Wednesday, March 19, 2008

CSA: Spring marches onward

Last week we had the first hints of Spring's bounty with leeks and carrots. This week we continue that trend with more carrots and... asparagus! Winter is not yet ready to give up, though, so we have kale and broccoli in with the new veg.

Anyway, here's this week's list:

- Asparagus (1 pound)
- Mixed baby lettuce (12 ounces)
- Lacinato kale (1 bunch)
- Broccoli (1 bunch)
- Green d'Anjou pears (4)
- Treviso (1 head)
- Pink Lady apples (2 pounds)
- Russet potatoes (2.5 pounds)
- Nantes carrots (1 bunch)
- Valencia oranges (2 pounds)

Here's something weird: Pink Lady apples really are pink. They're not visually pink: the skin is more red than pink, and the flesh isn't pink (unlike that of Pink Pearl apples, which really is a pearly pink). They just taste pink. What does pink taste like? Hard to describe, but I can say that when I bit into one of these apples, my first thought was, "pink!" They're quite sweet, with a hint of tartness, and quite crisp. Delicious!

Anyway: what am I going to do with the goodies?

I have a few possibilities for the asparagus: roasted (with olive oil, salt and pepper, and maybe some lemon juice), stir-fry, and risotto. Since I'm the only one in the house who enjoys asparagus, I have enough for two meals. I'll probably roast half of them and use the other half in risotto.

The salad greens, as usual, will go into salads. Nothing very exciting there.

I don't know yet what I'm going to do with the kale. Possibly braised or stir-fried.

As with asparagus, I'm the only one here who likes broccoli, so here again I have enough for two meals. I love what high heat does to the flavor of vegetables, so I'll roast half of the broccoli. The other half will go into this chicken and pasta recipe. It's been a while since I made it, and I'm looking forward to having it again.

Treviso: I'm thinking risotto. Yum! Or perhaps this pasta recipe with some Sunday morning farmer's market leeks.

There are all sorts of things I could do with the potatoes: bake them (I love twice baked potatoes), put them in a gratin, put them in a stew, and so on. I'll probably go with a gratin, since this cold (or whatever I've had) got in the way of making one last week.

I'm using the carrots in some chicken and wild rice soup I'm making for dinner. There's nothing I like better when I'm sick than my chicken and rice soup.

As for the fruit: for eating, of course! The oranges are a juicing variety, though, so I might take them up to my parents' house and make use of their juicer.

I'll have pictures in a little while. Sit tight!


Brave Sir Robin said...

I love what you say about the pink lady apples. My thoughts about them are always - Lavender. I know they don't really taste like lavender, but in the same way wine doesn't really taste like cherry, or vanilla, or any of the words we use to describe it.

I finally got the boys to appreciate asparagus, and roasted with olive oil and garlic is their favorite. It also stir-frys nicely with chicken breast and a little ginger/soy/sherry glaze. (finish with a dash of sesame oil) very light, no cornstarch sauce. They'll even eat it over brown rice!

The chicken and pasta sounds lovely, I'm guessing cooking the past in the broth makes it taste very intense. - Good idea.

The linguine with leeks sounds really, really good.

When I'm sick, I usually crave either potato soup, or just a plate of homemade, no frills attached mashed potatoes, (made with cream, of course)

Bee said...


I just read through your veggie list -- and preparation thoughts for these veggies -- and I feel so envious. I've been meaning to do a box scheme for ages now. I feel particularly envious today because we are really low on fresh food. I was going to do big Easter weekend shop this afternoon -- but got trapped by a British Gas man who came to do an "energy survey" on our house. That took ages; our house is really old and has a very complicated heating system!

Anyway, I've been wanting to commune with you on the sticky subject of Easter dinner. Does your family have traditions for this holiday?

I have gone off lamb now -- just as the weather has "gone off" and turned back to gusting winter. We (oldest daughter and I) are thinking "ham" now. Do you have a good scalloped potato recipe? (I love them with ham, but every time I make them they never get cooked through -- even with extra cooking time.) How do you do your gratin? I may go with some asparagus, too.

This afternoon I was staring at a recipe for hot cross buns; do I really want to make these from scratch?

Pink Lady apples -- we love them. I think that BSR is thinking "lavender" because they have that slightly perfumed flavor. Does that say pink to you? One of my favorite lines from Gilmore Girls -- have you ever seen that show? it is to my family (sans Sigmund) what "Buffy" is to BSR's family -- is when Luke has a taste of the "Rory" -- a pink cocktail created for Rory's 21st -- and says, "It's like drinking a My Little Pony!" Perfume; Little Ponies; somehow they just have a pinkness about them. I like PL's mostly because they can be counted on to have a firm texture. I hate a mealy, mushy apple.

That leek pasta sounds good. If I had any leeks on hand we would be having that for dinner. As it is, I will have to make do with baked potatoes and chili. WINTER food.

So what have you been up to today?

Anne said...

BSR - Lavender, hmm? I'm munching on one of the apples at the moment, and I think I can see (taste) a hint of lavender.

