CSA: Charleston — the season begins

Last Tuesday, we started our latest CSA season with Pinckney’s Produce. We did a season with them last summer/fall and loved every minute of it (you can read about those adventures here). This season, since we’re moving at the end of it and can’t freeze excess food to eat after the season is over, we signed up for a smaller box.  Here’s what we got:

  • 3 bunches collards
  • 1 curly head lettuce
  • 1 butter/bibb lettuce
  • 3 heads broccoli
  • radishes
  • onions
  • strawberries

Tuesday

Every time we get a CSA box, the first order of business is to figure out what is most perishable, so we can eat it first. This week, the most perishable items were obviously the lettuce, and the curly lettuce is thinner and likely to perish faster than the butter lettuce. Tuesday night, after all the items were put away, I made us a salad using the curly lettuce, a few of the onions, several of the radishes, a carrot, some bacon, some boiled eggs, and a red wine vinaigrette–sort of a cobb salad, but not.

Wednesday

On Wednesday, I decided to use the bibb lettuce to make Asian lettuce wraps.  After browsing a few recipes online and liking none, I decided to wing it.  What follows is what I did, though I didn’t do much measuring, so I can’t give you exact amounts of ingredients– just wing it and trust your taste buds! In addition to the lettuce, this recipe also used up the rest of the radishes and most of the onions, which I chopped up along with some celery (many recipes call for water chesnuts, so I figured this would be a similar watery crunch), garlic, and carrot.  I picked up some boneless, skinless organic free range chicken breasts and thighs, and I chopped them up into tiny pieces and sauteed them in sesame oil.  While the chicken was sauteeing, I made a sauce out of sesame oil, hoisin sauce (I randomly had this in my fridge, leftover from an old recipe, but I’d imagine you could skip it or use something else), sriracha, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. I also happened to have some rice noodles leftover from another old recipe, so I soaked those in warm water while I cooked. After the chicken was browned, I added the veggies to the skillet, followed by the sauce.  Once everything was cooked, I added the rice noodles (which I cut into smaller pieces) and a few handfuls of slivered almonds. We ate the spicy mixture wrapped in bibb lettuce leaves. Delicious!

All the ingredients for the lettuce wraps.

Lettuce wrap!

Thursday

Sun-ripened strawberries are SO red and SO juicy.

On Thursday we ate leftover lettuce wraps for dinner, accompanied by strawberry margaritas made with the strawberries. I grew up eating strawberries straight off the plants in my parents’ garden, ripened by and still warm from the sun. If all you’ve ever had are grocery store strawberries, you haven’t ever had a strawberry. Strawberries ripened on the plant are too fragile to stand up to transport to stores, so they’re picked before they ripen and are left to ripen on the shelf. Those aren’t real strawberries. They’re a shadow of the real thing, a reflection. Real, sun-ripened strawberries are soft and juicy and redder than any store bought strawberry you’ve ever seen. Blended up with lime juice, sugar, tequila, triple sec, and ice, these strawberries made for the sweetest, reddest, most delicious strawberry margarita I’ve ever had. Get your hands on some local farmers’ market strawberries and try this recipe for yourself.

Friday

Friday I wanted to use up the broccoli, so I decided to go the Asian route with some tuna steaks.  I marinated the tuna in soy, lime juice, and garlic for about an hour. I made some sauce for the broccoli out of soy sauce, honey, sriracha, garlic, red pepper flakes, and lime zest, and I cooked the broccoli and sauce covered in a skillet until tender while I grilled the tuna in a grill pan. I served it all over rice, and it was delish!

Saturday & Sunday

Saturday we had a friend in town, so we ate out. Sunday Jon was working and a house guest and I went to a BBQ potluck.  I used the last of the onions in the marinade from our steak (follow this recipe minus the sesame seeds and the hot pepper paste, throw in a ziplock for about an hour with some steaks and you’ll have the process I used) and baked a cherry clafouti to take for dessert.

Monday

In an effort not to bore you guys to death, I tried something new with my collards. It was this recipe for Fusili with Collards, Bacon, and Garlic. To start, I used rotini instead of fusili. In addition, while this dish was tasty, if I tried again, I’d use more garlic and more red pepper flakes. It wasn’t as good as my old standby, Linguine with Collard Greens and Bacon, though.

The Wrap Up

We used everything this week! I think my favorites were the lettuce wraps and the strawberry margaritas. I might have to make more strawberry margaritas if we get more berries this week!

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One thought on “CSA: Charleston — the season begins

  1. mmmm, those lettuce wraps sound hot diggity dang good. we have lettuces almost ready to enjoy but they’ll probably only yield teeny salads. maybe i’ll whip up some hot bacon dressing for wilted salad. mmmmmmmmm.

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