FLS reporter Katie Thisdell serves up news on local food finds, tales from home cooks and inspiration to help you have fun in your own kitchen.
CSA Week 3: Going green
What was that I said last week about there being no “Quickfire” challenges in home CSA cooking? Never mind.
This week, we had an out-of-town wedding on the weekend, a heavy list of home chores and a lot of other stuff that kept us on the move. That left minimal time for cooking and led to far more meals out than we usually eat. So I was eager to get this week’s box and see how we might put it to use in the time we had.
Here’s what we got:
1 bunch onions
4 kohlrabi (2 green, 2 purple)
2 bunches beets
2 Napa cabbage
4 pounds asparagus
2 pints snow peas
1 bunch mustard greens
This is a spring green box. Lots of ultra-healthy cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, kohlrabi) and other nutritious stuff in here. Maybe it’s just in my head, but I actually feel healthier for the drastic increase in greens I’ve ingested since this CSA started.
When I first got the box home, I decided the beets and kohlrabi had a longer shelf life than a lot of the other stuff. I trimmed their greens off and stored them away in the fridge for after the busy weekend. I made a big lunch salad with some of the kohlrabi greens, some raw chopped asparagus, a few snap peas I had left over from the week before and some goat cheese, topped with two fried eggs.
Now, what to do in limited time? There’s a lot of great stuff for stir-fries in here. On Wednesday, I was planning an all-veggie meal of stir-fried snow peas, asparagus and Napa cabbage over rice, when my husband begged for some protein. It turned out to be a good call. I held out the cabbage, and we ate our stir-fry aside a steak split between the two of us.
You can find the stir-fry recipe at the end of this post. It would work well with a lot of other vegetables available now, including kohlrabi, bok choy and sugar snap peas.
I had some burgers from the freezer defrosting (Hey, we’re eating our greens, who says we can’t have beef two nights in a row?) for Thursday night. I made this recipe for Napa cabbage salad to go with them (It’s easy, and was a hit.), and roasted about a pound of asparagus as another side.
The beet and mustard greens were so pretty, and I wanted to make sure we used them before they started to wilt in the fridge. Beets are related to Swiss chard, so you can usually use their greens in any recipe that calls for chard. I wanted to make something that I could freeze and heat later, but lasagna seemed like a cop-out, maybe because we’d just had it last week.
So I went Greek, and decided to use all the mustard and beet greens in a modified version of spanakopita–the “spinach pie” dish made with phyllo dough–to put in the freezer. I used this recipe as a rough guide (No red peppers or herbs in my dish, and I used a whole egg and added some parmesan.), and when I cracked one of my Snead’s eggs to mix into the greens two yolks came out. Bonus!
During my cook-ahead session, I eyed the remaining kohlrabi greens. Kohlrabi is one of those weird spring vegetables that everybody looks at funny. I actually got into a conversation about it on the playground, where it turned out other members of the Snead’s CSA were sharing notes on the week’s box. I have the bulbs reserved for another stir-fry tonight or tomorrow (with the rest of the Napa cabbage), but I didn’t want the greens to go to waste.
If there is a vegetable that doesn’t taste good when mixed up in a food processor with lots of parmesan cheese, garlic and olive oil, I haven’t found it yet. I blanched the kohlrabi greens and threw them in my Cuisinart to make pesto, which now sits in my freezer awaiting a fresh batch of pizza or pasta.
And what about the beets? I’ve always liked roasted beets in salads, but I’ve had this recipe for beet hummus bookmarked for quite a while. Now that our schedule has settled down a little bit, I’ll have to give it a try.
This week’s recipe: Snow pea and asparagus stir-fry
1 pound asparagus, trimmed of woody ends and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
2 pints sugar snap peas
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 cloves minced garlic
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
Head oil over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, until you can smell them. Add onion, asparagus and snow peas and cook for about 3 minutes.
Add soy sauce, vinegar and sugar. Stir to mix and let liquids cook down a bit. You don’t want to cook so long that the vegetables lose their bright green color.
Remove from heat and drizzle with sesame oil and seeds. Serve alone or over rice.