Growing Washington Emergency Spring CSA: week 2

Welcome to Growing Washington’s Emergency Spring CSA!

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Growing Washington in any way, other than being a supporter like you. I am a professional chef that loves to help people learn to cook healthier at home.

If you’re looking for ideas about what to do with the produce in your box, here some ideas. If you have questions about the recipes or want advice on other recipes or ideas, please reach out. I have decades of cooking experience and love to share my craft. 

I find the best way to avoid produce waste is to cook it and have it ready to add to dishes as you go. If you are a recipe follower, I’ll include a few of those for you as well. But, I want you to spend less time worrying about having all the right ingredients and focus on what you have on hand. My mantra is simple is best, the produce you’re about to eat is delicious and doesn’t need to be overwhelmed with a fussy recipe. Give yourself a break.

Quick comment on last week’s box, holy smokes was anyone else just blown away by that rapini?! Rapini is typically quite bitter, but that was the most tender, mild rapini I’ve ever tasted. How much fun is this CSA??

Small Share Ideas

Honeycrisp Apples: You can always eat these raw, sliced and with a delicious blue cheese or sharp cheddar is always a great choice. Or try them baked (If you’re lucky enough to have flour, then by all means go for pie).

Red Anjou Pears: I don’t know about you guys, but my pears from last week are still rock hard. When your pears ripen, go for poaching, pear cake is also delightful. Worst case scenario you eat them raw, out of hand. You honestly can’t go wrong with that choice.

Red LaSoda Potatoes: Well, this is a fun bit of nerdy food info, “Red La Soda is a red, main season potato cultivar. It is a deep red mutant of the potato variety ‘La Soda’. The non-mutant form was developed by the Louisiana potato breeding program in 1948 as a cross between ‘Triumph’ and ‘Katahdin’.” Wikipedia

I don’t know what you did with your potatoes last week, but I cut mine small and roasted them. You can make mash out of them, but I find they are too gluey for my taste.

Red Onions: two ideas; quick pickles or just thin sliced for salad or sandwiches

Pickled Red Onions (PRO’s)

Ingredients

  • 1 thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 c water
  • 1 c white vinegar
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 T sugar
  • 5 bay leaves
  • about 8 black peppercorns

Method

  1. place sliced red onion in a quart size mason jar
  2. bring all, except onion, to a boil
  3. pour boiling brine over onions, rest until jar is cool to the touch
  4. refrigerate uncovered overnight, then cover and store up to one month

Slicing Cucumbers: suggestions; pickles, thin slices for salad or sandwiches, OR use for tzaitziki

Tzatziki

Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber, or equivalent
  • 2 c plain yogurt
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 tsp rough chopped mint, more to taste
  • salt to taste

Method

  1. peel, deseed, and grate cucumber with a cheese grater
  2. mix with 1-2 tsp salt, depending on the size of the cucumber (err on the side of more is better)
  3. strain for 30 minutes, up to 1 hour
  4. discard liquid
  5. stir all together, adjust salt, lemon, and mint to taste

Head Lettuce: salad or sandwiches, check out week one’s post for honey dijon vinaigrette, or toss with olive oil, apple cider, salt, and pepper to taste and a little feta cheese, add your sliced red onion and some olives. Yum.

Bagged Salad Mix: honey-dijon vinaigrette with candied walnuts or pecans, and some bacon. Done.

Parsnips: Here’s where you going to wish you had more of these. If you can get your hands on some celeriac do, but don’t risk your life for just one item.

Peel and cut parsnips into smallish pieces, doesn’t have to be pretty. Boil them until they are very soft. Mash with your tool of choice, I like a ricer, it gets them very fluffy. Stir in 1/4 c butter, or more (yes, you read that right, Julia Child those babies), and salt to taste. And done. You’re welcome.

Large Box Ideas
Iceberg Lettuce: Chop it fine, cilantro, lime, a little smokey salt, and bay shrimp, tortilla optional. If you have none of that, then you are having a week of salads, use every nut, bit of dried fruit, and cheese in your house, godspeed.

Yellow Carrots

Ingredients

  • 8 medium Carrots
  • 1 T neutral oil, such as avocado
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 T Vinegar (sherry or apple cider work great)
  • 1/2 tsp chili flake

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Trim and peel carrots. Cut into 1 inch rounds or triangles (oblique cut)
  3. Toss all ingredients together
  4. Roast on parchment lined baking sheet until carrots are soft and edges begin to brown
  5. Add more salt and chili flake if desired

Sugarbee Apples: Oh apples, I love thee. See above suggestions for apples, when in doubt add them to your salads this week.

Leeks

Ingredients

  • Leeks 
  • Salt 
  • Butter or neutral oil, such as avocado

Method

  1. Trim green tops, compost or save for stock
  2. Trim root, compost
  3. Cut leeks in half lengthwise
  4. Place flat side down on your cutting board and thin slice half moon
  5. Rinse half moons very well, leeks are grown in sand and are notoriously dirty
  6. Saute leeks in butter or oil over medium-low heat stirring frequently, until they begin to soften.
  7. Cool and save for the dish of your choice.
  8. Meal idea: Make a crostata (crust recipe above), using leeks and pears, add gorgonzola if you’ve got it.

Braising Greens: Slow cook them with 1/4 c water and 1-2 tsp red wine vinegar. When water has evaporated, add 2 T neutral oil, cook until soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Italian Parsley: Chop it fine and spread it everywhere! Seriously though, sprinkle all your savory dishes with it just before serving. The stalk has a lot of flavor, use that too. You can cut off the stalks and add it to stock if you’re making that anytime soon.

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