Category Archives: CSA Talk

Pickled Radish Greens

Pickled Radish Greens

Pickled Radish Greens

Summer is finally here in New England and I couldn’t be more excited.  For me, the start of summer doesn’t correspond with a date on the calendar, a particular holiday, or even the weather.  Summer truly begins when I come home to that first veggie CSA pickup.  After a long winter of root vegetables, potatoes, and sad grocery store tomatoes, the box full of greens, strawberries, spring onions, and radishes makes me so thrilled.  We were all so excited that when that first box arrived, we consumed its entire contents in 3 days flat.  I think that might be a new record of vegetable consumption for us.

With our second box, I was determined to eat every single thing in the hopes of making our veggies last longer than 3 days.  I thought I remembered reading that you can eat radish greens so I hit the internet in search of some inspiration.  Turns out, radish greens are absolutely edible and many bloggers sing the virtues of sautéed  radish greens and radish green pesto.  Unfortunately I had just made a nice batch of pesto using fresh peas, Italian basil, and Thai basil.  After doing a bit more searching I decided to create more of a pickle / brined radish leaf dish to use as a condiment on top of some polenta slices.

Turns out, this is an easy and really delicious way to use radish leaves.  The brine softens the leaves and imparts a nice pickled flavor but still allows the flavor of the greens to come through.  Even better, the whole thing takes minutes to pull together and can sit in the fridge for a day if needed.  So instead of tossing your radish greens, try this recipe and see if it doesn’t convert you to a greens lover*.

Greens soaking in the brine

Greens soaking in the brine

Pickled Radish Greens

Ingredients:

1 large or 2 small bunches of radish greens

1/2 cup water

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tsp rice vinegar (white wine vinegar would work too)

1-2 dried hot chilies, snipped into pieces

Sesame oil, for drizzling

To Make:

Wash the greens very well in several changes of cold water.  Radish greens tend to be very dirty so err on the side of over-washing so they aren’t gritty.  Once they are clean, spin them dry and remove the tough (and sometimes spiny) stems.  Coarsely chop the leaves and place them in a small bowl along with the chilies.

In a measuring cup (or another small bowl) mix together the water, salt, sugar, and vinegar, stirring until dissolved.  Pour the mixture over the greens and let sit on the counter for at least 3o minutes (toss it in the fridge if you are going to let it sit longer).

Drain the liquid and drizzle the greens with toasted sesame oil.  Toss gently to combine and serve.

To Serve:

Serve as you would any Asian-style pickle… on top of rice, on a burger, alongside a piece of meat, or just eat it from the bowl.  The beauty of this preparation is that it seems to take the bitterness and sharpness out of the greens while still leaving their earthy flavor.

* Or at the very least, you can enjoy the weird stares people give you when you tell them you ate pickled radish greens

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Filed under Add-ons, CSA Talk, Dairy-free, Gluten-Free, Recipes, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad

I love fresh picked corn on the cob.  Steamed with a little salt and melted butter, it tastes like summer on a plate.  Luckily, we get a lot of corn through our CSA so I get to eat my fill.  Once in a while, after the steamed and grilled ears have gotten a little (dare I say it) blase, I start hunting around for a little something different.

Corn, hot off the grill

Corn, hot off the grill

When we made carnitas for dinner the other night (post coming soon), I wanted something fresh and southwestern-inspired to add to our pork burritos.  Enter this quick and easy summer salad/salsa/condiment.  It doesn’t take long to throw together and it is even better if you make it in advance and let it sit for a while.  You don’t have to grill the corn but I really like the smoky, slightly charred flavor that the corn takes on after a spin on the grill.  If you want to spice this up a bit, feel free to add a chopped hot pepper or even a little chipotle in adobo for a smoky kick.

Ready to mix

Ready to mix

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad

From the mind of Kelly

Ingredients:

6 ears of corn

2 cups black beans ( or 1, 15 oz can rinsed and drained)

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp onion powder

zest and juice of one lime

1 tbls fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 tbls fresh cilantro, finely chopped

2 tbls extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

To Make:

Start your grill (gas or charcoal) and get it good and hot. Shuck the corn, making sure to pull off as much of the silk as you can.  Roast the corn directly on the grill grates, turning a quarter turn every 2-3 minutes.  When it is done, the kernels will be just barely tender.  Feel free to roast it a bit longer if you like your corn softer.

