Yesterday marked the first week of my seasonal CSA (community supported agriculture) pickup.
Over the course of the next 27 weeks every Thursday I will drive to Alstede Farms and pick up 1/2 bushel of freshly picked fruits and vegetables.
For a cook, this is as good as it gets. It is a veritable treasure box packed full of flavorful surprises... yesterday's box contained:
Red Leaf Lettuce
Green Leaf Lettuce
Last night for dinner I made a main course of seared scallops with lemon and chives served over a bed of caramelized leeks.
We had an appetizer of radishes with butter and salt on baguette slices (you just have to love the french for this dish).
Our third course consisted of arugula salad with pistachios and chocolate (yes, you read that right, chocolate)
And of course for dessert, freshly picked strawberries - nothing was added to the strawberries, they were perfect eaten out of hand, just way nature intended.
I hope you join me over the next 27 weeks as I explore, create, cook and eat all that nature provides this planting season.
Radishes with Butter and Salt: (a light lunch or appetizer)
Freshly picked radishes, washed and sliced wafer thin
COLD unsalted butter
Slice a fresh baguette into 1/3 inch rounds.
Line everything (except the bread) up on a plate.
Place your baguette slices in a basket along side the radish plate.
Slice off pieces of butter and smear (it is okay if it is uneven) on a baguette slice. Arrange a few pieces of radish on top of the butter and top with a smidgen of sea salt.
Arugula Salad with pistachios and bitter chocolate*: (4 single servings or 2 meals)
4 cups arugula, washed and gently torn into bite size pieces
1/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
2 ounces bittersweet dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (I like Green and Black's Organic Dark 70%)
Divide the arugula among 4 plates, set aside
Combine the pistachios and chocolate in a small bowl, set aside.
Vinaigrette: (makes a little more than is need for 4 small salads)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
5 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of salt
two grinds of fresh black pepper
Whisk the mustard, vinegar,salt and pepper to blend. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Taste with a bit of arugula and correct seasonings.
Gently and lightly dress each salad. You don't need to overdue the dressing. Taste
and adjust. Sprinkle each salad with some of the pistachio, chocolate mix. Eat and enjoy a bit of spring heaven.
*Adapted from "A Homemade Life" by Molly Wizenberg
A Cook's Notes: Do you have a garden? Do you belong to a CSA or frequent a farmer's market? What is your favorite summer fruit or vegetable and how do you prepare it?