summer CSA, week 7

Last week (week 7) in the CSA: zucchini, cucumber, peaches, corn, plums, garlic, blueberries, potatoes, eggs, and bread (Breadery Grains Galore). There should have been kohlrabi as well, but I swapped for more potatoes.

summer CSA, week 7

Fast forward a week and the zucchini and cucumber are still uneaten. I boiled the corn the very first night (fresh corn is the best; it dries out if you leave it in the fridge for too long) and it was fantastic. (Well, except for the one ear I got which hadn’t quite developed all of its kernels. Them’s the risks.) Peaches, plums, and blueberries disappeared in fairly short order as well. We boiled up the potatoes with some onion and Old Bay, to go with steamed crabs this weekend.

I’m reading over the previous CSA post and… I think the kale is still in the fridge too, actually. It’s probably still fine; kale is a hardy vegetable and I washed the leaves and packed them in paper towels, which is a great way to keep leafy greens for longer. Still, need to get to that.

Also, I didn’t get to do anything cool with the eggplant, because K decided to cut it into strips, batter it, and fry it. (He also battered and fried five cut-up tilapia fillets, an entire sliced jalapeno, and an entire onion. This is what happens when I leave him alone for an afternoon and tell him to make dinner. At least our kid loved eating the fried fish.)

Back to kale. Kale possibilities are endless. I usually like to saute blanched kale in bacon grease with garlic and onions, or cook it into a soup (ideally with beans and sausage), or bake it into chips. The weather being what it is, though, I think it’s actually an ideal time to enjoy a massaged kale salad. There are even some mangos in the fridge.

Now let’s just hope the kid will eat it. He’s developed a dispiriting habit of refusing food at home, saying, “I already eat that at school” or “I only eat that at school.” Kid, the food you eat at school is the same food I cook at home. [sigh]

CSA week 6: peaches! and other stuff.

I am eating a peach right now and it tastes like heaven. I always resented summer (heat, humidity, chokingly stuffy cars) but now I have a reason to celebrate it: these sweet, ripe, beautiful local peaches.

This is not a freestone peach, so it’s messy; the flesh is sticking to the pit in clumps and strands, and everything is getting stuck in my teeth. Also, my cubemate is doing a valiant job of ignoring the slurps and smacking sounds I’m making as I try not to let a single drop of juice escape to run down my arm. Peaches are not a graceful fruit to eat. But a fresh, summer-ripe peach is totally worth the inevitable assault on your dignity.

Mmm, peaches. I’m going to be haunting the farmer’s market for these.

Right, where was I? This week is week 6 of the Breezy Willow summer CSA. In the pickup:

summer CSA, week 6

Zucchini, green beans, blueberries, garlic, peaches(!!!), cucumbers, eggplant, three tiny heads of broccoli, kale, eggs, and bread (Great Harvest challah). I also grabbed another handful of sage and thyme, which are likely destined to accompany chicken in some way. (Hmm, it’s been a while since I made toaster oven chicken.)

I’ll probably steam the broccoli, and blanch the green beans and kale (all using the same pot of water; let’s not waste joules here). I like cooking vegetables and then sticking them in the fridge for later; I find that having cooked vegetables around greatly simplifies activities like packing lunches and assembling quick weeknight dinners. And, in a pinch, you can at least serve them alongside whatever fast food meal you picked up on the way home because you left work late / got stuck leaving daycare / just don’t have time or energy to cook. (No domestic goddess, me.)

The cucumbers will probably get pickled with the cucumbers from last week’s pickup, since I hadn’t gotten around to that. And the peaches and blueberries will take care of themselves.

As for the eggplant, no concrete plans yet. The eggplant possibilities are endless. We might grill it, if we fire up the grill this weekend (and if so that’s likely where the zucchini will get cooked too), or we could roast it for baba ghannouj (in which case the kale will get cooked then as well), or maybe I’ll try one of those crazy recipes from the Ottolenghi cookbook that we got for Christmas. The world is my oyster! Or my eggplant, anyway.

CSA membership doesn’t take any special amount of creativity; it just takes commitment. Cook, preserve, or freeze, it doesn’t matter. Just get the pickup out of the way; next week is coming, ready or not.

CSA week 5, and carrot cupcakes

Summer CSA week 5: green beans, spinach, broccoli, green peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, red and white potatoes, blueberries, eggs, and bread (Great Harvest challah). I also picked up a handful of thyme and sage.

summer CSA, week 5 pickup

Interestingly, a friend who makes her Breezy Willow pickup at a different site on the same day reported that she got cabbage instead of broccoli. I’m relieved to have been in the broccoli crowd; it’s a vegetable the kid will actually eat. (He picks the beet greens off of his pasta; he would likely be completely unimpressed with cabbage.)

What we’ve cooked so far from the pickup: absolutely nothing! We had a long Independence Day weekend but we ended up just having cookouts and going to other peoples’ houses. We have a lot of grilled meats left over though so my plan is to just cook all the CSA items up separately (well, definitely the beans, spinach, zucchini, and broccoli) so that we have it available for sides for the meats. The cucumbers will probably get pickled, and the peppers and potatoes will be frozen for later (thanks to the Unmanly Chef, I know how to freeze root vegetables! My world will never be the same).

As for the blueberries, what we didn’t eat right away has been portioned off for the kid to take to daycare in his lunch. I’m sure he’ll be delighted.

Although I didn’t make much of a dent in the CSA pickup this weekend, I did manage to get in the kitchen to make some cupcakes. It was K’s birthday weekend, and he loves carrot cake and coconut flavors; I poked around the internet and came up with this combination:

Take 5 Carrot Cupcakes courtesy Food and Wine

Candied carrot cupcake toppers from Food Network

…and a cream cheese frosting, fairly standard: 1/2 block of cream cheese creamed with 1/2 stick of butter, then mixed with 2 cups powdered sugar and a dash of vanilla until smooth.

Honestly the most annoying part was grating the carrots; we grated one and a half carrots by hand until I finally figured out where we’d stashed the grating disk for the food processor. Man, I love technology. Once we had the food processor fired up, I think it took less time to grate all of the remaining carrots and wash the resulting dishes than it would have to grate the rest of the carrots by hand.

I also toasted coconut flakes in the last 5 minutes of cooking, to have coconut to sprinkle over the top. I set up my decorating station so that any mess I made would be contained on top of a baking mat. Those things are so easy to clean.

all set up for decorating

That was when I found out that a plain old cupcake, no matter how badly it’s frosted, will look amazing when you have candied carrot strips and bits of coconut to sprinkle over the top.

cupcakes: decorated!

They were phenomenal, by the way. The cupcake recipe makes an almost magically moist and airy cake, and the rich cream cheese frosting, punctuated by toasted coconut and crunchy candied carrot, is a perfect accompaniment.

And K liked it, which is really all that matters. Happy birthday, K!