Wednesday, July 16, 2008

CSA Notebook Week 5

CSA Week 5 Haul. July, 2008. photo Jenonymous.
CSA Week 5 Haul. July, 2008. photo Jenonymous/Group News Blog.

Delivery Day

Okay, once again it's delivery day and I'm nearly psychotic (and tipsy) by the time I sit down to write. You have to realize, readers, that when I get home with my haul, my first order of business is to break down, cook, preserve, dry, store, or otherwise make best use of my weekly share. This week it turned out to be rather time-intensive, but I'll get to that next week. Then I finally get to eat, usually with some wine worthy of the produce, and then write.

Also, apologies for the double-lateness. It's Tuesday PM as I write this, and I realize that anyone with admin privs to post this is busy either networking, enjoying nom-noms (hopefully), networking, or writing at The Convention. Having said that, it's 9:30 PM, and I'm full, cranky, PMSing, and writing. I'm also fighting off the urge to ditch my duty and go play Conan: Hyborian Adventures so that I can level up my Dark Templar to 40 so that she can use the War Mammoth and War Rhino that I won on Ebay (got the Collector's Edition so I already have the drinking cape and the ring, as well as some other crap that I got from a magazine code and my geeky Zboard, but I digress. In fact, the only item I don't have is the lame-ass Amazonian Bow from guess which vendor. Actually, now that I checked Ebay, I got ripped on that fucking rhino—how could the mean price go down $10 in two goddamned days? OTOH I seem to have made up for it with the War Mammoth, which at first was somehow deemed Less Useful and Cool, but now is apparently more desirable. Anyway….).

Back to food. Last week, I took delivery of:

  • Tat Soi (looked like baby bok choi)
  • Some variety of thick-leaf green lettuce
  • Snow peas (funky organic twisted-looking fractal ones not salad-bar flat watery clones--didn't really photo well but they were great)
  • Fennel
  • Chives
  • Winter Savory
  • Lemon Thyme (very pretty with little purple blossoms on it)
Yes, last week was a little paltry, but that's the risk you take when you join a CSA. Apparently they sold out all of the promised fruit share before we got any, and promised us double fruit this week OTOH, it gave me a chance to "eat down" the prior week. Anyway, here is a rundown, with recipes, of what I chomped last week that was CSA-related:

Once again, Minstrel Boy wins top billing in this post for his amazing suggestion of roasted fennel. Here's how I did it and what I did with it.

Preheat oven to Really Damn Hot. I used 400F about (I say about because I have a flakey gas oven, and my oven thermometer is fogged over). Take an ovenproof (duh!!) pan and grease it good with medium-grade olive oil; I used a mix of Greek "best eating grade" and Greek "best cooking weight." If you're in an apartment, cover over your smoke detector 'cause it's gonna smoke a little. Trim feathery bits off of fennel bulbs and save for later use. Cut cleaned bulbs in half. Drizzle balsamic vinegar on cut surfaces. Toss everything with more olive oil and drizzle on more vinegar. Stick in oven. For the first hour leave it uncovered and stir once in a while. Then when the edges of the smaller pieces get brown and you start to get scared, cover with foil and give it at least another hour until the bulbs are fork-soft. Eat hot with bread, and/or cold as part of antipasto or as a salad item.

I also made winter savory olive oil (heavy grade for dipping/dressing) and lemon thyme vinegar.

That night, after having the fennel on whole-wheat flatbread, I had some of the prior week's cherries with lavender vinegar sprinkled on them — a riff on the overdone strawberries-with-balsamic combo. Perfect.

I also used some of the snow peas and made a frittata with them (using the next to last of my eggs from the Harvard-educated CSA chickens), which I put over saute'd tatsoi.

Another standout item was an amazing salad that I made the other night. I was in "use stuff up from last week" mode, so I started with a bed of the last of the lettuce. I snipped on chives and some of the cleaned fennel tops. I then put on raw snow peas, some of the roasted fennel, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and some of the oil from said roasted fennel. For protein and carbs, I put some high-quality aged bleu cheese on a whole-wheat flatbread and threw it under the broiler. When it was almost totally hard/crispy, I took it out and ate it with the salad. Perfect.

Oh, yes, and as mentioned last week—the rest of the cherries and the strawberries made it into a Cherry Berry Smoothie. Cherries, strawberries, milk, honey, and nothing else. In a blender. In your tummy. Summer in a glass.

I also seem to remember huevos rancheros over greens at some point, with my dried herbs.

Oh, and I hung up the rest of the winter savory and lemon thyme to dry—see pix! I tried to take a pic of the roasted fennel but my camera has been acting up in the hot apartment lately so it came out looking bad so I thought I'd spare you. :)

CSA Week 5 Winter Savory and Lemon Thyme to Dry. July, 2008. photo Jenonymous.
CSA Week 5 Winter Savory and Lemon Thyme to Dry. July, 2008. photo Jenonymous/Group News Blog.

Today, I took delivery of:
  • Bronze Oakleaf Lettuce
  • Big-head spring onions (each about the size of a golf ball)
  • Fresh fava beans (big treat!)
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Cabbage (one tight-head lighter variety)
  • 10 peaches
Let's just say that the favas and cabbage are a done deal at this point (wait till next week!) but still welcome any and all recipes, as I'll probably see repeats of these!

So, anyway, I need to get this out and get to bed soon. As always, GOOD EATING AND GOOD HEALTH. Please keep your recipes coming!