As I mentioned a couple of weeks back, I'm part of the recently-formed Brooklyn Grange/Vesta CSA that provides me with fresh, locally grown veggies each week. I always look forward to the weekend when I get a bag full of beautiful produce--although some of it looks quite different than what you'd find in the supermarket. This, as I try to explain to Dan is a good thing because it means that the veggies are au naturale and not genetically mutated such as the crop we see in big chain supermarkets.
Anywho...I wanted to show you some of the ways I've been using my CSA goods. I really enjoy figuring out how to prepare them and like to research recipes from some of my most trusted culinary sources. My mom does the same although she takes a more grassroots approach and keeps things simple, as she improvises a lot. Smart woman! The below are some of the ways we've both been using our fresh crop. I think my mom wins this one - just look at the gorgeous colors on her plate. To die for! And it tasted even better than it looked.
Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Shallots - I've been receiving fresh kale each week, and sadly have been wasteful with these large (and somewhat intimidating) leaves. Well no more! I just couldn't stand them to go to waste, so I took a look at a few recipes and found this simple one on Bon Appetit, which took about 20 minutes to prepare and used very basic ingredients. I omitted the capers that the recipe called for because I think they're too salty. The end result was a smoky, slightly crunchy and earthy side dish that went well with the ground chicken and rice patties that I made with leftover stuffing from my stuffed peppers. Here's the recipe for the kale.
Haricot Verts with My Signature Dressing - It was so nice to see these land in my CSA bounty and they came in three colors - green, purple and a pale yellow. I prepared them simply by blanching them and then coating them in my signature, lemon juice, honey, dijon mustard and olive oil dressing. I blanched the beans for 3 minutes in boiling water. The only disappointment was when the colorful ones all turned green. What gives?
My Mom's Steamed Veggie Medley - As I already hinted, my mom kept things simple in terms of preparation, steaming a variety of veggies including beets, carrots, peppers, onions and zucchini. She steamed them for 3- 5 minutes, allowing the beets to stay in longer since they take a little while to soften up. Then she peeled the beets, which was an easy task (she says) and dressed the whole thing with good quality olive oil and a touch of salt.
But the true beauty in this dish is the way that she expertly arranged everything to make it look so appetizing. I think that's one of my mom's strengths, as she really takes her time to think about presentation and to arrange food in a very mouth-watering fashion. It's a gift that some people are born with and others have to work harder at.
There you have it - 3 simple recipes and ideas to spice up your veggies, whether local or not (but local are suggested). Dig in and eat up!
If you'd like to enjoy the Brooklyn Grange's fresh veggies, but you aren't a part of their CSA, check out their farm stand at Vesta every Saturday from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. or the on-site farm stand in LIC, every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m..
Vesta Trattoria - 21-02 30th Avenue, Astoria NY 11102. 718.545.5550
The Brooklyn Grange - 37-18 Northern Blvd, LIC NY 11101. 718.707.9707