Saturday, May 28, 2016

What To Do With a CSA Box, and My Challenge to You

I'm really enjoying getting a nice big box of "surprise" produce every week so far! It's given me the incentive to find ways to use up all the fruit and veggies before they spoil, and I love trying new things. I've gotten a comment or two and a few emails mentioning that some of you haven't tried many types of vegetables. One email said that "... the only vegetables I know how to fix are salads or easy things like peas or broccoli that I can boil. I wish I had your creativity." So I thought I would give you a challenge: find ONE new vegetable this week that you can try! If you have a farmer's market, go and take a look there. You can ask the vendors for suggestions on how to prepare the produce they are selling; in my experience, they are happy to share their multitude of ideas and recipes (and they have lots of them, since they grow the veggies and have an abundance for their family to eat). If you don't have a local market, just hit the grocery store and look around the produce section for something you've never tried. Come home and Google how to store and prepare it. Maybe try some of it raw and some cooked. But try ONE new thing this week, and if you would come back and share what you tried I'd love to hear about it! Maybe this will inspire you to try something new next week, too!

As for my CSA boxes, I have a lot of cooking methods up my sleeve. I eat some raw, and I know how to lightly steam, boil, stew, bake, and roast lots of veggies. I also look online for new ideas by Googling (name of vegetable) recipes and then clicking "images" to get some ideas. I find something that looks good, and then I click the picture and read the recipe. For example: radish recipes. Cool, right?

Here is a list of the foods I have gotten so far and how I prepped them, as well as other ways I have made them that work well:

Asparagus: I cut these into pieces, tossed with a little olive oil and salt, and roasted them until browned. I also love it lightly steamed or added to a stir fry, or made into asparagus soup.
Mixed baby greens: We ate some as a salad, and I steamed the rest with onions and garlic. They're good in soups, too.
Strawberries: We've just been slicing them and having them with dinner, or eating as a snack. Also good in yogurt or cereal.
Young red onions: you can slice them thinly into salad or use them in any recipe calling for onions. Really good in broccoli salad.
Fresh garlic bulbs: You can slice the cloves and use them in any recipe calling for garlic. You can take the rest of the bulb (the thick part that you peel off... this is not papery in fresh garlic (only papery when dried) and saute it in some butter. Then strain it out and you have a nice garlic butter.
Rhubarb: I do not eat rhubarb because it is high in oxalates and I'm prone to kidney stones, but I've cut it up and cooked it with some lemon and sugar for pie and tart fillings. There are some interesting recipes for salads containing rhubarb on Google, too, if you don't want something sugary.
White radishes: raw in salads, or roasted as above (like asparagus). You can cut them up and use them as potato substitutes in soups, with pot roasts and as hash browns.
Sugar snap peas: really good raw or lightly steamed (eat the pods). Great in stir fries, too!
Kohlrabi with greens: Cook the greens with onion and garlic. Cube the kohlrabi and roast it. I think it would be good boiled, too.
Curly kale: Make it into a kale salad, or roast it into chips. It's also good cooked with onions, garlic, and ham cubes.
Purple asparagus: prepare the same way as regular asparagus
Bok choy: I love this is stir fries or in a crunchy oriental salad with almonds, sesame oil, and green onions.
Cilantro: put into salsa or cook with some chicken and lime.

Have fun trying new recipes! If you run out of ideas, you can take a look at my Produce Guide or my Recipe Page (which has lots of vegetable based recipes). Branch out, try something new, and enjoy your veggies!


Anonymous said...

I will take you up on your challenge and report back. Thanks! Lisa

Sam J. said...

I am in!

Anonymous said...

I have never eaten the pods on any peas. I always shelled them. I am going to try and find the Sugar Snap Peas you mention and try the pod. Thank you for the idea!

emmegebe said...

To encourage the vegetable-shy, I must say that roasting is a good thing to do with almost any vegetable. Cut anything big into pieces, toss with olive oil or fat of choice, sprinkle with salt & pepper, and roast uncovered on a sheet pan at 400 or 425 until things are starting to brown. Stir and roast a little longer if you like or if needed for tenderness. Eat as-is or finish with a little balsamic vinegar or other dressing. Roasting brings out sweetness and toasty/nutty flavors and makes most vegetables really delicious.

MyStalkerIsFat said...

I've never tried (or heard of) asparagus soup. That sounds interesting! No one in my house would eat it besides me, but I would still like to try it.

Xani said...

Some wonderful ideas here! I'd also like to recommend braising veggies (plenty of recipes online for various veggies) including asparagus (especially larger stalks): trim asparagus bottoms and peel the thick bases with a veggie peeler. lightly sear in butter or oil, then add water or stock (and a little butter, if you like), cover the pot, and cook for 15-20 mins until tender all the way through. Uncover to reduce the "sauce" a bit. serve with a squeeze of lemon. yum!