Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Community Supported Agriculture

This year we signed up for a CSA half-share with JenEhr Farm in Sun Prairie. The season was delayed two weeks due to weather but the time for produce has finally arrived! Fresh organic in-season veggies and fruit every other week until November.
Our first box contained two bunches of spinach, two white kohlrabi and two red/purple kohlrabi (with leaves attached), four different types of lettuce, two quarts of strawberries, some basil, scallions, and a bunch of chard.
The lettuces, scallions and spinach were easy ones for me, but what to do with kohlrabi? And I’d used chard before, but I wanted to try something different. And strawberries---mmmm! But was there something new and exciting I could use them for? I hit the internet and cookbooks.
I used the strawberries and basil to make several recipes of iced tea. JenEhr suggested Martha Stewart’s recipe in their CSA newsletter:
Makes 2 quarts; serves 6 to 8    
[I’d say serves 4, if you’re using large glasses]
    * 8 black-tea bags
    * 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved (quartered if large)
    * 1 cup water, plus more for steeping
    * 3/4 cup sugar
    * 1 cup fresh basil, plus more for serving
    * Ice, for serving
   1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add tea bags, and let steep for 5 minutes.
   2. Place strawberries in a bowl. Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, add basil, and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain over strawberries; discard basil. Toss to coat. Let stand until cool, about 25 minutes. Combine strawberries (with syrup) and tea in a pitcher. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve over ice, and garnish with basil.
Very very good. Felt very modern, to be drinking strawberries with basil. The M.S. recipe is quite sweet (even for someone who drinks 3 tsp of sugar in her coffee).
5 Star Foodie used strawberries and basil in a smoothie. If we get more of either ingredient, I’m going to try it (without the butter. I don’t need extra fat or dairy in my smoothies.)
Turns out (thank you, internet) you can slice kohlrabi and eat it raw (tastes like very mild radishes--refreshing). I added raw kohlrabi and the kohlrabi leaves to the lettuces, spinach and basil for wonderful, dark leafy green salads.
When it was time to cook the rest of the bulbs, I turned to the Joy of Cooking and found a recipe for
Kohlrabi with Parmesan Cheese
Serves 4
Peel and cut into matchsticks:
    2 small kohlrabi bulbs [I used three]
Cook in boiling water (for 1 lb use 8 cups water, 2 tsp. salt; bring to boil; add kohlrabi; return to boil; cook until tender but still crisp, 7 to 9 mins).
Drain, then toss with:
    1 to 2 tablespoons butter
Immediately sprinkle with:
    4 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    Grated black pepper to taste
Serve at once.
Mmmm. Butter and cheese on vegetables is not a new thing (nor especially healthy) but it’s a tasty side dish. Justin has suggested we make it a Thanksgiving tradition.
I still had the chard to use, so I mixed it with spinach and made, also from the Joy of Cooking,
Wilted Spinach or Chard
2 or 3 servings
Wash thoroughly but do not dry:
    12 well-packed cups spinach or chard leaves or a combination
Coarsely chop, then place in a large skillet. Season with:
    Salt to taste
Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until completely wilted but still bright green, about 5 minutes.
Remove to a serving dish and toss with:
    Extra-virgin olive oil
    Dash of vinegar or lemon juice [I used vinegar]
    Ground black pepper to taste
Serve immediately.
Quick to cook, once the prep is finished. Thumbs up from Justin and Emily.
Here’s to supporting local farmers, eating organic produce,  actually using our cookbooks, and living well!


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