Cooking from My CSA: 3 1/2 Zucchini Recipes

I’ve been receiving my CSA weekly for about a month now and it’s finally starting to contain more of a variety of ingredients. There are still a lot of greens (chard, kale, collard), but this week we got a few new items – leeks (so small they look like scallions), tomato (one), and a whole lot of zucchini.

I enjoy zucchini, we have a good history. When I started cooking for myself my senior year of college, zucchini was one of the first vegetables I took on – I’d cook it on the George Foreman Grill with chicken marinated in Italian dressing. The George has long been out of commission, but my fondness for this summer squash remains.

Seeing as I’ll probably get even more zucchini next week, today I decided to look at it as a challenge to see what I could do to use it all. If I’d had more time (and if I hadn’t run out of flour), I would have made another batch of zucchini muffins, so that will have to wait. But I did make Zucchini-Walnut Bread, Chocolate Chip Zucchini-Walnut Muffins, a Zucchini Frittata, and Stewed Zucchini with Tomatoes.

Many of the ideas came from the CSA newsletter, which I think is one of my favorite features (thanks Harvest Moon Farms). The Zucchini Bread recipe was a combination of the one from the newsletter and one my friend shared. They were so similar that I took the best of each and made it my own, including reserving 1/4 of the batter for the muffins with chocolate chips. And same with the Stewed Zucchini – the inspiration was from the newsletter, I just tweaked it based on what I had available. Finally, I made the Frittata because I had leftover shredded zucchini from the bread/muffins to use up; it was the perfect thing to make.

Here are the recipes I made today. If you have a great zucchini recipe, please share it – I know there’s more zucchini coming!

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Cooking from My CSA: Collard Greens

As I briefly mentioned in my last post (otherwise known as the first post in months), I joined the Harvest Moon Farm CSA this year. For those of you not in the know – Mom, I’m talking to you – a CSA stands for community supported agriculture. Essentially, before the growing season even starts, you pay for a share in a farm’s crop, which for me comes to half a box of produce each week from mid-June until November. It’s uber convenient as the box gets delivered to my office building every Wednesday afternoon, and then I go to the farmers’ market on Saturday to supplement with produce that wasn’t in the box.

My weekly take is half a box because I’m splitting a share with a friend, who last week started a fire by microwaving fennel. That’s another story, but the point is that I might have to take the rest of the fennel this year even though I don’t like it because she just can’t be trusted.

I’ve been having fun experimenting with my CSA box and seeing what I can make out of it each week. Really, I’m enjoying the challenge of 1) using everything in my box, and 2) trying new veggies/new ways to prepare them. Often times I wind up focusing on just a few of the vegetables, then find myself with the rest starting to wilt on Monday night. This leads to a lot of last minute roasted veggie or stir-fry dishes that I take to work with quinoa. It’s good, but lacking a little creativity.

A few nights ago I focused on the collard greens, something I don’t eat often. I buy a lot of chard and kale, but usually stay away from the collards. Not sure why exactly, but I think maybe it’s because I had the impression it’s tougher than the other varieties.

That night I prepared the collard greens with delicious multi-colored carrots I’d picked up at the market along with bacon, garlic and lemon juice. That was pretty much it – super simple, very fresh and filling, and a great way to really taste and enjoy the collard greens. I was surprised to discover that they were more mild tasting than the others, which can sometimes be slightly bitter. I’m definitely a collard greens convert – bring ‘em on!

Here’s what I did, it’s really more of a guide than a straight-up recipe:

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Strawberry-Rhubard Buckle

Happy 4th of July! Always a fun weekend of friends, family, festivities and of course, fabulous food. The past few years I’ve celebrated by making a cherry-themed dessert; usually this is when I first see sour cherries at the farmers’ market and can’t wait to play with them. This year, the growing season is a bit behind schedule so while there weren’t any sour cherries to be found, the rhubarb was still going strong.

I’ve actually baked with rhubarb more this year than I ever have before. It’s been a recurring item in my CSA (community supported agriculture from Harvest Moon Farms) for three weeks running, not to mention the two weeks prior that I bought rhubarb at the market.

With all that rhubarb, I’ve almost run out of things to do with it. I made a rhubarb cake-pie, rhubarb tart and roasted rhubarb, and then finally this week a strawberry rhubarb buckle.

I used my favorite white peach and blueberry buckle recipe as a base but used strawberries, rhubarb and ginger as the main ingredients. Strawberries and rhubarb are classic combination, and the two types of ginger (ground and crystallized) add a bit of a kick to the buckle and help soften both the tartness of the rhubarb and the sweetness of the batter. If you’re not a ginger fan, go ahead and cut back the amounts a bit, but I’d still recommend leaving some in for a fun contrast in flavors.

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