Once the ears have cooled, trim off the kernels into a medium.  Stir in the black beans, herbs, spices, lime zest, and the squeezed lime juice until well combined.  Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to blend the flavors.

To Serve:

Serve as a salad, as a topping to burritos or quesadillas, add a finely minced hot pepper and call it a salsa, the possibilities are endless.  Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

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Filed under CSA Talk, Dairy-free, Gluten-Free, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Zucchini Pancakes with Mint and Basil

Zucchini Pancakes with Mint and Basil

I am having a tough time believing that it is zucchini season already.  The summer is speeding by and even though it seems like our first CSA delivery was just a couple of weeks ago, we are already finding ourselves with lots of zucchini and summer squash. 

Lots of Zucchini

We are always looking for new ways to cook zucchini.  With the early veggies, we enjoy simple sautes and stir sliced zucchini into pasta.  However, as the season wears on, I start needing to spice things up a little bit.  These pancakes are really tasty, easy to make, and make use of lots of fresh summer ingredients.  According to my little brother, these zucchini cakes were “mad good”. 

Herbs and Feta

It is worth noting that the batter is very loose.  There is not a lot of binder relative the rather large amount of zucchini in the recipe.  This makes the cooked cakes a little fragile, but I like the way the zucchini and herb flavors come cleanly through.  If you wanted more of a typical “pancake” texture, adding an extra egg and maybe another 1/4-1/2 cup of flour would help.

Cakes on the Griddle

Zucchini Pancakes with Mint and Basil

Adapted from Joy of Cooking

Ingredients:

2.5 lbs zucchini, golden zucchini, or summer squash

1/4 of a large onion

2 large eggs

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup dry unseasoned bread crumbs

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

3 tbls fresh mint, chopped

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

To Make:

Using the coarse side of a box grater, grate the zucchini and onion.  Rinse briefly with cold water.  Place handfuls of the grated vegetables in a tea towel and squeeze all the water out.  Repeat until all the zucchini and onion are squeezed dry.  Sprinkle lightly with salt.

In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs.  Add the cheese, bread crumbs, flour, garlic, and herbs and stir to combine.  Stir the zucchini and onion into the batter.

Drop the batter by 1/4 cupfuls on a lightly oiled, preheated skillet or griddle.  Cook until golden brown on one side, about four minutes.  Flip, flatten gently with the back of the spatula, and cook until the second side is golden.  Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree oven until they are ready to be served.

To Serve:

Serve warm or room temperature.  Makes about 20, 4 inch cakes.

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Filed under CSA Talk, Dinner, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Beet Greens with Ginger, Chile, and Garlic Scapes

Beet Greens with Ginger, Chile, and Garlic Scapes

Due to the warm spring we have had, our summer CSA started a week early.  It was so exciting to get that first box, filled to the top with lots of green.  We got lettuce, arugula, spinach, kale, a couple of zucchini, some beets with fantastically fresh greens still attached, and some curly garlic scapes.  The box was topped with a carton of sweet strawberries.  After a winter of root vegetables, the plethora of green is a welcome change.  The best part is that everything is super fresh.

Frying the ginger, chile, and garlic scapes

The first thing I wanted to do was cook up those beet greens.  Did you know that the greens attached to the tops of beets are not only edible, but they are really delicious?  They have a nice earthy taste but without the bitterness that many greens have.  It’s as if they steal a little of the beet’s sweetness to balance out the deep flavor of the leaves.  The stems are a lovely pink color and when they are slender, you can cook and eat them right along with the leaves.  The challenge with beet greens is that they go bad pretty quickly and they often don’t make it through the supermarket gauntlet.

Adding the greens

Make sure you wash your greens really well.  They are typically covered with lots of dirt and do well with a bath in a big sinkful of water.  Beet greens really only need simple treatment.  This recipe is straightforward and uses delicious flavors of garlic, ginger, and green chile and stir-fries the greens and stems until tender.  It makes a pretty colored dish that goes nicely with other Indian-style dishes.

