Sayonara, CSA Share

I breathed a sigh of relief yesterday. The season is officially over for our farm, and our share of its Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Thus, no box of mystery vegetables yesterday. Even better because I haven’t yet used all the ones from last week.

For me the farm share was a mixed experience. I loved supporting a local farm and receiving fresh, seasonal, local produce. I loved the idea of learning to prepare new dishes and the challenge of cooking whatever was in that week’s box. In practice, though, it preyed upon two of my weak spots–a tendency to compulsion (I felt I had to use all the veg and use them well) and anxiety (I’d fret if they went bad before I used them, or if the new box came before the old ones were used). Eating all the veg went slow, too, as our two sons, 6 and 3, wouldn’t eat many of them.

One thing I could do differently would be to store more of the items. Blanching and freezing wouldn’t have been more time consuming than cooking, and would have lessened the anxiety about needing to cook and eat everything NOW NOW NOW. Another is that I may see about going from a half share every week to a half share every other week. This would also allow me some veggie leeway to shop our farmers’ markets, which I didn’t do much this summer as I never needed much.

But there was a lot of fabulous food, and I learned a lot as a cook and an eater. I found I was especially good at incorporating some of the things that I’d formerly thrown away–beet, turnip and radish greens, and chard or kale stems. Here, then, is a sampling from the end of the season.

Spaghetti with Broccoli Rabe and Toasted Garlic and Bread Crumbs

Spaghetti with Broccoli Rabe and Toasted Garlic and Bread Crumbs from The New York Times


1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, more as needed

3 or 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and slivered

1 cup bread crumbs, preferably homemade

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste

About 1 pound broccoli rabe, trimmed and washed

1 pound spaghetti, linguine or other long pasta

Freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Put 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. When oil is warm, cook garlic just until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add bread crumbs and red pepper flakes and cook until bread crumbs are golden, 5 minutes or so. Remove and set aside.

2. Cook broccoli rabe in boiling water until it is soft, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain well and chop. Cook pasta in same pot.

3. Meanwhile, add remaining oil to skillet over medium-low heat. Add broccoli rabe and toss well; sprinkle with salt and pepper. When it is warm add garlic and bread crumbs and mix well.

4. When pasta is done, drain it, reserving a little cooking water. Toss pasta in skillet with broccoli rabe mixture, moistening with a little reserved water if necessary. Adjust seasonings and serve with freshly grated Parmesan.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potatoes, cut and roasted with olive oil and salt at 400F, with wasabi mayo.

Quicker Eggs Benedict

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I was going to try to make a smaller amount of hollandaise faster. I also poached the eggs but didn’t follow it with a cold and hot bath. As you can see, this dish is nowhere near as pretty as the one from last week where I followed all the Julia Child directions. But it still tasted good alongside sauteed broccoli rabe, and made a lot fewer dishes in a lot less time.

Brussels Sprout Hash with Lemon and Poppy Seeds

Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Zest
Adapted from “The Union Square Cafe Cookbook,” by Michael Romano and Danny Meyer
Time: 25 minutes

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus grated zest of 1 lemon
2 pounds brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons black mustard seeds or poppy seeds
¼ cup dry white wine or vermouth
Salt and pepper to taste.

1. Place lemon juice in a large bowl. Cut bottoms off sprouts, and discard. Halve sprouts lengthwise, and thinly slice them crosswise. The slices toward the stem end should be thinner, to help pieces cook evenly. As you work, transfer slices into bowl with lemon juice. When all sprouts are sliced toss them in juice and separate leaves. (Recipe can be prepared to this point and refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 hours.)

2. When ready to serve, heat oil and butter over high heat in a skillet large enough to hold all sprouts. When very hot add sprouts, garlic and seeds, and cook, stirring often, until sprouts are wilted and lightly cooked, but still bright green and crisp, about 4 minutes. Some leaves might brown slightly.

3. Add wine, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Turn off heat, add salt and pepper to taste and stir in the lemon zest, reserving a little for top of dish. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with remaining zest and serve.

Yield: 10 servings.

This was good, but I didn’t like it as well as the roasted brussels sprouts I made earlier.

Impossible Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla Whipped Cream

Impossible Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla Whipped Cream

1 15-oz. can pumpkin or a scant 2 c. pumpkin puree
1 1/2 c. milk, or 1 13-oz. can evaporated milk
1/2 c. biscuit/pancake mix or 1/2 c. flour plus 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 c. sugar
2 Tbl. butter, melted then cooled
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch glass or Pyrex pie plate.

Place all ingredients in blender; blend for 2 minutes. Pour mixture into pie plate and bake for about an hour, or till center is set and tester comes out clean. Cool.

For topping, whip 1/3 c. heavy cream, 1/2 Tbl. cane sugar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla to soft peaks.

ingredients for Thai tofu and winter squash soup

The photo doesn’t really capture the loveliness of the colors of these ingredients for Thai Tofu and Winter Squash Stew–the deep orange of the squash puree, the light variegated green of the sliced leeks, and the golden yellow of the grated ginger. But I had to try. Here are the leeks sauteeing, and even more lovely in color:


4 Responses to “Sayonara, CSA Share”

  1. Amy Says:

    That looks lovely.

    The farmers I get my CSA from say that in most cases, it’s not until the second summer that people really fall in love with the boxes. The first year it’s confusing and overwhelming, but if you go back for the next year, you’re better prepared. I did more freezing this year that I’ve done before, to the point of buying extra just for that purpose.

  2. Kate Says:

    This all looks delicious. Love the idea of blanching and freezing, can’t wait for next summer!

  3. carolyn Says:

    I am totally making that pie when I get home tonight.

  4. girldetective Says:

    C, glad I inspired you!