Can it be here already? The beginning of our CSA season is upon us; Steve and I picked up our first box at the Market on Saturday. Look at those beautiful veggies up there! I was surprised at how much was in our box, to be honest. I was expecting it to be a little bit lighter this early in the season. We received: a huge bunch of spinach, green garlic, a head of green lettuce, two bunches of asparagus, overwintered carrots (so sweet!), and chives.
I've been feeling pretty uninspired for the last few weeks in regards to our evening meals. Picking up our CSA box forced me to sit down with our cookbooks and make a plan for the week and so far, it's been good and a little reinvigorating. It was a little box of veggie inspiration. The carrots, some of the garlic, and some of the chives and their blossoms went into an Herbed Carrot Soup (recipe in The Moosewood Cookbook)...
I didn't know that chive blossoms were edible, but, yum! One bunch of asparagus went into a Baked Lasagne with Pesto Balsamella and homemade noodles (recipe in Simple Italian Food).
We make this dish once a year and now I remember why. The components are all really very simple: noodles, asparagus, and the sauce. But the time to prepare them all from scratch really adds up. We made this on Sunday, starting to cook at 4:30 and sitting down to dinner at 6:45. Oh, but it was worth it. There really is nothing quite like fresh pasta noodles. *swoon*
Three-quarters of the spinach, some of the garlic, and chives (chives top everything this time of year, really) went into Cream of Spinach Soup (recipe in The Moosewood Cookbook).
Silas really loved both of the soups this week. I mixed them with a bit of leftover rice to give them a little more body and make it easier for him to eat (he still does the classic spoon turn as it's en route to his mouth). Soups are so perfect for using up a bunch of produce and they are, usually, an incredibly simple meal.
Instead of tossing the spinach crowns into the compost pile as we usually do, we braised them in sake and tamari. I had no idea that this part of the spinach plant was edible, but in searching through my recipes I found one that called for them. I love discovering ways to use things that we normally throw away. I feel so thrifty and resourceful (recipe in Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant).
If you're wondering how they tasted, they were good! The bigger ones were not as tender as the smaller ones and I think I needed to trim off more of the root, as that part was rather woody. The pink crowns, though, were a touch sweet and tasted of asparagus, oddly enough.
And finally, the last of the asparagus and more of the green garlic went into an Asparagus Risotto with Mushrooms and Ginger (recipe in The Vegan Gourmet).
It was Silas' first taste of mushrooms so he, of course, promptly spit them out. It's okay though, he was in a surprisingly good mood for the end of the day and actually let me stand in front of the stove for the hour that it takes to make risotto. After that, he can eat whatever he wants.
We still have some spinach and the lettuce to eat up before Saturday...salads, salads, salads! It feels good to be back in the kitchen with some purpose. (It tastes good too.)