches broccoli
                          2 artichokes
                          1 bunch celery
                          7 bananas
                          1 pineapple
                          2 mangoes
                          1seedless watermelon
                          1 lb strawberries

                          I also got an herb pack...oh my...I have mint, oregano, thyme, tarragon, cilantro, dill, basil, rosemary, chives and maybe one or two more.

                          I will never be able to use all those herbs in the next two weeks. Can I freeze them? I adore fresh herbs and do not want them to go to waste. What to do?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: jlhinwa

                            You can make pesto and freeze in ice cube trays

                            1. re: jlhinwa

                              You can absolutely freeze herbs. Some will not be great "raw" and might look worse for wear but will still taste fine when you cook with them. Basil would be best made into pesto first.

                              1. re: jlhinwa

                                Thanks so much, cheesecake & foodie! I will do that tonight. I have everything I need for pesto and my family loves it so that will be awesome. I have always been nervous about freezing things because I'm afraid of ruining good food, but then I don't want to waste all of these gorgeous herbs either! As long as they taste good, I don't care how they look because they will be going into recipes--not served as a garnish or whatever.

                                I could not believe the sheer volume of herbs I got for $12! It was such a great deal. I am totally hooked.

                              2. I'm part of a seafood CSA here in California's Monterey Bay Area...in fact, it's called Local Catch Monterey Bay.

                                We've had locally caught Dungeness crab and incredible Miyagi oysters, sablefish, rockfish, sanddabs, petrale sole.

                                And then some challenging things like herring (yes, I like it in jars, but the scent of the fresh fish was a little much for me) and thornyheads.

                                The essential flavors of the fresh fish are delicious without lots of sauces and spices that mask the nature of the pristine seafood.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Discerning1

                                  Oh my gosh, I would die to be able to get fresh dungeness crab in a CSA pack. How awesome is that!!

                                  1. re: Discerning1

                                    Curious to know what you did with the fresh herring. I love matjes herring and I'd love to be able to make my own.

                                    1. re: tcamp

                                      I wish I could tell you I made something fabulous, but the truth is I gave it to a friend.

                                  2. Last week I got fresh bamboo shoot and tatsoi greens in mine. I have eaten lots of bamboo shoot from cans, and in restaurants. But I have never processed from scratch.

                                    Here is a story with pictures of what they look like when just out of the ground:

                                    I didn't know before this that bamboo shoots must be boiled to remove trace amounts of prussic acid. But that's easy to do. I peeled the outer leaves, sliced off the tip, sliced the remainder, and boiled for 20 minutes in water that I had used to rinse rice, along with salt, red chilli powder, and a pinch of sugar.

                                    There are regional Indian recipes for bamboo shoot, but I went with a basic stir fry with the tatsoi, and some fresh green onions. It was really very good. Home processed bamboo shoots definitely beat the canned version hollow (pun?).

                                    Here in zone 7 we are still getting lots of greens.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Rasam

                                      Oh how fun with the bamboo shoots. It's something I have always wanted to cook with because I KNOW the canned version must be nothing like the real thing, but I never have access to them.
                                      I just adore the new-to-me element of csa--I was introduced to tatsoi that way.

                                      1. re: Rasam

                                        Bamboo shoots! Cool. Where is Zone 7?

                                        1. re: Discerning1

                                          Here is a link to a page showing the plant hardiness zones for the US:

                                          You can see zone 7a and 7b are the pale greens.

                                          We're also getting lots of strawberries and sweet potatoes in ours in addition to all the greens.

                                          I love CSAs. I too am new to them this year.

                                          You can make Vietnamese summer rolls with some of the mint, plus most of the other things you have in your box.

                                      2. I am so excited - our first delivery is this afternoon!! This particular CSA delivers to workplaces, so I just need to go downstairs to the cafeteria.

