Welcome to Week 5 of the CSA box, where there is FRUIT for the first time!!!!!!
This week’s share brought us: cherries and snap peas from Kistaco Farm, green onions from Blue Goose Farm, shell peas from Hostetler Farm, cabbage from Nu Way Farm, green and red oak leaf lettuce from Clarion River Organics, a cucumber and a zucchini from Beccari’s Farm, strawberries from Sunny Meadow Farm, and two kinds of Amish goat cheeses from River View Dairy. Wow!
The folks at River View Dairy have been hard at work on a new Amish cottage cheese, so they sent out two small sample packs for us to test out: one plain and one with herbs. Although this was ‘cottage cheese,’ the texture was just like a typical goat cheese (not wet like a standard cottage cheese). They were a perfect snack on Trader Joe’s brioche toasts.
I’ve been continuing to make recipes from the Spark Solution, but I’ve been able to integrate the CSA goodies much of the time. Here, I made the Greek meatball sandwich from the Spark Solution, but served a small side salad of the oak leaf lettuce from the CSA. I’m LOVING the oak leaf lettuce, which we’ve gotten a couple of times now. It is very light and crispy and delicate, and tastes so very fresh. The cucumber in the Tzatziki sauce on the meatballs is also from our share (and it was big enough to go in this recipe and another one as well).
I used the same recipe from Simply Recipes that I used to make the swiss chard recipe last week. The first time, I left out the step of adding the apple cider vinegar (apple cider vinegar makes me think of the stink of egg dying as a child), but I used it this time. I think if I remake this recipe (which I likely will, since it’s delicious), I will keep the vinegar out. It made the greens a little too sweet for our taste.
We got this perfect little carton of itty-bitty strawberries. I love the tiny, fresh strawberries. They remind me of my great-grandmother Baba’s garden. In the summer, you could just run outside and grab fresh berries any time, and they were little like these.
I sliced them up and served them on the side of the Lean Philly Cheesesteak recipe I made from the Spark Solution. The sandwich was salty, and I thought the sweet strawberries were just the right counterbalance.
I put together another batch of the Spark Solution Thai Peanut Noodles with some of the peas we got. Unfortunately, we got our box late in the day because of our schedules, so it was in the heat for a few hours longer than normal and one batch of peas went bad before we could use it. But these shell-peas were perfect and great in the recipe. (And I was also just super excited to use the wok we got on our wedding registry 6 years ago!)
I still had that head of broccoli hanging around in the crisper, so I found a recipe that could be prepared with or without the broccoli, and made 2 separate batches. (I know. I love cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, what on Earth is wrong with me that I don’t like broccoli? I just don’t know.)
This was another Spark Solution recipe for a lighter alfredo sauce. I modified the recipe by adding in some chicken strips (the original recipe is one of their veggie dishes), and I made a batch with broccoli for Michael and one without for me. Full disclosure: I tried a nibble of the broccoli, and fresh, it wasn’t that bad! Maybe one of these days I’ll give it another try… but that’ll probably make me lose some 25-year-old bet with my Dad!
Finally, my FAVORITE part of this week’s CSA came from that bag of juicy cherries. I made my first successful solo cherry tart!
I used this recipe from Gourmet with a few alterations. I didn’t have any pistachios on hand, so I omitted those, and I cut back on most of the sugar in the glaze to cut back on calories. Instead of 1 cup of cherry preserves and 1/2 cup of real cherries, I used 1 cup of real cherries and 3/4 cup of olallieberry preserves. Both fruits are rather tart, and they go together so well. I was rather proud of myself for actually making this look like a *real* pie with the latticed crust. The edges burnt a tiny bit in the oven, but the pie was amazing anyway. I served it alongside slow-churned vanilla bean ice cream, and it was a perfect dessert.
Our new CSA box has just arrived (with blueberries…. and just in time for National Mojito Day – you know where this is going!), so we’ll be reporting back next week with what we make from there. Anyone else loving their CSA this summer? What are you making?