Saturday, April 23, 2011

CSA week 18 wrap-up, final week start-up

It's been a while both since my last post and since I've done any serious cooking. Actually, that's not entirely true. While I was visiting my sister, I cooked Thai peanut noodles one night. I don't know that the results were all that interesting, but given the requirements that it not include dairy, pork or shellfish and have adjustable levels of spice, salt and complexity, I think I did well. I've used a few different recipes for peanut noodles in the past and had settled on the trick of switching out half the peanut butter for tahini which keeps it from tasting too much like, well, peanut butter. This time, instead, I used David Lebovitz's recipe which starts with roasted peanuts and has the unusual inclusion of black tea. Leaving out both the chili oil and cilantro caused some problems, but I was fairly pleased with the result and it did go over well with everyone but the 3-year-old. She won't eat anything so I didn't take that critique to heart.

But that was in Ohio where it isn't 85 degrees. Here in Miami, I'm not so interested in spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

Still, this is the final week of the CSA so I should cook at least one blog-post-worthy dish. For that, my eye is on either the beets or the carrots, both of which we have in substantial amounts for the first time all season. Using them both in a cream soup might work, actually.

Beyond those two, the sprouts and chives seem like they ought to be used together too. I could see them both in a cold noodle dish. I never did get around to doing that with the last batch of sprouts.

I would like to plant the basil (in the plastic on the right) since it did come with roots still attached. I have another basil plant that sprouted up into shrubbery last autumn, but spent all its energy making flowers for me to pinch off over the winter and is wilting in the springtime sun and heat. I don't know if this new basil will do any better this season, but it's smaller so I can try keeping it indoors for a while.

Another point of interest this week is the local sea salt (in the packet on the lower left). I just tasted it against the Italian, French, Spanish, Hawaiian and Californian sea salts I've got in the cupboard already and, yeah, the French fleur de sel wins, but the Florida Keys salt came in second. It has a good texture, relatively small crystal size and pleasant complexity to the flavor that cuts the intensity. It's a nice accompaniment to the grape tomatoes. Does anyone see the fact that I have seven types of salt in my pantry as an indictment of my lifestyle? No? Just me then? OK.

In a week or so, after I've used the bulk of this share, I'll write a wrap-up of this CSA season and probably fade out as the summer progresses. If I decide to formally close up shop, I'll let you know.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I kind of think this rooted-basil thing is a ploy to make it seem more than it is. Sweet (Italian) Basil is an annual (or sometimes a tender perennial if you live in a cool-but-not-cold zone). Actually most varieties are cool weather plants, so you can't beat Mother Nature at this game. Even if it lives, older plants with woody stems or that have flowered have less flavor. But it's easy to grow from seed - just start some new babies from time to time, then mow them down. Or you can pick some of the younger stems and put them in a cup of water in a bright window - they'll last a lot longer in the AC than out in the 90's.