Monday, June 11, 2012

My first CSA box!

If you don't remember, or weren't following my blog then, or didn't read this post, I signed up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) back in March. I remember it was a really nice day - hot even - and I got all excited for spring and summer and food.  And then it got freakishly cold again.  And now it's hot.  Ahhh, Wisconsin!

Anyway, I received my first CSA box on Saturday, and it was very exciting!  I was actually supposed to pick it up on Friday, but apparently I don't know how to read an email.  Keep that in mind, the next time you're reading one of my blog posts and it doesn't make any sense - I don't even know how to read an email!

So, what did my CSA box have?  SHOCKINGLY, it had exactly the things I said you should be looking for at the farmer's market!:
  • Radishes
  • Baby Kale
  • Pea Shoots
  • Head Lettuce
  • Leaf Lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Cremini Mushrooms (my spell check doesn't recognize "cremini as a word and wants me to replace it with reminisce. Now I think it's my spell check and not me who is borderline illiterate! 

 The thing that I already like best and worst about my CSA is that it's going to make me think really hard about my meal planning.  This is definitely more veggies than my husband and I usually eat in a week, and it's going to be a challenge to work them all in.  But I HATE wasting food.  So that means I have to sit back, look at what I have, look at what's going to keep, and see how I can work the rest in throughout the week - and not in just salads.

Every other month or so, I get this idea that Jeff and I are going to eat healthier by having one vegetarian meal per week.  It's a great idea, except afterwards the two of us always sit back, look at each other, and say "good, but could have used some meat!"  I would not make it as a vegetarian, and he won't make it on just salads.  Even meated salads.  Maybe one per week, but that leaves me with a lot of greens to use up.
Most CSAs are filled up now for this season, but there's always next season.  Also, my farmers (the Rhine Center Vegetable Club) will be selling their produce at the West Town Farmer's Market in Downtown Milwaukee on Wednesday.  If you work in Downtown Milwaukee and have not checked out this farmer's market, you totally should.  I don't think of it often, but this may have been my favorite farmer's market back when I could get to it.  Actually, in retrospect, I may have repressed how awesome this market was when my office moved from Downtown Milwaukee (10 minutes from my house) to Menomonee Falls (45 minutes from my house.

If you do work or live downtown, you should make sure you take the time to check out the West Town Farmer's Market.  It is on Wednesdays from 10am-3pm, at Zeidler Union Square (on Michigan between 3rd and 4th streets.)  Not only do they have a pretty awesome selection of produce there, perfect for mid-week shopping, but the lunch selection is always amazing - targeting all the Downtown workers.  I would recommend trying to get their either before 11 or after 1, though, because it gets pretty busy around lunch time!

Probably the trickiest/least common item in my box was the pea shoots.  These are the actual shoots that the peas grow off of.  Those of you who garden know that you plant your seeds, and then thin out the garden once the seeds start sprouting.  You could just throw those plants on the compost pile, or you could eat them!  They're good both raw (although I find they take a bit of chewing),  You don't want to over cook them, though.  They're traditionally stir-fried, but my favorite cooking method is to put them into something else that's hot - for example mix them into hot risotto or rice, or place them on top of a hot soup.

I started out with a noodle soup (I love a noodle soup!).  I took my own chicken stock and fancied it up with a little soy and fish sauce, and a splash of habenaro Tabasco.  I added some softened rice noodles, and topped it with just about every kind of vegetable I could find (I used snap peas, baby cucumbers, arugula, radishes, and (of course) bean sprouts) as well as a piece of grilled salmon.  Simple, filling, and amazing!
I know this looks like a salad, but it's actually a bowl of soup!

1 comment:

  1. I've been to the downtown market once in the 9+ years I've worked downtown. Since then, I always have a fitness class over my lunch hour on Wednesday, so I can't spare the time. We just try to make it to the South Shore Market every Saturday.

    I won't do a CSA for the very reason you said: It's too much vegetables for us to use in a week, plus I either don't know what to do with half of them, or don't like them in the first place. Peas! Ewww!