Summer 2017 Week Five CSA and Meal Plan

Corn corn and more corn. We’re now onto the summer 2017 week five CSA and it’s definitely feels like summer now between the corn and varieties of summer squash.

This week, I brought home corn, green beans, lettuce, kale, summer squash and zucchinis, cucumbers, and raspberries.

Summer CSA 2017 week 5

Storing your share

  1. Lettuce greens: if starting with a head of lettuce, pull the leaves off individually and place in a bowl of cold salted water for a few minutes. It will both help to refresh the greens and loosen any dirt or tiny bugs. Stillman’s Farm does not spray their greens at all, so you might find little gnats or aphids squished between the leaves. Then spin dry, tear into bite sized pieces, and store in a large ziploc bag or tupperware container.
  2. Corn: enjoy immediately 🙂 We call fresh corn snack corn and have that as our making-dinner snack. Keep refrigerated as sugars convert to starch (losing sweetness) quicker at room temperature than in the refrigerator.
  3. Kale: put in a produce bag to store until you’re ready to use.
  4. Zucchini and summer squash: put in a produce bag to store until you’re ready to use.
  5. Green beans: they came in the bag and I’m going to leave them in the bag until I’m ready, keeping an eye on them for any mushiness.
  6. Cucumbers: store in one of the refrigerator produce drawers
  7. Raspberries: eat within a day or so. If you want to split them over two days, be sure to sort through and eat the slightly soft ones on day one, leaving the firmer ones for day two.

What to cook

Check out my post on meal planning for how I approach using up my share each week.

Due to some plans, we only have a few nights to eat this week’s share so we’re going for recipes that will use a lot at once. The corn and raspberries are long gone, so those don’t even factor in to this week. The kale, I am going to cook and freeze for use later (bring salted water to a boil, simmer de-veined leaves for seven minutes with lid on, drain and squeeze out as much water as possible, then fluff and put in freezer bag to freeze). So that just leaves the lettuce, green beans, summer squashes, and cucumbers.

I love shakshuka, an Israeli dish of stewed tomatoes with chilis and spices and poached eggs and thought that if I swapped out most of the tomatoes with zucchini and summer squash, I could use up a lot of those. These summer squashes (by that I mean any of the softer, non-hard skinned winter squash) cook down really beautifully, so they are perfect for this kind of dish or in similarly slower cooked summer recipes like ratatouille. We’re also going to make a Mediterranean inspired salad with the green beans and lettuce with some Stillman Quality Meats chicken legs currently marinating in lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and oregano (yet another Stillman’s item – I pick up some herbs for my backyard every spring). Cucumbers will be incorporated in cucumber and egg salad sandwiches. And that does it!

As always, check back for new recipes!

Summer 2017 Week Four CSA and Meal Plan

The summer 2017 week four CSA pickup brings us corn! I have heard that we are the first in the state to get corn. The first corn is something to which I always look forward.

For this week, we got some of the aforementioned corn, beautiful radishes, green beans, lettuce, kale, peppery arugula, summer squash, and raspberries.

Storing your share

  1. Lettuce greens: if starting with a head of lettuce, pull the leaves off individually and place in a bowl of cold salted water for a few minutes. It will both help to refresh the greens and loosen any dirt or tiny bugs. Stillman’s Farm does not spray their greens at all, so you might find little gnats or aphids squished between the leaves. Then spin dry, tear into bite sized pieces, and store in a large ziploc bag or tupperware container.
  2. Arugula: I usually wrap the roots in a paper towel and wrap all in a produce bag.
  3. Corn: enjoy immediately 🙂 We call fresh corn snack corn and have that as our making-dinner snack. Keep refrigerated as sugars convert to starch (losing sweetness) quicker at room temperature than in the refrigerator.
  4. Kale: put in a produce bag to store until you’re ready to use.
  5. Zucchini and summer squash: put in a produce bag to store until you’re ready to use.
  6. Green beans: they came in the bag and I’m going to leave them in the bag until I’m ready, keeping an eye on them for any mushiness.
  7. Raspberries: eat within a day or so. If you want to split them over two days, be sure to sort through and eat the slightly soft ones on day one, leaving the firmer ones for day two.

What to cook

Check out my post on meal planning for how I approach using up my share each week.

We’re not perfect and had a bit of a messy week. On Thursday, we had falafel made with beet greens. Still working on that recipe, but hopefully, I will be happy enough with it at some point to post. Last night, we had gnocchi with buttery sautéed squash. Tonight we made tacos with spiced black beans and a corn, radish, and feta salsa. Tomorrow, we’re going to make kale linguini and enjoy that with some red sauce and turkey meatballs. For a quick meal on Monday when we have other plans, we’ll make burgers from Stillman Quality Meats ground beef with a potato and green bean salad, which we’ll make tomorrow. Tuesday will be my apple, onion, and arugula pizza for which I’ll caramelize the onions tomorrow night to save some time. And finally, back to pickup day. We actually ate through our share pretty quick this week, so I am hoping we get beets or Swiss chard (or I’ll just buy some with my Stillman’s bucks) to whip up my Swiss chard penne a la vodka.

