CSA cooking. My Very Own Version of ‘Chopped.’

After being gone for nearly nine months, opened a restaurant, restaurant …I’m back. Once I got done catching up on my sleep, I started catching up with my life and was delighted to find that I could still sign up for a CSA share. For those not in the know, a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share is where you purchase a share (or a half-share in my case) directly from the farmer and you pick up your farm fresh vegetables once a week. I connected to my CSA share through Just Food, which has an easy CSA finder interface, for NYC residents. Click the link to find one near you.

1st CSA Haul

I paid $400 for fresh vegetables once a week from June 4th to November 1st. Which comes out to around $20 a week. I did pay extra for the eggs (4.50) and the strawberries (4.50).

In last weeks ‘basket’ was 4 potatoes, two onions, spinach, chard (which I had never cooked with), scallions, cilantro, radishes and an enormous head of boston lettuce. Obviously, this move was fueled by my desire for farm fresh food, and to help out local farmers, but I also did it to push myself out of my culinary comfort zone. Instead of browsing websites or cookbooks looking for something new to cook and then going shopping with a list of ingredients, I now have to look at my very own ‘Chopped’ basket and figure out how to cook for the week with what I have. It’s changing my cooking already more than I would have thought.

Working under the same idea, I went to the farmers market told myself just to pick up what looked good and worry about the recipes later.   I ended up with cod, scallops and turkey sausage. What I made last week was Fish and Chips, Chard with Chickpeas and Sopressata, Strawberry Jam, Turkey Sausage Meatballs with Cilantro and Spinach in a Shallot White Wine Sauce and Scallops with Panzanella. There was a salad at every meal, including lunch (sometimes was lunch).

The simplest of those recipes is of course the Strawberry Jam. Though 1 quart of berries only yielded me around 5 ounces of jam, it is delicious and super quick!

Strawberry Jam

1 quart strawberries
1 cup cane sugar
juice of 1 large lemon
zest of 1 lemon

Wash and hull and halve the strawberries. Put them into a pot with the sugar, lemon juice, and zest. Stir. Turn heat on medium-high and cook the berries down about 20 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken. You don’t want it at a boil, a slow bubbling is ideal.

Bubbling

That’s it. Place in jar and refrigerate. Want a larger batch? Just double or triple the recipe.

The smell that permeated my apartment was better than any incense or candle and made it worth making the jam all in its own. Not to mention the gorgeous color.

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6 Comments to “CSA cooking. My Very Own Version of ‘Chopped.’”

  1. Nice haul!

    I host a weekly CSA link party and would love for you to be a part of it. Come and check it out and add your link…http://inherchucks.com/2012/06/20/whats-in-the-box-31/. Looking forward to seeing you there :)

  2. I love that photo of your jam – so thick and such a beautiful color.

  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Jennifer – it’s a pleasure to meet you on your own turf. Lots of foodie things here, great departure from the sturm und drang of the poetry blogs, hee hee.

    We belonged to a CSA years ago, but here in Wisconsin, it’s tricky. The lack of variety in winter kind of puts a damper on it for me. But seeing your list, I’m thinking maybe we’d better investigate one after all, because it’s all those great winter veggies. I do love chard: The secret, for me, is steaming it first, then wringing out the water with a white towel. That gets all the bitterness out. Then I fire up a skillet with olive oil, shallots and garlic, a bit of white wine… get that all simmering, add the chard, and toss in a teensy bit of ground red pepper flakes – be careful, not too much!

    Wow, I can’t believe I had a recipe to share. Also works with any greens, including spinach. Mmmmmm. Peace, Amy

    http://sharplittlepencil.com/2013/03/06/night-bus-nyc-3ww-real-toads/

  4. I love the idea of running your own “Chopped” kitchen with the CSA basket. A very fun way to challenge yourself! :)

    – barbara @ de rebus

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