Dana’s accounting of week 12 of our CSA. Color me impressed!
I was all too happy to try Darci’s CSA. My previous CSA experience didn’t include the variety that I’d hoped for — so after opting out this year, I’ve been living vicariously through Darci.
After pick up, I made a rookie mistake. I left the veggies in my hot car for an hour while I ran an errand and picked up my daughter from camp. When I got home, everything was just a smidge more ripe than it had been when I’d inspected it earlier. I quickly put it all in the fridge, said a prayer to the veggie gods to keep it fresh for at least three days, and set to work finding ways to use it all by then.
First up was Saturday night’s dinner. I’d planned on doing “farmer’s market pasta,” which in my house is simply fresh, local tomatoes, onions, garlic and basil over a slightly higher-end brand of pasta (i.e., something even *more* expensive at Whole Foods). Since the share contained plenty of Swiss chard, I changed it up to be a swiss chard and tomato dish.
It was delish! I can’t say my kids loved it, but at the very least they tried it and did not utter the words, “Ew, I don’t like it.” My husband and I happily ate their helpings.
FARMER’S MARKET PASTA
1 pound Swiss chard, stems cut from the leaves and then both chopped, rinsed and drained separately
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1/2 pound penne pasta (or really, any shape you like)
1/2 pound Italian sausage, sliced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1. In a large skillet, sauté the red pepper flakes, onion and garlic in the oil over medium heat. Add the Swiss chard stems and 1/4 cup of the water, cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the Swiss chard leaves, the remaining 1/4 cup water, cover and cook for 5 more minutes.
2. Stir in the tomatoes, cover and cook for 3 minutes.
3. Add Italian sausage and simmer on low for 5 minutes.
4. Boil the paste until it’s al dente then drain.
5. Toss the pasta and the Swiss chard and sausage mixture with the Parmesan cheese. Serve with a healthy sprinkling of Parmesan.
Sunday night, I was able to use the grape tomatoes in a lovely simple salad of cucumber, tomato, avocado oil and a touch of red wine vinegar. This was a side dish for our main meal of burgers, along with the AMAZING corn. I don’t think I’ve had corn that good all summer. My kids literally wolfed their ears down.
I felt good about my CSA progress, especially considering the tomatoes were the most in need of use, but I was on a roll. For dinner last night, I went full steam ahead and prepared a stir-fry of green beans, broccoli, eggplant, green pepper, the one hot pepper, onion (not from the CSA) and the one leftover ear of grilled corn. I sautéed everything with two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat while I boiled some Asian flat noodles. I mixed together soy sauce and sesame oil with a touch of ground ginger and poured that over then added a corn starch mixture (2 tablespoons of corn starch dissolved in 1/4 cup of water) at the very end. It thickened perfectly and by not overcooking or over-saucing (it’s a word I’m sure) my vegetables, for the first time in history, everything retained its fresh taste.
One note on hot pepper usage: Research what kind of pepper it is before using. WOW, that pepper was hot. The stir-fry was very tasty but it required a whole lot of water in between bites.
Three days and the CSA is almost 100 percent gone. Just one cucumber is left, and I’ve been using it as a side dish for lunches. What a treat this was for us! Now, where can I get Mike and Darci to go next week?