Sunday, April 19, 2009

CSA WEEK 20 - Final Week

It's the final week for the season and perhaps time for some reflection.

First up, this week's newsletter had a link to the blog, so hopefully some more CSA members will check it out. I feel that I should perhaps apologize for not sending in a link earlier. Honestly, it's a case of stupid forgetfulness. It seemed that I always thought about emailing the CSA at 10 PM on a Friday, or on my way to pick up the box on Saturday... Then *poof* - right out of my mind. So I'm sorry for that. Hopefully next season people will look back on this year for ideas and inspiration.

To that end I'm going to go back and re-tag all the Redland Organics posts (currently tagged as 'local/organic' and 'recipe') as 'South Florida CSA'. That way a single click will bring them all up. I am also planning on going through them soon and posting a 'Best Of' of my favorite things we've cooked up over the season.

The other reason for relabeling the posts is that we will not be renewing our CSA membership. This has nothing to do with the experience, costs, or quality of the produce provided by Redland Organics. In fact the CSA is by far one of the most worthwhile experiences we have had during our time in Florida. My thanks go out to whole Redland Organics crew, the interns, volunteers and associated farms for making this all work and providing this wonderful opportunity.

But the fact is we will both be graduating soon. I have registered to take the Washington State Bar Exam, and we'll be moving back to Seattle in a few weeks' time. We hope to either sign up for a new CSA there, or at least make frequent trips to the various farmers' markets, so the CSA posts will hopefully continue, just with very different ingredients and growing season... We also hope to get some chickens and maybe pygmy goats!

So without further ado, here's Week 20:

Pretty big haul this week.
  • Red Potatoes
  • Green Onions
  • Two Cucumbers
  • A Turnip
  • Cilantro
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • A GBP
  • Honey
  • Two ears of corn
  • And some Caimitos (Star Apples)
We had a party last night so I was hoping to put a dent in things. Didn't work out as planned. So tonight I'm going to grill up the corn with some roasted garlic compound butter. I love grilled corn! We'll grill the rest of last week's spring onions, the GBP, and a red poblano from the yard and make sortof grilled southwest veggie Rajas. I threw some of my Roasted Poblano Sausages on the smoker yesterday, so I'll just heat them up on the grill too. That's tonight's dinner. Maybe served in a grilled pita?

I see some serious salads in our near future. And I'm thinking something with the turnip and potatoes. Maybe a gratin? Maybe the fritter recipe? We've got the red cabbage still, maybe Goat Stew Mk. II?

Probably just eat the caimitos straight up. Never had them before, don't know what to expect.


Went out to the store to see what I could score post-Easter, came back seriously disappointed and empty handed. So the big meals of last week were a Braised Veal Breast with a Gratin of White Beet. I cut, peeled and mandolined half of Turnipus, then boiled the beet slices in milk for about 10 minutes, then into a pan with some Parmesan grated over the top. Into the oven where the veal breast was already braising in a mix of pinot noir, mirepoix, tomato paste, beef stock and demi-glace de veau. The breast came out like a good pot roast. Not what I was looking for, but still reasonably tasty. And it made three meals. The gratin was good but not great, too much liquid was released from the beets and it could have used some sour cream or more cheese or something to give it body. The beet was actually pretty good though. Which gave me hope for the next dish of the week:

Beef And Veal Stew With Whatever Veggies I Had Around At The Time. I didn't actually measure a single thing for this recipe, just shot from the hip. I took the mangled veal chunks from my earlier attempt at deboning the breast, as well as some very frozen stew beef I had, dredged in flour, salt and pepper. Chopped some guanciale into batons and fried them up. Used the oil from that to brown the beef well, then removed. Into the pot went:
  • The other half of Turnipus, peeled and chopped
  • Some big spring onions and two leeks I had. Chopped, then washed really well in a big bowl of water. Leeks are a pain that way.
  • A random red potato, chopped
  • And a good handful of green beans, top and tailed and chopped in thirds.
After these sweated for a while I deglazed with half a bottle of Stone Smoked Porter. (The other half went to the cook!) Then I added the meat back in, and added the leftover braising sauce from the Braised Veal Breast earlier in the week.

The two final ingredients are definitely serious secrets for awesome beef stew. The first is pickled green peppercorns. You can find them in a jar next to the capers. I use about half a tablespoon to a tablespoon, loosely chopped. They have a pepper taste to them, but also this weird pickled sourness that really helps perk up the flavors in a stew like this.

The second is our old friend Trotter Gear. I scooped a good maybe half cup into the stew to give it some "unctuous potential".

This put the waterline at about the right level, so I brought it up to a simmer, where it would stay for about two hours. The first night we just ate the stew straight, the second I put it in a pie dish and covered it with a spare pie crust we had and baked it till golden brown and delicious. Really, really delicious.
  • Baba Ghanoush and Roasted Garlic Tzatziki
Yesterday I had some people coming over and the smoker was going, so I figured what the heck and put last week's eggplant on the smoke for two hours. Usually I directly grill it until soft all over, and the smoke time wasn't enough. It had to go into the oven for a bit before we could make baba ghanoush with it. Still good though!

Since we got two more cucumbers and I hadn't used last week's yet, I decided to make another round of tzatziki too. Only this time instead of labneh I used our own homemade yogurt. Put it into a doubled over cheesecloth and hung it from the faucet over the sink for a few hours. Also, I'd roasted a head of garlic for no particular reason (other than to make the house smell great!) so I put a clove or two of that in with the cucumber and some dill. Pretty decent over all, but my yogurt isn't as good as good labneh... Not sure I like roasted garlic over raw in my tzatziki either.


billjac said...

I wouldn't expect much extra traffic from the newsletter. I've had mentions in every section this year and only got visitors when Margie explicitly recommended the black sapote oat bars. And even then it was only around a dozen extra hits. There are hundreds of subscribers but most must not read the newsletter or not care to visit blogs.

Anyway, the more important thing is congratulations on making it through both law school and a CSA season intact. I don't think I could do both at the same time.

Russell Hews Everett said...

Enh, not particularly in it for the traffic. But if it helps someone make callaloo or canistels tasty then the purpose has been served. I was a bit surprised that people weren't more connected online. Oh well.

Hey thanks for the congrats! I don't think I could have 'not' done both at the same time. Cooking is a great way to not be doing law school for a little while...

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