Friday, June 20, 2008

Step outside the culinary comfort zone

Participating in Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) requires a lot of creativity and a willingness to step outside of the culinary box. That much I am convinced.

Trying new recipes is not unusual for our family. The ingredients that we're using are.

Mustard greens never sounded like something I'd purposely purchase before the last few weeks. Last night, we finally broke down and ate them. (Granted, this was our second attempt at cooking them.) We found a recipe for Braised Mustard Greens online, tweaking it just a little to eliminate the golden raisins, which we couldn't find at the store, and adding a little sugar. It was palatable, but the one thing we learned is that next time, we should remove the stems, as cooking them created a bitter tasted in them. You live and learn.

This week, the CSA we subscribed to informed us that kohlrabi would be in the mix for this week's CSA share. I have no idea what this looks like, let alone tastes like. But they have posted several recipes for kohlrabi on the weekly blog, including Traditional Kohl Slaw, Tropical Kohl-Slaw (which sounds promising, particularly as we prepare for our upcoming luau-themed cookout), Kohl Slaw for Kids, Creamy Kohl Slaw, Kohlrabi Masala and Sautéed Kohlrabi Leaves, which makes use of the leaves that one might otherwise toss or compost.

The great thing about summer, and particularly about farmers markets and CSAs, is that it gives us such a great opportunity to experiment with new flavors. Take advantage of the seasons and the scarcity of tomatoes with the samonella scare by trying a new seasonal vegetable from this weekend's markets.

[ Edited January 28, 2009 to remove the name of the Indianapolis-based CSA, which I will no longer promote due to differences of opinion regarding customer service]

[ On Jan. 30, 2009, deleted links to the recipes hosted on this CSA's blog following further communication from this organization. If you'd like these recipes, visit your local search engine! I am sorry to create extra steps for my readers, but I want these people to leave me alone. ]


Corie said...

A-ha! Thanks for the explanation of CSA! :-)

Chile said...

Acid helps cut the bitterness of braising greens, so try adding a splash of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar at the end. The resident chef at our CSA wrote up a great guide to using greens here.