Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Summer may be over, but tell that to my CSA!

This has been a summer truly rich with flavor and I am sorry to see it go. We have had our share of repetition, but this has been a wonderful "my first CSA experience." The "Cooking Away My CSA" Google Group has been a valuable resource for inspiration and I am so grateful to vicariously enjoy their experimentation and learn together. I hope that in the future because of the information that is becoming more readily available online, people will be more inclined to enter into a shared risk CSA agreement with a local farm. It's daunting when you first think about getting an unspecified quantity of unspecified vegetables delivered every week, but it has turned into an adventure.

I am sorry that I will be out of town for the next two boxes from our CSA. I hope that my husband will find some use for the fresh veggies that will be coming his way. I will miss everyone while I'm visiting Japan!

Here are a few things that I've been up two for the last few CSA meals:

- Zucchini bread. As the late summer days grow long, so do the zucchini. This recipe is one that I found to be fairly bland and too heavy, but with a bit of doctoring it can be made to be quite delicious. I substituted the oil for applesauce, added 1/2 cup raisins, split the grated zucchini for some grated carrot, cut the sugar down, did 1/2 and 1/2 whole wheat flour, and added ground allspice and cardamom. It made great morning muffins as well!

- Sloppy Joe's. I haven't made these in so long, but the 1lb CSA beef was just calling me to think back to my favorite childhood recipes. Basic bolognese sauce with worcestershire sauce, but they are so much more. If one thing can transport me back to childhood it's that slightly sweet combination of meat, brown sugar, tomato sauce, ketchup (my mom's homemade ketchup), onions, green peppers, and worcestershire sauce. This meal (pictured above) was one that took me back to a time long passed but not forgotten.

- CSA Beef Pesto Burgers. This past Wednesday was our 2-year wedding anniversary. Val and I are not the type of people to get dolled up and go out somewhere we are going to spend too much money on a meal we will later was good, but over salted and heavy. Our anniversary dinner was just what we love, cooking together and eating together. This recipe inspired me to make a pesto using spinach, garlic, and walnuts to use both in the burger patties and in a meal the following night (recipe to follow). I can't think of a better way to spend the occasion.

- Zucchini Pizza Crust.
In the bottom of my fridge had more zucchini than I could shake a.. well.. zucchini at. This recipe is a great use for those big veggies that look like they could feed an army. The last time I made zucchini pizza crust it was from the Moosewood Cookbook, so I must say that I got the inspiration from there. However, that recipe is very laden with cheese and it's really unnecessary when you see this simple combination. The zucchini are so moist, the egg holds it together nicely, and the right mixture of flour gives it just enough substance to not be zucchini omelet with pizza toppings. Roasted tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant with rosemary and just a little kosher salt did the trick for us as toppings. Also, grating just a tiny bit of fresh Parmesan on the top made it *pop*. Word of warning though, 8 minutes for the first round of baking (untopped) is not sufficient. Give it more like 20 if you roast your eggplant ahead of time.

I hope you do lots of cooking for me for the next few weeks! I can't wait to hear all about it.