Here’s what we got in our first set of pre-season boxes. I think it’ll keep us for two weeks. And sorry about the distant pic. The larger bi-weekly boxes make it harder to get everything in the frame. I’ll take multiple close-ups next time.
- sweet potatoes
- spicy greens
- kabocha squash
- more spicy greens
- popping corn
- honey-flax-wheat bread
- pork ribs
- crème fraiche
- baby turnips
- herbs (chervil, salad burnet, and par-cel)
- sweet bread mini-loaves
Let’s talk salad
There’s awesome stuff in here for salads. (We’ve already had two and are looking forward to more.) We got two basic types of salad greens: delicate hydroponic lettuce and mixed greens. (The mixed greens can also be braised or stir-fried, but we like them best as spicy salad.) I try to use the hydroponic stuff first because it won’t last as long as the mixed greens. This type of lettuce is one of the things that makes converts to local food. It would never last long enough to be sold in a store, but the flavor and texture is far superior when you can get it fresh.
Here’s what we had for supper Wednesday night.
It was a great start to the CSA year. The lettuce, carrots, and eggs are all local foods that beat the pants off their conventional counterparts. (The beets and bread are from Kroger.) The crème fraiche is delicious – a cross between sour cream, cream cheese, and goat’s milk. And it makes an outstanding salad dressing. Just put a dollop on top and mix it up as you eat. It’s amazing – so amazing that I don’t think our crème fraiche will have a chance to be anything else.
The herbs will add nice, subtle flavor to a salad.
Salad burnet has a light cucumber taste, and chervil has a minty-anise taste. The par-cel tastes like a combination of parsley and celery. (If you got any of these herbs, break off a piece of each and see for yourself. That’s good, perhaps obvious, advice for any herb, but it took me a long time to realize that I could – and should – sample herbs before using them. Before it was as if they were some magic ingredient that could never be treated so casually. Nonsense! Try some, see if you like it, and then decide how you might use it.)
Par-cel is good on pretty much everything, but it is strong herb and will overpower the burnet and chervil if you use equal amounts. Also, you can use the par-cel stems for celery flavor in casseroles, soups, spaghetti sauce, and pretty much anything that calls for onions.
I’m storing my chervil and parcel in a glass of water under a plastic bag in the fridge. They’ll keep for a good long while this way. The burnet doesn’t have stems to dip in the water, so I patted it dry and returned to its bag. Hopefully, it will last a while, too. (Another tip/superstition: I always turn my plastic bags inside out before I put or return anything to the fridge. I think it keeps what’s inside less damp.)
The salad burnet and chervil are fantastic with the crème fraiche! If I have time, I break off the leaves before adding them to the lettuce, but I’ve also just torn them up and eaten the stems, too. I haven’t added the par-cel to salads yet because 1) I want to be sure to taste the burnet and chervil, 2) it’s easy to find uses for par-cel, and 3) it will last the longer than the other two.
Other salad additions
The carrots are sooo good and have sooo much flavor. I like to serve them as sticks with salad. They also make terrific afternoon snacks along with a chunk of cheese.
And don’t forget the sprouts! If you don’t use them all in salads, they’re good in fried rice and stir-fries.
Kale and turnips …mmm?
If you can make out the kale at the far end of the first picture, you’ll see it’s a gorgeous dark green. It makes me feel healthier just looking at it. Unfortunately, for the full effect, you have to eat it, too. Kale is not one of my favorite foods, but one thing I love about the CSA box is it makes us eat vegetables we might not choose on our own. If you like kale, I bet this beautiful bunch will knock your socks off. If you don’t, try Kale with raisins and pine nuts. It’s what I usually make. (You can also adjust the ratios in the recipe to make Raisins and pine nuts with kale.)
Turnips are another unfavorite in my house. (Can you tell that I sliced one of the turnips in half? That was in the hope that it might actually be a watermelon radish. No dice.) These turnips are babies, so they will be milder than their full-grown kin. But they’re still going in one of two recipe ideas that I rely on for vegetables I’m more interested in using than tasting:
My guess is I’ll make fried rice sometime next week with turnips, sprouts, and maybe some of the mixed greens. We’ll see what I’ve got left then.