CSA Newsletter – Week 4
Words to Cook By
Hello everyone! So, I may have gone overboard and splurged on a bunch of new cookbooks in preparation for writing these newsletters. No regrets! But one of my new favorites is Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden, the head chef at Ava Gene’s up in Portland (they serve our veggies on their menu). You’ll see many recipes and other knowledge nuggets from this book throughout the season, including the following guidelines entitled Words to Cook By:
- Visit farmers’ markets often and always ask questions.
- Things that grow together in a season go very well together in a dish.
- Start with raw vegetables. Take a bite so that you understand their flavors before you begin making your dish. Do this as each season progresses to learn how vegetables change.
- Don’t be a slave to a recipe. Add different herbs, use a new spice, omit something you don’t like—you’re in charge.
- Be organized. Read the whole recipe first, gather all the ingredients, do the messy prep first. Clean as you go. Your food will really taste better, I promise.
- Eyeball it. Get comfortable cooking without measuring cups and spoons. Your mouth, nose, eyes, and hands will tell you the right amounts.
- Cooking times are simply guidelines. Use your senses, including common sense.
- Build layers into your dish, like you’re making nachos. Hide things on the bottom. Sprinkle things on top.
- Leave fresh herb leaves whole most of the time.
- Texture is king. Use dried breadcrumbs, nuts, and seed liberally.
- Make mistakes. Oversalt, use too much vinegar, make something too spicy, burn something—and then don’t do it again. That’s how you learn.
- Don’t be scared. Find the freedom and fun in cooking.
-Laura Bennett, email@example.com
Table of Box Contents
- Green Cabbage—Fresh spring cabbage is sweet and succulent, perfect for salads and slaws.
- 5 lbs New Potatoes—This week we have Colorado Rose potatoes in the box for you; they have a lovely rose red skin with a white flesh.
- Italian Parsley—Add parsley into a pesto or into a salad.
- Sugarloaf Chicory—Chicory greens are lettuce’s bitter cousins. Sugarloaf is one of the few that is quite sweet. Their shape makes them perfect for cutting in half lengthwise and grilling for a hot salad. Try balancing out the bitterness with other ingredients, like vinegar, garlic, or cheese.
- Garlic—Enjoy the fresh garlic while it lasts! In just a week it’ll all be dried.
- Lettuce—Various varieties
- 2 Sweet Onions—High sugar content that makes them perfect for caramelizing.
- Pearl Onions—Perfect for grilling, high in sugar content, overall extremely delicious.
- Cucumbers—Eat fresh like an apple or slice into salads for a nice, sweet crunch.
- Zucchini—Great for grilling, just slice lengthwise into spears. Or spiralize into zoodles. Or stir-fry with onion and egg to make a frittata. Zucchini does it all.
A Note on Grilling Vegetables
Since so many of the veggies in this week’s box are great on the grill, and because we are officially in the grilling season, I thought it would be nice to include a very important lesson on grilling from Six Seasons.
“when grilling or charring, skip the oil. Cook your vegetables naked, which will allow the sugars to nicely caramelize and avoid the awful taste of burnt oil.”
Then add oil and salt to your grilled veggies before serving.
Gruyere Grilled Cheese with Sugarloaf Chicory & Caramelized Onion
Whenever I make grilled cheese, I always add caramelized onions, mushrooms, and whatever greens I have on hand. This recipe is also great in that all your sammies are done at the same time, without the first getting cold by the time the last ones are done. I wish you could see the mouthwatering picture of these morsels. Adapted from The CSA Cookbook by Linda Ly.
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 4 crimini mushrooms, finely chopped (or shitakes, or whatever ya got!)
- 1 head sugarloaf chicory, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp softened butter
- 8 slices grainy bread -if you're in Corvallis, pick up freshly baked loaf from our Farmstand or market booth!
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (or whatever ya got!)
Place two large rimmed baking sheets inside the oven and preheat to 425F. If your baking sheets cannot fit side by side, place on sheet on the center rack and another sheet on whichever rack remains.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 1 Tbsp of oil and get up to heat.
Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add the other Tbsp of oil, the mushrooms, sugarloaf, and salt. Cook until the vegetables are tender and wilted, about five minutes. Keep stirring them around to let any excess liquid cook off.
To assemble the sandwiches, thoroughly butter all the bread on one side. Turn half the slices over, buttered side down, and spread mustard over them. Layer equal amounts of the cheese and veggie sauté on each slice, then top with the remaining slices of bread, buttered sides up.
Transfer the sandwiches to the hot baking sheet in the center of the oven and place the other hot baking sheet on top, pressing down lightly. Bake for 6-8 minutes until the bread is toasted on the outside and the cheese is melted on the inside.
Braised Cabbage w/ Fried Potatoes, Feta, & Parsley
—Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison
You could steam the potatoes and skip the frying, but the chewiness that comes from a turn in olive oil or ghee makes this simple dish a much more interesting one. When I make these potatoes, they barely make it to the dish—they’re that good.
- olive oil or ghee, for frying
- 4+ red potatoes, scrubbed and sliced ~1/4 inch thick
- sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- Braised Summer Cabbage (slice cabbage into ribbons and stir-fry until wilted with butter and salt)
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley or dill, or a mixture
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Heat enough oil to cover a 10 inch cast-iton pan with a light film over medium heat.
Add the potatoes and cook, turning them occasionally, until golden and just tender, about 20 minutes. They won’t necessarily be cooked evenly, but that’s fine. You’ll have crisp pieces next to meatier ones and all should be a little chewy.
Season them with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
Meanwhile, cook the cabbage until just tender, 10 min or less. Put the cabbage in a bowl and add butter or not, as you wish. Add the potatoes and parsley and toss well. Finish w/ feta & serve.