Friday, November 06, 2009

How the CSA went

Got an email earlier this week saying that the CSA harvest is done for the year.

I'd say my experiment with community supported agriculture was a limited success. I found myself a little flummoxed as to what to do with some of the things I got, but all in all I enjoyed it. Ate more vegetables this summer than I did last year, and did a whole lot more "from scratch" cooking. Two recipes I'm definitely adding to my permanent stash this year? Fennel and Potato Gratin and Baked Gnocchi with Chard and Ricotta. I never managed to get a picture of either dish, but they were both very tasty. Both recipes came in issues of the CSA's bulletin--they were always giving us ways to use some of what we're taking home.

Here's the recipe for the potato/fennel thing. I'll post the gnocchi recipe later on this month (don't want to use up all my ideas the first week, now do I?):

Fennel & Potato Gratin (Originally from Farmer John's Cookbook)
2 cups fennel bulb, cut crosswise into 1/8 inch slices
2 cups thinly sliced potatoes
2 cups half-and-half (or whole milk for less richness)
2 Tbsp butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a shallow 2-qt. baking dish with butter.
2. Cover the bottom of the baking dish with a layer of fennel slices. Cover with half the potato slices. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Repeat layers until you've used up all the slices.
3. Bring the half-and-half to a gentle boil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. Pour it over the fennel and potato.
4. Using a large spatula, press down on the top layer to submerge it. Dot with butter. Bake until potatoes are tender and the top is golden, about 1 hour.

I had this with chicken sausage and some applesauce. Yum.

I already signed up for next year's crop, a half share. Because I signed early I get a discount.

Next major purchase (aside from a chair for the living room. Unless this is cheaper, in which case it might get bought first)? A small deep freezer. I'm gonna be a blanchin', freezin', puttin' things by kind of girl next summer. I was won over to the process late in the game, and could have kicked myself when I thought of all the stuff that went bad before I could use it. That won't happen next year, though. I will be ready. 'Cause now I have an idea what to expect.

1 comment:

Just Me said...

re: Freezer

DO NOT buy a frost-free freezer. What keeps the frost down is a periodic rise in temperature to prevent frost buildup in the unit. The result is a shorter shelf life for your frozen goodies, because temperature change promotes freezer-burned food.

I believe a frost-free model might be cheaper (a bonus!), and the longer-term preservation of your food is worth the occasional annoyance of manually defrosting your freezer. I do it whenever my freezer stock runs low enough to stuff everything into the fridge freezer

Oh! Keep an eye out for a "scratch & dent." Some stores specialize in them. Most of the time, the defect is only cosmetic and has no bearing on the function of the unit.