local harvest!

For those who are paying attention – I took a few days off the blog – busy celebrating our anniversary and shuttling kids to camp. Still took photos every day, though. I’ll get caught up over the next few days.

Thursday was a big day. I think I started counting the weeks till our first CSA box sometime in January. Fresh, local food is back, baby. Now it’s summer!

blog061215_pea-shoots160/365: pea shoots

about those greens…

I’ll admit that the CSA member experience comes with a bit of a learning curve. I try to improve each year – using more, wasting less – and, also, expanding my palate. Leafy greens were an acquired taste for us. And, we were always so inundated with greens during the early weeks of the season that eating the tops of the turnips seemed beyond our grasp. Until now. I sliced them up in ribbons and cooked them the way I like my spinach, only longer. Not likely to replace spinach as my favorite but pretty tasty. Now, if I could find a way to fall in love with those collards…

Day 28: Turnip Greens for Dinner

Turnip Greens with Garlic, Garlic Scapes, Chili Flake, and Parmesan with Simple Roasted Potatoes

garlic scapes

This week’s box from Hog’s Back Farm contained an undulating mass of garlic scapes. These curvaceous critters seem almost more animal than vegetable and, while easy to cook and delicious to eat, they can be tough to tame, stubbornly insisting on their serpentine poses.

Day 21: Garlic Scapes

Garlic Scapes

I haven’t had a chance to cook them yet but I’m thinking frittata…

return of the turnips

As Farmer David likes to say, “These are not your grandmother’s turnips.” I don’t think I’d ever had a turnip until we joined Hog’s Back Farm. Now, the return of the Hakurei turnips is a rite of early summer. They are sweet and mild. Delicious raw. We love them roasted with new potatoes, herbs, and carrots (once those arrive). From a visual standpoint, I like to the see the palette of the produce diversify as the season progresses. The turnips, along with a sampling of scallions, add the first burst of white.

Day 14: Hakurei Turnips

CSA Abundance, Week Two – Hakurei Turnips

east meets (up) north

If you asked me what really got me thinking about taking pictures of food, I’d have to say it was this photo by Heidi Swanson of her Ultimate Veggie Burger. I stumbled onto Heidi’s fabulous healthy recipe blog, 101 Cookbooks one day while searching (yet again) for the perfect veggie burger recipe…To be honest, I’m not sure this is the ultimate veggie burger, but the photo really captivated me. I’ve been following the blog (and reading her cookbooks) ever since. Heidi has great style and her recipes are approachable, uncomplicated, and almost unanimously scrumptious.

Day 11: Wild Fried Rice with Bok Choi and Tofu

Wild Fried Rice with Bok Choi and Tofu, adapted from 101 Cookbooks

I adapted Heidi’s recipe for Wild Fried Rice based on ingredients I had on hand. I especially wanted to use the two heads of bok choi from our CSA box. And, I’ve been saving a little bag of truly wild, hand-harvested Minnesota wild rice that we got for Christmas.We used scallions and green garlic in place of the red onion, pan-seared slabs of salted tofu in sesame and olive oils till it was crusty brown, and included the bok choi, sliced into thin ribbons. I like things spicy, so I threw in a few pinches of red pepper flakes and served with sriracha at the table. For lunch today I topped my bowl of leftovers with perfectly ripe hunks of avocado. Yum.

spring tastes like this

Our CSA farmer, David Van Eeckhout, of Hog’s Back Farm invented a pea-shoot pesto recipe that always accompanies the first box of the season. I don’t know if there is anything fresher tasting or greener than this pesto. It’s uniquely delicious, bright, and absolutely redolent of springtime. I spied some ricotta in the fridge and came up with this crostini: garlic-rubbed whole wheat baguette toasted on the grill, slathered in ricotta and pea shoot pesto and topped with a few peppery leaves of baby arugula.

Day 10: Grilled Crostini

Crostini with Pea Shoot Pesto, Ricotta, and Arugula

still life with radish

Can I tell you how I’ve longed for this day? In the deep midwinter, wandering desperately through the produce section, I ached for the CSA box like a long-lost love. The sheer abundance of goodness! So much fresh, local, organic bounty, that (it’s so sad and I really hate to admit it) sometimes we failed to eat it all.

It’s a new day. A new season. And I am full of resolve. To appreciate each and every leafy green. To savor every turnip. Even to make my very best effort with the beets. Thank you Hog’s Back Farm for the enormous blessings you bestow each week. Our forks and appetites are ready.

Day 7: CSA Still Life

CSA Still Life

Week One: Herb plants (thyme & oregano for our kitchen garden), radishes, arugula, bok choi, rapini, 3 kinds of lettuce, scallions, pea shoots