CSA Week 1: Bring on the Fresh Veggies

csa-week-one

To give myself a little kick in the butt to do some easy writing, I’m going to attempt to share with you how we’re using the fresh produce from our CSA share each week.

Unfortunately, I already effed that up. While I wrote the bulk of this post a few weeks ago, we’re actually on CSA Week 4 now. Part of this was just a crazy schedule the past two weeks. There was a trip to the CFA Food Policy Conference, a visit from my parents, a book to finish for my book club, and classes to become a notary public. Actually, I should be studying instead of updating this post, but whatever.

Anyway, our shares have been pretty much the same for the past few weeks so this post is still fairly relevant.

Onward….

I’m one of those stereotypical Italian cooks.  I don’t measure anything and I just throw stuff in a pot and hope it turns out OK. Because of that, don’t expect to find any recipes for anything I make. Sorry, there are so many awesome blogs that are good for that.

You also wont’ find any Pinterest-worthy photos of food on here. I really want to work on my photography skills, but I don’t have the time to take the perfect picture and Photoshop it until it’s extra perfect. Once again, other blogs are good for that.

I hope, at least, it will inspire you to do some cooking yourself and embrace your local farming economy.

For Week 1, we got:

  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Chard (we could pick between chard or spinach)
  • Kale
  • Napini
  • Scallions
  • Parsley

My CSA offers a swap box so you can swap out something you may not like for something you love. In my case, I swapped out kale, which I’m kinda meh about, for an extra bunch of carrots. Once you have a carrot fresh from the ground, you’ll never go back. They were perfect for a healthy snack at work.

I also bought a dozen eggs.

I’m really trying to be better at the food prep thing, so after dinner I got everything washed and cut so everything could be more-easily cooked during the week.

About half the eggs were also hard boiled for a quick breakfast.

 

Photo: After the Knot

Photo: After the Knot

I find that the easiest way to prepare vegetables is in the frying pan with a little oil and seasoning. It’s my go-to because it’s quick, easy and works for just about everything.

Recipes for napini are pretty much non-existent. My understanding is that napini are the flower shoots from the kale plant. It’s more popular cousin is rapini, known here as broccoli rabe.

Knowing that the napini would be slightly bitter, I paired them with carrots, which are naturally sweet. I added some salt and pepper, and roobios and honey balsamic vinegar.

Photo: After the Knot

Photo: After the Knot

Balsamic vinegar has been my favorite thing to cook with lately.

Later in the week, I added it to the chard, which was also sauteed with garlic and scallions.

Chard, I’m finding, is kind of an underrated green. It’s really common in Italian cooking and can be substituted for spinach very easily. Personally, I like it more and the colorful stalks can be cooked with the leaves or used separately.

Photo: After the Knot

Photo: After the Knot

We were coming up to the end of the week and I had quite a bit of napini left so I decided to mix it with some kale (which C got at the farmers market a couple weeks ago), green onions from our aquaponics garden and sausage.

An avid pasta lover who is also overweight, I’m trying to find a compromise for the white macaroni I love so much. A gluten-free friend suggested mung bean pasta. I was skeptical, but picked up a bag a few weeks back.

I mixed the “pasta,” sausage, and vegetables and whipped up an alfredo sauce.

The result was pretty freaking amazing.

Photo: After the Knot

Photo: After the Knot

We’ve also started introducing fresh foods into Bailey’s diet and this includes some of our CSA vegetables. Among other things, I give her the leafy green carrot tops, kale stems and anything else that is on the edge of spoiling.

Some people might think I’m crazy for feeding my dog organic produce, but I think it’s crazy that people don’t equate food with health. If I’m eating organic produce so that I can be healthier, why wouldn’t I do it for my dog who I consider part of my family. I want her to live a long and healthy life because I honestly can’t picture mine without her. Part of that is making sure she’s eating right.

Much like last year, the first few weeks have been a little rough of a start, but with our schedules starting to settle back down to normal, I’m looking forward to making all of these new foods part of our life.

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