As I opened up the grocery bag of full of vegetables, I had flashbacks to culinary school – visions of my first practical exam. We were given a medley of ingredients and told to create an entrée in one hour. This was not unlike the show “Chopped” on the Food Network (though the ingredients were more user-friendly)
Matthew’s roommate was out of town and he was left alone to contend with the weekly CSA box of produce. He called me in a panic, “Can you do something with this?”
“Of course,” I calmly replied. “What do you have?”
“A bunch of green stuff, spring onions, summer squash and what not.”
What not? Could he be less specific? Now, I was in a panic.
Nonetheless, I agreed to cook dinner for him and his partner. I picked up a piece of swordfish, armed myself with "Even Star Farm CSA Cookbook” and prayed that the ingredients he brought would somehow come together into a cohesive meal.
I unpacked the bag to discover the “green stuff”: kale, basil, cilantro, lettuce and radicchio. There were plenty of spring onions – the bulbous, young onions as well as the more traditional-looking scallions. And the “what-not”: A kousa and yellow squash, 2 tomatoes, a tiny fennel bulb, a bunch of carrots, cucumber and a yellow bell pepper.
As an additional challenge, I didn’t want to supplement with anything beyond the fish and what I had on hand. I also didn’t want to use any vegetables that weren’t in the CSA box or in my garden.
This is what I came up with:Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup
From the CSA Box: carrots, kale, onions. From my garden: garlic, celery, thyme
Summer Squash Sautéed with Garlic Scapes
From the CSA Box: squash and basil. From the garden: scapes
Roasted Pepper and Tomato Salad
From the CSA Box: pepper, tomato and basil
Carrot and Fennel Slaw
From the CSA Box: carrot and fennel
Salad with the lettuce, cucumber and carrot
all from the CSA box, though I could have added cucumbers and lettuce from my garden
Quinoa with Kale and Tomato, seasoned with Soy and Lemon
Kale and Tomato from the CSA Box
Alas, I couldn’t figure out how to work cilantro into this, otherwise, European meal. That will get used later in the week.Roasted Pepper and Tomato Salad
I only had one pepper and one tomato to use, but for a more generous serving, I'd recommend using at least 2 peppers (and maybe even two tomatoes)
2 bell peppers -- red or yellow
2 ripe tomatoes
1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs. fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
1. Blacken the skin of the pepper over a gas burner (or under a broiler) until blackened on all sides. Put in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stem for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, dice the tomatoes.
3. When peppers are cool, peel away blackened skin. Cut in half; remove and discard the stem and seeds.
4. Cut the peppers into 1/2" wide strips. Mix with the tomatoes. Coarsely chop the basil and add to the peppers. Add the balsamic and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.