Thursday, November 24, 2011

CSA week two wrap-up, week three start-up

Lots left unaccounted for from week two.

To start, all that eggplant. I decided to split it up; half went into an Italian pasta bake sort of thing along with a fair bit of the basil. The other half, I tried to incorporate into Vietnamese sugar cane shrimp. Unfortunately, the 50/50 shrimp/eggplant ratio made the resulting paste too soft to stick the sugar cane. Made quite respectable fritters, though.

I left the avocado too long, let it over-ripen and it got watery and bland. It took me a long time to realize that that was my fault and not just the natural state of Florida avocados. They can be good, but you've got a really short window of time you need to use them in. My mistake was putting the avocado in a paper bag with some bananas which accelerated the process rather more than I was counting on. I got to the bananas just in time, but the avocado went to waste.

I should mention the peppers, too. A couple went into the nachos the avocado was supposed to accompany and the others I'm saving to go with the okra. I don't think I've ever encountered jalepenos so fresh and crisp before. Very impressive.

As I just implied, I haven't used the okra yet. I'm sticking with the pickling plan, but held off in hopes of receiving some fresh dill this week. And, hey, some arrived just as I had hoped. I'll be setting them up today, I think.

And speaking of this week, let's take a look at what's newly arrived.

A rather better picture this week. Moving right under the florescent kitchen light and a tighter grouping on the square butcher block both helped quite a bit. You should be able to recognize most everything, I think.

The aforementioned dill is on the bottom mid-left. To the right is lemongrass, mostly stems I have no use for and very little of the actual good stuff. Maybe it's good for making a tea? To the left is a big bag of rosemary, sage, thyme and oregano. Along with all the leftover herbs from the last two weeks (which are keeping up surprisingly well), this is officially way too much. I hope the herb to everything-else ratio goes down soon as this does not serve my needs.

Above the herbs are some generic light greens, grape tomatoes and a cucumber. That's a salad right there to which I can add some of the herbs, I think. Basil, parsley, tarragon--those should all work. Maybe some mint, too. I can use a handful of sage with a brown butter pasta sauce. Rosemary and thyme I can use in bulk with a roast chicken. I'd throw in the tarragon, but I already did that and I've still got leftovers.

The squash sampler pack would be nice roasted along with that hypothetical chicken.

That leaves the cabbage, which I like with pork and/or yakisoba. And the pole beans which look so fabulous (although it's hard to tell through the plastic bag and, I just checked and their color's faded overnight in the refrigerator. I hope their flavor hasn't turned khaki too.) that I'm probably just going to steam them up and eat a big bowl full.

Nothing really blog-worthy in that list, is there? This may be a slow week.


Amy said...

I tried Teena's last spring when they had a 4-wk sampler at the end of the season (to see if I could keep up with that much produce coming in my home weekly - I didn't have as much success as I'd have liked). Point being, I loved their produce, but also found there to be an overload of herbs. I've heard the same criticism from others, too (one new this year and one who enjoyed the whole season last year).

billjac said...

Thanks, that's good to know. At least it's an interesting new problem to deal with, I suppose.

Karen said...

Hey, welcome back to blogging! I read recently on the King Arthur Flour baking blog about drying herbs in the microwave. But it only works with herbs that have good water content, i.e. those that wilt in the heat. Rosemary, thyme, etc can just be left out on the counter and they'll dry in no time, and either way the result will be way fresher than anything you can get in a store. But for sage, my favorite things is to fry them in a little olive oil 'til crispy, then drain them on a paper towel and dust with a little salt. Irresistible to munch on, or great crumbled over a nice polenta if you have that much will power.

billjac said...

I'm working through the herbs at a decent clip but I'm going to default to drying or freezing anything that shows up in duplicate on Wednesday. I don't think I'll be entirely out of anything but the sage at that point. I just fried them up in butter with some garlic and ham to put over pasta. They shriveled up but didn't get crispy. Probably my temperature's too low.

meow said...

Amy cued me to your blog because I'm a first-time CSA-er with Tenna this year too (half share). You and I have very different cooking styles and I've probably been cooking longer than you, but it would be fun to compare, if you're game. For instance: I had fried okra and potatoes as a side dish to grilled chicken. Another meal was the pole beans cooked with smoked ham hock as a side dish to grilled pork tenderloin. Attending a meeting tomorrow night where I'm bringing to the food table a fresh herb spread/dip to go with various veggies (grape tomatoes, cucumber, black olives, etc.).

billjac said...

Please do post a comment with what you make with each share. It'll be really interesting to see what you come up with.

meow said...

Note from your pictures that you received red cabbage; mine was green. Could not resist making stuffed cabbage (although had enough to share with others). Lots of the herbs went into my sauce. Made side salad from the mixed greens and arugla, added roasted asparagus. Still contemplating the jalapenos. Maybe roast and make a taco with leftover turkey from T-giving and add Manchego?...