CSA, hooray! Chapter 20

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A week ago, we picked up our final CSA share of the season:

  • Brussels sprouts
  • tomatoes
  • peppers
  • greens
  • beets
  • turnips
  • potatoes
  • onions
  • winter squash
  • arugula
  • kale

As much as I believe community supported agriculture is important, I can’t say that I’m sad to see another CSA season come to end. I’d compare the experience to Christmas — come Thanksgiving, I can’t wait to put the tree up, but as soon as the holiday passes, I don’t even bother plugging in the lights every night. When fall hit, and we entered kale season, our enthusiasm waned. Thankfully, most of these veggies are ones that will keep for a bit in the crisper. Because honestly, that’s where most of them still are.

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Tomatillo salsa

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I’ll admit it: I’m a recipe follower.

But when Mike and I visited our friend Jerry in Mexico City last Christmas through New Year’s, we whipped up a batch of tomatillo salsa. (I was intrigued that the salsas served there were completely different than our standard tomato-jalapeno-onion-cilantro varieties.) Since making salsa was one of many things on our docket one day, I wasn’t able to take the time to write down each step of the process. Instead, I “helped” — OK, mostly watched — as Jerry raced through at breakneck speed. Without a recipe. Eek.

Side note: Jerry and I actually made two salsas: the less spicy tomatillo one for me, and a much spicier red pepper and oil variety for Mike. Since anyone who knows me well knows that I tend to shy away from all things spicy, it should come as no surprise that I didn’t commit that second recipe to memory. Sorry, Mike.

I eagerly awaited the appearance of tomatillos at the farmer’s market this year, and after spotting them a few weeks in a row, finally got my nerve up to attempt making the green salsa at home.

Easy. Peasy.

Seriously. All that was required were tomatillos, hot pepper, garlic and onion. And a blender.

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First, take the tomatillos out of their little cocoons and rinse them in a colander. They’re kind of sticky, surprisingly. Then, put them in a pot of boiling water with a pepper or two, depending on how much heat you want your salsa to have. (I used one pepper, and felt very brave.) Boil until the tomatillos turn a bright vibrant green, but don’t cook them.

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Place the tomatillos and pepper(s) in a blender, and add the onion (I used a medium white onion, cut into chunks) and garlic (one large clove, cut in half, for this batch).

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The key, according to my salsa master Jerry, is to also blend in some of the water from the pot. Seems this salsa gets very thick, and the water keeps it from becoming cement-like. I put in a couple of ladles, an estimated half a cup to a cup. The amount was spot on, as the mixture fit perfectly in a canning jar, and wasn’t too thick or thin after setting.

The end result: Salsa spicy enough to truly qualify as salsa, but not so spicy that I couldn’t enjoy it. I was so proud of my effort that I brought it to my family’s annual campout, where cousins enjoyed it with homemade chicken quesadillas.

Sorry, no photo of me patting myself on the back.

CSA, hooray! Chapter 19

Week 19

And we’re back! Huge thanks to Dana for picking up our CSA share for two weeks and blogging about it, even with spotty internet — AND a newish baby in the house.

I picked up our veggies around noon yesterday and, since I had a slew of post-vacation errands to run, immediately came home and stuck them in the fridge. Unpacking the bag a day later may not have been the best idea, as a bundle of greens was way wilted. The bok choy is also less than crisp, so I’ll sauté that tonight in some oyster sauce.

Everything else fared OK:

  • cabbage
  • tomatoes
  • sweet peppers
  • kale
  • bok choy
  • small melons
  • Russet potatoes
  • cilantro
  • lettuce

The kale will be this week’s biggest challenge. Kale was more than plentiful in last year’s CSA, and I never mastered cooking it — and Mike never mastered eating it. I’ve been dreading its appearance this season. Oh, well. Here we go.

CSA, hooray! Chapter 18

Still, Dana!

This week’s CSA is a lot like last week:veggies2

  • mixed chard
  • assorted tomatoes
  • kale
  • broccoli
  • garlic
  • red norland potatoes
  • sweet peppers (and one hot)
  • radishes
  • bok choy

 

Another thing that’s a lot like last week is that my Internet access is again coming and going, with it going most of the day. Argh. Although, I can’t complain about the delicious stir-fry these vegetables yield, and I’m excited to add bok choy and broccoli to it.

Once again, big thanks to Darci for sharing her CSA and allowing me to guest post here!

 

CSA, hooray! Chapter 17

My friend Dana is taking over the blog while Mike and I are in the UK. Take it away, Dana!

Thanks, Darci! As you have probably already noticed this was last week’s CSA that I’m posting this morning. I apologize for the delay, but my Internet access was on the fritz all week due to some faulty wiring on the pole outside (or so says the nice man from Comcast that came to fix it). I had about five minutes a day of access. Not only did this mean posting here was problematic, but since I garner all my recipes online I had to go old school for this CSA.

Here’s what we received last week:

  • mixed chard
  • tomatoes
  • hot and red peppers
  • kale
  • ice box melon
  • cilantro
  • green beans
  • pumpkin
  • radishes (and lots of ’em!)

Being disconnected from the Internet has its advantages. I realized that I didn’t need to necessarily whip up something extraordinary because Darci had generously gifted me her CSA. We shop our local farmer’s market every week as locally grown produce is an important part of my family’s diet. So I  did what I normally do: I incorporated the CSA into our every day meals. Several salads were made utilizing the tomatoes, red peppers and radishes. The kale has been a staple of my daily morning smoothie (which is nothing more than the greens, some strawberries, bananas and almond milk). The green beans were a side dish for a purchased rotisserie chicken. The melon was a delightful breakfast treat for my kids. A stir-fry utilizing the remaining red paper and mixed chard was delicious and, again, simply prepared by sautéing with soy sauce. Finally, I roasted the pumpkin and baked some pumpkin spice muffins (the recipe for which I’m having trouble finding at the moment).

This week, I remembered that having a CSA doesn’t have to be a stressful, “How will I use all those vegetables?” prospect. Too often with my prior CSA, I felt like I needed to get really creative because I had this special box of vegetables. This resulted in my spending a lot of time planning big cooking/baking projects and then wasting produce as time got away from me. I suffered from CSA anxiety. However, as I looked upon our bounty this past week I realized that I often buy most of these very same things at our market to do just what I did–eat a little bit local every day. Whew, anxiety alleviated. CSA, Hooray!