I always feel a little silly posting my CSA roundup on Thursdays (that is, those weeks when I get around to it...*sheepish look*) given that I receive my weekly farm newsletter, and in it a list of what I can expect in my box, on Tuesdays. This week in particular I've been eager to write my CSA post because of the spectacular way in which my meal planning came together. There are exciting new recipes to try, and almost every meal dovetails with the next to create a kind of fluidity in the ingredients.
The kale was going to star in yet another rendition (the third or fourth in as many weeks) of braised kale with chickpeas and sun-dried tomatoes (and one of the onions), a dish for which my fondness seems to grow each time I eat it. The red sweet peppers were going to go into a pureed red pepper and potato soup (along with a carrot or two and one of the onions), to be served with garlic croutons. The tomatoes were going to be sliced and layered with bread and herbs and cheese in a savory bread pudding. The Napa cabbage was intended for Chinese chicken salad, along with some of the red pepper and a few of the carrots. Chard was destined for a chard, potato, and white bean ragout, while mustard greens would be wilted with cannellini beans, garlic, and broth.
Then this afternoon I picked up my box, and I was glad that I'd waited to post. About half of those recipes are still on the menu, but the realities of nature brought me back to Earth (no pun intended), and I find myself having to revise my original, quasi-divinely-inspired plan.
Instead of kale, I got collard greens, which, despite my best efforts, I have not been able to bring myself to enjoy. I could try to substitute them for the kale in the chickpea dish, but I fear it would be a waste of good chickpeas and sun-dried tomatoes.
Instead of red sweet peppers, which I've been getting reliably for weeks, I got green ones--just as I was starting to feel like I had good ideas for the use of red peppers (and how amazing does that soup look?!?). I know what to do with red peppers. I don't know what to do with green peppers.
And the Chinese chicken salad, while delightfully light and fresh on a summer day, just doesn't feel right when the weekend weather forecast calls for cool, wet, and windy. Lovely weather, as far as I'm concerned, but weather that calls for warming soups and stews rather than crisp, cool salads. Fortunately I do like Napa cabbage in soup. Maybe with dumplings!
Of course, what with nearly five pounds of apples (mostly Gala, plus a few others of indeterminate cooking type), I have plenty of appropriately autumnal recipes at my disposal. I've been meaning for weeks to make a pie, and of course there's also apple upside-down cake or, if I really want to have some fun, a tarte Tatin. Baked apples with brown sugar and raisins are on the menu for Saturday breakfast; apple crepes might make a cameo on Sunday. For the pears, am I utterly insane in thinking I'd like to try this recipe for smashed rutabagas with ginger-roasted pears? Alternatively, for years I've been wanting to go back to a fabulous recipe for pears stuffed with a mixture of bittersweet chocolate, ground almonds, butter, and orange zest; wrapped in phyllo dough; and baked.
For now, though, it's past my bedtime. I'll try to write up tonight's dinner (which, forgive me for boasting, was fabulous) either tomorrow or Saturday. Probably the latter, as tomorrow afternoon or evening I have a pumpkin to carve, a meal to substitute for my scheduled-but-foiled red pepper soup, and trick-or-treaters to attend to.
Have a happy Halloween, everyone!