Guest Post: The First Week's Share

It's me again, your Friendly Neighborhood Mystery Blogger, here to tell you what we got in our first CSA box of the summer(!), and what we plan to make with it. 

But first, I'll show you what greeted my hubby and me when we picked up our share at the farm: 

As you can see, these are some really nice looking veggies. I've been a market customer of Marisa's for long enough to know that she takes great pride in the appearance of her produce which, as a cook, I appreciate so much. For me, it isn't enough that something is local; there are other considerations when assessing quality, and these vegetables are harvested with obvious care. They come clean, well-handled, and were clearly picked just hours before. 

As I went through the box with Marisa, she introduced me to some unfamiliar-looking greenery. Sorrel? Never cooked with it. But I know my classic French cuisine, so Sorrel Soup will definitely be on the menu this week. And the Radicchio, with its outer leaves still intact; that's something you'd never see in the grocery store. These are the pleasures of buying direct from the farm.

We drove home, hubby and veggies and I, and chatted excitedly about what we'd cook with our CSA share this week. While we don't yet have plans for the kohlrabi ("Can you eat the leaves?" he asked. As of now I still don't know, but I'll present my findings here when I do!), we have nailed down the following ideas for this week's produce:

Not bad for a start, anyway! 

So today I am excited to share with you my recipe (original recipe, I might add) for Coconut-Rhubarb Curry. I came up with this a few weeks ago, and have continued to return to this sauce for its rich, mellow flavor and easy (i.e., weeknight-friendly) preparation. Originally it was a Thai-style curry, which substituted the sourness of Tamarind with our locally-sourced Rhubarb. But for my latest attempt, I spiced it with fenugreek and Vindaloo curry powder, as well as freshly grated ginger and turmeric, which gave it a more North-Indian culinary flair.

The results, when served with Butter Chicken and Brown Rice, were frankly amazing. I hope you try this recipe, and that you check back later this week for more recipes from this week's share.

 

Recipe: Coconut-Rhubarb Curry 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 large stalk rhubarb, sliced into 1/8" pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced 
  • 15-oz can regular Coconut Milk 
  • 1/2" piece of fresh ginger and 1/2" piece of fresh turmeric, peeled
  • Spice mixture (feel free to substitute from what you have): 1/4 tsp White Pepper, 1/4 tsp Cumin, 1/2 tsp Fenugreek Powder, 1/2 tsp Vindaloo Curry Powder (available in the bulk section at your favorite food co-op) 
  • Whole spices: small Cinnamon Stick, one Star Anise
  • 2 Tbl Butter and/or Sesame Oil
  • a few ounces of fresh, cold water
  • Salt, to taste

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Rhubarb on the Chopping Block

Rhubarb on the Chopping Block

Instructions: 

  1. Heat a large saucepan on medium-high. Pour in sesame oil, add some butter, swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Toss in onions and saute for 2 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add a pinch of salt. Allow onions to cook until soft and translucent. 
  2. Add the ground spice mixture, and stir. Cook for one minute, so the flavors start to develop, then toss in the rhubarb. Continue to stir and saute, modulating the heat as needed. Add a splash (a small splash!) of water, then stir and cover; let the mixture steam for 2 minutes. Remove the lid, toss in whole spices, give another stir. Finely grate the ginger and turmeric directly into the pot.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk. Bring back up to a fast simmer, then put on the lid and reduce heat to low. Allow to slowly simmer until ready to serve. Stir occasionally to keep the bottom from sticking.
  4. Before serving, remove whole spices and taste for salt. Adjust seasoning as necessary.  

We served this delicious curry sauce over brown rice, with butter chicken (pictured in the wok above; I'll be happy to share the recipe if you like)  and wilted Swiss chard from our garden. In the past I've even added wilted spinach leaves directly to the sauce, which gives a lovely green color.

No matter how you choose to serve it, I know you will love this simple, tasty recipe. If you need tips on serving suggestions, spice substitutions, or anything else at all, leave your questions in the comments. I will be happy to reply, and hope you will share your recipes for turning your own CSA shares into culinary works of art.

Bon Appetit! 

 

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