Thursday, July 2, 2009

CSA Week 2: A few of my favorite things.

I cooked up a messy, delicious storm this past weekend, and came away with many new favorite recipes (thank you CSA! I never would have tried a lot of these if not for the produce already in my fridge). Four of the recipes were completely derived from my week 2 CSA produce. One of them had absolutely nothing to do with the CSA, but it's handy to have a sweet treat while creating a CSA masterpiece, yes? I'll get to that later.

First, my CSA creations:

Dilled Potato Salad with Pickled Cucumbers
By far my favorite recipe from week 2 was Dilled Potato Salad with Pickled Cucumbers, first spotted in my Pete's Greens CSA newsletter, which they adapted from Bon Appetit (click for recipe). This recipe first caught my eye because my week 2 delivery included potatoes, dill and radishes, all included in this dish. Also, I love pickles! The crisp, fresh flavor of raw cucumber marinated overnight just can't be rivaled by a store-bought variety. Combined with the other ingredients in this dish, it is a must-try summer recipe.

Dandelion Green Salad
My runner-up recipe for the week was Dandelion Green Salad. This one also came from my CSA newsletter. Once again, I had never used dandelion greens for cooking (are you sensing the trend here?). The process was so quick and simple. While dandelion greens are fairly bitter, the dressing for this salad balanced out the bitterness quite well (plus, doesn't everything taste better with bacon?). I made this on two separate nights. The first time, I didn't make as much dressing and my husband (i.e. "taste-tester") felt it was too bitter. The second time, though, he was won over by drizzling more of the sweet/salty dressing. Since it's so simple, I'll post the recipe:

Three strips of bacon
1-2 TB, finely minced shallots (or onion and a small clove garlic)
2 TB good vinegar (cider preferred)
A touch of maple syrup
A little olive oil
dandelion greens chopped
toasted pine nuts

Chop the bacon and cook in a medium sized skillet over medium heat until they releast their fat and become crispy. Add the shallots and cook 5 mins or so until they begin to soften. Next, add 2 TB of vinegar and cook for a few minutes. Add a bit of maple syrup and olive oil. Pour hot dressing over fresh washed greens, toss and garnish with some toasted pine nuts.

Muffins - Strawberry-Rhubarb and Vermont
I like any sort of baked good, so I jumped at the opportunity to make two different kinds of muffins with this week's CSA delivery. My favorite was the Strawberry-Rhubarb Muffins. After reviewing many potential contenders, I stumbled upon this recipe from Fox News in Providence, RI through a Google search. The original recipe is from Nancy's Fancies in Providence, a bakery I have never visited but would happily sample the next time I'm in town. Which will probably be 10 years from now. If not longer. But at any rate, the best part about these muffins is the crunch topping, made from a combination of oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter (just pretend there's not really a lot of butter in this recipe, you'll feel better about yourself). Of course, the combination of strawberry and rhubarb transports me to a sunny, breezy, green pasture on a warm summer day, with clean fresh linens blowing in the wind and happy, laughing children in spotless white clothing running carefree through the fields (too much? Maybe too much.). That feeling alone would make these muffins worth the baking.

The second muffin recipe was Vermont Summer Muffins from Greensgrow Farms. A farm in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania. Yes, I agree, a bit odd for a Vermonter to make a "Vermont" recipe from a farm in Philadelphia. To quote my own personal mantra, "whatever." But nonetheless, these Vermont muffins lived up to their name. They are a wonderful savory dinner muffin, perfect with a grilled meat and salad. I used a Vermont cheddar and local parsley, green onions, dill and eggs. I didn't have zucchini in my CSA box, so I had to make do with grocery squash. My only complaint is I found them just slightly dry, but I'm still figuring out how to fix that. My quick fix was cutting a muffin in half and grilling it on the George (the George Forman grill for those of you not familiar with my sophisticated cooking tools).

M+M Cookies
Finally, on to my last recipe, which had nothing to do with my CSA but was so good I'm still going to share it. I've recently discovered a website called I've made a few of their recipes and have L-O-V-E-D every one of them (you MUST try the lemon tart. Our guests asked, "Did you MAKE this crust?" Um, yes - in about 2 minutes.). My latest recipe, though, was M+M Cookies, hand-picked by my almost-4-year old. The recipe was so simple I thought I missed something. In fact, as they were baking and spreading more than I anticipated, I thought "There it is! I messed up the butter." But they actually came out of the oven looking bakery -ready (if I do say so myself), and stayed moist and chewy for as long as they lasted (a grand total of 2 days). I was pleased that they never crisped up. Maybe my kids will get super lucky, and we'll have M+Ms in our CSA next week....

1 comment:

  1. As a lucky guest at your dinner table, I totally agree that the dandelion green salad and VT Summer muffins were amazing!
    Totally willing to test drive any other recipes you want to try!


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