Wilted greens

Beet Greens with Ginger, Chiles, and Garlic Scapes

Adapted from World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey

Ingredients:

3 tbls peanut or vegetable oil

1 fresh hot green chile (such as jalapeno), seeded and cut into thin strips

About 1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into slivers

4 garlic scapes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (or 3-4 cloves of garlic, cut into slivers)

1 pound beet greens, including slender stems

Salt and pepper to taste

To Make:

Wash the beet greens well and pat dry.  Cut the greens and stems (if using) into strips about 1/2 inch thick.  Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the ginger, chile, and garlic scapes (or garlic cloves) and stir fry for a minute.  Add the beet greens and stir a few times.  Put a lid on the pan, turn the heat down to low, and cook until the leaves are wilted.  Add the salt and stir a few times.  Add 4 tablespoons of water, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the greens are tender, about 30 minutes.

To Serve:

Add salt and pepper to taste and serve alongside meats or beans.  Serves 4 as a side dish.

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Filed under CSA Talk, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Sauteed Spinach with Dill and Onion

Sauteed Spinach with Dill and Onions

I went to Verrill Farm the other day and had a tough time containing myself at the sight of all the locally grown veggies.  Spinach! Peas! Asparagus!  It is funny to think how far I have come.  Looking back, I can’t ever remember feeling anything more than “meh” about a vegetable.  Other than tomatoes, I never really cared much for vegetables.  I could never understand why anyone would choose a vegetable dish when there were meat dishes available.  Marc never seemed to care all that much about eating veggies either.

The players

Fast forward to Summer, 2008 and our first CSA.  As we got a new delivery each week, I started to get it.  When I had my first eggplant that summer, it was a revelation.  I alway thought I disliked eggplants.  It turns out, I disliked the old, bitter ones that are typically sold in the grocery store.  Eating small, ripe eggplants that were just picked made me think about vegetables in a whole new way.  These days, we work hard to eat as seasonally as possible.  That means going without certain veggies (corn, tomatoes, chard, *sniffle*) for much of the year.  However, it also means that when those veggies come back into season, it is like a new world of eating is opened up.

Imagine the heavenly smell of garlic and onions

This spinach dish is one of those revelations.  It is simple to prepare and not much to look at.  But boy, do the flavors hit you in a completely unexpected way.  The idea of putting spinach and dill together was a little strange to me, but don’t let it stop you because it is a dynamite combination.  Fresh dill is a must for this recipe… the dried stuff won’t work.

Almost ready!

Sautéed Spinach with Dill and Onion

Recipe from World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffery

Ingredients:

10 oz fresh spinach, washed, stems removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

For the yogurt sauce:

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1 garlic clove, mashed to pulp

a dash of paprika

a dash of salt

To Make:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.  Add the spinach to the pot and bring to a boil again.  Allow to boil vigorously for two to three minutes.  Drain the spinach into a colander.  This part can be done ahead of time and the spinach allowed to cool.  If cooking right away, run water over the spinach to cool it down.  When you are ready to cook, squeeze out all the moisture by pressing small amounts of spinach in your hands.  Make sure you get as much water out as you can.  Finely chop the drained spinach.

Put the oil and butter in a medium frying pan and set over medium heat.  When the oil and butter are hot, add the onion and garlic.  Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft and translucent, about six minutes.  Lower the heat if the onion starts to brown.  Add the spinach, dill, water, and salt and stir until combined.  Simmer gently, uncovered for 10 to 12 minutes.

To make the yogurt sauce, combine the yogurt, garlic, salt, and paprika in a small bowl.

To Serve:

Serve spinach hot with a dollop of yogurt sauce in top.  Sprinkle with extra paprika to garnish.  Serves 2 as a side dish.

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Filed under CSA Talk, Dinner, Gluten-Free, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Potato Parsnip Latkes

Potato Parsnip Latkes

I am always looking for new things to do with parsnips.  Through our various winter CSA’s we always seem to have parsnips hanging around.  They have a nice sweet and slightly sharp flavor that is tasty in many different culinary applications.  As the winter goes on, the parsnips we receive get sweeter and sweeter, probably as a result of the cold forcing them to store all that sugar.

