Wednesday, June 25, 2008

CSA Week 3 Notes

CSA Week 2 Haul. June, 2008. photo Jenonymous.
CSA Week 2 Haul. June, 2008. photo Jenonymous/Group News Blog.

“Closer to my reality” CSA Eating

Okay, this past week, I had what I’ll call a “closer to my reality” CSA eating experience. As mentioned, this past week’s share was:

Veggie Share

sugar snap peas
butter lettuce

Now here’s the rub—not only did I eat out one night during the week, but I was out of town Friday thru Sunday. So, how to eat all my stuff without wasting it? Well, I re-did the rinse/dry/store in lined bowls thing for the lettuce, and left the snap peas in their bag (and made a note to just eat them faster.) I left the strawberries uncovered in their little cardboard thingie and just set the radishes down in my crisper drawer, which once again I had lined with fresh paper towels.

Guilty TV Product Confession: I also went here:

and got some of their stuff. The site is one of those TV product total rip-offs where they try to get you to upgrade shipping, but all kinds of other crap, and whatnot. However, I did also manage to get two of those things that open clamshell packaging, which I actually need.

The irony is, of course, that they come in clamshell packaging. But I digress. Both lettuce and mizune are in those bags; let’s see how they work out.

And then it was off to the races with the salad thing again. This time around I had the herbed vinegar from week 1. So, it was time for salad with nice cheese on it, salad all by itself, and interesting things with radishes and the remainder of the Jerusalem artichokes (both of which I really had to take my veggie brush to—again, they didn’t just have surface dirt, but were really caked over.)

I was exhausted when I got home on pickup nite—mega-stress at work—but I did make a nice arranged salad which I just drizzled with some of that herb vinegar, heavy olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then I had strawberries for dessert. I also did a bunch of salads with either smoked or canned fish on it. If I remember, I’ll hard-boil some eggs and do those on greens. I should also probably try making herbed egg salad or something, or maybe crunchy egg salad with radishes/other crunchy edible root or rhizome in it.

I must say I’m happy about how much I have managed to replace my bought (high-fat, high crap factor) meals despite a nuts schedule. The way I see it, every little bit helps even if it’s only a few meals a week.

Note: The mizuna is great raw even though it is traditionally eaten steamed. For salad, I tore rough bunches into thirds so that the stems became manageable mouthfuls.

I still need to buy a lunchbox with one of those pocket-thingies for a coldpac—if anyone has a brand that they like, let me know!

Here’s what I am due to pick up on Tuesday:

Fruit Share
strawberries (1 quart)
honeycrisp apples (we got 4)

Veggie Share
strawberries (more on top of fruit share)(one pint, so I get a biggie and a littlie)
Swiss chard
snow peas

Herb Share
lavender (in addition to the first bunch from above)

In addition, my CSA lets you order meat, dairy, and so forth from a collective site online, with once-a-month delivery dates. In addition to my share, I ordered and got:

Beef Liver (about a pound)
Honey (a pound)
Raw-milk cheddar-style cheese (about half a pound)
Ground Mutton (making Minstrel Boy’s Navajo Green Chili) (about 2 pounds)
A dozen eggs
Swiss-style raw goats’ milk cheese (half a pound)

The game plan is to cook up some of the liver and freeze the rest. I have some really good breadcrumbs; may just slice it thin, bread, and panfry perhaps with an herb pan sauce.

Suggestions Needed For:

What to do with the lavender? Yeah I know, other than dry it and put it in with my unmentionables. I was thinking lavender cream for the strawberries and/or lavender vodka.

What to do with the sorrel?

I think I’ll cook down the mustard greens this time. Maybe have them with the liver.

Oh, one last thing—went out to Orient Point this past weekend in Long Island and stumbled across a jumble sale held by a local synagogue while walking to the train. Wound up getting two copies of the Temple cookbook for $15 for both copies (I always get super-local cookbooks when I can, and always get a copy for Mom) and…drum roll please…an almost brand-new, stainless-steel, American-made 2-quart food mill from the 1960’s in the original box for…wait for it…ONE DOLLAR. The thing is made like a TANK—one nut screws off to release a STRONG spring so that you can take it apart and wash it. The steel is at least 12 gauge—gotta go dig out my gauge-checker disc from jewelry class. Improved tomato sauce here we come! *cheers* I mean, it literally looks like someone got it, opened the box, took the original label off (there is still an old label on the main unit), washed it, maybe used it ONCE, washed it again, and put it away. Forever.

The rest of the sale was kind of sad because you can tell that it was all the crap out of old people’s basements that was taken out by their kids/grandkids after they died. If I was a circuit-bender, I would have had my full pick of various kid’s toys from the '70s. Ditto for interior decoration opps. Case in point: I also picked up a HUGE mother-of-pearl abalone shell—from one of the sized ones that’s been illegal to sell for years now. Unlike many of these that I’d seen in the past, this one had not been used as an ashtray. It was covered in a HARD coating of grey dust which took a soaking and scrubbing to get off, but now I have a nice place to put my little collection of nice pebbles and shells that I picked up on the beach for a grand total of $3. It’s the kind of thing that someone probably picked up on a trip to Hawaii or Mexico twenty years ago. All I know is that new abalone shells aren’t bigger than 6” or so (mine is almost a foot across) and start at $20 even in the smaller junk shops. But I digress…on to the recipes.

Here’s what I did with last week’s share that was new for me:

Recipes from the stuff from Week 2:

Sprat Salad:

Butter Lettuce
Snap Peas
Small can of sprats (I used smoked sprats from Lithuania that were on sale)
Quick Mustard Dressing

Put down lettuce, then mizune, sprinkle with snap peas.
Put sprats on top.
Dress with Quick Mustard Dressing. Eat.

Quick Mustard Dressing:

In a small cup, combine a good splash of vinegar (I used about a tablespoon or two) (I used my herb vinegar) and stir in spicy mustard (a shy tablespoon).
Add some mayo (about 1/2 to 1 Tbs) and whisk very fast with a small fork until smooth and lump-free. Add black pepper and more salt if necessary. Use immediately.

Astorian Radish Rounds

Take a whole wheat non-pocket pita—I used a locally-made brand. Spread with a thin coat of butter (I used my unsalted herb butter with oregano and sage). Slice radishes super-thin and put on buttered bread. Salt. Cut into 4 pieces and eat immediately.

Strawberries, Honey, and Black Pepper:

Clean and hull strawberries. Drizzle with good honey and add a grind of black pepper. Eat.

Herb Vodka:

Take home-dried herbs and the end of a bottle of vodka (or the whole thing if you feel adventurous) . You’re supposed to have another empty vodka bottle around to strain off the herbed vodka once it steeps. I didn’t do that and just use a small screen to filter the stuff when I pour. I used the bottom 1/6th of a bottle of vodka and put in about 1 tablespoon each of dried sage and oregano. I let it steep in the freezer. This was amazing as-is after three or four days but would probably also make a killer martini. Next time around I may buy the small hipflask bottles of vodka and make small batches of different herbal vodka. I will also try to get some cheesecloth and make a “teabag” that I can yank out of the bottle rather than mess around with filters and funnels and whatnot.