January 5th, 2008

My first CSA box

CSA Box

Here it is, our first Redland Organics CSA box. We picked it up today and I immediately got to finding out more about some of its contents and what I may do with them. Since it’s a lot of food (only full shares are available for trial memberships) I figured I’d try to plan ahead and get ideas for the ingredients that I’m less familiar with. I’m a little worried about using everything but excited about the prospect of trying new recipes and having at home, ingredients I seldom buy.

The first thing that popped out at us when we arrived was the large head of white cauliflower in our box. Growing up, I used not to eat it at all. The strange smell that invaded the house when it was cooking wasn’t appetizing at all to me, but later I became more tolerant of it. D, on the other hand, likes it so he was happy to see it in our box. Currently cooking in my head … Cauliflower puree

The box also included:

Daikon radishes – They look a bit like a white carrot. As I learned in my research, they’re popular in Japan and are low calorie but high in nutritional content. I like the traditional red, round radishes raw and in salads so I’ll probably end up using these the same way.

Turnips - Alice Waters’ latest book “The Art of Simple Food” has a nice section on vegetables. For turnips, she suggests buttered, steamed or in a winter minestrone.

Cilantro – You can never have enough cilantro. I’ll be using the avocados I have at home for guacamole, throw it in a fruit salsa or sprinkle it over a salad.

Lemongrass - I was a bit at a loss here. I’ve had lemongrass before in Thai cooking but I’ve mostly consumed it in tea. Still working on ideas for this one.

Fennel - After reading rave reviews about roasted fennel, that’s the route I’m taking. I may roast it with some potatoes and serve it with chicken for a very simple weekday dinner.

Carambola a.k.a Star Fruit - I could eat fruit all day so I wish the box had more fruit in it. I’ll probably eat these on their own with breakfast or add them to a nice fruit salad to bring to work.

Red chard – This might work wilted with a bit of olive oil and shallots. Not too excited about this one yet.

Callaloo – I hadn’t heard about callaloo before today. Popular in Caribbean cooking, this amaranth green is used to make a dish that shares the name with the leaf. Any ideas?

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15 Responses to “My first CSA box”

  1. Since I got the lemongrass too, I started brainstorming ideas for it. It’s wonderful made into a tea. Steep crystalized ginger, lemongrass and mint green tea bags together and then sweeten with honey. It’s good hot or cold. You can also use the lemongrass when poaching chicken, or use it in thai coconut soup. I also found a beautiful and not too hard recipe in this month’s Oprah magazine for sliced fruit glazed with lemongrass infused agave nectar.

    I love callalo now which I never had before the CSA except in Jamaica. I cut it in a chiffonade, then sautee it for about 10 minutes (I added water too) in hot pepper and garlic and then I stir it into jasmine rice made with coconut milk. It’s really good.

    Tonight I made the carrot daikon salad recipe that’s in the newsletter and it was really good. I ate almost the entire bowl myself.

    We should start a blog for all the CSA people to share recipes and ideas for using some of this stuff we arent familiar with.

  2. Wilted red chard is wonderful with some sweet balsamic vinegar. You can also add it to soups. Or even pasta.

    You can place a few stalks of lemongrass on the water used to steam fish or shrimp. I got that from Miss Saigon. I also had lemongrass glazed pork (chopped lemongrass, brown sugar, honey, chili paste) at a friend’s house once. Fantastic.

  3. Calaloo is fantastic. I mustve eaten 100 pounds of that stuff when I was in Jamaica. Its good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner too!

  4. We used the lemongrass in tea.
    Get used to all the greens, because that honestly seems to be the one staple of the CSA shares. Sauteed, thrown into soup, whatever. Just make sure you wash them WELL, because they’re grown in sandy soil.

    For the Carambola, I love actually cutting it up and making pineapple carambola pizza. The little stars all over it just make me smile. This time, I’m thinking of doing the carambola with turkey pepperoni. maybe not.

    The full share is so massive. Good luck making use of it all!

  5. Terry – The pizza idea is great! I ate a whole carambola by myself yesterday. It was pretty tart and juicy.

    The full share is indeed massive, particularly the greens but I’m hoping if I continue after the trial they’ll allow me to downgrade to a half share.

  6. [...] Mango & Lime wrote about the CSA veggies this week. Tinkering With Dinner has some intriguing ideas for this week’s cauliflower—perhaps a Javanese stew! [...]

  7. I’m jealous! I wish I would’ve signed up. Maybe next year.

    Some suggestions:

    If you’re overloaded with lemongrass but don’t want it to spoil it actually freezes quite well. You can also use it directly from the freezer since as you handle it to chop it, the warmth from your hands begins to defrost it. And it loses almost none of the fragrance.

    Red chard you should definitely cook somehow before eating.

    One of my favorite things to do with fennel, especially if it’s fresh, is thinly slice with a mandoline and top with salt and olive oil. Delicious!

    As for starfruit, if it’s not too green and not too ripe, I’ve used it to steep in vodka (I don’t see Absolut Carambol to come out anytime soon). Very Miami and very tasty!

  8. Another thing you can do with lemongrass is make my favorite soup – Tom Kha Gai. Its a soup with a coconut broth, dog pecker mushrooms (haha), chicken, and lemongrass. Im sure there are a few ingredients that Im missing, but look it up and give it a shot. They make a great one at Indochine downtown and at World Resource Cafe on Lincoln Rd.

  9. Definitely agree with BM-use the lemongrass for that great Thai soup.

  10. [...] extremely hectic for me but surprisingly, I’ve been able to make use of a decent chunk of my produce, so I thought I’d give a quick update with links to recipes (since I have little [...]

  11. [...] are taking a new meaning with our CSA trial. This is only the second Saturday, but I woke up eager to find out what was in our new box. [...]

  12. When I first moved to Jamaica , I was suffering from Anemia, The Helper tried to make me eat Calaloo.She cooked it and serve it with green boiled bananas..So I tried it and I liked it.. its kinda similar like spinach…

  13. [...] I’m the only one having this problem. In the past two weeks, I’ve gotten lettuce in my CSA box. Last week, it was romaine, the week before I can’t remember. My lettuce arrives bright, [...]

  14. [...] Mango & Lime wrote about the CSA veggies this week. Tinkering With Dinner has some intriguing ideas for this week’s cauliflower—perhaps a Javanese stew! [...]

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