Wednesday, July 23, 2008

CSA Week 6—More hot, uncensored, amateur food porn with action shots!

CSA Week 6 Haul. July, 2008. photo Jenonymous.
CSA Week 6 Haul. July, 2008. photo Jenonymous/Group News Blog.

Exhausted and Ready for Bed

Back once again, dear readers—and true to form I'm exhausted and ready for bed, except that this week, I am going to make a major jump and try to start bringing my lunch to work at least a few days a week, especially during the peak produce season here. Yes, it means lugging Tupperware and those stupid little ice pack thingies to work and back, but I carry so much crap with me that taking all that stuff home with me each night won't be a huge stretch. I think for tomorrow I am going to use up all the greens left from last week, along with what's left of my sugar snaps and some other stuff. I've already ordered a totally overpriced-but-well-designed salad keeper thingie from Amazon, along with a lunchbag (yeah, I know they make cheapass ones available at Duane Reade for $4, but I figure I'll buy one good one and use it forever). Whilst at the drug store buying my liquid load weight in Kaopectate this past Monday (more on that later) I also scored some of those re-usable hard-sided Rubbermaid blue-ice thingies for only 75 cents each (I don't trust the softsided ones NOT to break), and they allegedly will fit in a little pocket in my lunchbag or something like that.

Anyway, so when I'm done with this posting, I'm going to go figure out a salad option of some sort. Having said that, last week I took delivery of:

  • Dark Curlyish Bronze Oakleaf Lettuce of some Sort
  • 4 fat-head spring onions
  • Fava Beans!!
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • A nice tight yet smallish head of cabbage
  • 10 very nice peaches (fruit share)
This week, my cup truly ran over as I was due for an herb share, we got triple fruit to make up for an eh fruit showing the past few weeks, and my CSA meat/cheese/etc order was due in.

Today I got:
  • Summer Savory with little Flowers on It
  • Huge-leaf Italian parsley
  • 1 lb. yellow fresh wax beans
  • Small bag of snow peas
  • 1 nice head radicchio
  • Some sort of very dark green, very curly lettuce (almost looks like fake topiary)—BIG head
  • FAT bunch of little yellow, white, and purple carrots
  • 9 red plums
  • 9 big peaches
  • 3 lbs (!!!) of little yellow sugarplums
  • 2 thin slices of uncured pork shoulder (for frying for breakfast), frozen
  • .5 lbs organic beef liverwurst in a tube thingie
  • 1 dozen eggs from chickens that went to Harvard and eat better than I do
  • 1 BIG country loaf of pepper/Parmesan cheese bread
  • 1 little lavender crotini (mini goat-cheese thingie)
  • 1 lb. of "Frere Fumant" smoked cheese
Now, you'll have to wait until NEXT week for the money shots on those. In the meantime enjoy the explicit, uncensored story of what I did with LAST week's share (but please DO send along suggestions as to what to do with this week's huge, freaking enormous bounty—running out of space in the fridge AND the freezer).

Okay, as I hinted last week, the fava beans were destined for immediate greatness. Now, some of our readers have correctly complained that fava beans are a pain in the ass, and they usually are. Fresh, you have to first take off the outer shell, and then freakin' peel a SECOND skin OFF OF EACH INDIVIDUAL BEAN. Bought dried, you have to soak them to get the stupid skins off. That automatically put fava beans in the "not in my lifetime" and "only if Goya puts em out ready to go in cans" categories for me. Until about a pound of them showed up with my CSA share.

So, my homework project for that night was to find a way to prepare them that took as little prep time as possible. Did I mention that I've been working fucking nuts hours these days? All hail Teh Power of Teh Google and its progenitor Teh Intertubes! Behold the best recipe ever for fava beans; meant for the grill but I used my broiler and an aluminum pan (my version here):

Fire up the broiler pan. Wash off the fava beans, whole, real good. Dry. Pour some high-grade olive oil in the pan and swirl to coat. Add more oil. Toss in fava beans in a single layer. Add lots of kosher salt and toss. Put under broiler. After they start to blister and blacken on one side, use tongs to turn over each pod and do the same to the other side. When the pods are soft and blistery, take the pan out and cover lightly with aluminum foil until beans are cool enough to handle. You can pick up the whole pod like giant edamame and pop the huge beans out of the pod right into your piehole, or you can take em out with your fingers. NO NEED to take off the inner skin—it will be soft enough to eat and TASTY.

Sinful confession: I ate ALL my grilled fava beans and half a bottle of white wine while prepping the next recipe. That pretty much became dinner that night along with some greens from the prior week. And a smidgen of peach ice cream. I was naughty.

Next up: What to do with the cabbage? I still had a few small golden beets from before, and some of the feathery fronds from the fennel, so I concocted the following stew/cold salad (see picture):

CSA Week 6 Veggie Saute. July, 2008. photo Jenonymous.
CSA Week 6 Veggie Saute. July, 2008. photo Jenonymous/Group News Blog.

