Sunday, July 26, 2009

This week in CSA - Fava beans and plums

Oh CSA, how do I love thee? I opted for a 1/2 fruit share on top of my veggies and while the cherries and currants were OK in the last delivery this week's 5 lbs of plums and 2 lbs of peaches blew them out of the water. Oh! So wonderful.

While many groans of 'more chard' were heard, I was glad to see some cooking greens in the delivery. In the next few months I'm going to seriously miss those tender early summer leaves. Green smoothies are a great place to get rid of the excess. This evening I had a simple dinner of sauteed chard with ginger, carrots, garlic, green onions, soy, and the last of a nice bottle of red to deglaze the pan with a smoothie for dessert. I left the fresh greens out of the smoothie and I missed their earthy flavor.We may be getting a little tired of chard, but I may never want a smoothie of just fruit again.

This weeks adventures included Fava Bean Pesto and a little foray into preserving these delicious fruits: plum chutney.

Now, I had a little leftover pesto in the freezer from my garlic scape pesto, so I pulled that out and doctored it up with this little recipe:

Fava Bean Pesto

  • 1 cup fava beans, peeled and blanched
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • handfull of pine nuts
  • fresh basil and parsley
I pureed the fava beans in the oil with the basil and parsley in the mixture. I like the pine nuts to add a little more texture, so I rough chopped those and added them once the pesto was the consistency I wanted. For a little extra moisture I used some of the pasta water. Sorry it's not more exact, I sometimes just cook by feel. Also, I think this recipe would be awesome with some sharp cheese, goat cheese, or even feta.

Plum Chutney (canned):

There were two wonderful recipes for Plum Chutney that I found online, and using my favorite Ball Blue Book as a guide for the processing, this concoction came out amazing!

I used this recipe for the helpful canning instructions and I used it for a guide on adding the red onion to the mix. I did not use the garlic, but the spices in this recipe from epicurious really called to me, so I stuck to the red wine vinegar, fresh ginger, mustard, pepper, star anise, cinnamon, sugar, red onion, and plums. Using 2 lbs of plums and 1/2 a red onion it made 7 4oz pints of chutney.

Pair it with farmer's market pork and put a jar in gift baskets to share the CSA flavor.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Washington Square CSA

During my time at VISFI they were not running a CSA, for them it was not quite sustainable at that time. I hope that in the future they can get back to CSA fulfillment, because it is a relationship-building mechanism as well as a way to bring fresh produce to people on the island. I know that the goal of Creque Dam Farm is to be a learning farm, but CSAs are a learning tool. Believe me, I'm learning about new vegetables every week! This week I have these small, yellow, super sweet "carrots" that look more like parsnips to me. At a farmer's market I probably would have walked away, but the challenge of the CSA is to roll with the curve balls and expand your cooking repertoire!

So far in my CSA box here are some highlights:

- garlic scapes - pesto, phenomenal and freezes well
- green garlic stems - korean pancakes (chijimi or pajang, depending on who you ask), fried rice
- beets and beet greens - roasted basalmic beets and beet greens sauted with spring onion and kosher salt
- turnips - sauted with onions and raisins
- Currants - scones, current syrup
- cherries - cherry vinegar, dried cherries (for cookies and granola), and cherry preserves (amazing over waffles)
- fennel - fennel salad with cherry vinegar-ette almonds, and dried sour cherries
- mint - mojitoes, sun tea, mint sauce
- napa cabbage - stuffed venison roll (leftovers went into the crockpot to make a tender pot roast)

Leftover greens and fresh eggs before I went out of town for a week went in here:
Pretty Darn Healthy Quiche
Like all of my recipes I made quite a few modifications to that one.
- minus the ham and all the cheese
- sub unsweetened soymilk for the dairy
- add more sauteed veggies (next time I'll cut them up just a wee bit smaller)
- Freeze until you come back from vacation, thaw and bake briefly with some fresh grated cheese of your liking on top (I usually choose small amounts of a very strong cheese)

The Current Scones for brunch recipe I also made my own adjustments.
- sub 4 of the tablespoons of butter for 1/2 an apple blended to make smooth
- soymilk for the whole milk and used a whole egg instead of just the yolk.
- dusted them with raw sugar and kosher salt for a little kick
- served them with cherry preserves to offset the tart currants.

More to come!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Great Debate, new blog or old blog..

I haven't updated this blog because I intended it to serve as a chronicle of just my time at VISFI, and then I would return to one of my old blogs or start a new one. Of course, I've grown a little attached to this platform and my VISFI experience is one that has had a lasting effect on my decisions and directions since returning to the grid.

My next project is to collect recipes and ideas inspired by the vegetables that I get in my CSA box. Fresh cukes will always conjure memories of the Gaia garden in the sun; the bumpy, spikey little green gherkins and the mature, oblong splashes of summer. Does it still relate enough to keep the same blog? In a way, it's another segment of the monkey pod; synthesizing and continuing to learn.