Tuesday, July 7, 2015

CSA Round Up: Week 1

Summers in Detroit are great for so many reasons, but one of my favorites is the City Commons CSA. I was a member in 2014, and couldn't wait to renew this year. I've belonged to a few CSAs over the years (as mentioned here), but City Commons has been my favorite. It's very reasonably priced, hyper-local (all grown in Detroit), and most importantly, has a super convenient bi-weekly half share pick-up. I've struggled in past years to use all the produce (especially living by myself, in a location where I can have vegan pizza, Indian food, and sandwiches/curly fries all delivered to my door), but vowed this year will be different. No waste allowed!

In an effort to keep myself honest, I'm going to try to post the bi-weekly haul and how I used it. Without further ado, here's week 1:

There's lettuce, chard, kale, bok choy, oregano, dill, garlic scapes, and strawberries. Yes, strawberries!!! Another great thing about City Commons is that they post what will (likely) be in the baskets on Tuesday and I pick up on Saturday, so I had time to game plan. First up was bok choy, used in Ginger Bok Choy & Soba from Appetite for Reduction:

This was pretty good, though next time I'd use half as many noodles. The recipe notes suggested adding tofu, which I mistakenly read as adding the Hoisin-Mustard Tofu. After making it, I realized the suggestion was to dry fry the tofu like the first step in that recipe. Since it was already made, I decided to use up the lettuce to prepare the tofu as lettuce wraps (the original recipe). I should note that the decision to make wraps occurred when I got home from the Windsor-Detroit fireworks (and related drinking), so the "wraps" very quickly devolved into "tofu on lettuce". I'm including this picture because it pretty aptly describes my attempt at drunk food prep:

And a close up:

These were good, but weirdly reminded me of egg salad. I think it's just that for a decade, any time I've had cold tofu cubes in mustard sauce, it's been vegan egg salad. It was good though, and probably would have been better as a lettuce-wrapped appetizer.

Next up, strawberries, dill and oregano. I lifted my 18-month cookbook buying moratorium to buy Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero specifically in anticipation of the CSA. The very first salad recipe in the book is for Spring Herb Salad with Maple Orange Tempeh Nibbles. The recipe had a number of steps (roasting pecans and cooking tempeh), and I assembled it over a few days, but it was so delicious and worth every minute of effort. I wish I had staged this better than in a Pyrex container, because this salad deserves to be on a silver platter sitting on a bed of diamonds:

After my early cooking marathon, I went to Craft-A-Way Camp (another favorite summer tradition) and lost my cooking momentum. At the last minute (literally, I woke up, cooked, then picked up my new basket), I used the garlic scapes, chard and kale. I just steamed the greens with the chopped scapes, and added some tofu dry-fried with a little soy sauce. And you know what? It was DELICIOUS. So amazing. Sometimes I forget how good plain food can taste. Even two weeks old, the greens were fantastic and the garlic scapes were also a great addition. They added a great texture and plenty of flavor. 

Whew! I made it through my first week!

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