Winter 2016 marks the start of our third year of being members of the Penn’s Corner Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Farm Share. And as we’ve done in previous years (okay, mostly in 2013, as in the past couple years we’ve kind of way fallen off the posting wagon, oops), we’re going to bring you the recipes of the things we cook and love this year (and probably also some failed attempts along the way).
If you’re unfamiliar with what a CSA is, I’ll explain. A CSA or farm share is a partnership that you (the member) make with a farm (or farm collective, as is the case with Penn’s Corner) that allows you to get fresh, local, and in-season goods on a scheduled basis. In the winter, we receive our CSA every other week, and in summer, we get it weekly.
What you get in your box varies on the harvest. This means that everything you get is seasonal. In the early summer, you get lots of greens. As you get closer to fall, you get tomatoes and apples. In the winter, it’s all about the roots and tubers and hearty stuff, as well as jarred produce and dairy products.
For the first installment of our 2016 CSA Spectacular, I’ll share five recipes with you that we made primarily from items in our farm share.
To kick off the New Year, I always make kielbasa on New Year’s Day. And what luck, I had potatoes, onions, and sauerkraut from our CSA. (The kielbasa is from S&D Polish Deli in the Strip District, the best place to buy it!)
I modified a recipe for Ukrainian Kielbasa from Foodgeeks.com. Basically, in place of the 1/2 cup of white wine & 1 cup of chicken stock, I used one 12oz can of Miller Lite. I cooked the kraut in the beer, vinegar, & brown sugar for 20 minutes uncovered, then added the potatoes & kielbasa and cooked covered for another 20 minutes.
The result was INCREDIBLE. Definitely going to use this as my go-to kielbasa & kraut recipe from now on. The kraut was so tender, and the flavor just sunk into the potatoes and kielbasa. I served it alongside some Penn’s Corner applesauce, with a side salad from the butter lettuce we received in our box. This made six servings (worked out to about 370 calories per serving of kraut, potatoes, & kielbasa), and it heated up like a dream.
Next up was a double-feature recipe night. I made roasted Brussels sprouts with apples and bacon from Organic Life magazine. I bought the Brussels sprouts at the store, but the apples and shallots were from our CSA. My olive oil of choice is from Robbins Family Farm in California (follow their page for great deals – we were able to stock up on some of our regular items with free shipping over the holidays!).
When we get a surplus of apples in our CSA, I generally have a hard time using them all. This recipe was a great place to incorporate them! (The original recipe calls for 2 apples, but the ones we had were on the small side, so I used 3.)
We’ve also gotten a lot of carrots as of late, so I made a modified Martha Stewart recipe as the main dish. I have made the roasted chicken breasts with carrots and onions a handful of times now, with some changes (see my mods at the end of this posting*), and it turns out quite well.
I was still working through those apples, and I had a small bag of beets, some garlic, and a hefty supply of maple syrup from our CSA as well, so I made another Organic Life recipe for lunch or snacktime: beet and apple soup.
The final recipe we will share today uses a very strange little green: tatsoi. Tatsoi is an Asian green that isn’t terribly easy to find in grocery stores, but we get it semi-regularly from our CSA. It’s similar to bok choy, but a little earthier in flavor. We also had garlic and fresh ginger from our CSA, so this recipe for ginger beef stir fry with tatsoi & jasmine rice from Blue Apron seemed just perfect. (We are not subscribers to Blue Apron, but if they have recipes like this on the regular, we can see why people love it!)
This was like homemade Mongolian beef from the Chinese restaurant. WOW! We buy the majority of our meat from Marty’s Market, and the beef we used for this recipe seriously put the tender right in petite tenderloin. Much as I’ve now found my go-to kielbasa recipe, I’ve found my go-to tatsoi recipe as well! We had more butter lettuce, so I made a miso dressing and served a side salad with the beef. This was on the higher end of calories and salt for meals we cook at home (560 & 937mg respectively, as 3 servings), but still much under what it would be from a restaurant.
Hope our CSA journey will give you some ideas of what to make with your goodies as well, whether you’re a CSA member or just a frequent visitor to the local farmers’ market. We’ll continue these posts all year!
*Modifications to roasted chicken breasts with carrots & onions recipe:
~ I use boneless chicken breasts instead of bone-in. This reduces the cooking time to 20 minutes total, instead of 25-30.
~ I mince the garlic instead of just quartering it.
~ Blanched the carrots for 2 minutes before cooking – you could also boil them in a bit of orange juice to soften the flavor. I’m not a big carrot person, so sometimes their flavor is a bit too strong for my tastes.
~ I also included a can of beets (drained, rinsed, & sliced).
~ I tossed all veggies in 2 tsp of olive oil before roasting.
Total calorie count: (based on 4 servings) 289.