Corn and Peach Salsa

corn and peach salsa

Anyone who’s asked me about meal planning, how to put CSA produce to use, or otherwise discussed any topic in that realm knows I’m surprisingly enthusiastic about scrambled egg tacos. We eat them for dinner at least once a week, a welcome vessel for almost any vegetable. I adorned a recent rendition of our weeknight go-to with this corn and peach salsa. It’s simple and sweet, and, particularly because I opted to keep the corn raw, it’s fun to chew. Serve it with tortilla chips or gussy up your next taco night. Heck, call it a corn salad and eat it on its own.

corn and peach salsa-2

Corn and Peach Salsa

2 ears of corn, stripped
2 peaches, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 serrano pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 lime, juice and zest
1/4 tsp salt

In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.

corn and peach salsa-3

Recipes and Ideas for Using CSA Greens

Oh. My. Is anyone else simultaneously thrilled and overwhelmed by these generous shares of GREEN we’re getting? I thought about taking a photo of the first couple shares and wimped out because I couldn’t figure out how to style so much green. (Although, a number of you totally rocked shots of the haul on Instagram! If you share a CSA-related image, don’t forget to tag it #sunsetparkcsa so other members can find it; we’ll be sharing some member photos in the main feed as well.)

By the end of the first week, I found myself a little behind in consuming the produce. One date night out, a couple meals put together too hastily, and we hadn’t finished our first share to make room for the next. I felt a little panicked that beautiful produce might go to waste. That first week was a great reminder of the lessons I’ve learned over my years participating in CSAs. Below, I’m sharing some of my favorite tips for managing your bounty so you get to enjoy the superior flavor and nutrition of this farm fresh produce.

kale chips

 

Tips to Keep Up

Some weeks we find it so easy to keep up with the abundance; other weeks we get to Tuesday and aren’t nearly through. Here are some of the ways we’ve learned we can best manage the haul – and by “manage” I mean make sure we’re enjoying the taste and nourishment of these fresh vegetables.

  • Prep ahead of time. The more you can wash and chop produce in advance, the more likely you’ll be able to quickly incorporate it into your next meal.
  • Make a commitment to eating in. For us, the most common culprit for getting behind is dining out. You can’t use your produce if you’re not cooking at home.
  • If you order takeout, add your own vegetable side. A lot of restaurant delivery is lacking in produce anyway, so save yourself some time by ordering most of your meal, but throw in a homemade side salad or some quickly sauteed vegetables to round out the meal.
  • Add vegetables every meal. Don’t limit your vegetable consumption to dinner. Try throwing some greens into your scrambled eggs. Pack a salad for lunch or layer some vegetables onto your next sandwich. Slice up radishes or roast kale chips for a snack.
  • Embrace unconventional combinations. Sometimes, I find myself challenged with what to make for dinner because the vegetables I have left either don’t go together or don’t go with whatever protein or starch we have on hand. I just have to let go and decide even if the meal isn’t cohesive that each component is enjoyable on its own. See above: scrambled egg tacos with a side of kale chips.
  • Smoothies! During the CSA season, I find myself drinking more smoothies and fresh juices made from these sweet local veggies.

And When You Don’t Keep Up?

When Wednesday is fast-approaching and you’ve barely made a dent in your share, these ideas will keep your produce from snowballing and make room for the next round. For the beginning of the season, let’s focus on greens.

  • Freeze it. Blanch or saute your washed greens and then throw them in the freezer to deal with later (as additions to casseroles, soups, and pastas). Alternately, you can freeze the greens raw (a huge time saver) to throw into smoothies.
  • Pesto it. Greens + garlic + olive oil and blend.  A pinch of salt or handful Parmigiano-Reggiano is nice too. I’ve included some pesto recipes below for your inspiration. Pesto can also be frozen.
  • Invite over some friends! Anytime I feel overwhelmed by my fridge, I try to take a step back and realize how very lucky I am to be burdened with the “problem” of excess food. What makes that feeling of gratitude even better is to share the abundance with my neighbors. Invite over some friends to share a meal brimming with wholesome, vibrant vegetables.

Recipes for Greens

A few recipe ideas for the mustard greens, beet greens, mizuna, and kale that are so plentiful this time of year. Remember that, in most cases, different dark leafy greens can be swapped for one another.

Turnip Greens Tart (works with any dark, leafy green!)

