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Friday, July 10, 2009

My First CSA Box and Sauteed Kale

While I was in France, I became accustomed to buying very fresh produce (even from the supermarket!). The philosophy there seems to be to only sell fruits and vegetables that are in season. I learned to love this, and although I did pine away for a peach or two in the middle of winter, waiting until they were in season was totally worth it.

Early in the fall, I read an article about a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) called Rolling Fork Farm near my small town in Kentucky, and decided to go for it. I picked up my first box on Wednesday, just two short days after I arrived home...and I already can't wait for the next one next week! This week we received a bunch of carrots, a bunch of turnips, a bunch of spring onions, a bunch of kale, a quart of green beans, a cucumber, and two pounds each of tomatoes and zucchini. (To find a CSA near you, go to LocalHarvest.)

In the next few weeks, I'm going to try to do a cost analysis, but my feeling so far is that even if it costs a little more than the grocery store, it's totally worth it. Can you imagine those colors (and flavors, I might add) in grocery store veggies?! And not to mention the fact that I have to come up with ways to cook veggies that I might not otherwise buy in the grocery store. I don't really like cooked zucchini, so have never bought any. I have also never bought turnips. And my one attempt at cooking kale was disastrous.

So far I have made or plan to make the following with this week's veggies (I'll link them as I blog about each recipe):

Sautéed Kale
Potato and Turnip Mash
Asian Green Beans
Turnip Greens
Zucchini Muffins
Zucchini Parmesan Hummus
Roasted Carrots (if my oven ever gets fixed!)

I decided to start with the kale and did a simple sauté based on a recipe I found at Epicurious. For some strange reason, I completely forgot to buy garlic at the grocery store, so I left that out and it was fine, but I will definitely put it in next time. And there will be a next time...kale is one of those veggies that I discovered after moving to the South, and am very glad I did...

Sautéed Kale
from Epicurious
makes two small servings

1 pound kale, tough stems and center ribs cut out and leaves cut into 1-inch-wide strips
2 Tbl olive oil
1 small red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 garlic clove, minced
Pinch of dried red pepper flakes
1 Tbl red-wine vinegar, or to taste (I put in a little less than this)
1/4 tsp salt

Cook kale in a pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 10 minutes, and then drain in a colander.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and sautée onion until softened. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for about 1 minute more. Reduce the heat and add kale. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is heated through. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar and salt.
And instead of throwing away those stems and little leafy bits that were left over, I cleaned them, dried them, and put them into a freezer bag to use in my next chicken or veggie stock!

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chow and chatter July 11, 2009 at 10:03 PM  

so cool I really need to do this Rebecca

Lori July 12, 2009 at 10:51 AM  

Beautiful veggies! I'm looking forward to doing this when we get back.

So glad you made it back safely and are settling in. I am still looking forward to those pics from Austria though. :)

Sarah July 12, 2009 at 10:52 AM  

I seriously thought about doing this with a similiar growers program. I think it's a great idea and more people should support their local farmers!

Chef E July 12, 2009 at 2:18 PM  

Ditto...I have been involved in many co-op programs that make it worth while...helps support local growers like you all have said!

Glad you are safely here, and are we going to see pics of the boxes being unpacked, or are you like a friend of mine who is unpacked the first few days she moves, lol

Jen @ MyKitchenAddiction.com July 12, 2009 at 10:33 PM  

I love my CSA share, as well - and I love getting fresh organic produce and knowing that I am supporting a local farm. Great idea to save the kale stems for stock! I wish I had thought of that.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen July 13, 2009 at 8:39 AM  

I love the way the French eat according to the seasons. That's how we ate when I was growing up but that was a long time ago I admit. One of the things the French don't have is good corn. It's a shame because they don't know what they are missing.

I'm glad to be back home from holiday and have internet access, which we didn't have on our trip.

Laura in Paris July 19, 2009 at 2:25 AM  

I have just read your turnip recipe and now kale ... I have two things to try next week!

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