CSA Box #1

Hooray! Last Wednesday marked the beginning of First Light Farm’s CSA season.

The box contained:

2 delicata squash
1 huge head of cabbage
4 yellow onions
7 red potatoes
a big bunch of dino kale
a bunch of mizuna
a big bag of arugula
a small bunch of red leaf lettuce
1 small bunch of thyme

Eager to start one of my favorite dishes, I ignored the first rule of CSA: use the delicate stuff first!

Ah well.

My first dish was the ever-useful winter veggie bake. This one is so versatile and so flavorful no matter how you make it, I highly recommend everyone try out their own variation!

Winter Root & Veggie Bake

My ingredients:
-1 medium delicata squash, cut, scooped, and cubed (use a sharp knife, serrated if possible)
-1 small yellow onion, cut into arches
-3 small potatoes, not peeled, cubed
-4 cloves of garlic, sliced in half
-leaves from two sprigs of thyme
-sea salt, pepper, and a dash of 21 Seasoning Salute (from Trader Joe’s) to taste
-enough olive oil to keep the veggies coated and not burning to the pan (2-4 T?)

What I did:
-I preheated the oven to 425F while prepping the veggies.
-Onions are evil. I wear sunglasses while cutting them.
-I toss all the veggies together with the olive oil and seasonings in a 9×13 pan, then collect everything that inevitably falls out of the pan during this process.
-I highly recommend that you check your baking veggies every 10 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven, stir them up with a bamboo or silicone utensil (no plastic!), and put it back in. This will help it bake evenly.
-I ended up baking everything for 30 minutes. This can vary! Check for done-ness with a fork. Try not to eat it all immediately as your mouth will require four days to recover.

Suggestions for variations:
-turnips (REALLY good if you add a pat of butter to the mix!)
-beets (may need extra baking time, so put them in 10 minutes before other ingredients)
-bell peppers
-any other winter squash (acorn, carnival, etc)
Just be cautious of the flavors you’re mixing. Beets & peppers probably won’t get along well.

While that was baking up, I made:

Kale, the good way

-1 bunch kale, washed, stemmed, and shredded
-1 large clove of garlic
-1 juice of 1/2 a lemon
-a dash or two of hot sauce (I am in love with Trader Joe’s jalapeno sauce)

What I did:
-prepare the kale
-take a nice large pan (mine is a 10×2″ stainless steel pan with a well-fitting lid) and fill it with about an inch of water
-stuff the kale into the pan (this is a struggle!) and put the lid on. The kale will shrink down A LOT, so don’t think you’re making too much.
-cook it on medium heat until you think it’s done. Really. Health foodies will tell you to cook it for 8 minutes so it’s only slightly wilted. I personally cook it for 30 minutes so it doesn’t give me intestinal distress. It’s up to you.
-drain the water from the pan
-add the lemon juice and hot sauce, and press the clove of garlic into the cooked kale
-add a little olive oil if it looks like it’s going to stick to the pan
-cook on low for another 5-10 minutes so the flavors meld

-greens can be chard, turnip greens, or any other strong dark leaf
-some grated Parmesan cheese to top this is really nummy
-flavor with salt & pepper
-flavor with lime instead of lemon
-flavor with soy sauce & sesame seeds

Kids can be really weird about these dishes (especially if parents approach them nervously). Get your kids involved with the cooking! Have them help you stem the kale (I used to love to play kitchen and did a lot of similar prepping with leaves from the trees in my yard). Let them pick out what flavors they want on their greens. Involving kids with the cooking process is a great way to get them more excited about their food (and maybe more respectful of what it takes to cook dinner every night).

Today I cooked up a Sesame Pasta Salad with Mizuna.

The original recipe:
Sesame Pasta Salad with Mizuna
from “Greens Glorious Greens” by Johnna Albi and Catherine Walthers
[Debbie’s comments interspersed in brackets]

2 C mizuna leaves, washed and stemmed
1 carrot
1 red pepper (optional if out of season)
1/4 C scallions, thinly sliced
1 8-oz package udon noodles
2 tbsp. light sesame oil
1 tsp. fresh ginger juice (optional) [easily made by grating fresh
ginger and squeezing it to extract the juice from the fibers.]
2 tbsp. tamari (soy sauce)
2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

I ended up with something only vaguely resembling the original.

Sesame Pasta Salad with Mizuna

-1 bunch mizuna, stemmed
-1 red bell pepper (store bought! GASP!), diced
-1 small yellow onion, diced
-1/2 cup shredded cabbage
-8 oz rice pasta
-1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
-1 tsp powdered ginger
-2 T tamari
-2 T sesame seeds

What I did:
-Uncooked veggies like the ones listed above are painful for me to digest. I put them all in my handy 10×2″ pan and sauteed them on med-low heat in some canola while the pasta cooked. About halfway through the cooking I added the sesame seeds.
-Drain and rinse the pasta
-Add everything together in a big bowl, toss
-Mizuna is nice and delicate, so the heat of the other ingredients wilts it perfectly

I’m snacking on this as I type. YUM!

I still have a lot left over. After I have a chance to go grocery shopping, I will be using the cabbage, potatoes, thyme, squash, and onion to cook up a minestrone soup. I just need some turkey bacon and kidney beans first!


One response to this post.

  1. […] squash from a month or so ago (hooray for winter squash and their typically long shelf life!) in a Winter Root & Veggie Bake.  I paired it with long grain brown rice and sun-dried tomato & basil chicken sausage.  Very […]


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