Has anyone had experience with CSAs? My husband and I signed up for one for the first time this summer. We are members of the West Philly CSA, it feels good supporting local farmers while also getting vegetables at a discounted price. However, the only caviat of my husband was that if we joined, we would also have to partake in the beer and cheese share…darn ;-) Anyways, with this CSA participation, I have had to get more creative and out of the box with my cooking because we are being presented with vegetables that we don’t normally purchase, like: beets, bok choy, collard greens, leeks, etc. My first recipe I will write about includes collard greens from our latest veggie pick up.
Conveniently, the West Philly CSA sends an email out on the Wednesday before our pick up (which is Thursday) giving us a list of the veggies we can expect to receive. I like this because when it comes to grocery shopping, or shall I say, online grocery shopping, I like to plan out our meals and our grocery list respectively. Being able to see what veggies we would receive gave me an opportunity to look up recipes, as well as, plan out entrees and accompaniments. I found this collard greens and bacon recipe on Martha Stewarts website, conveniently, she has a section dedicated to recipes using seasonal varieties. This didn’t take much time at all and was really easy to make. Surprisingly, I have never bought or made collard greens before but my husband said it could have quite possibly been one of the best veggie dishes to date…though saying it was a veggie dish may be far fetched, given that it included bacon. I suppose there is something to be said about quick, easy and simple recipes. I paired the collared greens with a Cajun inspired tilapia and cooked apples with leeks. The cooked apples pretty much entailed slicing them thinly along with 3 leeks (the white part only) and sautéing and sprinkling with a dash of cinnamon.
The next few items are from 2 weeks or so before the CSA pick up so they aren’t centered around the typical seasonal veggies. The first one is great for a kid friendly appetite. My husband, Matt, wasn’t a huge fan of these spinach and ricotta dumplings but I really enjoyed them and I liked how incredibly easy they were to make! I made a similar recipe that I found on weelicious.com last year for Braedan when he first started on solids and it was a hit but with the weelicious recipe, I had to use a food processor – this one is all hand mixed. The one super important part of this recipe, or when using defrosted frozen spinach in general, is to make sure you get it really dry. My technique is to use a pasta drainer and push the water out that way – and to get it extra dry, finish up by pushing with a clean dry dish towel (but I’m willing to accept other suggestions).
Next, is a vegetarian friendly recipe – Matt and I try to eat veggie friendly at least 1 to 2 dinners a week. This recipe is delicious but I must warn you, it’s not necessarily super healthy due to it’s butter content – or more so the amount of butter I use when making grilled cheeses. My grilled cheese theory is: the more butter, the better and these Double Bean Burger Patty Melts were well worth the extra calories in butter. These are great make ahead items, I made the patties after dinner one night and refrigerated them so all I had to do the next night was pan fry the patties and add them into grilled cheese sandwiches. I only had regular wheat bread for these but I think they would be better with a fancier bread or even just some thick cut sourdough bread.
Finally, thanks to my girlfriend, Lindsay, I made this Caramelized Onion-Pear Pizza. If you haven’t noticed, I have a thing for caramelized onions – are there actually people in the world that don’t like caramelized onions? This pizza is super easy, filled with flavor and a great alternative to Papa Johns (even though their garlic sauce is everything). Just try this pizza but don’t expect leftovers – that just won’t happen. Also, if you try this pizza and like it, make sure you try the Caramelized Onion, Gruyere Cheese, Pepper Bacon Pizza I made a few months ago.