Cooking from a CSA, Part 7: Moving to a Half-Share

Two weeks ago my CSA’s spring share ended and I moved to a half share for summer. I’m kind of relieved (after all, you know I’ve been having trouble eating everything), but I already miss having a full fridge all the time.

20120623-161232.jpgI’ve made the most of my last two batches including a lemony risotto with sugar snap peas, asparagus, Swiss chard and fennel. While it was a nice blend of vegetables, it definitely wasn’t a recipe worth sharing. Way too lemony with nothing to balance it out. That’s what happens when you make up your own recipes and just throw stuff in a pot to see what happens—sometimes the results aren’t perfect, even if they’re pretty.

A more successful rice dish was thing one:


This was another “throw stuff in a pot and see what happens” recipe, but I was delighted by the outcome—and it made great leftovers. I started with a bag of brown and wild rice blend (Lundberg Wild Blend) from the grocery store and cooked it according to the instructions with vegetable broth and a tablespoon of butter. There was still a bit of liquid when the rice was done, which ended up being a good thing because it coated the vegetables like a sauce and helped my leftovers heat up with out over-drying. (Dry crunchy rice leftovers = eew).

Brown and Wild Rice with Garlic Scapes, Fennel and Swiss Chard

  • 1 cup Lundberg’s Wild Blend
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (I used a can + water to make 2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic scapes, finely sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, ends removed, finely sliced (I also removed the very solid pieces of the core)
  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard, ribs removed, cut in 1-in. ribbons
  • salt
  • pepper
  • thyme
  • cumin

1. Cook the rice according to package instructions (in this case, bring veggie broth, butter, and rice to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low to simmer for 40-50 minutes).

2. When there’s about 15 minutes left for the rice, begin to warm olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic scapes and cook gently until just soft (about 5 minutes).

3. Increase the heat to medium, and add the sliced fennel. Season with salt, pepper, thyme and cumin to taste (I used a dash of the first three and was rather generous with the cumin). Cook until the fennel is tender, but not soft, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the chard ribbons to the saute pan, and cook until barely wilted. Check the rice and see if it’s done (as noted above, I went by texture, not amount of liquid). Add contents of rice pot to saute pan and stir together. Serve warm.

Unfortunately, my CSA suffered a huge strawberry crop failure this year, so I’ve only received two pints of fairly small and very ripe berries. They were perfect for baking and I made a double batch of Smitten Kitchen’s Strawberries and Cream Scones. They were wonderful right out of the oven:


And they’ve also worked out well frozen. I simply shaped them, put them on individual pieces of parchment paper…


…and thrown them in a freezer bag. Then I bake them according to the recipe instructions. This is a trick that I learned from Deb at Smitten Kitchen (she mentions it right in her recipes if you can make them ahead, which is fantastically helpful). Since scones are best right out of the oven, it’s nice to have a supply in the freezer!



Delicious Sweet-or-Savory Scones

My first CSA box had a bag of frozen strawberries that had already thawed by the time I got home. I had to use those strawberries fast. Since thawed strawberries naturally seep out a lot of juice, they were perfect for a sauce, but (for once) I wasn’t in the mood for cake. This last weekend was chilly, dark, and rainy, so I wanted a warm treat for breakfast–and I had a guest to serve. So Mary and I made scones.

I made a rather basic scone recipe from Nigella Lawson. So basic, in fact, that it has no sugar! Fresh out of the oven, the scones were fantastic—light, airy and delicious. Crumbly, like a good scone should be. We halved them and spooned some strawberries and juice onto the bottom half. A little whipped cream and it would have been an excellent version of strawberry shortcake—as it was, it was exactly the warm treat I was looking for.

I had leftover scones for the next few days. The problem with scones is that after the first few hours, they become a little soft or soggy feeling. My solution to this was to pop them in the toaster over at 350° for a few minutes. The tops darkened slightly, but they were the perfect texture once again.
I also tried them with a savory topping with a dinner salad. I took the warm-from-the-toaster-oven scone, cut it in half, and added a slice of cheese and some roasted red peppers to the middle. It was just as good as the sweet version—the scone can be a great substitute for biscuits.
Sweet-or-Savory Scones
Adapted from “Lily’s Scones” in Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess*
  • 3 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cut in small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons shortening, in small lumps
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Shift dry ingredients together. Use a pastry blender to blend in butter and shortening until the mixture is even and crumbly. Add all the milk, and mix until just blended. Lay on floured surface and knead briefly–it will seem like a sticky mess.
The original recipe call for rolling out the dough and using a round cutter. I simply rolled it to a 1 in. thick rectangle and cut it into 12 equally-sized pieces.
Place scones on baking sheet–they can be close together–and bake for 20 minutes, until lightly golden on top. Serve warm or reheated.
* Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks! So many good recipes, with a focus on baked goods and other comfort foods. And her language is casual and food-passionate. She’s English, so I’ll admit there’s a recipe or two that I haven’t loved, but there’s at least a half dozen recipes in each of her books (and I own several) that’s in permanent rotation in my family.