CSA box: Week two (with a recipe)


I’m officially in over my head. I don’t know what some of this stuff is!

And underneath the bags of lettuce…

That yellow thing?? Green ropes next to that? You eat and cook that??

I picked up this box of yummy foods, some of which I had never seen before, and headed over to a friend’s house. My husband, the kid and I were scheduled to leave on a vacation far, far away by plane the following day and so I knew that I had to give some of this produce to my friend. I gave her some parsley, some lettuce, some spinach, and the entire bunch of the mystery herb (which I think you guys identified as oregano). Yeah, I chickened out on the mystery herb.

I knew that the rest of the the veggies would survive in our crisper while we were gone.

The CSA box contained:

  • 2 bunches of lettuce
  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 1 bag mystery green/ Tuscano kale?
  • 1 large bunch of parsley
  • 1 bunch mystery herb/oregano
  • 4-5 green ropes/garlic scapes
  • 1 bunch onions/scallions
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow summer squash
  • 1 head cabbage
  • 1 bunch of beets
  • 1 bunch broccoli

So I’ve made salad again. A lot of salad. But before I get into that, I wanted to share that I made radish chips with last week’s radishes. I didn’t know what to do with the radishes as I find them bitter. So I Googled ‘radish recipes’ and found a few for radish chips (source, source, and source). I figured since kale chips are such a big hit with my son, these guys would be too.

Before and…


My husband and my son thought they were pretty good. Truth be told, I found the radish chips to be on the bitter side. But they must have left an impression on my son. Every now and then he mentions that he loves radishes. I guess I’m going to have to get more.

The garlic scapes are amazing by the way. I only just figured out what they were and so I cooked with them tonight. I would never have had the courage to buy these, but since they were thrust upon me, I had to figure out how to cook with them. All I did was slice them and fry them in a pan with some olive oil (then added andouille sausage). It’s like a garlion (garlic/onion). Smells terrific frying in a pan. I’m hooked!

And I made a beet salad…

Wash the beets

Cut off the ends. Douse in olive oil. Sprinkle salt. Oh and I roasted a portobello mushroom too (not in the CSA box)

Arrange a salad (I used lettuce, spinach, parsley, green onions, yellow pepper)

I love eggs. I didn’t cut them up and spread them over the greens because that’s just too messy. Better to cut them up over individual plated salads.

Some of the beets look psychedelic!

My plate!

I’m not going to give much of a recipe here. Here’s the recipe I used to roast the beets. Also, I’m working on perfecting my portobello roasting formula. Usually I like to try something twice before I share it. And I’m not sure I can eat that many beets again. They were so delicious that I ate a ton of beets. My husband and my son were not as crazy about beets as I was. I thought they were amazing. When you eat that many, your plate and hands get stained with bright purple beet juice.

But later I paid.

The next morning I used the bathroom. My pee was pink! The only reason I’m revealing this highly personal information is to warn you. I panicked that there was something wrong with me like some kind of infection or kidney issue, even though I felt fine. I thought I would have to go to the doctor. But I consulted Google and found out that if you eat a lot of beets, you may pee pink. Or other things. Ahem.

So I waited because I felt no pain. Sure enough, it was very temporary.

Oh the perils of a CSA box!

(And I’m taking suggestions for the squash! I’m thinking I’ll roast it.)

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55 thoughts on “CSA box: Week two (with a recipe)

  1. Mmmm!! This looks amazing!! @_:disqus ^_^ thanks for sharing! Maybe someday I’ll have the courage to try this out!
    (Anything with Garlic in it hast to be good)

  2. Those are chioggia beets, my favorite kind for that awesome bullseye!

    Does your CSA provider not give suggestions for cooking? Most farmers will give you ideas if you ask or can at least identify what you don’t know so you can go home and recipe search later.

      1. Braising = First you sear then slow cook with liquid (stock, sauce, etc.).

        I’ll second the garlic scape pesto suggestion.

        Another idea is roast a lot of these vegetables at once w/garlic and herbs and then serve with a poached egg on top.  Add potatoes if you need more substance.

      2. You could also braise the cabbage with bacon, Mrs. Q, which you’ve mentioned your family likes.  Dice 4 to 6 strips bacon and fry in a Dutch oven (or large soup pot) until crisp.  Meanwhile, cut a head of cabbage into quarters, cut out core from each quarter, and slice cabbage into 1/2 to 3/4 inch shreds.  Once bacon is crisp, remove to a paper towel and allow to drain so it stays crisp.  Turn heat to medium, add sliced cabbage to pot that contains bacon drippings, and give it a good stir.  Add a large diced onion and give it another good stir.  Core 2 apples (any kind) and dice them (do not peel).  Add to pot and stir again.  Once the mixture is heated through and bubbling, reduce heat to low and cover pot.  The cabbage, onion, and apples will release their juices and provide the braising liquid.  Cook, stirring every 10-15 min., until everything has softened and broken down (you’ll no longer be able to distinguish the apple skins from the cabbage).  Remove lid and turn heat back up to med.  Cook until most of the juices have evaporated.  Remove from heat.  Add 1 or 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar (white vinegar works fine, too) and salt and pepper to taste.  The amount of vinegar will vary depending on your taste preference and how sweet the apples were.  Transfer to a serving bowl (or individual plates) and crumble crisp bacon pieces on top.  This recipe also works beautifully with red cabbage or savoy cabbage.

  3. The green ropes are garlic scapes. They are yummy! You can slice them up and eat them raw, but I like to roast them and toss them into panzanella (or something). They also make amazing pesto (use them in place of basil).

    1. Seconding the garlic scapes in pesto. This year, we’ve been doing several pestos with our CSA box, and our favorite has to be garlic scapes + handfuls of spinach + salt/pepper. Add olive oil (more standard pesto) or cream cheese (amazing green sandwich spread!) and food process. Yum.

  4. The yellow squash is a patty pan (sometimes pat-a-pan). It’s like zucchini only milder. It’s one of my favorites. You can cook it up with those garlic scapes.

  5. Make garlic scape pesto if you get any more garlic scapes. Cut 6 or 7 garlic scapes into 1 inch pieces and put into a food processor. Add about 1/2 Cup olive oil and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or asiago cheese (I’m not sure what the non-dairy equivalent would be).

    You can use that as a dip, put it over some gluten-free pasta (I like Tinkyada), or my favorite: mix it w/a bit of pizza sauce and put it on a Kinnikinnick GF pizza shell, add some cheese (substitute) and your favorite toppings (sliced mushrooms for me) and bake according to the pizza directions. Absolutely delicious.

    The garlic scape pesto is supposed to freeze well also. They are only available from our local farm a couple week each year and I’m regretting I only went once in that time-frame and of course didn’t get enough to freeze any pesto! Next year!!

  6. I forgot to mention to then turn on the food processor and chop those three ingredients all up together.

  7. squash can be roasted, grilled, sauteed, and I also like to shred it with a grater, sautee it, and mix it up in a breakfast scramble.  My boys like it sliced, steamed, and tossed with butter and salt.  And yeah, the beet thing – many mornings of panic and then remembering that I ate beets for dinner.  

  8. One of the families I work for gets a CSA box and it always comes with a list of what’s inside. I’m surprised yours doesn’t (though maybe that’s not common?). I love roasted squash, but you could also try making ratatouille–it invloves a lot of chopping, but it’s totally worth it! Have fun experiencing all these new veggies!

  9. Summer squash is really good if you sautee in olive oil it with some mushrooms and a few fresh or dried herbs (oregano would be perfect – don’t chicken out if you get another bunch of it!) and then toss it with some pasta. Super easy dinner. Or, little bits of sauteed squash are a tasty addition to an omlette. I also like putting it in stir fry.

  10. I had a similar experience with beets a few years back.  It looked like someone had dumped Hawaiian Punch in the lu.  I didn’t put 2 & 2 together until the next morning, luckily before I called my doctor.

    That yellow summer squash is a patty pan squash.  Roasting it along with the zucchini is a great option.    There are a zillion things you can do with roasted squash.  When I roast it, I just drizzle with little olive oil and season with salt & pepper.  I stir it every 15-20 min. while roasting (325 to 425 degrees depending on what else I’m roasting or baking at the same time).  It’s delicious served just like that with a little lemon juice or parmesan cheese on top.  You could try a little of that mystery herb mixed into your roasted squash to see if you like it (the herb, that is).  

    You can add roasted squash to pasta dishes like lasagna or pasta salad or just spaghetti with marinara for that matter.  Roasted squash also makes a great pizza topping and I love it in sandwiches especially with some feta, goat cheese, or fresh mozzarella.  It’s also great in quesadillas, tostadas, enchiladas, and burritos.  Since you like eggs so much, you could top tostada shells with roasted squash, cheese (cotija or queso fresco is delicious here if you have access to Spanish ingredients but any kind will do, maybe daiya for you and your son), a fried egg, and a bit of salsa or pico de gallo.

    Raw zucchini slices made a great dipper for hummus.  They also make an unexpected addition to a raw veggie platter.

    When I have an overabundance of zucchini, I make zucchini boats.  Cut the squash in half lengthwise.  Using a teaspoon, scoop out the seeds and some of the flesh.  I don’t have a formal recipe for the filling but here’s a rough description of how I make it.  I brown ground lamb and then I add garlic, diced onions and red pepper and season with salt, pepper, cumin, and ground coriander.  You can also add the stuff you scooped out of the zucchini if you like.  Continue to cook until the vegetables are soft.  Then I add fresh mint and another fresh green herb, usually oregano, marjoram, or savory.  Then I add a little tomato paste and water and simmer until the raw tomato taste is gone.  Then I combine some cooked brown rice with the lamb mixture.  I stuff that into the hollowed out zucchini, drizzle lightly with a little olive oil, and roast for maybe 30-40 min. at 375 degrees until the zucchini is soft and the lamb mixture is slightly brown on top.

