It seems like these days every Brooklyn-based friend I talk to or whose flickr stream I look at is talking about their CSA. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it is basically a subscription to a farm. Simply put, a group of people get together at the start of the growing season and pay the farmer up front and the farmer supplies vegetables, and sometimes fruit, flowers, or dairy, depending on the arrangement, throughout the growing season. I first participated in a CSA in Portland, Oregon and finally made the leap this summer to take on one in Brooklyn. I call it the “vegetable challenge,” because every week I get a huge pile of vegetables I’m forced to recon with (and eggs every other week). I’m lucky because a CSA in Sunset Park just started last year, meaning it’s just a short walk from my weekly pick up spot to my apartment. Even better the family that runs “our” farm, MimoMex Farms, lives in the neighborhood when they are not upstate on the farm. Talk about supporting your local farmer!
What’s been really interesting to me so far is that we’ve been getting a lot of greens. As I am from the north east this doesn’t surprise me in the least. In fact, coming from Maine, I’m always excited that anything ripens before the summer solstice. However, SMH was surprised. “Where’s the solid vegetables?” he asked. “Not in season yet,” I replied. And that’s the beauty and the challenge of a CSA. You know weekly, not just seasonally, what is in season. So, here are a few ideas of what to do with all those greens.
Garlic Scape/Cilantro/Basic/Parsley/Radish Green (or any green) Vegan, Nut-free “Pesto”
Maybe it’s really pushing it to call this pesto, but it’s fresh green sauce to go on pasta
Bunches of Greens
1 to 2 cloves raw garlic (omit if using scapes!)
Pinch of salt
Water if necessary
Blend ingredients together until you reach a spreadable consistency. Use scapes sparingly (3 to 5 scapes is plenty) and flesh out the pesto with another green for a more even flavor. My first batch of scape pesto was too garlicky, even for me and SMH! Serve on pasta or use as a a sandwich spread.
Parsley, Scallion and Tomato Fritatta
Okay, so tomatoes are not quite in season. But this is a lovely, light dinner and goes well with steamed or braised kale.
For fritatta making advice check out my previous post here.
Brooklyn Spinach Chevre Chaud Salad
I was feeling nostalgic for the summer I spend in France lazily eating salade chevre chaud at a Parisian sidewalk cafe on boulevard Haussmann with my sister. I made a very unorthodox version based more on my feelings and memories than on what would actually pass muster as a salade chevre chaud in France.
1 bunch of fresh spinach, de-stemmed and washed
4 strips turkey bacon, cooked
4 radishes, grated
6 pieces sliced baguette or French sour dough
Aged goat cheese
Assemble the salad and crumble the turkey bacon over the top of it. Slice/spread the cheese on the bread and broil it on a cookie sheet until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is partially melted and bubbly. About 2 to 4 minutes (always keep a close eye out when using the broiler).
3 parts olive oil to 1 part vinegar (balsamic, red wine or apple cider)
Fresh herbs- I used thyme from my CSA
Assemble dressing in glass jar, close the top and shake.
Dress the salad and serve with goat cheese toasts on the side. If you need more protein, hard boil an egg and crumble it over the salad with the bacon. As you eat, pretend you are in Paris, but be very happy you are in Brooklyn. Enjoy with a nice, dry glass of French red table wine.
The Perfect Summer Drink
Though I have a secret plan to leave my career and open an organic cocktail bar (though I think that half of Brooklyn already beat me to it) I’m no old hand at mixing cocktails. I did, however, create this drink that I am quite proud of, inspired by a bunch of mint and unseasonably hot June weather.
5 thin slices of cucumber
small hand full of mint leaves
Reyka Icelandic Vodka (or whatever, I think this could work really well with gin as well)
Muddle the cucumber and mint in a glass and add the vodka and ice. Shake. Add tonic water to taste and top with a mint leaf. Cool off!