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My CSA: From Asparagus to Garlic Scapes

first basketIt was a week of firsts, thanks to my CSA share from Richfield Farms in Clifton, NJ. The produce came nicely packed in a farm basket. I thought that was a nice touch, as were recipes and suggestions for keeping the fruit and vegetables fresh. Kale, bok choy and the plumpest green onions that I have ever encountered were included, among other vegetables. A quart of strawberries did not disappoint and for a few days we finally had some good fruit in the house. I had been told the first share would be heavy on greens, which are available locally at this time of the year.

The first day we enjoyed roasted Jersey fresh asparagus for dinner, prepared simply with Goya extra virgin olive oil and Kosher salt, a perennial favorite in our house. The recipes were very helpful, especially when it came to stocking up on appropriate ingredients, such as sesame oil, tamari sauce and lemons.

The next day I moved on and tried something new, a”bitter salad” featuring the basket’s kale, bok choy, arugula, romaine lettuce and garlic scapes, as well as a handful of goat cheese sprinkled on top just before serving and Campari’s cocktail tomatoes. The newest ingredient for us were the garlic scapes, which I had never even heard of before. The stems of certain kinds of garlic, they are garlicky and sweet at the same time and resemble long, thin green noodles. I used them raw and cooked throughout the week. My combo of mostly flavorful greens received mixed reviews. I thought it was excellent, but don’t make it for people who dislike things like arugula, one of the most opinionated salad ingredients around. I learned from this food adventure that Chris definitely prefers his kale cooked.

salad1Certainly, the chicken stir-fry that I concocted was the biggest hit. I cooked the greens Asian-style in sesame and canola oils, seasoning with salt, crushed red pepper and ginger. After starting with a medium-high flame for a few minutes, I added a few spoonfuls of water and finished with the cover on until tender. Don’t let the greens scorch or get mushy. Having marinated boneless white meat chicken cutlets in sesame oil and tamari sauce for about 30 minutes, I cooked half-size pieces on a medium-high flame just until they turned white inside. The vegetables should be very hot. Add the chicken and serve immediately with more tamari sauce and white rice. This is a tasty dish, so try it before you add more sauce to your plate.

All in all, a successful week of developing recipes and good meals. Another benefit was bringing new ingredients into the house. By the way, sesame oil is not cheap, but well worth the expense. It might be my new secret ingredient.

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