Grilled Kale Caesar

Indian Style Creamed Spinach (shared by member Rosa)

Swiss Chard and Rice Casserole (shared by member Rosa)

Pesto It:

Chard and Roasted Garlic Pesto

Pistachio Kale Pesto with Zucchini Noodles and Cherries

Kale Pesto Shells and Cheese

Oven Risotto with Tuscan Kale Pesto

Yam Gnocchi with Spinach-Chive Pesto

Fritter It:

Millet Cakes with Carrots and Spinach

Spinach Quinoa Patties

Swiss Chard and Quinoa Cakes with Garlic Yogurt

What did I miss? I’d love to hear your tips and best recipes for enjoying CSA produce. Feel free to reach out on Instagram or comment on the Facebook page with your suggestions.

Sarah

Chive Dressing

chive blossom vinegar

I’ve been anxiously awaiting June’s arrival, knowing it would then feel like turning a corner to find the CSA’s start in sight. The onset of spring itself isn’t enough – It’s that scheduled dose of local produce that finally pries winter’s pinky finger grasp from my shoulder.

chive dressing

That’s not to say the anticipation hasn’t been fun – recalling some of our favorite weeks from last year, guessing which vegetables will make an appearance in our first share, and of course brainstorming all the ways we’ll put the bounty to delicious use.

It’s the lettuce I’m coveting most, and I spend more time than I should daydreaming of the crisp and colorful salads we will be enjoying in just days.

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It’s those thoughts that finally pushed me to find a purpose for the chives languishing in our backyard. I’m normally a chives enthusiast, applying generous handfuls to most any dinner and even serving sour cream and onion waffles, but for some reason this year they flew under my culinary radar.

I remembered reading somewhere about chive vinegar, and that seemed like a way I might be able to use the lot in one recipe until I searched around to find everyone using chive blossoms instead. My neglected plant had but two sorry flowers, but I happened upon some beautiful bouquets at the greenmarket to fulfill my vinegar vision. I used a chive blossom vinegar recipe from Food in Jars and now have a stunning lilac-hued vinegar working away in a dark pantry. I’ll be sure to report back on its flavor when the lettuces arrive.

hemp chive dressing

But, this still left me with an untouched pot of chives. While I’m sure I’ll be throwing plenty of chopped herbs into our upcoming salads, I couldn’t shake the thought of a dressing using their mild onion flavor. I fell back on a recipe I’ve used time and again, Edible Perspective’s hemp seed dressing. It calls for a small handful of basil or parsley, but I tend to play up the herbaceous side of things with more like an overflowing handful, changing up which season it’s giving a nod by swapping in whatever fresh herbs are having their moment. Using about half a cup of loosely packed chives, this creamy spring dressing is the perfect mate for local lettuce.

Tell me, what produce are you looking forward to most in this year’s CSA?

-Sarah C

PS – Did you know the Sunset Park CSA is on Facebook? Like our page to get updates, photos, and links to our latest blog posts!

The Whole Pumpkin

pumpkin risotto

By Sarah Crowder

My defaults for pumpkin are either soup or pie, but this year I’ve been tucking in fresh pumpkin puree anywhere I can – oatmeal, mac and cheese, and, most recently, risotto.

Here, the pumpkin adds a subtle sweetness and complementary creaminess to risotto, while fried sage and pumpkin seeds toasted with fennel seed add another dimension of flavor and texture.

Pumpkin Risotto

8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 1/2 c arborio rice
1/2 c sweet vermouth
2 heaping c pumpkin puree
1/2 c grated parmigiano reggiano
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper
roasted pumpkin seeds and fried sage, to garnish

Add the broth to a medium pot over high heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low to keep broth warm.

Add the olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and a pinch of salt, and saute until translucent. Add the rice and saute another two minutes. Stir in the vermouth.

Add a ladle full of broth to the rice. Stir often and continue adding broth as the rice absorbs each addition until the mixture is creamy and the rice is cooked but still a bit firm (al dente).

Stir in the pumpkin puree and cook until the mixture thickens. Stir in the cheese and butter until incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

seeds from one pie pumpkin
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground fennel seed
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Rinse the pumpkin seeds, then thoroughly pat dry with paper towels or a kitchen towel.

Add the pumpkin seeds to a baking sheet, sprinkle with the brown sugar, fennel seed, and salt and toss to combine. Spread evenly on the baking sheet and move to the oven.

Roast for 10-15 minutes, or until the sugar melts and the seeds begin to brown at the edges, stirring once halfway through.

Fried Sage

12 or more sage leaves
olive oil
salt

Coat the bottom of a small saucepan over medium heat with 1/4-inch of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the sage leaves, about half at a time, and fry until deep green and crispy, about 1 minute. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to move the leave to a plate and immediately sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt.