I didn’t mean to make so many salads. It just sort of happened! But it was a happy occurrence since the salads were delicious, and I didn’t collapse from heat stroke just trying to get dinner on the table. Making salads was also a great way to use up a lot of what we got in our week 8 farm share. Let’s take a look!
Week 8 Haul:
- Bell peppers
- Summer squash
- String beans
- Red cabbage
- Bok choy
- Bianca onions
What Rolled Over?
The cabbage — and that was on purpose. Midway through Week 7, I saw a recipe for a spicy Thai pork tenderloin salad in the New York Times that I wanted to try; it even called for cabbage, a small head of which was sitting in my refrigerator. But I’d already used up the bell pepper we got in week 7, so I decided to save the cabbage for the arrival of more bell peppers. Of course, cabbage has a fairly long shelf-life compared to, say, cucumbers, so I knew the wait wouldn’t result in rotted vegetables. And, in fact, the wait netted me a red cabbage that I shredded up and mixed in with the green one for some extra color. My gamble paid off!
This week: 20
Season to date: 24
I know what you’re thinking: 20 tomatoes in one week?! It was totally manageable — we got one medium tomato and a pint of mixed small fruit tomatoes.
What I Made (Italics represent CSA vegetables used)
- Banh-mi bar with cucumbers, tomatoes, red cabbage, jalapeno, mint, cilantro, pickled shallots and grilled chicken
- Spicy Thai pork tenderloin salad with red and green cabbage, cucumbers, bell peppers
- Chopped salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, summer squash, basil, bell peppers, bianca onions, grilled chicken and white beans
- Teriyaki chicken, sesame string beans, sautéed bok choy, red cabbage and bianca onions and jasmine rice
- Summer squash, bianca onions and stelline pasta with chicken sausage
Technique of the Week: Make Vegetables the Star of the Show
Now that we’re into August, things are really heating up — on the farm and in my home. The vegetables are starting to arrive in larger quantities, right at the time when the last thing I want to do is stand over a hot stove.
So I didn’t! Instead, in Week 8, I made a lot of dinner salads, as well as a Friday night dinner sandwich bar. There was some cooking involved, in that they all had a meat element to them, but grilling a piece of chicken takes so little time that I don’t mind the few minutes spent over the stove.
The other benefit of the dinner salads was that they used up a lot of our haul, which meant less risk of food waste, which is a threat that always looms when you’re in a CSA.
Standout Meal of the Week: Chopped Salad Recipe
I’m gonna level with you: The spicy Thai pork salad from the Times was delicious, but I didn’t award it the Standout Meal of the Week medal because it involved so much work! Making a salad shouldn’t be an all-day affair.
The problem was that the marinade, which also doubled as the dressing, was a total pain in the rear to make. It involved a lot of tools ranging from a zester to a reamer to a mini food processor. Too much work, too much clean up. Never again. Good pork loin, though.
Instead, I decided to make this pretty little chopped salad this week’s star. Back in Week 3 I talked about chopped salads: The best way to make them is to cube all of the elements into relatively uniform ½” – 1″ pieces and toss with dressing and fresh herbs if you’ve got them.
For this chopped salad, I used a combination of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, summer squash, basil, bell peppers, bianca onions, grilled chicken and white beans, which I dressed with a simple dressing, a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice. You can, of course, use any dressing you like — something spicy or creamy — but I like the cleanness of the lemon and olive oil so that the bright flavors of summertime vegetables can really shine.