summer CSA, week 1

Yay, Breezy Willow’s summer CSA is back! (Though because I’ve been picking up their spring CSA for months already, it just feels like a continuation.)

This week: spinach, lettuce, beets, sweet potatoes, pattypan squash, cucumbers, white mushrooms, a quart of strawberries, radishes, eggs, and bread (Great Harvest white).

summer CSA, week 1

Seeing the pattypan squash always makes me slightly nervous because my skin reacts poorly to something in the squash — the first time I cut some up for cooking (they’re great sauteed in butter, with a little salt), my left hand got red and swollen. (My right hand was fine; it was holding the knife.) Now I wear gloves when preparing squash. Fortunately I seem to be able to eat it without any problems.

We didn’t cook anything yesterday so most of this food is still sitting in the fridge. I did cut up some strawberries to have with ice cream, though. I’ve also been nipping a strawberry or two every time I open the fridge. I have a feeling the strawberries won’t be around for very much longer.

snakehead dining

In case you haven’t heard of the snakehead fish, it’s an invasive Asian species that’s gotten into Maryland and Virginia waters. It’s scary, a voracious predator with no natural enemies in these parts, and it takes very good care of its young, ensuring that large numbers of them survive to reproduce. It’s freakishly hardy, able to breathe air and survive for days out of water. US Fish and Wildlife have been trying to contain the population explosion, but the snakeheads are flourishing.

Enter Whackfactor Outdoors and the Potomac Snakehead Tournament. They set up a tournament with cash prizes for whoever could bring in the heaviest snakehead catch within a set amount of time. As a bonus (and this is what caught K’s attention), local chefs would prepare delicacies with snakehead.

K has long been saying that the cure for invasive species is for humans to eat them. Humans, after all, have hunted species to the brink of extinction time and time again. If anyone can take out a species, it’s us.

We showed up at the tournament near the end, for the Invasive Species Tasting (open to the public). I was delighted by the quality of the free snakehead delicacies.

snakehead bites

On my plate: snakehead ceviche on a tortilla (courtesy the chef from Alewife), a snakehead crostini with microgreens (courtesy the staff of Dino DC), and fried blue catfish (apparently also an invasive species).

It was fabulous food; everything was delicious. I didn’t take notes on the flavors, but I would cheerfully go out to the restaurants if they put those dishes on the menu. People, if you see snakehead on the menu, snap it up! I’m sure we can eat these invaders right out of the Potomac, if we put our minds to it.

By the way, the tournament ended up removing over half a ton of snakeheads from the area. Kudos to the hardworking tournament contestants!

spring CSA wrap-up

Having slacked off on CSA posts, let me do a quick catch-up. The end of May brought the last two weeks of the CSA. Here’s week 11:

spring CSA, week 11

That’s a head of romaine lettuce, some spinach, beets, white potatoes, eggplant, green beans, and the usual eggs and bread (Great Harvest challah). I really love getting the beets because it’s like getting two vegetables in one — you can eat the beets, and you can saute the greens as a separate side.

Week 12 brought more strawberries, cucumbers, red potatoes, Vidalia onions, really big green zucchini, radishes, and white chard. I got Breezy Willow eggs this time, and a loaf of Great Harvest’s Old-Fashioned White.

spring CSA, week 12

I love it when we get double quarts of strawberries — makes it easy to split the share. I’ll miss the Vidalia onions, since the summer CSA is local whereas the spring CSA is far-ranging… but Vidalia onions are easy enough to get at home.

I turned the red potatoes into Ina Garten’s potato salad, which was, as expected, delicious. (Interlude: K saw me steaming the potatoes under a kitchen towel and said, “Why are you doing that?” “It’s what Ina said to do,” I said. “Okay,” he said. “Whatever Ina says, goes.”)

I never mess with Ina Garten’s recipes. They’re unfailingly reliable.