Slim pickins this week! The lighter haul was welcome, as pick-up took place right before the start of the July 4th holiday weekend — which meant we wouldn’t be eating at home as much as usual. Sometimes those CSA Gods smile upon us.
Week 4 Haul:
- Mixed lettuces
- Swiss chard
- Tuscan kale
- Garlic scapes
What Rolled Over?
Half a green kohlrabi, two scallions and a stray baby garlic, and those blasted turnips (I never did make them into pickles). But actually, now I’m glad the turnips stayed — they store well, so they’re in perfectly fine shape, and with the bunch we got this week added to the mix, I have enough to make mashed turnips to serve as a side dish with a weeknight dinner.
This week: 0
Season to date: 0
Farmer Ted writes in this week’s newsletter, “So far, it’s been a cool and wet growing season, which favors greens and members of the Allium family, including scallions, onions, leeks and garlic, but which slows the growth of squashes, peppers and tomatoes. Nevertheless, squashes, peppers and tomatoes are coming along, and should be in your shares in a week or two.”
What I Made (Italics represent CSA vegetables used)
- Baked penne with Tuscan kale, Swiss chard, scallions, baby garlic, mushrooms, ricotta and smoked mozzarella with a side Caesar salad made from mixed lettuce with homemade croutons
- Purple and green kohlrabi salad with scallions and jalapenos served with grilled chicken and jasmine rice
- Sauteed zucchini, onions and scallions; mashed turnips with garlic scapes; pork chops
Technique & Recipe of the Week: Up Your Caesar Salad Game
Remember last week when I confessed to you that I’m a salad whisperer? Well, I thought that this week I would share another one of the salads I’ve been making with our CSA bounty — it’s very simple, but very, very good. The secret is in the homemade dressing and croutons, which elevate this Caesar salad to heights one of those bagged numbers can’t come close to matching.
Making your own dressing is a habit I can’t encourage enough. For me, it’s second nature; I can’t recall ever seeing a bottle of store-bought dressing in my mother’s refrigerator, and you won’t find one in mine either. My standard dressing isn’t even a measured affair, usually just a splash of olive oil and a healthy dose of red wine vinegar, some salt and a few good cranks of fresh ground black pepper.
But during CSA season I like to up my game, and already this summer we’ve enjoyed a Dijon vinaigrette, a spicy mint dressing, a mint and lemon affair — these dressings are a great way to use up extra herbs or the dregs of a jar of mustard.
But back to that Caesar! The dressing is an egg-free number that uses a lower ratio of fats — olive oil and parmesan — than do most Caesar dressings. You will not miss the fat! I really promise!
Eggless Caesar Salad Dressing
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 large lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon each Tabasco (or hot sauce of your choice), Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and combined.
4-8 ounces of bread, cubed
Olive oil cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 350° while you cube the bread — housemade croutons are a great way to use up the end of a loaf that’s starting to go stale, so use what you’ve got! Once the bread is cubed, spread it out on a metal baking sheet and give it a light misting with olive oil cooking spray. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crispy and slightly brown.
To make the salad, wash the salad greens and dry them well before tearing into smaller pieces. Toss with about half the dressing (stash the rest for another night) and the croutons, and sprinkle with a bit more parmesan to serve.