Cooking CSA Sample Recipes.

Yesterday was a fun day of COOKING and playing in the field!  On Wednesdays, the CSA customers come to the farm to pick up their produce, so the bulk of the morning is spent harvesting and gathering all of the fresh veggies for their bins.  When I got to work, I took a walk through the fields to see what was growing and ripening.

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I made my way up the hill and walked into the red shed to discover a wheelbarrow filled with BEETS – yum!

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And another filled with fennel – SO much fennel!

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Endless rows of savoy cabbage…

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Tubs of gigantic cucumbers

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And a big basket of Swiss chard!  I wanted to eat it ALL!  :)

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But I didn’t eat any – just took a basket of what I needed to prepare that day’s recipes.

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And on my way back to the kitchen, I stopped to grab some fresh herbs straight out of the ground.  Tons of ROSEMARY!

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This entire row by the pool house is ALL herbs! 

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I took my bounty back to the kitchen and got started.

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Each week, the CSA members get a newsletter outlining what will be in their produce bins, along with two corresponding recipes to match the produce list.  A lot of times, members will say they don’t know what to do with some of the more unique or lesser-known items, so our hope was to offer some guidance by providing recipes.

To enhance the recipes, one of my assigned tasks as the Culinary Intern is to actually prepare the weekly CSA recipes, and have samples available to the members when they pick up their produce bins.  So yesterday I grabbed my newsletter and got started.

I de-cored and chopped up a LOT of fennel (one of my favorite vegetables!).

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This was my first time using FRESH garlic!  I have only ever used cured garlic, like what you find in the grocery store – but this was pulled straight out of the ground.  The flavor and texture were the same, but I found that is was a lot more powerful.  My hands smelled like garlic the rest of the day!

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The big harvest item this week was BEANS – green beans and yellow wax beans.  You guys will be seeing a lot more beans in the next few days.  :) 

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I started by trimming all of the ends off, and washing them thoroughly.  Produce that comes straight from the ground is a lot dirtier than what you get in the grocery store!

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Next, I dropped them into boiling water in small batches – blanching them for 5 minutes until just tender.

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Once the beans were finished, I chopped up my fragrant fresh rosemary – quite possibly my favorite herb.

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I sautéed my fennel with a bit of the minced green garlic…

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And attempted to take pictures of myself cooking…

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Mixed up the rosemary with minced garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice…

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And then I tossed in the beans!  Sprinkled some toasted almonds on top and voila – delicious green bean salad.

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This recipe was a HIT!  The CSA customers loved it, and they were all so excited to know that they had all the ingredients in their weekly produce bins.  Casey and I gobbled up all the leftovers when I got home – definitely a recipe to make again.

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The other dish I prepared was sautéed fennel with garlic and parsley.  This dish also turned out great, and I was really glad we chose to feature a fennel dish.  So many CSA members commented that they didn’t know what to do with their fennel.

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Mmmmmm, licorice…

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My first CSA sampling week went really well – I’m excited to do it again now that I got my first week jitters out of the way.  Lots more cooking today and tomorrow – so fun!

And now I’m off to a meeting about a possible fun new blog venture – crossing fingers!