We served our volunteer shift early this year, and it was great! We enjoy our volunteering time, but last year we did our shifts in late August and it was a hot, sticky, mosquito-y mess. June is much more humane. Duly noted!

Garlic scapes showed up for the first, and hopefully not last, time this week. Scapes are the edible, non-flowering stem of hardnecked garlic bulbs and have a mild, slightly sweet garlicky taste. Because they’re mild, they can be used raw in things like pesto or garlic scape butter, which was what I chose to make with mine.

Farmer Ted, our beloved grower, must have vastly miscalculated this week’s share portion, because we were left with far more scapes than we distributed, which meant that the late-comers and volunteers cleaned up. (In our CSA, leftovers are donated to a local soup kitchen, but in the case of the scapes the woman in charge of distribution decided that it was better for the members to take and use the scapes, which would likely go unused by or be a hassle for the soup kitchen — all that chopping, you see.) So! Volunteering was not only fun, it netted me a huge bag of garlic scapes to play with.

Week 3 Haul:

  • Asian cucumber
  • Kohlrabi
  • Broccoli
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Swiss chard
  • Red Russian kale
  • Collard greens
  • Green garlic
  • Scallions
  • Garlic scapes

What Rolled Over?

Rainbow chard leaves — oddly, I used the stems but not the leaves! It was fine, they stayed crisp and I wilted them with the Week 3 Swiss chard, some green garlic, crushed red pepper, olive oil and lemon for a side dish.

The turnips also went unused. Poor little guys, I bet that’s true of a lot of other CSA households. I may pickle them.

Tomato Count:

This week: 0

Season to date: 0

Don’t let the lack of a tomato count fool you — like winter, the tomatoes are coming.

What I Made (Italics represent CSA vegetables used)

  • Chicken and broccoli with oil and green garlic served with linguine and a side of garlicky chard with lemon
  • Chicken curry with kale, collard greens and potatoes served with basmati rice and cucumber raita
  • Sriracha-marinated pork loin, jasmine rice with cilantro, sesame seeds and lime, cucumber, green and purple kohlrabi, scallion, jalapeno and green garlic salad with spicy mint dressing
  • Chopped salad with green kohlrabi, romaine, cucumber, roasted red pepper, celery, scallions, chickpeas, cheddar cheese, cilantro, dijon dressing and grilled chicken
  • Steak with roasted mushrooms, broccoli with scallions and green garlic, wilted kohlrabi and broccoli greens and yellow rice
  • Garlic scape butter
  • Garlic scape pesto

Technique of the Week: Learning to Love the Kohlrabi

I mentioned that this week we completed our volunteer requirements, which meant we were manning the distribution and watched as person after person after person stopped to sigh dejectedly over the bin of kohlrabi, or skip past it entirely.

To every one of them I wanted to say, “I feel you. I really, really feel you. But let me help!”

Here’s the problem with kohlrabi: People keep trying to cook it. Here’s why that’s a problem: Kohlrabi comes from the same family as cabbage, so when it’s cooked for more than, say, five to ten minutes, it turns into a stinking, cabbage-y wreck of a foodstuff.

Leave it raw or, at most, stir fry it. Left entirely or mostly uncooked, kohlrabi is pretty neutral-tasting, like a milder broccoli stem. And it’s got heft to it, which means it can stand up to a strong salad dressing or stir fry sauce. That’s how you’ll learn to love kohlrabi!

Standout Meal of the Week: All Those Cucumber Salads

If you had the option to select the monogrammed cucumber, wouldn’t you? #CSASurvival

A photo posted by Jolie Kerr (@joliekerr) on

Since it’s made an appearance on our dinner table two weeks in a row, it seemed only fair to declare the chopped salad the standout meal of Week 3. But! I made two other salads that featured the Japanese cucumbers — so the obvious solution was to round them all up for you.

First, I should tell you that I’m a Salad Whisperer.

For whatever reason, I just have a knack for salads. It is, as you might imagine, a handy trait come CSA season! It also means that you can expect to see a lot of salads turning up in this series.

The chopped salad was the big one this week — the idea is, as you know because you are smart and know that words have meaning, to chop all the components into relatively uniform sized pieces and toss them with your dressing of choice. The chopped nature of the salad makes it a great way to use up items that are straggling in the proverbial crisper drawer; in addition to the CSA vegetables, I used up the end of a jar of roasted red peppers, a few stray celery stalks, about a ¼ cup of cilantro that was hanging around threatening to go off … you get the idea. I enjoy a chickpea in my chopped salad, so a drained, rinsed and lightly chopped can of those went in, and then I topped the whole shebang with some grilled chicken. Easy peasy Monday night dinner.

Raita is a traditional Indian yogurt-based condiment that can be made in many different ways. In my home, we make it with cucumber, fat-free Greek yogurt, cumin and salt. Because the Japanese cucumbers are low-seeded affairs, I didn’t even bother to core them, I just diced them into ½-inch pieces (about a cup) and mixed them with 8 ounces of the yogurt, ¼ teaspoon of ground cumin and salt to taste.

But the real star, oddly enough, was the little side salad I made to use up the bulk of the kohlrabi. I mean, look at this thing!

I figured out how to make kohlrabi A M A Z I N G #CSASurvival

A photo posted by Jolie Kerr (@joliekerr) on

In its way, it was similar to the dinner-portion chopped salad: A selection of vegetables — in this case, a purple and a green kohlrabi, scallions, baby garlic, all got the chop-chop treatment, while some of that Japanese cucumber and a seeded jalapeno were cut into discs for extra pizazz. The dressing was a spicy mint, fish sauce and rice wine vinegar number with some sesame seeds tossed in for good measure. It was fantastic. I’d been dreading the kohlrabi onslaught, but now that I’ve got this salad, I’m ready for Farmer Ted to bring it on.

Join me here each week, as well as on Twitter and Instagram, as I wash, chop, cook and eat my way through my CSA using the hashtag #CSASurvival. Got questions for me? Ask away!