Cabbage, Beet, and Onion Earlyish Summer Simmer

Take some olive oil (I used the winter savory oil from a while ago) and heat up. Sautee a few of the spring onions, sliced thin. Add cabbage, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and let wilt. Deglaze with white wine (come to think of it I went through a lot of that on that particular night also). Put in the sliced beets, cover, and let cook down for a bit. When it's about ¾ there, put on some fennel frondage and a few branches of dried winter savory. If you want, sprinkle on a little lemon thyme and lavender. Add more wine or water if necessary. Cook until done.

This was great both hot and as a cold antipasto item. Yes, it's very seasoned but there's also a LOT of cabbage and beet in it. Adjust to your liking and use whatever fresh herbs you want.

More on those fava beans though. I remember reading some translation of a ribald Italian writer from the Renaissance and he referred to the head of the, um, (METAPHOR TIME!! SHARE YOURS IN COMMENTS!!) aroused male appendage (as seen on an uncircumcised unit) as the "broad bean" aka fava bean. Well, when you get a fava bean out of the pod with its little skin on, it really does look like the end of an uncut dude's padoodle at playtime. Just saying. On a more, uh, culinary note, I think I'll try smoking the fava beans in the smoker that Gilly got me next time. We'll see if they make an encore.

Saturday I caved in and got some Bisquick to make peach pancakes with. Ashamed to say that in my efforts to halve the recipe, I fucked up the milk quantity and made the batter too thin. So, I made a slow-cooked one-pan-sized pancake in the Dutch style. It still came out great and the fruit cooked up to be most gorgeous!

Otherwise I didn't do much too special; lots of salads and using the various vinegars, oils, and a tiny jar of savory and thyme vodka (amazing very cold, as-is).

Oh, so back to why I was buying Kaopectate. After spending Saturday doing absolutely nothing except sleeping in my gloriously air-conditioned bedroom and sweating in front of the computer, I got motivated on Sunday. Unpacked and put away two loads of laundry, turned in my sheet and towel laundry, and decided that I was going to make a recipe from my signed copy of Gordon Ramsay's latest cookbook—Sticky Lemon Chicken. It's actually an amazing recipe. So I even got off my duff to go shopping on a very hot day; I even cooked that recipe and my previously-listed oven-roasted potato wedges. In a heat wave. Dinner was delicious. I had sugar snaps to round out the plate, and it was all good.

Having said that, not only did Gordon NOT come over to my place after dinner to make me dessert and carnally gratify me, but I came down with a hell of a case of food poisoning. About an hour after eating I felt more exhausted than usual. Around dawn I woke up out of a deep sleep, two hours before my alarm, with severe cramps. Then I was jolted out of that deep sleep further by that horrid sensation of…must…get…to…toilet…NOW. We're talking projectile shitting, folks. Now, when I had cooked the chicken, I DID notice that the chicken had leaked right through the plastic bag I had the guy put it in at the store and had gotten on some other stuff. My guess is that I had cross-contamination on something. So, after a very rude awakening (thank G-d I made it to the john; remember, my other main set of sheets was at the Laundromat), I waited for the cramps to pass, spent the next two hours pooping, and had NO breakfast except for some Kaopectate left over from last year when I thought I might be getting an ulcer (I was). I went to the office as I had a shitload (all puns intended) of work and teleconferences and let's just say I want to keep an eye on the place right now. I lasted through the subway ride and the trip to the office, and figured, hell, if I made it here without crapping my pants I may as well make a full day of it. I DID warn my boss that I may have to leave early and why. After another pit stop I went to one of the 8 zillion Duane Reades in Midtown and got a big ol' bottle of Kaopectate and those ice packs. Drank about half the bottle at work. Lunch was a SunnyField Farms yogurt drink (acidophilus is good) and soy milk. I forgot that I had a thing of orange juice in the fridge also; someone probably stole it by now. Anyway, as the day went on, my colonic dry heaves died down. I went home and was actually hungry.

My Mom of course phoned in with grave warnings to only eat rice and bananas, but I didn't want to set up the rice spaceship and no bananas. So, I followed my craving and took a whole-wheat flatbread, coated it with fat-free cream cheese, added a pile of clean Italian parsley (of COURSE I bought two bunches and I get more this week. Go figure), added salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon, folded it in half, and ate it. With a shelf-stable acidophilus chaser for good measure.

All that chlorophyll must have done me good, because today I was…fine. Thank G-d.

Preparing my food tonight, I was grateful that I was healthy enough to eat the great spread in front of me, and grateful that I am able to participate in my CSA. I did get sad though when I looked at this week's huge haul and though, I should bring some of this over to Gilly's. And then remembering that I can't. It's too late to tell him to eat his vegetables. But I'm glad that I can eat mine.

EAT HEALTHFULLY AND BE WELL. Take care. Until next week,