As always, check back for new recipes!

Summer 2017 Week Three CSA Share and Meal Plan

This week was our summer 2017 week three CSA pickup from Stillman’s Farm. You can tell summer is here when more variety starts to creep in to the box. This week, we got kale, Swiss card, zucchini and summer squash, green beans, lettuce, mixed baby greens, and blueberries! With the help Stillman’s Bucks, I also got two super early season ears of corn (yummm), garlic scapes, and strawberries.

summer 2017 week three CSA share

It took me a full 24 hours to come up with a meal plan this week because we’re still swimming in last week’s box after Fourth of July travel. Vegetables I still need to use from last week include beets, beet greens, lettuce, and mixed baby greens. Proper planning and storage, however, means they’re all still good to eat. We processed all the kale by stripping it from the stems, boiling seven minutes, squeezing out as much water as possible, and freezing for later.

Storing your share

  1. Lettuce greens (heads and mixed spring greens): if starting with a head of lettuce, pull the leaves off individually and place in a bowl of cold salted water for a few minutes. It will both help to refresh the greens and loosen any dirt or tiny bugs. Stillman’s Farm does not spray their greens at all, so you might find little gnats or aphids squished between the leaves. Then spin dry, tear into bite sized pieces, and store in a large ziploc bag or tupperware container.
  2. Beets: separate the beets from the greens and wrap each in a produce bag.
  3. Kale and Swiss chard: put in a produce bag to store until you’re ready to use.
  4. Zucchini and summer squash: put in a produce bag to store until you’re ready to use.
  5. Green beans: they came in the bag and I’m going to leave them in the bag until I’m ready, keeping an eye on them for any mushiness.
  6. Blueberries: sort through and make sure there aren’t any mushy ones. Otherwise, store in the container in a produce bag or transfer to a small tupperware.

What to cook

Check out my post on meal planning for how I approach using up my share each week.

Tonight we ate a beet, salmon, and farro salad with citrus vinaigrette, orange wedges, and avocado. Good, though not totally pulled together, so I’ll planning to re-make and refine. I am also going to make the Swiss chard pizza, so I can post that recipe this week. Another recipe I’ve worked on and will post this week is summer squash crepes with a lemon goat cheese sauce. For a quick dinner, carrot top pesto from a bunch of carrots I picked up from Drumlin farm last week over pasta and turkey meatballs from Stillman Quality Meats. I am hoping to find fresh pita at the farmer’s market to pull together a falafel with beet greens. For the pickup night meal,finishing off the lettuce and green beans in a Niçoise salad with some fresh fish from Red’s Best at the Boston Public Market.

As always, check back for new recipes!

CSA intro series: Bringing home your share – summer edition

How you bring home your summer CSA share can set you up to easily, successfully, and deliciously use your share. This is an update from a previous winter-share focused post.

First thing is first – when you pick up your CSA, bring grocery totes. The box that your share is given to you in is awkward to carry. And if you bring the box home, you have to remember to bring it back (and, I don’t know about you, but I never remember to do that) because most farms reuse those box week to week. A better option is to bring a few shopping totes. I bring three bags for our share, which feeds 2-4 people. I could fit the share in two large bags, but I like to have a third bag for delicate items, like tomatoes or peaches.

Bring home your summer CSA share - CSA boxes

When you get home, lay everything out on your counter and take an inventory. List what you got and how much to help with meal planning.  Including the quantity will help to determine if it needs to be used in one or more dishes. Check if anything is damaged – star those items so that when you go to meal plan, you know that you will need to use those items first so that they don’t spoil. Check out my meal planning post for how I make sure to use up all my vegetables.

Take anything left over from the previous week and consolidate into one of your produce drawers, using the other drawer for the new share. That way, you know what you still need to use up before starting on the new stuff. This is also an opportunity to clean out the empty drawer before you put anything new in. A quick vacuum (yes, I vacuum my refrigerator) and a swipe with a damp towel, and you’re good to go!

Vegetable Storage

Before putting everything away in your fridge, separate leafy green tops from root vegetables. This keeps the root vegetables fresh longer – if you leave the tops on, you will find that your root veggies get soft quicker. Doing this also make storage easier. Then decide if you are going to use the vegetable tops or if you would rather discard them. It is okay to get rid of them – it took me a few seasons just getting comfortable enough with the influx of vegetables to even be able to even to consider using the tops.

I also recommend that you wash and prepare your lettuce immediately. It keeps it fresh longer and makes it more likely that you will use it. Separate the leaves into a big bowl, fill with some salted cold water (helps remove the little bugs that might be on there), and let sit for a few minutes. Remove leaves in batches to your salad spinner and rip into bite-sized pieces to spin down. Store in a large ziploc bag or tupperware container with a folded paper towel to absorb any moisture.