I picked up a volunteer gig with my new CSA this season (www.grashoppersdistribution.com). Yes, I've been sampling CSAs like restaurants although it's a much slower process since each one represents a growing season and a bad CSA is not necessarily the farmer's fault. That being said I'm becoming quite the connoisseur actually. I can tell weather difficulties from organizational difficulties now, and I'm recognizable in most of the farmer's markets in my area of town. This is a good thing, it usually means better veggies. :D
This CSA is the first one who gave me a rebate with my dinner though, so I'm fond of them so far. The volunteering is going to knock a hefty percentage off my total costs by the end of the season in exchange for 2 hours a week passing out shares. Always a happy thing. And being a distributer they have a broader selection of products. In addition to the weekly box of veggies I get a pound of cheese and a dozen eggs every other week. Yum. So far the cheese has been stellar.
So, I had the bright idea of recording some of what I do with all this produce here. One of the fun things about this process for me is having someone else do my grocery shopping. I get a share of whatever was harvested this week, so I have a sense of what I'm going to get (do not look for pumpkins in June, you will be very sad. But not as sad as wishing for asparagus in October) but the exact details are a mystery until I get the box. This makes menu planning an adventure. So put on your khaki pants and let's see what was in the box:
Kale, collard greens, mixed salad greens, scapes, zuchinni, cucumber, carrots and strawberries.
Dirt cheap at the grocery store: california apricots and georgia peaches.
Fruit is kinda hard to come by in this state, so I supplement with less-than-local fruits. Especially when the apricots are .99/lb and I have a crave on for apricot jam. 10 8-oz jelly jars are now packed up and sealed away for the rest of the year. They turned out perfectly, thick and smooth and tasting like concentrated apricot. That was monday's work.
Tuesday is pickup day. After pickup day I'm usually wiped from 2 hours on blacktop pavement and heavy lifting, so it's simple food only. That usually means fritatta. Hard to get any easier if there are frozen veggies at hand. I also throw in anything that's starting to look a little tired to help clear out the refrigerator for the new produce. Served with a huge salad it's a good dinner and a nice lunch the next day. And since the oven was on I made a quick and dirty peach cobbler - just chopped peaches tossed with a tiny amount of cornstarch and sugar and topped with some butter/oats/sugar/spices topping. The leftover heat from the broiler was just enough to warm everything up and crisp the oatmeal. Delicious.
But tonight I wanted something a little more - presentation friendly. And I've been reading my new Italian vegetarian cook book. And read several crepe recipes. Hmm... Ok. Out of my twisted brain came Lemon Kale and Feta Crepes. Served with a homemade apricot vinagrette. Assembly was somewhat involved but the preps were simple:
Sautee onion and garlic in a little olive oil over med/high heat until soft and barely starting to brown. Add washed rough chopped kale to the pan, cover and let steam until wilted. If you have to do this in batches feel free. Once it's all wilted down add salt, pepper and the juice from a lemon. Take off the heat and set aside.
While stuff is cooking make the crepes - beat two eggs, stir in a cup of milk and a tablespoon of melted butter. In another bowl stir together 3/4 C of flour with a pinch of salt. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry with a whisk, work over until all the lumps are gone. I do this in stages so there isn't too much gluten development from beating. And I tend to let the batter sit for 10 min or so before I start making crepes, again, just to give the flour time to chill out a little. Once that's ready to go butter a small heavy non-stick skillet and practice making crepes. I still kinda suck at it, even if they look funny they will taste fantastic, don't worry about it.
Once you're ready to assemble everything, it goes quick. Mix feta into the greens, stir well. Drop some greens into one quadrant of the crepe, fold in half then half again to make a pretty package of tastiness. Four crepes per person is a generous serving, three is more reasonable, depends on how big your crepes ended up.
I served this with a simple green salad, just red leaf lettuce with croutons and a quick vinagrette - I eyeballed some dijon mustard and a good slug of apricot jam into a small plastic cup, added roughly 3:1 oil and lemon juice, sealed the cup and shook the life out of it until emulsified. Then I minced an apricot and mixed it in, poured over the salad and served.
Everything turned out delicious, and the crepes made me feel like a Real Chef. Next time I might even remember to take pictures!