spring CSA, week 3

Apparently I put off making the CSA posts until the very last moment, i.e., when I’m getting ready to pick up the next week’s batch and I feel embarrassed. Take it from me, though, that the CSA veggies are so awesome that they can sit in the fridge for a full week and not suffer. We just ate the last of our mixed greens for dinner last night, and they were perfectly crisp and colorful. I let the kale from week 1 go for over two weeks and only a couple of leaves turned a mild, reproachful yellow around the edges. CSA veggies are very accommodating.

Week 3’s pickup consisted of: Napa cabbage, mixed greens, three grapefruit, five oranges, two enormous carrots, bean sprouts, mushrooms, spinach, dozen eggs, and loaf of bread (I picked challah).

spring CSA, week 3

I think so far we’ve only consumed a couple of leaves of Napa cabbage (julienned and served with noodle soup), the mixed greens (side salads for two meals), the bean sprouts (again with the noodle soup), and the spinach and mushrooms. I like slicing the mushrooms, sauteing them with minced garlic in olive oil and butter, and then tossing the mess with wilted spinach. It’s a winning combination.

By the way, I love dealing with spinach, because it’s barely any work. Sure, it looks like a lot, and CSA spinach is so grimy that it needs an extra rinse in the salad spinner… but just cram it all into a pot, leaves still wet from washing, and turn the heat on medium.

spinach, uncooked

Cover the pot and just walk away. If you check back a bit later, this is what you’ll see:

spinach, cooked

Ta-da, wilted spinach, all ready to be tossed with flavored oil and whatever else. That huge mass of spinach, half of the CSA haul, barely covers the bottom of the pot when wilted down.

spring CSA week 2, and pi day

People are getting back into their usual patterns; I went to Breezy Willow at my usual hour, and the crowds were nowhere to be seen. I messed up twice on the week 2 pickup though — I didn’t pick up my red delicious apples, and I seem to have entirely skipped the tangerines. I like that Breezy Willow lets you pack your own produce, because then you can get the sizes you want (I like smaller apples, smaller brussels sprouts, and straight thin carrots). However, if you skip over something in the confusion of packing, it’s your own fault. They’re usually pretty good about letting me pick up a little extra the next week to make up for it, but it’s not the same…

Anyway, week 2’s haul consisted of: turnips, acorn squash, brussels sprouts, oranges, potatoes, onions, and apples (Jonagold and, if I had remembered them, Red Delicious); also oranges (but no tangerines!) and the usual eggs and bread (I chose wheat).

spring CSA, week 2

Last week also brought Pi Day, the 14th of March. I’ve been a fan of Pi Day since I was in high school, lo these many years ago, and it always brings a smile to my face. Halfway through the day, it occurred to me to surprise K with pie for dinner. Unfortunately, I hadn’t planned ahead and defrosted my pie fillings (I turned a couple of bushels of apples from last year’s farmer’s markets into frozen pie filling) or made any pie dough. I did some quick brainstorming, and came up with a quick-to-execute pie-themed meal. Puff pastry to the rescue!

Chicken pot pie is essentially a thick chicken stew underneath a pie crust. On the way to pick up the kid from daycare, I swung by the grocery store and picked up two rotisserie’d chicken leg quarters*, a can of cream of chicken soup, and a box of puff pastry. Once home, I stripped the meat off the bones and roughly chopped it. I also diced a couple of hard boiled eggs (I figured it was kind of like potatoes, and took less time to prepare). I layered chicken, egg, and mixed frozen vegetables inside buttered ramekins. Then I mixed the can of cream soup with an equal amount of milk, and poured it over top. By this time, the puff pastry was defrosted and was easy to work with. I stuck a circle of puff pastry over top of each ramekin, baked at 350 until the pastry was golden and puffy, et voila: quickie chicken pot pie.

Apple pie is one of my favorite pies, but there’s no real way to hurry up a whole pie. You can, however, make hand pies with puff pastry. So I diced up one of the CSA apples (didn’t even bother to peel it) and tossed the pieces with cinnamon, sugar, a bit of lemon juice, and a few scrapes of nutmeg (just eyeball it; enough sugar and you can’t go wrong). A square of puff pastry on the bottom, apples in the middle, and another square on top, squishing the edges together with my fingers, and into the oven as well… and when the pastry was golden and puffed, we had apple hand pies for dessert.

Pi Day pies

Thank goodness for puff pastry, which makes anything look like a pie. A meal centered around puff pastry is probably not the healthiest thing in the world, but Pi Day only comes around once a year.

* The two leg quarters cost $4.49; looking back, I should have gone to Costco and gotten a whole rotisserie chicken for $4.99. Oh well, it did the job.

spring CSA, week 1

It’s always nice when Breezy Willow Farm starts up their CSA again in the spring. I give up a lot of vegetable autonomy to the CSA haul, and I actually find it annoying to have to shop for vegetables. It’s also nice to see the Caulders and the work-share helpers again; it’s like a big family out there.

The first week brought a pound of kale, last year’s apples from cold storage (York and Red Delicious), beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms. I was also glad to see the oranges and grapefruit from Florida; after a couple years of the spring CSA, citrus now reminds me of spring. We also got the usual eggs and bread (Great Harvest rye).

spring CSA, week 1

My only problem with the pickup was my timing. I usually go after I get off work, but I got out early and decided to hit the CSA during opening hour. Boy was that a mistake. The place was so packed that they were shuffling people around in the driveway and the parking lot, and there was mud everywhere. Also, you had to stand in line to get into the building, and although the sky was blue outside, the wind was pretty stiff and cold. Casey said that the early rush happens every year, and that afterwards people tend to even out their arrival times. I’ll have to remember this for next year. I’m glad the CSA is doing well, but next time I’m definitely waiting until my usual hour before I show up.