Saturday, March 13, 2010

CSA week 14 wrap-up, week 15 start-up

After a couple weeks without, I've finally got something worth mentioning in the wrap-up section of this post.

I said I was thinking of pickling the broccoli in last week's post and I found a few different recipes out there. I decided to try a particularly simple one instead of over-accessorizing the broccoli with spices. It called for tossing peeled thin-sliced stems in a little salt, letting them sit overnight and pouring off the expressed liquid, dressing them in two parts olive oil to one part vinegar plus a few crushed cloves of garlic (I added a couple shots of hot sauce) and letting it sit overnight again. So, more a simple broccoli salad than a proper pickle. Mighty tasty, though. Well worth a try.

The broccoli crowns I served over penne as I often do. I tried cooking them along with the pasta this time but too much of the flavor ended up in the water so I'm going back to a quick blanch and cook-down in a pan with plenty garlic and olive oil.

The strawberries were disappointingly tart again this week so I cooked them down into a syrup and, along with the previously week's ice cream, made milkshakes. Also, mixed with a bit of raspberry jam and heated up a little, it made a lovely filling for buckwheat crêpes.

I was going to braise the celery with tomatoes and olives, but the recipe was annoyingly fussy and I wasn't feeling it. I could have simplified, but I ended up making a pretty good celery and smoked salmon salad and ate it with crackers instead. Still half the head left, but it was a small head so I can probably consider it an herb and not worry about it, just like I'm not worrying about the thyme, sage and rosemary I've got lurking in my refrigerator.

I've still got the cabbage too, but it's hodling up well so I'll just use it as the need arises.

As for this week...

We've got dandelion greens again (on the left). I'm not making the mistake of trying to use them without proper preparation to leach their bitterness. A recipe I made last year called for simmering them with baking soda. I might try that method again. Actually, I may well make that full recipe again. I wrote that I quite liked it.

The little squash I've already cooked, along with some mushrooms, onions and the remaining broccoli crowns in a macaroni and cheese. A good combination of flavors, but I overcooked the noodles a little so I'm not happy with the texture.

The spring onion, I'm just going to use in recipes calling for onion/shallot/scallion. If there was a second in the extras bin, I'd have had enough to make a savory tarte tatin that I've had in the back of my head for a while. I think spring onions would be particularly well-suited.

The bok choy is versitile, but only within a narrow range. I mean to say that it's only really good for stir fries and east Asian soups, but it'll work in just about any stir fry or east Asian soup. There's nothing else here that shouts out for a either one of those, though. I do have an unusual, but tradtional, recipe for creamed bok choy I might try. It might be the only recipe in the world that calls for both milk and dried shrimp.

The radish tops were past their prime so I've trashed them. The radishes themselves are the sort better cooked. I can see them working well with the dandelion greens.

The mint I'll ignore and then throw out in a month as ususal.

The garlic chives are an herb too, but one I have more use for. I want to use them in something where they're the primary seasoning, not just one more ingredient thrown in the mix. Just what, I'll have to think about.

The green beans I think I'd like to find a central Asian recipe for. I've made a lot of green bean recipes, but I don't think I've ever used them in something from that area. There's probably something; they're used on either side. I'll have to do some research.

The collards I want to do anything but cook Southern-style since I still got an enormous amout of gumbo z'herbes in the freezer. I tried wrapping sticky rice in collards last year but had some difficulty. In retrospect, I should have cut out less stem and steamed the leaves for a minute or two to get them flexible. And, as long as I'm switching in collards for lotus leaves, there's no reason to stick with Chinese fillings in the rice (other than the fact that that tastes really good). Maybe I'll try mixing that up a bit.

That's quite a bit to deal with. I wouldn't be surprised if some of this ends up in the freezer instead.


kat said...

Why not make a mint ice cream or something instead of throwing it out?

billjac said...

Well, partially because we don't really have enough to flavor a full batch of ice cream (or whatever), but mostly because I don't really like mint all that much.

annie s said...

Hi Bill! I am looking for a way to email you about a Fairchild Garden event - Food and Garden - coming up in April. We would love for you to come. Do you have a contact email?

billjac said...

Huh, I could have sworn my e-mail address was on my profile. No wonder nobody ever contacts me. For your convenience, it's williamjac at

I'm going to add it to my About Me blurb and see what happens.