                                        We are getting:
                                        12 Eggs, Cage-Free
                                        1 bunch asparagus
                                        8oz cremini mushrooms
                                        1 bunch radishes
                                        1 bunch mint
                                        1 head, butterhead lettuce
                                        5oz baby spinach,
                                        1 lb strawberries

                                        The eggs, asparagus, radishes, lettuce, spinach, and strawberries are not going to require any creative thinking - salads, omelets, and just plain berries. :) I will let DH figure out what to do with the mushrooms since I don't eat them. I have no idea what to do with that much mint, but will probably freeze some for later inspiration.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: truman

                                          Mint= Mojitos! I am anxiously awaiting my mint crop and the first one of the season!
                                          I also just muddle it with any citrus in water or sparkling water. Iced tea, too.

                                          1. re: splatgirl

                                            My mint is already up and growing like crazy. We've had mojitos and mint juleps a couple of weeks ago for the Derby

                                          2. re: truman

                                            Smoothie- melon, Greek yogurt, ice, mint

                                          3. Maybe we should do a CSA box and what to do with it thread every week. Ours just started this week. I got:

                                            french breakfast radishes
                                            romaine lettuce
                                            bok choy
                                            spring onions

                                            So far, I've only made a warm potato salad with the watercress and green onion

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: centralpadiner

                                              Bok Choy is delicious grilled! I've halved it lengthwise, grilled it on a grill pan and served with a sesame dipping sauce.

                                              1. re: cheesecake17

                                                What a great idea. We usually stir fry it. (boring, I know)

                                                We've grilled kale from the CSA in the past. It was actually the idea of my then 10 y.o. son. Just drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill until just charring on the edges of the leaves. It was really good! Have to try it with other greens!

                                                1. re: centralpadiner

                                                  I'm going to try the grilled kale! I'm boring with kale, I usually slice it into ribbons and sauté or make a salad. My 2yo will eat it either way

                                              2. re: centralpadiner

                                                I ended up doing spicy chicken stir fry and put the bok choy and spring onions in that.
                                                Spinach frittata with the spinach - we also get eggs every other week.
                                                The romaine, last of the watercress and radishes were used to make a big dinner salad with chicken, there is still romaine left, so we will have another salad with that and the rest of the radishes, probably with a pasta dish tomorrow night.
                                                I'll grill the asparagus with some grilled bratwurst. Then it will be time for the next box.
                                                Nothing too exciting this week.

                                                1. re: centralpadiner

                                                  Caramelized romaine is good too. I pan-grill it by slicing it down the center, putting it flat side down in a hot skillet with a little olive oil, and cooking it until it slightly caramelizes.

                                                  Put it on a plate and, while it's hot, drizzle a sharp vinaigrette over it and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

                                                  1. re: Discerning1

                                                    I've had a similar thing in a restaurant. I agree, excellent. I will get more creative as the season goes along, and I am getting the same thing for the 3rd or 4th time.

                                                    Loving all the suggestions. I think I'll start a new thread when I get my next box.

                                              3. Ours just started this week (central NJ). We got a great box:

                                                Red leaf lettuce
                                                Yukon gold potatoes
                                                Strawberries (from Maryland)
                                                Swiss chard

                                                We used the lettuce, radishes and tomatoes to make a green salad to take to dinner at a friend's house. It was a huge hit...nothing fancy but nice and fresh. Today my husband made potato-leek soup and my son had a strawberry smoothie. I'm thinking of making a sandwich with some cheese and arugula. Any suggestions for the swiss chard? We'll probably saute it and have it with pasta.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: NJFsa

                                                  This is a good way to use chard:


                                                  I do a veggie version - sauté the chopped stem with onion, garlic, other veggies of choice, herbs, and rice then stuff and roll.

                                                2. I know it's past your season now, but "dou miao," as the Chinese call it (pea shoots...I pronounce it dow meow), is a wonderful spring delicacy. It is a favorite dish to order in a real Chinese restaurant...stir-fried with cloves of garlic, it is delicious.

                                                  1. Sorry I missed this. Mine is year round. Nor Cal. Capay Valley.