It's a cool, rainy day here in Madison, but the forecast promises summer temperatures for the weekend. I'm sure the little Iglheart cherry tomato plant we added to our tomato garden last week has appreciated the sunshine and now the gentle rain. This week's parsley will get potted up and join the other herbs on our porch soon.
Highlights from last week's share
We started this CSA season off with a number of different meals. Some of my favorites were a shrimp and Chinese cabbage stir-fry over brown rice, classic Caesar salad with Romaine and mixed lettuces, and fettucini with asparagus. For the Caesar salad and fettucini, we (loosely) followed the recipes listed in last week's post.
The stir-fry involved a little more improv. Knowing that shrimp, cabbage, and brown rice are all fairly mild and slightly sweet flavors, I knew I wanted to give the dish a strong savory backbone and some spice but I didn't want the seasoning to take over. I decided to begin building flavor by gently sauteing some fresh garlic and ginger in oil, then added a pinch of crushed red pepper and some freshly ground Szechuan peppercorns. Then the shrimp (it was fully cooked) and chopped cabbage. To amp up the briny seafood flavor, I gave it a few dashes of fish sauce and to brighten everything up, a splash of rice wine vinegar. I let it cook on medium or so until the cabbage wilted down and the shrimp were heated through. (Next time I make this, I'll wilt the cabbage in the spicy oil first and then introduce the shrimp to make sure it doesn't overcook. Ours was okay, but I underestimated how long the cabbage would need and overestimated how long it would take our frozen shrimp to warm up.)
Other lettuces were the backbone for workday salad lunches. Our cilantro graced my impromptu avocado taco lunches (corn tortilla, avocado, homemade pickled red onion, cilantro) and the spicy greens found their way into a spicy pesto-like sauce that we keep in the fridge for stirring into soups, rice, etc.
Lots of beautiful radishes in this week's share! If you've been reading these posts for the past couple years, you'll know that my favorite way to eat radishes is a in traditional French preparation: sliced thin on a lightly buttered baguette sprinkled with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. It's a simple, light snack or side for an early summer day.
Raw radishes: Raw radishes make delicious garnishes for all kinds of recipes. They're an obvious choice for salads, like this beauty heart radish and sesame seed salad, but their peppery crunch makes them well-suited to other dishes, too. This recipe for chipotle chicken tacos, for instance, uses sliced radishes to add freshness and crunch. For a vegetarian or vegan take, substitute tempeh or seasoned tofu for the chicken and omit the cheese.
If raw radishes have a little too much bite, you can tame them a bit by cooking them. Edible Madison's Spring issue offers this recipe for a radish and cilantro saute, which would be a lovely accompaniment to a light protein such as grilled chicken or fish.
During the early weeks of the CSA season, my recipe searches are always dominated by creative ways to use salad greens. So, for this week's salad recommendation, this farm lettuce salad caught my eye.
Greens for breakfast: I've always been a fan of savory breakfasts, particularly when they involve heaps of tasty veggies. If you're looking for ways to use up this week's greens, consider sauteing them with a little garlic and hot pepper (if you're into that sort of thing) and serving them alongside your morning eggs and toast. For a slower weekend brunch or a light dinner this week, we might try this recipe for Turkish baked eggs with arugula and yogurt. I love seasoning eggs with paprika or chilies of any kind. Another similar recipe for those looking to work some whole grains into breakfast is this savory oatmeal with greens and yogurt; I'm sure arugula would work well here too.