a CSA journal: cooking and eating farm fresh, seasonal & organic

CSA Share Week of June 27

CSA Share Week of June 27

There are lots of leafy greens in the third CSA share of the season: lettuce, collard greens, dandelion greens and kale. Check out last week’s post for quick tips on stemming and prepping greens. There is also bok choy, fennel, garlic scapes, Hakurei turnips, mint, scallions and zucchini.

A fellow CSA-er said she tends to feel overwhelmed with greens from time to time. My suggestions if you’re not using them up? Add lettuce to your smoothies – virtually no taste and the added benefits of greens. Remove the stems, chop and blend kale with a little water and freeze it in cubes to add to smoothies and soups later on.

This week, I’m setting aside some time for meal prep. I’ll spen an hour or two cooking up much of the produce in my CSA to make lunches and dinners quicker and easier.

Below are basic tips and ideas, including what to pair with what.

Bok Choy

Did you steam the bok choy last week? If so, then sauté it this week. My favorite bok choy sauté uses a neutral oil, like grape seed, ginger and garlic (use your garlic scapes), and a splash of sesame oil when it comes off the heat.

Boston Lettuce

Use this leafy green lettuce in green salads and noodle salads or as a wrap instead of bread. Add it to smoothies, grill it, braise it, or thinly slice or shred it and toss it in soups.

 Collard Greens

Collard greens are pretty versatile. They are great sautéed, braised or stewed and in soups – tomato-based soups, lentil soup, come to mind. Use them as wraps in lieu of bread. You may think that collard greens need a long time to cook – but that’s not necessarily true.

 Dandelion Greens

This bitter green isn’t the most common of the leafy greens in this week’s share, but I’m glad you’ll get to try them if you haven’t before. When you cook them, sautéed for example, the bitterness mellows. Chef Lidia Bastianich has a delicious recipe for dandelion green salad with ricotta salata.

Fennel

Last week, I suggested using raw fennel – sliced thinly in salads (try adding orange or grapefruit next time) or on a crudité plate. I roasted mine with onions, garlic and chicken thighs. This week, as part of my meal prep, I’m going to quick-pickle fennel.

 Garlic Scapes

Here’s the thing about cooking with ingredients you don’t always have on hand. If the flavor is similar, you can substitute it in any recipe. Where you normally use garlic you can substitute garlic scapes. Just keep in mind the flavor is a little more mellow and sweet. Or use them in a recipe that calls for scallions if you think the garlic flavor would work. But most people would say that garlic scapes should be the star of the recipe. If you’re in that camp, whir up a garlic scape pesto or throw them on the grill.

Hakurei Turnips

What a treat! Enjoy these sweet, crunchy turnips raw. If you decide to cook them, you can roast, sauté or braise them – and their greens too.

 Kale

There are many varieties of kale – and this week it’s red Russian kale which has dark green leaves and red stems. Sauté it, roast it, steam it, make a salad, add kale to soups (I always add kale or another leafy green to lentil soups), blend it in a smoothie or juice it.

More on kale here.

Mint

 Last week I suggested steeping mint leaves to make iced tea.

Mint, like basil or cilantro, makes a great pesto. Mint and lamb are a classic pairing, but if you don’t eat meat use your mint pesto as a pasta sauce, stir it into a warm rice or quinoa dish or cold rice or grain salad, dollop it on soup or mix into white beans.

Scallions

 Have you grilled scallions? They’re delicious. Simply brush them with a little oil and put them on the grill. They’re a great side to whatever else you’re grilling. Or slice raw scallions and add them to salads or a grain bowl, sauté them, scramble them up with eggs or use them cold in a salad or to garnish a savory toast.

Zucchini

The first zucchini of the season! We know there are many more to come.

I made a simple grilled zucchini salad with mine. It’s so easy: slice the zucchini very thin lengthwise, brush it with a little olive oil, and grill it quickly – you just want it to cook slightly. You can also do this in a grill pan or a very hot skillet. Place the grilled/cooked zucchini on a large plate or platter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, olive oil, lemon, chopped garlic (optional) and chopped mint or basil (optional).

How to pair the produce in this week’s CSA share

  • Add fennel and/or raw turnips to your lettuce or kale salad
  • Sauté your greens. If, like me, you’re doing meal prep, you can use the same pan multiple times for each batch of greens. Experiment with different seasonings with each ch: garlic and red pepper flakes, soy sauce and/or sesame oil, garlic and ginger, add canned or cooked beans, finish with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of good olive oil.

What I’m cooking this week

  • Freezing kale cubes for smoothies
  • Mint pesto
  • Collard greens sautéed with garlic and red pepper flakes
  • Steamed bok choy drizzled with sesame oil
  • Grilled zucchini salad
  • Sautéed dandelion greens with garlic and white beans
  • Grilled garlic scapes
  • Quick pickled fennel
  • And lots of salad!

I’ll be updating the site with recipes during the week. Be sure to check back to see what’s cooking.

Questions? I’d love to hear from you.



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