My Week with the CSA

Pumpkin in repose

Thursday, December 10, 2009
Pickup bag of produce. It is naturally chilled and I look over the bounty. My mind starts churning with ideas. Everything gets looked over and put away once I get home. The persimmons get a special nest since they are quite soft. I’ll have to think of a good use for them quite soon. We eat leftovers for dinner so for tonight, it’s just mental menu planning. I do use some leftover pumpkin that I roasted and pureed in fragrant pumpkin bread. Our big cooking energy is devoted to Friday dinner preparations. We are having a Thanksgiving, Part Two potluck and our new onions go into stuffing and rosemary from our front yard gets snow shaken off it and put into a turkey brining solution.

Friday, December 11, 2009
Flurry of cooking before people come over. Onions in the savory stuffing and pomegranate seeds in the wonderful cranberry sauce. Dinner was tasty and well-received but we still have lots of leftover turkey.

Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce

Saturday, December 12, 2009
Dinner tonight is leftovers in the first repurposing. It’s the Friday Night Salad I read about from the Los Angeles Times Food section. In go salad greens, radishes, and carrots from the farm bag. It has an unusual sweet, tangy dressing. It made a goodly plate of deliciousness but to top it I roast potatoes to serve along side. I need to have some warm food at this time of year.

Friday Night Salad with Toasted Cumin, Honey and Lime Dressing

Sunday, December 13, 2009
Turkey repurposing, part 2: I make the White Chicken Chili from America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated. I substitute some frozen green chili for the called for Anaheim chilies and also use one of the huge onions that came in the farm bag on Thursday. Because I used shredded turkey, the recipes comes together even quicker. Considering how much time I usually spend on ATK recipes, this one was a snap. Do not be put off by the amount of chilies. It calms down as it cooks and has just enough heat to warm the soul on a cold winter night. We have leftover cornbread and a goodly pile of carrot sticks. I have to say that some of the best carrots I have ever eaten come courtesy of Beneficial Farms.

Monday, December 14, 2009
Another mess of leftovers for the majority of dinner but the hit of the evening is Butternut Squash with Pesto. I roasted cubed butternut squash and whirled up a quick pesto with cilantro and pumpkin seeds (with the addition of a small garlic clove). That all got tossed together for a delicious side dish that had a good sweet, savory, and rich balance. We finished up dinner with the last of salad greens for the week topped with a handful of sliced radishes. I continue to think of ways to use up all those radishes. They are not my favorite vegetable but add a little kick in small doses.

Butternut Squash with Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009
More repurposing of the leftovers combined with putting dinner together quickly and getting some vegetables in our daily diet. We have black bean turkey quesadillas with more of the wonderful green chile and a side of turnip chips. We are big fans of the oven roasted chips and I was delighted when I saw one of my favorite cook book authors expand our chip repertoire. I highly recommend Jack Bishop’s A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen. This book has been a great help in turning my cooking toward more seasonable food which of course aligns perfectly with our weekly delivery of lovely things from Beneficial Farms. Anyway, for turnip chips you essentially slice turnips quite thin, toss with a little olive oil and salt and roast in a hot oven (400-500 degrees). Turn them over after about 15 minutes and watch them carefully for the next 5-15 minutes. Sprinkle with a little paprika and some more salt after they are crisped to your liking.

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009
Tonight, I produce a culinary hat trick. I make spinach, leek, and potato soup that uses three items from Beneficial Farms and serve with a side of roasted carrots also from the farm delivery and goat cheese toasts. It was warm, colorful, and delicious. I cannot express how delightful is a potent green soup on a cold winter night. I felt my vitamin store replenish just stirring it. We have a few things left over for this coming week but winter produce stores nicely in the crisper and waits for the day that beets or some other vegetable will just hit the spot. Looking forward to our next delivery tomorrow!

Spinach, Leek, and Potato Soup