Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Farm Box: April 4, 2012

Trying to get back to doing regular farm box updates. We've been doing the CSA for almost 16 months now, and it's been a huge success, for the most part (although almost all of our winter squashes moulded before we could use them).

Here's what was in this week's box, along with my plans for using it up:

Mixed Tangerines / mandarins. I cannot get enough of the Murcott tangerines -- that's the little shiny one on top of the stack. They're teeny tiny -- I can fit 2 or three of them in the palm of my hand easily -- and SO sweet. Almost like candy. Abundant citrus is one of the things I love about living in California. This week there were just a couple murcotts. I think the rest are another variety.

Green Onions.  These will end up used here and there throughout the week -- in scrambled eggs, sauces, as garnish for soups and baked potatoes, etc.

Parsley -- Planning to make Chimichurri sauce tonight, since I have cilantro left over from last week's box. We'll eat it on simple grilled chicken, served with wheatberries and grilled asparagus.

Carrots -- Our farm has the BEST carrots! This will probably become either carrot-miso soup, using this recipe from Smitten Kitchen or Carrot-Miso-Ginger salad dressing, like you get at Japanese restaurants. I absolutely ADORED that stuff as a kid, when we went to the local Benihana-type Japanese steakhouse for special occasions. It's perfect on light greens, like butter lettuce, and I also really like it on chicken. And, if I'm being honest, I'll also happily eat it right out of the bowl with a spoon :-)

Asparagus -- Last week's asparagus became today's lunch. I tossed it with olive oil and salt, roasted it at 400 for maybe 30 minutes to cook it. Then, served it on toast for lunch --  rub toast with a cut clove of garlic, lay the asparagus on top, and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and some cheese (Trader Joe's Cheddar-Asiago in this case, but Parm or goat cheese would also work well).

This week, we'll do it on the grill, following this recipe.  I am NOT a mayonnaise fan, but the mayo mostly cooks off on the grill, leaving behind a tangy, smoky flavor. You do need to make sure you use smoked paprika and not the normal stuff, which is sort of blah. I find smoked paprika in little metal tins in the spice aisle at Whole Foods or Berkeley Bowl. The brand is Chiqulin. It's actually cheaper in local stores than at that link, though. More like 2.99 or so.  We don't bother to peel the asparagus, just cut off the tough ends. Farm fresh asparagus usually isn't tough enough to bother.

I don't get as excited about asparagus as lots of folks do, but these two recipes keep me pretty happy. We also often use it in risotto (cut into small pieces and toss it in at the very end so it stays semi-crisp and bright green)

Mei Qing Choi. This is basically baby bok choi. Good stir-fried with oyster sauce, although I'll confess that this is not my favorite green. It often goes a bit yellow before we get around to eating it.

Leeks. I recently learned that you can freeze leeks, which has changed my cooking world. I just pre-slice and wash them, then spin them dry in the salad spinner. Toss 'em in a big ziploc and lay them flat to freeze. Then, you can just grab a handful whenever you need, without all the fuss. We got a LOT of leeks this winter, so I was getting really behind on using them up until I learned this trick!  Also, one of this week's leeks is literally as big around as my wrist!

Honestly, I thought this week's farm box was a bit light, compared to what we usually get. And I was sad there wasn't spinach or other cooking greens, since we can easily go through three bunches of those a week.

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