Tuesday, July 24, 2012

CSA Week 8

Friends!  I've been asked to write about what we make with the produce that comes in our CSA share every week.  I'm excited to share what goes on here in our kitchen and I will be the first to say that Grady does way more of the cooking work than I do, so I can't take credit for most of the good-looking food here!  Hope you enjoy what we have to share and please leave comments on how we can improve or other recipe ideas you may have using similar ingredients.  Cooking is so much more enjoyable when it is a friendly, communal experience.


Hello to all of our fellow CSA members!  We're excited to begin sharing with you the ways in which we use the items that come in our share every week.  The vegetables we receive every week from Rob and Christina are the building blocks of all our meals and while our cooking is not always the most brilliant, we are almost always assured a tasty meal all the same because of the excellent quality of our ingredients. 


The first thing we made when we got home with this week's share was a nice bowl of fresh salsa and some fajitas to use it on.  Perfectly ripe tomatoes are best used (in our opinion) in a recipe that allows their full flavor shine.

For the salsa we simply chop a large tomato (or a handful of small ones), a medium onion, and a jalapeno.  Mix in a little salt and a few splashes of white vinegar and lime juice and you're ready to go!

Fajitas themselves are very versatile and what we make is probably somewhere between a taco and a fajita but I must admit I'm not quite clear on the distinctions between the two.  In any case, this is a simple dish to make.  If you have a taco/Mexican spice blend on hand, rub that into your meat of choice.  We used chicken and cooked it on the grill.

While the meat is cooking, saute sliced peppers and onions in a neutral oil over medium high heat until soft and lightly browned (the photo below is in process - cook longer than shown here).

Shred your cooked meat and put it, along with the onions and peppers, into warmed tortilla/fajita shells and top with your fresh salsa.


This week we also received a few summer squash.  These work well as a side dish - sauteed in oil until brown and seasoned with salt and pepper - but when we had those rather monstrously huge squash a week ago, we decided to make a main dish from the vegetable itself.  

Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffing for vegetables can be whatever you think would be delicious.  We used brown rice, browned ground beef, sauteed onions with a bit of garlic, a little tomato paste and a generous amount of shredded Monterey Jack cheese.  To round out your flavors, season with salt and pepper, chili, garlic and onion powders and perhaps a dash of brown sugar.  You can choose to mix in the 'guts' of your zucchini as well so as not to waste.

Grady somehow figured out how to hollow out the zucchini without breaking or mangling it {I'm still trying to figure out how he did it}.  We then stuffed the (cooked) filling in there and baked them at 350 for probably 30 minutes.  The cooking time and amount of stuffing will vary greatly with the size of your squash but extra filling is always delicious on its own so, personally, I would overestimate on that front.  We topped our dish with some homemade sweet barbeque sauce as well to add a little kick.

While it may not be the most photogenic stuffed vegetable, it is certainly filling and delicious!


For those days when you simply don't have time to do much chopping or veggie-prepping there is always pasta with basil pesto.  We try to use basil as soon as possible after bringing it home so that we enjoy it at its peak flavor and so we often make pesto and either use it right away, or freeze it in these handy silicone muffin trays we have to use later (top pesto with oil when storing to keep it from oxidizing).

I don't use a recipe for pesto although they are certainly plentiful in a Google search.  I throw as much basil as I have plus a few cloves of pressed garlic into the bowl of my food processor and process with a generous drizzle of olive oil.  If the mixture isn't enough like a paste, I add more oil.  Next, add Parmesan cheese.  Again, the amount will depend on how much basil you have and your taste but the cheese is what makes pesto so addicting so add rather freely (omit the cheese if you're freezing).  Include a few pinches of salt and process again to blend.

When your pasta is cooked, toss with the pesto and serve with extra cheese.  You may want to save 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water when you drain it just in case your pesto needs a bit more moisture when added to the pasta.  To add a bit more interest you could also throw in a chopped tomato or two!


We haven't finished out our week of cooking yet, nor have we exhausted our share.  This week we received a bag of bean sprouts that have left me wondering how we are going to use them.  Pad Thai is the first dish that comes to mind.  A quick search of a few trusty food blogs brings a few more suggestions to the table:


We hope you enjoy your week of good eats!

~ Courtney and Grady

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