Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thinking Outside Your CSA Box

We are now into week 3 of our Great CSA Experiment! If you are a CSA member then I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am. I have never eaten healthier in my life and there is a constant feeling of joy every time I open the fridge and think about what to cook next. Before, the center of my recipes might have centered around chicken, fish or ground turkey but now the star on each plate is an abundance of gorgeous, hand picked, FRESH veggies. The "animal proteins" have definitely taken a back seat lately and we are quite enjoying it.

My bounty this week consisted of Napa cabbage, grape tomatoes, watermelon, sweet corn, lettuce and squash flowers. Yum! For advice on how to store and make the most of your CSA supply, please see below:

How to store Napa Cabbage
How to store fresh corn (tips on freezing it here too if you can't use it right away.)
How to store squash blossoms
How to store romaine lettuce
How to store grape tomatoes
How to store watermelon

My personal challenge is to concoct a dish that contains at least 2 CSA ingredients.  Tonight I made a veggie stir fry over brown jasmine rice. Basically, I just took some julienned carrots, sliced red onion and sauteed in sesame oil.  I then added a few cloves of crushed garlic, a bunch of sliced Napa cabbage and 1/2 cup to a cup of chicken broth. I cooked this down a bit until the cabbage wilted. I then added some leftover CSA broccoli from last week and some sliced baby Bella mushrooms. Cooked again til tender.  Added a few sprinkles of ginger and black pepper, then a few shakes of soy sauce. Simmer a tad more and then served it over rice.   You could really do whatever you like here. Water chestnuts, peanuts, almonds, red pepper, sugar snap peas, etc. You could also top with some freshly chopped basil or parsley.  Serve it over couscous, noodles or quinoa.  The trick is to avoid overcooking any of the veggies. Cook the ones that take the longest first, like "harder" veggies. You don't want to end up with a bowl of mush!

Next. On to those pretty little squash flowers that keep popping up in your box.

They are not just for show you know!

People pay big bucks for these blossoms when prepared in fancy restaurants so enjoy this precious flower while you can. My mom has always made them with a pancake like batter and then fried in oil. Very simple to do.

That's my Mom, Ginny. She and I have our best talks in the kitchen.
It's one of the happiest places on Earth.

She simply makes a pancake batter with Bisquick or Jiffy mix, nothing too heavy. She washes and dries the squash blossoms and then quickly dips the flowers into the batter. She then fries them in oil until golden brown on each side. After they are cooked, drain on paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

If you are looking for an upscale way to prepare them, click here for a Goat Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossom recipe.  And if you just can't get enough,  click here for 5 more ways to prepare them.

Happy and healthy eating to all of you this week!

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