Do you not find that you can taste different flavors in wine? I mean, the flavors that we use to describe it. I suppose I don't always taste specific things, but usually I can taste something, and sometimes it really jumps out at me. I once had a Cloudy Bay (a chardonnay, I think, from the Marlborough region of New Zealand--delicious wine) that screamed peaches. More recently, I've found figs in a Heitz Martha's Vineyard. Red fruit (specifically red currants) is a common flavor in red Burgundy, mushrooms in red Bordeaux. Anyway, all that to say that I do think wine sometimes has hints of actually tasting like the words we use to describe it.

The first time I really appreciated asparagus was when I had some that had been roasted over a wood fire. Most delicious asparagus ever.

Cooking the pasta in the broth really does intensify the flavor. I didn't think it would work (I thought the pasta would come out underdone) but it worked brilliantly.

Bee - you envy me my box, and I envy you your old house! I just love older houses. My last two years in Houston, I lived in the carriage house for a larger house, and both buildings were just over 100 years old. I loved it!

Back on the box, my parents have so enjoyed getting my extras (and getting my whole box that one week I was out of town) that they've now signed up for their own weekly box. I love my box for obvious reasons (the produce really is outstanding), and also because I enjoy eating with the seasons, being encouraged to try new things, etc. I highly recommend it if it fits in with your schedule and such.

I've been away from home for seven Easters now, and during that time (especially the first four years) Easter came and went almost without my knowledge, as it was inevitably a weekend with lots of work. The one exception is my study abroad year, and for that Easter I happened to be in Paris, so I went to mass at Notre Dame with a friend who was visiting. Neither of us is Catholic--in fact, we grew up in the same Congregational church--but it didn't matter.

Anyway! (I seem to be rambling today...) When I was growing up, we almost always went to Dad's parents' house for Easter: an egg hunt in the morning (this was when we were younger), and dinner in the afternoon. Grandma always makes a ham with, I believe, scalloped potatoes of some sort. I don't remember if it's Potatoes Anna (with only potatoes, salt and pepper, and some butter) or a gratin with broth or cream.

I've made potato gratin a number of different times, almost always with a different recipe... and I can't remember which one works best. I will look through various cookbooks this evening and see if one in particular jumps out at me. I have a hunch that I've had success with the recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and possibly Bouchon. I will check tonight.

I was just enjoying a hot cross bun yesterday afternoon. I was thinking about making them from scratch, too. My mom loves them, and it would be fun to surprise her with some.

I've only seen Gilmore Girls a few times, and enjoyed it every time. I'm familiar with the My Little Pony scene through friends, though, and you're right that they're definitely pink! The apples' crispness is one of my favorite attributes, too. I can't stand a mealy apple.

Chili is one of my favorite winter foods. I prefer it with rice, particularly basmati rice. So good!

I'm back at work today. I was at work yesterday, but only for a half day. Today I should be here all day. Back to the code monkeying...

Bee said...


I've tagged you! See me for details. Maybe you could add a foodie twist?

Brave Sir Robin said...

No, I get what your saying about wine, but - hmm, ok - if you took a complete wine novice and told them - "ok, I'm getting hints of blackberry, leather, currants . .

They wouldn't taste those things. It's more of a "feeling"

Easter dinner was always Ham growing up. Substitute Ham for turkey and dressing, and it was pretty much the same as Thanksgiving. Mashed potatoes, corn, the dreaded green bean casserole. My Mom wasn't really much of a cook. my Grandmother would however, make a fresh pea salad that I really loved. Every single time I eat pea salad i think about her.

For me, cabrito is the ultimate Easter food, but I haven't had it in a few years. These days, Holidays are more stressful than enjoyable.

I'm not complaining, it's just the way it is.

Anne, I'm like you with the scalloped potatoes, I'm always trying a different recipe. I've had luck par-boiling them ever so slightly, then slicing them. i also prefer recipes that make a sauce, (basically bechamel with cheese added, which I suppose is actually a mornay sauce)as opposed to the layering cheese and cream method.

Bee - how many will you be cooking for? For just a few, go with a rack of lamb. Easy, tasty, elegant. If you have a crowd, do the ham and drink heavily.


Anne said...

Bee - Excellent! Looks like fun. :) Also: I'll put up a separate post on the potatoes.

BSR - I suppose it might be more difficult for a novice, but I guess it's not just a "feeling" for me--I actually do taste those things!

I've never done a gratin with a bechamel (I don't find that it needs the thickening of the roux). You can make them with stock instead of milk or cream (I'll address that in the aforementioned potatoes post).

Bee said...

Anne and BSR,

I would love it if you could be with us for Easter! Maybe some year. We are having 7 -- the four of us plus my friend Jenni and her two teenagers.

When I told Simon we were going to have ham, he said: "Jesus Christ don't want no pig! Jesus Christ wants the lamb of God!" (You must imagine this said in the thick hick accent of a scary fundamentalist preacher to get the full effect.)

Questions of elegance aside, we are going for ham and one of the potato recipes.

Anne, where was your carriage house? That sounds familiar. I've lived in 9 different houses/apts in Houston!

Anne said...

Wouldn't that be fun? I am not sure who will be at my table this year. The Suitor for sure, and perhaps some of my siblings. We shall see.

What veg are you serving? For some reason I keep coming back to brussels sprouts as an appropriate side dish, but I have no idea why. (I don't much care for brussels sprouts and have never cooked them.)

My carriage house was near Bagby and Westheimer (technically on Avondale). It's a beautiful neighborhood, lots of older houses.