Monday, June 13, 2011

My CSA meals

About a year ago, I signed up for the community-supported agriculture program at a local farm.  Prior to that, I split a share at another CSA with a friend, but the pickup route was far out of my way.  That farm was about 90 miles away (not the pickup point, I swear--they were large enough that they had pickup points at about six places in eastern Massachusetts. 

It was a nice CSA, but I thought I'd rather something closer and less trouble if I was going to do it again--I had to drive through horrendous traffic to get the stuff (that, with the trucking the vegetables from 90 miles away to several different pickup points, seemed to defeat one of the purposes of eating locally--reducing greenhouse emitions).  I did, however, get a full pallet of tomatoes for free, as they had to get rid of them--I had gotten there a half hour before the pickup closed, and they weren't going to truck them all back.  I canned them and made some into salsa.

So.  I joined a CSA much closer to my home, and on the way home from my new(ish) job.  So far, I like it, but I've only been picking up for about three weeks now.  It's been a lot of greens so far, which is how it goes in the beginning of the season.  Also, I get a lot of small turnips (which are really nice sliced thinly and tossed in a mesculun mix salad).

Stuff like mesculun mix and arugula I use as salad (shocking, I know).  But I do get other greens, and this is how I've prepared them.

Greens are my go-to side dish.  They are easy to cook and they're really good for you. 

I take a bunch of greens--so far, it's been kale, collards, broccoli rabe, and turnip greens from the tops of the turnips--wash them, and trim the tough ends of the stems.  Then I chop them roughly (into smaller pieces but not tiny pieces).  I heat up some olive oil and garlic in a skillet (or I use garlic scapes, which I got last week) over medium or medium high heat on my stove.  After the garlic turns translucent, I add the greens and carefully stir/turn over to coat with the oil/seasoning and allow the heat to touch it all.  After a minute, I add a splash of water (maybe a tablespoon or two) to allow it to steam a bit.  It cooks down fairly quickly, and what looks like a huge amount of greens ends up being a cup or so when you're done sauteeing them.

Other ways I've prepared them:

Collards: I'll take a strip of two of bacon, cut them into pieces, and cook them over a medium high heat in a skillet.  I'll drain off most of the fat except for about a tablespoon, and cook the washed, trimmed, and chopped collards in the skillet, same way as above.  I don't do this a lot because a) bacon is expensive, b) when I have it I tend to eat it quickly and c) it's not all that good for you, so I often do stick with olive oil.  Once in a while it's nice, though, and the crunchiness of the bacon, the salt from it, and the richness of the fat add a nice dimension to the collards.

Kale: You can trim kale, cut each leaf off along its middle stem, and bake them in the oven (sprinkled with a little Kosher salt) until crispy.  Or make kale soup--use stock, kielbasa, kale, and a potato or two that's been peeled and chopped.  Also garlic.  I love me some garlic.  My neighbor makes a heavenly kale soup.

Broccoli rabe: This is pretty good in salads.

Bok choy: This has become a staple of CSA's, it seems, along with kale!  I'm pretty much guaranteed to get one or both of these things.  I'll sautee bok choy as I do the other greens, but I'll add a chopped grannysmith apple to  the garlic initially.  It adds a nice tang to it.  Another nice addition is some fennel.  Any sort of cabbage does well with apple or fennel, I've found.  And bok choy is always a good addition to stir frys.

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