CSA Vegetables, Recovery & a Delicious Slaw

With my gorgeous winter share from 47th Ave Farm. Photo credit Shawn Linehan Photography

Enjoy and love your vegetables! We’re told to eat our vegetables, all the time. We tell our children to eat their vegetables. But I think we sometimes forget the sheer pleasure and goodness of in-season vegetables, year-round. And yes, good health, is a big bonus!

 

It has been a tough winter for bugs of all sorts. Most everyone I know has battled several rounds of colds, flus, and other unpleasantries. Our little family of three has been practically unscathed. It has also been a big winter for vegetables. I’ve had the pleasure (and responsibility:) of two, full Winter CSA Shares (I’m guessing that’s 20lbs/week). I don’t have any proof that it’s all the black Spanish radishes, daikon, celeriac, leeks, turnips, kale, collards, purple sprouting broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, winter squashes of all shapes and sizes, and loads of onions, carrots and garlic, but I’d put money on my remarkable health and vitality these days having something to do with this pleasure and plethora of vegetables.

 

I’m just over a year out from a double mastectomy and six months of chemotherapy that laid waste to my immune system. However, when these gorgeous, nutrient dense, vegetables show up every week and the sheer volume allows you to eat as many vegetables as you possibly can, my immune system seemed to rebuild with gusto. I know I am very fortunate to have access to this bounty and everyone should be so lucky!

 

Most of us will hopefully not experience a health crisis of these proportions but we are all susceptible to stress and illness at every turn and what we choose and have access to eat, will make an impact. CSAs are one way of insuring a regular supply of truly seasonal produce. There’s something about this regularity that slowly builds habits that sustain and nourish not only our bodies but a better understanding of our communities, our soil, the people who cultivate it and share the fruits of their labor with us. I have never been more in love with the CSA model and more convinced that it is an antidote to so much of what ails us.

 

There’s still plenty of time to subscribe to a CSA and you’ll get access to all the recipes I’ve developed cooking my way through CSA shares for more than a decade in the form of the Seasonal Recipe Collection if you subscribe to one of these farms! But no matter what farm, just give it a shot, especially if you don’t travel much. Being home to enjoy all the bounty is one of the keys to CSA success.

 

Happy spring!

 

47th Ave Farm  — Minto Island Growers — Love Farm Organics — Full Cellar Farm — Mud Creek Farm  — Laughing Crow Organics — Hill Family Farm — Farmer Joe’s Gardens — Olsen Communities CSA — Cully Neighborhood Farm — Full Plate Farm — Coyote Family Farm — Abundant Field Farm — Sweetland Farm — Backyard Gardens — Legacy Acres Farm — Tanager Farm — In Good Heart Farm — Sweet Digz Farm — Lewis Educational Agricultural Center (L.E.A.F) 

 

Radish & Carrot Slaw w/ Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

This is gorgeous, bright, tart and crunchy from the seeds. It’s delicious as a salad as well as on toast with hummus or avocado or cheese or egg, in some form. It will enliven most anything, really.

 

Serves 4

 

2 medium carrots, grated on large holes of a box grater
1 1/2 – 2 cups grated radish, of most any kind: Watermelon, Black Spanish, Ostergruss or common little red ones
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley or a combination
2 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts
1/2 serrano chile (optional), minced or a few pinches red pepper flakes
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (toast in a 350 degree oven for 8-12 minutes until turning golden and a bit puffed or in a dry skillet over medium-low heat)
1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Toss all ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning with more vinegar, salt, pepper to suit your taste. Enjoy fairly soon if you want to enjoy the full crunch!

Cooking for New Parents

I will never forget the meals that were delivered to our doorstep more than three years ago when our son was born. Miraculously they just kept arriving. I remember many of these meals in great detail and the joy of eating them. I particularly remember the giant box my friend Ellen brought. She had made not one, but two meals. There were warm cookies and a bouquet of daffodils. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

As you know I cook–I am a fast cook, I like to cook, I’m not daunted by cooking. However, as everyone told me, I was completely unfit and unable to cook right after Ellis was born. I don’t think I really cooked for the first six weeks. It seems so hard to imagine now but babies, and particularly first babies I imagine, are all-consuming, especially for the mother who usually is nursing what seems like all the time. I remember a day when a banana peel sat on the counter all day because I never managed to get it into the compost bucket!

One of my dearest friends just had a baby and today is my day to cook for her and her family. I’m not sure  I’m going to muster two meals but a hearty one it will be. I just made the Turnip and Turnip Greens Soup putting to use those sweet, tender, and bright white turnips that are gracing our markets at the moment. The greens are fresh and wonderful to incorporate in this soup. It is spring  in a bowl!  I add a few squeezes of lemon juice and a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream at the end. And I use my homemade Veggie Bouillon instead of chicken stock, but otherwise I follow this recipe from Culinate.com closely.

I am also just made a savory bread pudding with lots of herbs, carrots, onions, chard, and extra sharp cheddar. It’s good warm or room temperature. It keeps well and will be a rich and hearty accompaniment to the soup. So maybe it will turn into two meals after all.

And since I prefer meals with dessert and nursing mommies need all the calories they can get, there will also be a quick jam tart that I read about on one of my favorite blogs, Smitten Kitchen, this morning.

I had intended to work today–as in plan class menus, review my marketing plan, organize finance stuff, edit my website–however, since I’ve chosen cooking as my line of work, I think I AM working today. And I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing.