Bye-Bye Bounty: CSA week 9 - Sometimes, you just can't eat it all

Honesty is the best policy, especially in blogging, so I must tell you: Life and leftovers sometimes get in the way.

When we picked up our CSA bag last week from Rolling Prairie, I had all these designs on more stir-fry and a few other tasty treats. We’re getting to a really flush season local produce-wise and the getting is good with my CSA.

But did I get to use all of it last week?


In fact, I didn’t have the time or the fridge space (thanks to a giant watermelon we cut up and then had to divvy between every big piece of Tupperware we own) to make anything other than my favorite kale salad with my veggies until Monday night. As in last night.

Now, I could have lied and said we made these during the week and for separate meals, but what’s the point in that? I’m not perfect and neither is my meal planning. We had a friend in town from my days at The Palm Beach Post in Florida and ended up eating pizza, Thai and barbecue for dinner while she was here.

So, no, the chef and I didn’t get to make dinner with our CSA ingredients until a week after we picked them up. Is that a problem? No, not really, because unlike veggies from California, Florida or other countries, my CSA veggies didn’t have to get on a truck or a plane to make it to this corner of Kansas. This is good for several reasons including one that’s perfect in this case: local veggies are freshly picked and haven’t been sitting on shelves and therefore last longer.

This isn’t a myth, it’s true.

The stir-fry and potatoes we made last night were pretty darn fresh considering most of the ingredients were at least a week old.

So, if you have some old Chinese cabbage, peas or potatoes (picked a week ago from our garden), don’t fear. Just take a look and see if they’re still good. Chances are you won’t have to relegate anything to the compost pile just yet.

This week, I hope to be more on top of things with our goodies: kale, beets, carrots(!), eggs, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. But if I’m not? I’m not going to beat myself up about it (too much).

Spicy and Sweet Chinese Cabbage (Recipe from “Rolling Prairie Cookbook” by Nancy O’Connor)

1 tablespoon peanut oil (we used vegetable)

1 1/2 pounds Chinese cabbage, thinly sliced (8 to 10 cups)

2 teaspoons finely grated ginger root

Crushed hot pepper flakes (to taste)

1/4 cup golden raisins, soaked in a 1/2 cup warm water, then drained

1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oil in a deep skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add Chinese cabbage, ginger, and hot pepper flakes. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium. Mix sweetener and vinegar. Pour over cabbage mixture. Toss in raisins, season with salt. Cook for approximately 3 more minutes, stirring often. Cabbage should be wilted but still slightly crunchy. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Smashed Peas with Potatoes with Miso (Recipe adapted from “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” by Mark Bittman)

2 medium potatoes (we used the equivalent in new potatoes from our garden)

2 cups snap peas (or edamame)

2 to 3 tablespoons miso mixed with 1/4 cup water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chopped scallion for garnish

Boil the potatoes in water to cover until soft, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another pot, bring about 1 quart water to a boil; add the peas and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Drain the peas, transfer to a blender or food processor, and pulse until roughly chopped (do not purée).

Drain the potatoes when done (reserve a bit of their cooking water), add the peas and the miso, and smash the potatoes with a masher or wooden spoon (it should be fairly chunky). Add a little of the reserved potato water if the mixture is too dry. Taste and adjust the season, adding salt and pepper or more miso as needed. Garnish with scallion and serve. Serves 4.


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