Last Friday, some Flyer folks had a Secret Santa exchange.
One coworker got a traveling Scrabble game, while another got one of those FusHiGi "magic gravity" balls (not so magical, fyi).
I received a circa-1978 community cookbook that I have enjoyed very much. A lot of it is the standard cheese grits and apple sauce cake. But, there are some gems, like the recipe for Tostadas that involves melting cheese on Doritos. And then there's this:
I’ve been a fan of pepper bacon from Newman Farm for sometime, but I moved on to pork shanks this weekend at the urging of Rita Newman. “Make osso buco,” she said, handing me a copy of her simple, one-paragraph recipe. “It’s my favorite.”
Rita and her husband, Mark, raise heritage Berkshire pork at their picturesque farm in Myrtle, Missouri, so they know a thing or two about pork. But since I over-complicate everything, I also consulted The Sopranos Family Cookbook, where I found a more traditional version of osso buco that uses veal.
I decided to power through my CSA share this week by making a double batch of vegetable soup. If you’ve never made vegetable soup with produce fresh from the farm, you are in for a treat.
I think I’m in a CSA rut, and it’s only week 7.
I started last week’s cooking with 15 yellow squash. They took up half of the vegetable bin. Yesterday, after I put away this week’s CSA, I had 14 yellow squash in the same space. They just keep coming.
I started my CSA cooking with two cups of fresh and fragrant basil, making another batch of walnut pesto. I love this recipe. I double it and then freeze the pesto in an ice cube tray.
Now it’s time to amp up the game.
Susan’s CSA half-share with Whitton Farms ended last week, so I’m taking up the torch and reporting on my full share, also from Whitton Farms. This is my third season cooking with a CSA share, so I like to think I’m a bit of a pro. But admittedly, I groaned a little when I saw this week’s yellow squash and zucchini. “It’s too early for squash,” I muttered to myself.
First things first. In my last post I mentioned kale and beans. A commenter noted that I probably meant chard and peas. That commenter is correct.
So, I've been thinking about an interview I did last year with the Neelys and about how they will put anything on the grill — including salad. Though my grill is still in the box, I decided to go a similar route with the chard using a grill pan.
I signed up for the month-by-month CSA option offered through Whitton Farms, so this is my last share.
For this week: carrots, a big bag of kale, beans, basil, potatoes, and squash.
So will my grand finale of cooking efforts be like that of Lost: sad, happy, and not a little confusing? We shall see.
Now I know why.
Lori Greene offered a bundle of the nettles free of charge so I could try them, along with this warning: Be sure to wear gloves until they are cooked.
Yikes. It seems the wild herb, which is plentiful in spring, is covered with stinging hairs that magically disappear as soon as the greens are cooked.
I couldn't make it to the Botanic Garden to pick up this week's CSA share, so a friend picked it up for me. The take was so bountiful that I wonder if I got a full share by mistake instead of my usual half share.
In the bag this week: radishes, turnips, carrots, a head of cabbage, basil, salad greens, and red potatoes.
In this week's CSA, I got a quart of strawberries, some lettuce, green onions, radishes, mint, oregano, and a bag of organic basmati rice from McKaskle Family Farm.
I have what I want to make pretty much mapped out, so we shall see.
I asked for your advice about what to do with my first CSA of the season, and I actually took some of it. This is rare!
Pictured above, starting clockwise at top: strawberry agua fresca; green salad with shaved radishes and leaves; steamed sweet potatoes; and spaghetti and sauce with the mushrooms and oregano.
Because I got there late, I missed the greens and was given a double helping of strawberries.
In the share: a small bag of shiitake mushrooms, eight sweet potatoes, about 4 pints of strawberries, fresh oregano, and plenty of radishes.
So what should I make?
Until I purchased a bundle at a recent farmers market, I though sorrel was the color of a horse. Turns out gray does play a role in the leafy green, but not immediately.
When it’s picked in April and May, sorrel is a beautiful spring green, and the leaves taste like lemon. But cook it into risotto like I did, the first time, and the color of the dish turns — to put it nicely — an unappetizing shade of brownish gray.
Are you absolutely dizzy with anticipation for the opening of the Memphis Farmers Market on Saturday?
Of course, once you get your hands on that seasonal produce you have to do something with it.
Send Hungry Memphis your photos of what you've made with your market produce and I'll post it on the blog. If it's really impressive, there may be something in it for you.
For details, e-mail me.