Monday, June 8, 2009
Conquering the fear of the unknown is pretty much the driving impetus for this blog; watch me bumble and fumble, watch me figure it out, and watch me come to terms with a different way of approaching food.
Speaking of bumble of fumble, we have already fumbled this CSA season. Since I don’t have new produce to show you this week (pick up is Wednesday), I’ll show you the haul I took from May 13th and expose my recipes, warts and all. (the May 27th haul was almost exactly the same; the only difference is we got Romain lettuce instead of spinach… but you’ll have to wait to hear about that!)
So what’s in the picture? Lettuce, Baby Spinach, Spinach, Radishes, Asparagus, spring onions, rhubarb, salad mix, mint.
The main recipes that stand out from 3-4 weeks ago was our classic daily lunch-box special, “grilled chicken over salad.” These chicken breasts were from Whole Foods, not one of our local producers* (*side note: specific Whole Foods stores do carry local meats. For example, my Beef and Pork Rancher supplies lamb to my Brother-in-law’s store.)
The ‘classic’ go to recipe for grilling chicken is to put it in a zip-top bag with crushed garlic, olice oil (2-3 TBSP? I go by feel), Lime juice (1-2 TBSP? again… I wing it), salt, pepper and oregano. Shake it all about, grill for 16 minutes until thermometer registers 160F. Easy, peasy, the whole thing takes 20-25 minutes stem to stern. We also made Ingrid “Simply Delicioso” Hoffmann’s Rum Chica Rum Chicken and served over salad for lunch. Now the marinade for this recipe was thrown together in 20 minutes; I had a tight schedule and a hard time limit because I was driving my wife to her salon appointment. And everything from garlic crushing to orange zesting and juicing to cilantro cleaning separating and chopping all got done in 20 minutes (but not the cleanup ☺). It was definitely simple. And the depth of flavor was very impressive. Ingrid gets a gold star.
The rhubarb was made into Rhubarb Dream from a King Arthur cookbook.
This was a custardy bar-type dessert and the rhubarb really shined (hats off to my wife for finding and executing!).
Now; the bad news. The mint went bad, almost immediately. That’s the thing with CSA produce and the difference between it and what you can get from a grocery store; it’s fresh and ready NOW. It can’t wait around in your fridge! Where as stuff in your grocery store came from potentially hundreds of miles away, and may have a little longer shelf life. But frequently that shelf life comes at a cost to flavor.
We had a recipe (another of Ingrids’) planned for the Radishes, but by the time we got the Jicama and ‘got around’ to making it, those huge, beautiful, fresh radishes became completely squishy. Ewwwww. Such a sad waste of fresh produce.
The Asparagus never had a chance to go bad; dressed with olive oil and tossed with a kosher salt-pepper-garlic granule mixture (originally combined for a Paula Deen fresh ham recipe that was simple and fantastic) it was grilled to perfection and eaten with grilled salmon and washed down with a Grüner Veltliner.