We in the Food Network Kitchen got our first box of CSA (community supported agriculture) produce from Mountain View Farm in Easthampton, MA. And probably like many of you at home, unpacking the box had us wondering, “What are we going to do with all this stuff?”
CSAs aren’t exactly a new idea. After all, farmers selling directly to the consumer is the original business model. But the locavore trend is one way to buck the industrial agricultural system (or skip the hassle of the produce aisle), with members buying “shares” in a farm’s annual harvest.
This is the most-exciting box of produce you will ever receive — your own mystery basket to keep you on your culinary toes week after week. So sign up, get to know your local farmer and keep reading to find out how to use even the most alien-looking produce in the box. We’ll give a glimpse at our CSA box and share tips on how to use the produce every other week throughout the summer and fall.
Bok choy is a mild-flavored member of the cabbage family you’ve probably enjoyed at your local Chinese restaurant. Whether steamed, stir-fried or tossed in a saute pan with minced garlic and oil, it is a delicious dinner table addition.
You might not know it from looking at this vegetable, but it comes from the same family as carrots. Slice your fennel bulb for adding crunch to salads, roasting for a side dish, or steaming and serving with fresh dill.
Green curlicue garlic scapes are mild, almost sweet in flavor, with a garlicky aftertaste. Chop and saute them with vegetables, add them to your morning frittata, or enjoy them raw in salads or as garnish for crunch.
The leaves of this Japanese turnip are bitter and benefit from cooking, while the roots are small, delicate and tender. Enjoy the whole turnip from root to leaf.
Head or iceberg lettuce has gotten a bad rap for being tasteless and lacking the healthy folates of darker, leafier greens, but its crispiness and mild taste make it the perfect lettuce base for chopped and wedge salads.
Think of kohlrabi — the strangest-looking vegetable in the bunch — as a mild-flavored cabbage. Roast it, mash it, saute the greens or eat it raw; you’ll wonder how you got along without it.
Your standard radish comes in a variety of colors, has a peppery taste, and is delicious raw or roasted. Don’t waste your radish greens, which can also be eaten, lightly sauteed, or pulverized into soup or pesto.
Scallions are an easygoing onion. Milder than mature onions, scallions can be enjoyed raw or cooked when you want just a hint of pungent onion flavor.
No doubt you’re familiar with this dark green, force-fed to children around the world. As adults we can appreciate that the versatile, tender leaves are perfect for bulking up salads, and they’re great steamed or sauteed for a simple side dish.
There are a million uses for this sweet, summer berry. Enjoy strawberries raw, bake them into pies, make them into jam, and even toss them into savory green or whole-grain salads.
Summer squash has thinner skin than winter varietals, meaning it cooks faster. Try different squashes, including the scalloped pattypan squash and green zucchini, in a summer stir-fry or shaved into raw “noodles.” Look for more glimpses into our CSA boxes throughout the summer.
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