Saturday, December 15, 2007

CSA subscription - week four

Another week, another CSA delivery. Let's see what we've got this time.

The breakfast radishes were a new one on me, but the consensus of the first page of Google hits is to eat them with salt, butter and a crusty bread and I can't argue with that. The radish, cilantro, chicken stir fry sounds interesting too (particularly as I bet you could add the radish tops in too), but I'll save that for next time they turn up.

The beets I'm torn on; They could end up pickled or roasted. I'm fond of the sweet pickled beets Kyra makes for the salads at Theine tea shop (which you ought to try if you haven't) and I've managed a fair simulation at home using a standard sweet pickle brine. It's about time for me to tweak the recipe for a second try at it, but if I end up roasting anything this week, the beets are liable to get tossed in alongside.

The green pepper is a utility player that may end up anywhere. The tomato I would say that about too, but I'm cooking for just me and since half a tomato doesn't store well, one that large pushes its way to the front of a dish. I'm thinking of pairing it with a tuna crudo dressed with lemon, olive oil, black pepper and a finishing salt. And maybe a bit of an herb or some capers.

The cilantro arrives just in time to go into the guacamole with the finally-ripe avocado and the remains of last week's cherry tomatoes.

And that just leaves lots and lots of leaves. I'm not entirely certain which greens are which. The purple one with the flowers must be the hon tsai tai and I'm fairly confident the one with the rounded leaves is arugula. But the one with the corrugated leaves I don't really know. I presume it's the broccoli raab, but it doesn't have the thickened asparagus-esque stems with the mini-broccoli buds that I'm familiar with (although, according to McGee's _On Food and Cooking_, it's unrelated to broccoli. I did not know that.) This week's picture isn't a great deal of help in sorting things out. What we need is an inset with a close-up on the shape of the leaves.

My general strategy with greens, which you may have caught on to by now, is to saute' the greens, add a pork product and sometimes a shellfish and mix it into a starch. I've got a couple of ideas I haven't used yet along those lines, one French(ish), another Spanish(ish), that I'll show you as I make them. I'll have to give some thought to another strategy for these; If any of you folks have suggestions, do please share them.

One final thought: the newsletters mentioned that you should store greens in a plastic bag, but there's a bit there's a slightly more complicated version I've had some success with. Put the greens, unwashed, in a ziplock bag along with a piece of paper towel to absorb the water the leaves will release keeping it away from the leaves and halting the goopy rot that would otherwise ensue. Nestle the paper towel in amongst the leaves because the next step is to squeeze out as much air as possible and you want to keep the paper towel in contact during this. Once you've got most of the air squeezed out, use a straw or just some ingenuity to suck out the rest. Have a beverage handy because you will suck up a bit of grit. This will keep your greens fresh through the week even if you open the bag up a few times along the way.


Anonymous said...

Beets? I didn't get beets! Were you a half or full share? (I have a full...) And what about those multi-color beans, they look very cool.

billjac said...

Full shares got beans; half shares got beets. First time this season that the half shares got anything the full shares didn't. I suppose it's a consolation prize for not getting any beans or eggplant. Not that I don't like beets but anything that doesn't come with greens would be a relief at this point.

The bean medley sounds cool; I'd like to see a picture if anyone would care to post one. The black and white newsletter photo doesn't do it justice.

Margie said...

Take a look at past newsletters (the archive is online at In them you'll find pictures of individual leaf shapes, and more complete descriptions of many of the items that we grow every year. We try not to repeat ourselves too much in the newsletters- but it would be nice to have an index to the veggie descriptions, pictures, and recipes. Anyone out there willing to undertake this labor of love??

billjac said...

I looked through the newsletters before I signed up for the CSA subscription so I know there's lots of good information in there, but you're right, margie, that an index would be helpful to make all that information accessible. If you can host a database, I'd be happy to look through the archive to figure out the categories of information we should be recording. Then volunteers could come by, pick a week, and enter in the data. The index would be created without much organization or any one person doing a whole lot of work.