Latke ingredients

We tend to get kind of lazy with our roots and serve them roasted or mashed.  However, after too many sides of roasted parsnips, we went looking for something different.  Parsnips are similar to potatoes in that they are both versatile when it comes to cooking.  Mix the two together and you have a very happy blend. 

The batter

This recipe is pretty simple to put together, just coarsely grate parsnips and potatoes, stir in flour, eggs, herbs, and salt and pepper.  Drop heaping spoonfuls into a pan with a little hot oil and watch the magic happen.  The latkes fry up brown and crisp.  Serve them hot from the skillet with a dollop of sour cream or with a little applesauce.  Or just eat them plain dusted with salt.  A delicious alternative to the traditional parsnip dish.

Potato Parsnip Latkes

Adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients:

1 large all-purpose potato (like a red or a Yukon Gold), 8-10 ounces

1 lb parsnips, peeled and coarsely grated

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3 tbls fresh chives, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Vegetable oil for frying

To Make:

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.  You can put your cooked batches of latkes in the oven to keep them warm until they are ready to serve.

Peel the potato and coarsely grate it into a large bowl (if you are concerned about the potatoes browning, toss them with about 1 tbls of lemon juice at this point).   Place the grated potatoes in a large, clean kitchen towel and wring it to remove as much moisture as possible.

Mix the potatoes with the parsnips, flour, eggs, chives, and salt and pepper until well combined. 

Place a 12 inch skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to come about 1/4 inch up the side of the pan.  Heat until the oil is hot but not smoking.   Scoop scant 1/4 cupfuls of the mixture into the skillet and flatten with a spatula.  Be careful not to crowd the pan.  Fry until golden on one side, 1-3 minutes, then flip and cook until the second side is golden, another 1-3 minutes.  Remove to paper towels to drain.  Place on a cookie sheet in the oven to keep warm until the remaining latkes are cooked.

To Serve:

Makes about 16 latkes.  Serves 4-6 as a side dish.  Serve warm topped with sour cream, applesauce, or sprinkled with salt.

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Filed under CSA Talk, Dinner, Eggs, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetarian

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

Alex, I’ll take Bacon for $1,000. 

A:  Bacon is a key component to this traditional Roman spaghetti-based meal. 

Q:  What is Spaghetti Carbonara? 

Tonight's starting lineup

I have this very simple cookbook that my Mother gave me when I moved out of the house.  It’s great really; straight forward recipes, nothing complicated, and basic enough that typically I have all the ingredients that I need on hand.  Also, it’s short and focused enough that I can lazily flip through a section to see what strikes my fancy and then make it for dinner that night.  I came across this Spaghetti Cabonara and it struck my fancy.  I had been saving my CSA bacon for something special and this was it.  The best part is that the whole meal comes together quickly with minimal fuss.  Perfect for a weeknight dinner.

Stirring the eggs while piping hot

Spaghetti Carbonara

Adapted from Clueless In the Kitchen by Evelyn Raab 

Ingredients:

8 oz whole wheat spaghetti 

1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk 

4 oz pecorino cheese, finely shredded 

6 slices bacon 

To Make: 

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil to cook the pasta. 

While the spaghetti is cooking, fry the bacon until crisp in a large skillet.  Remove the bacon and chop up into crumbles.  Set aside.  Drain all but about 2 tbls of the bacon fat from the skillet 

Beat the egg and the egg yolk and grate cheese.  Set aside 

When the spaghetti is fully cooked, drain, do not rinse it, and pour it into the skillet where the bacon was cooked. 

Immediately add in the cooked bacon and pour in the raw beaten eggs with the shredded cheese to the skillet with the piping hot spaghetti.  Stir to even coat the spaghetti.  The hot spaghetti will cook the raw eggs and transform the mixture into a rich and creamy sauce.

To Serve: 

Best eaten right away!  Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with any fresh herbs that suit your fancy.  Serves two as a main course or four as a side dish.

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Filed under CSA Talk, Dinner, Eggs, Meat, Pasta, Recipes