Some timely tips from Kate McDonough, author of The City Cook: Big City, Small Kitchen. Limitless Ingredients, No Time. More than 90 recipes so delicious you’ll want to toss your takeout menus and Editor of TheCityCook.com, via the blog the kitchn.
CSA newbies can get discouraged by expecting the same food we’d buy at the farmer’s market but delivered in a different way, only to find that it’s more like having to cook from what we grow in our back yards. Certainly for the urban home cook who has never grown a potted tomato plant, this is a radical concept.
But we shouldn’t give up nor feel enslaved to a box of vegetables.
Here are a few ways I’ve learned to enjoy cooking from a CSA share:
1. Most of us usually plan a menu, sketch a shopping list, and then buy our groceries. That’s because we cook from the recipe, not from its ingredients. With CSA cooking we need to start from the opposite direction, planning your meals after you pick up your share. At first this can seem limiting and even annoying. But all it really means is cooking with what’s in season, and it’s a good habit to have even without a CSA share.
2. View a week’s fruits and vegetables in both major and minor recipe roles. For example, one of the most common CSA complaints is that shares include lots of lettuce; more than you can eat before it rots. That’s easy to happen if we only use lettuce in a salad. But if you add it to pea and lettuce soup, or make lettuce wraps, or add it to stir fries, you can quickly use up that lettuce.
Likewise that other CSA bounty: zucchini. Use it with pasta or in risotto, in gratins and lasagna, shredded into fritters, in a sweet tea bread, or in soup. One of my favorite uses for the uniquely tender and sweet zucchini that comes in my CSA is raw in a simple salad with curls of Parmesan and a squeeze of lemon juice and drizzle of olive oil, served in a way that Italians call zucchini carpaccio.
3. If you get something in small amounts, treat it as a kind of garnish. For example, those two small beets can be cooked and cut into matchsticks and tossed with a salad. Or store them carefully because next week you may get more, as often a crop will arrive gradually and the first time you get a little of something may be a prediction of more to come. Be supple.
Read the rest at the kitchn. And make sure to check the comments at the end of the ‘official’ post.