CSA Week 20: Big pots and small plates

Week 20!  We are two-thirds of the way through our total season. If we’d only done a spring/summer share, it would be two weeks over by now; if we’d only done the fall share, we’d be two weeks in.

This week we got: a sweet onion, a red bell pepper, some pretty heirloom tomatoes, two small butternut squashes, collards, dill, mint, a bag of baby spinach, and a bag of arugula. At the market, I bought peaches, plums, and pears. (Which happens to be the title of a Joanna Newsom song, but that will have to wait for a future music playlist.)

CSA Week 20

We told ourselves that the next time we got collards, we’d try a different preparation from our typical bacon-and-broth. And so we did! Inspired by the Indonesian restaurant near my apartment, we decided to try collards with coconut milk and curry spices on Wednesday.
We got the collards going on the back burner–to be eaten at a later date–and then applied ourselves to using up the other leafy greens. Here, circumstances dictated the recipe: we had no white beans and no risotto rice, so we nixed a few preliminary ideas. But we did have lots of tomatoes (some from a previous week), pasta, parmesan, and everything that goes into a delicious bechamel sauce. So: extremely creamy and comforting pasta.

Pasta with greens

Now imagine that served with crumbles of thick-cut bacon, if that’s your thing, because that’s how we ate it.

Aside from the sensible post-pickup cooking, this was an unusual week; Philly’s fringe festival is in full swing, and on the days we’d made plans to see plays it usually made since to go straight from work to the theater or out to eat with friends. I also took a short trip on the weekend. Altogether it was a strange rhythm after so many weeks in August when I ate home-cooked food for nearly every meal.

On Saturday, I chopped up all of my share of dill and put some into  bowl of lemon juice and minced garlic. I took the subway up to Reading Terminal—which is packed on the weekend, by the way—and spent a wild half hour hurrying from stall to stall (at a speed which, between the crowd and my foot, was slightly faster than a hairdryer). I bought a chunk of Prima Donna cheese from Salumeria, as requested by the birthday friend; picked up a beautiful cheese book (by fellow Table Matters contributor Madame Fromage) for said birthday, stopped by a grocery stall to get a cup of plain Greek yogurt and saw that they had perfect train trip food (half a sandwich, a pint of lemonade, and granola), then figured I had just enough time to swing by the Valley Shepherd Creamery and buy a chunk of their Nettlesome cheese, because how many parties feature nettle cheese on their cheese board? Not many.
I made it to the train platform thirty seconds before it pulled in, feeling quite pleased with myself. Nothing like a successful cheese heist to make you fall a little in love with your city again.

Anyway, once I got to Jersey City, my CSA dill and garlic went into a tzatziki-inspired yogurt dip for roasted potato wedges, with enough chopped dill remaining to sprinkle over the mustard daubs on a cured ham canapé. Some of the mint got chopped and added to a bowl of vodka-soaked melon balls. It was a pretty fancy spread; that’s only a fraction of it.

I got home pretty wiped out Sunday evening, and felt that I needed to get some things ready for the week, so I threw my squash and some tomatoes into the oven to roast while I made some honey pear muffins for breakfasting. (These were good, but a little too sweet for breakfast even after I bulked them up with wheat flour and walnuts. Would make nice cupcakes or the recommended mini-muffins, though.) When the vegetables were roasted, I stirred them into a pot of rice with some gentle seasoning and kind of forgot about them for a few hours. The bottom of the rice got a bit burned on the low flame, but to my surprise the whole lazy meal was pretty tasty and satisfying. (I thought of the character in The House of Sand and Fog that loves to eat the burned bottom-of-the-pot rice. If it’s more carmelized than carbonized, I can see it.)

And that, to my surprise, was that. On Monday, my gentleman friend brought part of his own CSA over and we made ourselves excellent peanut noodles and stir fry. But my half of this week’s vegetables was spent in three big pots of leftover-yielding dishes and lots of little party dishes!

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2 responses to “CSA Week 20: Big pots and small plates

  1. Pingback: CSA Week 21: After-theater dinner | Scenes of Eating·

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