Hooray for the CSA!
This sweet and spicy combination is also a combination of two CSAs. (For my original post about the CSA, click here).For the past few years, I’ve been a member of Dumbo/Vinegar Hill’s CSA. I loved so many things about it: Sang Lee’s incredible organic vegetables, the serene location in Phoenix House’s courtyard, and the neighborhood friends I made while volunteering at weekly pick-ups. I also loved the convenience factor; the pick-up location was just a short and cobblestony walk along the river from my apartment.
Within the last year, I moved a few neighborhoods away, so I knew I would have to switch. I did a little research to find CSAs near my new place (ok fine, so I just read a sign posted outside Stinky). I was intrigued by Local Roots’ slightly different model for CSAs: For example, instead of joining for June-November, the season is broken up into Summer and Fall. There are other differences as well. I also liked the idea of picking up at 61 Local, the locavore-friendly (where I once spotted a dog sipping her weekly Guinness, and was assured that she prefers stouts and only has one per week) bar/restaurant just off Smith Street. Their vegetables come from Rogowski Farm, located in Orange County, NY. We also signed up for a meat share, which will come from Arcadian Pastures. Some friends in the neighborhood also got their fruit share, and I hope to get a sampling of that as well 🙂
And so, although I felt a little bit like I was cheating on Sang Lee, I went ahead to pick up my first share of the season. The vegetables have been delicious so far. The spicy greens are, in fact, very spicy. This strawberry dressing is an interesting contrast. The dressing recipe is from Sang Lee’s recipe blog, so I think of this salad/dressing as a CSA merger.
I used the spicy greens mix from the CSA share, and topped it with some goat cheese. I actually halved this dressing recipe and it was plenty for the week. Since I went a little overboard on strawberries from the farmer’s market a few weeks back, I had fun with canning and freezing a few quarts.
By the way…Do you know that to freeze strawberries you just chop off the tops, lay them on a baking sheet in a single layer with none touching overnight? Then, put in a freezer bag and they will stay good for up to 6 months)
I just let a cup of the frozen guys thaw for an hour or so before starting the recipe.
- 1 pint strawberries, washed, hulled, and cut into quarters
- 1 tablespoon sugar or honey (I used honey)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons or more good vinegar — wine, sherry, rice, balsamic–preferred for this recipe (I used balsamic)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon water
- 6 pieces of mint, finely diced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Dice your strawberries and add the sugar and lemon juice to a small bowl. Muddle them together until somewhat liquid. In a blender, add all other ingredients(imersion blender/food processor work too).
- Then add the strawberry mixture and blend for a few minutes to immulsify everything and make the strawberries smooth.
New York City is the big apple, so I went to town with some Empire apples from the Carroll Street Farmer’s Market this morning. I don’t own a food mill, and I dislike peeling apples because I feel like I am wasting so much food in the process (plus I was feeling lazy). So, I just made this applesauce with the peels. You can peel the apples for a more traditional take on applesauce, but you won’t get this gorgeous pink hue. It will also take a lot longer. Since I was planning on canning the sauce, I wanted to save my time and energy for that step.
Applesauce is not just for kids or other people without teeth! I’m looking forward to putting this applesauce on latkes come December.
For more fun and seasonal preserving projects , take a look at my strawberry jam post from the spring, or my pickled green beans post from the summer. For detailed directions about canning, the Peach Salsa post is the one to check out.
Ingredients (if you want less applesauce, just cut the recipe in half–they might cook a bit more quickly)
- 6 pounds of apples ( I used 18 Empire apples)
- 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
- 1 cup water
- 2 Tablespoons sugar (optional; to taste)
- Combine lemon juice and water in a very large pot.
- Core and chop apples into approximately 1-inch pieces, and toss into the pot with the lemon juice mixture as you go to prevent apples from discoloring.
- Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender.
- Blend in batches in a food processor, or use an immersion blender.
- Return applesauce to the pot, and add sugar to taste. Heat briefly until sugar is dissolved.
- Refrigerate and serve within 5 days. Alternatively, you can preserve it in jars for up to a year: I processed 8 half-pint jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.