CSA: Charleston, in a pickle

Recently, I tried to search WordPress for “CSA” and got nuthin’.  So, in an effort to create something other people can find when looking for information about Community Supported Agriculture, as well as a desire to document our experience, I figured I’d start doing a weekly post about what we got in our CSA box and what we did with all of it.  This is what we got this week: DSC05621To break that down that’s:

  • 3 turnips, with greens
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 4 beets
  • 8 cucumbers
  • 4 zucchini
  • 4 small green peppers
  • 4 small ears corn
  • 2 large winter squash
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 3 “decorative pumpkins”
my refrigerator pickles

my refrigerator pickles

Each week when we get a box, I lay everything out on the kitchen table, determine what is preserveable and what will need to be eaten within the week, and what we can actually manage to eat in a week.  Looking at this spread, I decided the corn and zucchini could be frozen for later.  I usually shred the zucchini and freeze it in bags in quantities conducive to zucchini bread.  The corn just gets shucked and frozen whole in bags as well.  I also decided to make spicy refrigerator pickles with the cucumbers, which is super easy and something I just throw together on the day we receive our produce.  Our fridge is slowly filling up with yogurt tubs of pickles, but they are SO GOOD!

While it would have been fun to eat the beautiful squash this week, I knew a squash soup would preserve better than a lot of the other goodies, so I roasted the squash and made a puree, which I then made into soup (loosely following this recipe, not in a crock pot but on the stove, and using Greek yogurt instead of cream for better freezing) and froze it.

The kale reminded me of one of the best things about the Olive Garden: zuppa toscana.  And what do you know, there’s a recipe on the internet!  I used chicken Italian sausage and skipped the bacon, and the soup turned out pretty great.  It could have used a little red pepper for more spice though. We had zuppa toscana for dinner Thursday night, and for lunch a few times after.

Squash soup on left, zuppa toscana on right. And yes, I was making soup at 9:00 Wednesday night...

Squash soup on left, zuppa toscana on right. And yes, I was making soup at 9:00 Wednesday night...

The lovely tomatoes and green peppers became a homemade variation on pizza margherita, which incorporated basil from our garden and yummy buffala mozzerella.  It was a great Friday night dinner with a bottle of wine and the dvd of “Wolverine” from Netflix.  And then of course, cold pizza for breakfast the next day!

mmmm pizza!

mmmm pizza!

So that basically leaves beets and turnips, which I have no experience with, and as a result, saved til the end of the week.  The only time I’ve ever eaten turnips, they were boiled in an attempt to trick me into believing they were potatoes.  I was not fooled, and I hated them.  But I found a recipe for turnip risotto, which even incorporates the greens, and which I served with mustard-crusted mahi mahi (a variation of this recipe) last night, and I have to say, it was delicious.  We ate it sitting out on the back porch, and it was like eating a taste of fall just as we can finally feel a bit of coolness in the air.  I brought some of the leftovers to have for lunch today, with a side of refrigerator pickles.

And then there were beets…. so, this leaves the beets.  I am still not sure what to do with them, and we’re getting a new box this week.  I found a beet risotto recipe which I might try, or maybe borscht, or maybe just pickled beets, though I’m not a huge fan of those.  Another friend suggested tossing them with olive oil and rosemary and roasting them in the oven, which is a possibility.

New box tonight! My husband’s sister and her husband are coming to visit this week, and they’re slightly picky eaters, so this week will be an adventure in trying to preserve MORE food so we can eat out a couple of times, as well as trying to cook things our guests will like to eat.

Oh…and as for the “decorative pumpkins?”  They’re sitting on our mantel.

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6 thoughts on “CSA: Charleston, in a pickle

  1. good job with the tasty veggies!

    i happened to read an interesting roasted beet tofu “burger” recipe that you may want to try. it’s here: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2009/09/roasted-beet-tofu-burgers.html. i just happen to love most any veggie roasted & thought it sounded interesting, though i could never get the husbeau to touch it with a ten-foot pole.

    as for kale, a recipe i’ve been meaning to try (& one that gets rave reviews from people i’e heard talk about it) is kale chips. if you try it, let me know your thoughts.

    KALE CHIPS
    Ingredients
    1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    2 tablespoons salt (this makes them pretty salty- you may want to reduce the amount, then sprinkle the chips with salt when they are done )
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    2 bunches kale, rinsed with stems removed

    Directions
    1. Cut kale into 2 to 3 inch pieces.
    2. Mix vinegar, oil, and salt in a large bowl then add kale and mix by hand.
    3. Try to get all the leaves covered.
    4. Place on baking sheets (I like to use parchment paper for easy clean up) and bake at 350 F until they are crispy.
    5. After about 20 minutes, if it looks like they are not sizzling a bit or getting a little crispy, turn up the heat to 400°F.
    6. Time for baking varies depending on the size of your chips and desired crispness.
    7. The outer edges cook quicker than the pieces from near the stem.

  2. Now that the weather is getting colder, I’m back on board for roasted beets. They make great salads (the best came from one of my favorite places in New Haven that used arugula, roasted red and golden beets, goat cheese and a lime/coconut vinaigrette), and if you’re in the mood to try a new side you can mix them in with sauteed onions and a hard-boiled egg or two. It’s kind of strange, but good.

  3. Sarah! You are an amazing woman…and this blog makes me wonder if I will ever be capable of being this kind of woman- to be creative and make all of these things! Inspiring but intimidating :) I’m so proud of you though! Not many people would take the time to figure out how to use beets before they just threw them out (something I would probably do lol). BTW, this blog reminded me of Julie and Julia…have you seen it?

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