Monday, June 20, 2011

Week 5

This week our half of the farm share included:
  • Broccoli
  • 1 head of radicchio
  • 3 baby heads of lettuce (including romaine!)
  • 1 bunch of beets 
The beets we roasted and will go in a salad with goat cheese. The romaine will be the basis of Mo's Caesar salad for lunches (with homemade croutons), and the broccoli (supplemented with more from the store) will go into a pasta with a pesto made from last week's garlic scapes. The remaining lettuce and radicchio will be for salads of one sort or another.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Week 4

Each year, strawberry season is a triumphant but ever so brief start to the farm share. Alas, the strawberry fields  at the Pennington location have closed and, with hot weather, there were not enough berries at the Chesterfield location to allow us to have a second large pick at that location. As a result, the haul this week was a little less than usual for this time of year. We got:

  • 1 bunch of garlic scapes
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 bunch of kale 
  • 2 heads of lettuce
The scapes we made into a pesto for later use as a pasta sauce.  The zucchini we grilled on our two-burner cast iron grill pan. The lettuce and kale are as of yet still unused. Here's to hoping for a bigger haul next trip. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Week 3

This week we had a choice of white turnips or bok choi (we took bok choi), 2 heads of lettuce, and half a pound of spinach. In the Pennington pick-your-own fields we (for our half of the family share) also got 1 quart of sugar snap peas and 2 quarts of strawberries. However, Mo, Silvia, Tricia, and I then drove down to the Chesterfield farms where we could pick another 8 quarts of strawberries for the family share, for a total of 12 quarts of strawberries this week.

Naturally, we made jam.

Learning from last year's jam making, we made low sugar jam (though fewer places sell low sugar pectin that you might think.  We then made two variations: strawberry-rhubarb jam and strawberry-balsamic jam with thyme. Right now, we have 18 pints of jam cooling and (hopefully) setting up on our kitchen table. The jam with balsamic vinegar is adapted from a recipe with full sugar pectin, so we'll just wait and see how it sets, but worst case scenario it will be an awesome sauce for duck, ice cream, etc.

Later this week we'll also be making stir fry with the bok choi and snow peas, along with a few other ingredients picked up from the store.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Week 2

The second week of the farm was similar to our opening weekend, produce wise.  For our half of the family share, we got

  • 2 heads of green lettuce 
  • 1 lb of spinach
  • 2 quarts of strawberries 
  • 1 bunch of chive flowers 

This week we not only got produce from our farm, but also from Suburban Organics. A few months back, I bought a half-price box on Living Social, and running out of time to redeem it, we ordered a small boxed of mixed fruit and vegetables this week. In the box there was:

  • Green lettuce 
  • 1 lb of carrots 
  • 1 lb of summer squash (yellow)
  • 1 bunch of rainbow chard 
  • 8 oz of white button mushrooms
  • 2 ears of  white sweet corn
  • 2 roma tomatoes 
  • 5 bananas
  • 2 oranges 
  • 3 apples
  • 1/2 pint of raspberries (!)
So, once again this will be a salad heavy week. In addition to green salad, we already made quinoa salad with the corn, tomatoes, and cilantro we picked up at the farmer's market, along with some red peppers and red onion we picked up at the store and lime juice we had on hand.  We also started the process of making chive-flower vinegar by steeping the blossoms in a jar with white distilled vinegar.  For dinners this week we'll be making stir fry with some of these ingredients (mushrooms and carrots), the rest of last week's snap peas, and other ingredients from the store (broccoli, bean sprouts, etc). Also, on Friday we plan to make ricotta gnudi with home-made ricotta and tomato sauce in the freezer from last year's tomatoes, along with the chard.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It begins again

This blog, yes, has been inactive. But starting today, it will serve as a weekly record of what we got from our CSA each week (we split a family share, but we will mostly be describing our half of that share) and what we did with it.  Our first pick-up of the year was May 21, and we got:
  • 1 lb spinach 
  • 1/2 lb arugula
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 1 quart pick your own strawberries
  • 1/2 pint PYO snap peas
The snap peas were fairly picked over when we got there, so they weren't as nice and large as one would like. Therefore, we have to use frozen peas for our vegetarian spaghetti carbonara (with egg, and also shiitake mushrooms from the farmer's market, but without bacon). With our produce, we made:

  • Arugula and strawberry salad with goat cheese, hazelnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette
  • Spinach salad for lunches. Specifically, Mo's favorite salad with feta and cranberries
  • Bibb lettuce salad (from the store) with sliced radishes, feta, and lemony vinaigrette
Clearly, it's salad season. But overall, a good way to start another year of our CSA harvest. I should also note that we are still using last year's ingredients. For example, this week we had pumpkin-chipotle soup with pumpkin we cooked, pureed, and froze last fall.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

CSA Week 6

This week, our family share consisted of
  • Choice of two items, Cabbage or Fennel
  • Choice of two items, Kale or Collards
  • Six heads of lettuce, green, red, or deer's tongue lettuce
  • 1/2 lb arugula 
  • 12 (!) crowns of broccoli 
  • 4 heads and stalks of green garlic
I also picked up our first New Jersey blueberries of the season at the farmer's market. What will be done with this all is still an open question ...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Where do your pine nuts come from?

Pesto -- frozen into ice cube trays and socked away in the freezer -- is one of my key strategies for preserving basil, arugula, mint, dandelion greens, and pretty much any other flavorful green. But while I can get all of those greens (and cheese) locally, the nuts and olive oil that are indispensable in pesto are harder to find from known sources.

Therefore, the growth of "pine nut mouth," wherein pine nuts cause a bitter metallic taste in the mouth starting 1-3 days after consumption, and lasting up to a week. I experienced such a condition myself several weeks ago, and while it dissapated after several days, it not only took much of the joy out of eating and drinking anything, but has made me anxious about making dishes featuring pine nuts in the future.

What to do? Well, much of this phenomenon seems to be associated with nuts from China. The latest batch of nuts I bought from Trader Joe's says the nuts are a product of "Korea, Russia, or Vietnam," so perhaps I will fare better this time around. Also, for pesto at least there are other nut options, such as the Arugula-Walnut pesto I recently made  with excess arugula from the farm. Almonds and cashews also work reasonably well as pine nut replacement options, in my experience.