    Lisa at 100 Days of Real Food posted a great recipe for zucchini chips recently:  http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2011/06/28/recipe-zucchini-chips/
    (Hope you don’t mind that I shared it here, Lisa.)  I think you could use slices of patty pan in this recipe as well.

  11. Sometimes radishes turn bitter if it gets too hot before they’re harvested, which might be the case for you…. You could try sauteing them to see if that makes them a bit more palatable for you… 

  12. The squash is a pattypan. You cook it like any other summer squash. You don’t have enough of it for my favorite recipe, so I’ll share it later.

    Beets also make your poo pink. You can eat them grated on salads too. YUM.

    As for scapes, they have a short season, and I love every minute of it. I use them (among other things) to make stirfry. Scapes, green beans, red and yellow peppers, one hot chili, cauliflower, and carrots cooked with mustard seeds, cumin, and a little garam masala. Serve it with lentils and tomatoes on the side, and maybe some raita. Mmm.

    1. Your stir fry suggestion sounds really good!  I’ll have to give it a try.  Cauliflower and bell peppers are super cheap and fresh here right now.

  13. LOL!  When I was expecting my first my secretary at work shared with me that when she was a young mom she had the fright of her life.  She fed her new-to food baby pureed beets and thought his insides were falling out!

  14. I remember the overwhelmed feeling most weeks the first year we got our CSA shares.  FWIW, this year you’ll spend a ton of time figuring out what things are and some stuff will go bad in the process, but next year you’ll know and you’ll be much better prepared!

    1. I have a feeling next year will be better. On the flip side, it’s so cool that this is all new!

  15. Mrs. Q:  the “psychedelic beets” are called candy cane beets.  In my CSA box (the one you inspired me to sign up for — although we just got our 8th box) I didn’t know what to do with the beets, but a recipe for beet brownies appeared with the box.  The beets provide sugar and a flavor akin to darker chocolate. 
    Zucchini sauteed in a little butter or sesame oil with the garlic snapes tossed in is a lovely side dish. 
    And I concur with Emily, that my box also comes with a list.  The farm also has a website of what the vegetables look like, in case one is not sure. 
    Good luck (sounds like you’re sharing in my excitement of “new vegetable, what to do?”)

  16. I don’t like yellow squash, but if you grate it finely and throw it into pasta sauce, it disappears and seems to make the sauce yummier. You can grate it and freeze it, too. So when I’m overloaded, I freeze the squash in baggies of about 3/4 cups of grated squash, then throw in a baggy-full per jar of bottled sauce.

  17. Welcome to the world of CSAs! It’s our third year this season. My husband and I, while far from professional bloggers, host a food blog about the world of local eating. It can be hard to find recipes and methods for all that strange produce, and so we’ve created a database of recipes we’ve tried. If you want to use it as a resource, I would be honored: http://www.localdish.net. The search function is especially helpful. A lot of our Colorado-based food information might not apply (or does it? 😛 ), but beets and scapes are some of our favorites, too.

  18. We ahve been a member of a great CSA for 10 years. They hire a chef each year to cook for the crew and to write and share recipes via our newsletter – I have learned so much about food! Their website has a recipe index that you can search by ingredient that is really useful. http://www.harmonyvalleyfarm.com

    Also I have found the Madison Area CSA cookbook  From Asparagus to Zucchini really helpful at the beginning of our time with tha CSA. Enjoy your CSA. I now love looking forward to the veggies that I know are coming and I know know so many veggies that I would have never thought about and every once in a while I am surprised – last week we had radish pods for the first time!


    1. Another fantastic Web site with ideas for using vegetables.  Many thanks for the link.

  19. Radishes are delicious sauteed in butter.  Also, take a raw, cleaned and dried radish, dip it in softened butter and sprinkle with sea salt – amazing!  The squash just slice in half, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast cut side down until tender.  This method works well with most squash.  Bon appetit!

  20. I’m now in my 3rd year with my CSA – and yes, it does get easier. We don’t have box drops, we all go up to the barn to get our distributions, which means we have great times talking and swapping stories and recipes in the barn. 

    After one session of giving the -same- recipe suggestion to 7 people in a row, however, I began my tiny blog about what’s in the CSA box, and what I cook with it. Maybe it will help you, or your readers! 

    You might especially like the posting from July 1. I recommend the garlic scape and white bean dip, which is healthy and yummy. And we found that the dip itself is a great way to use up other vegetables from the week. Radishes and kohlrabi are especially good with that dip. 


  21. Wanna die and go to heaven?
    GREEN lasagne.  With Garlic scapes and spinach.  Make the garlic scape pesto THEN add it to a basic white sauce.  Use that layered with cooked spinach/ sauteed onions.  Then layer pasta sheets and scape cream sauce.  EauMahGah.  You will DIE>  Add mascarpone if you are truly a glutton.  And/or homemade ricotta/basil/parsley/parmesan.
    Seriously.  You will be the most popular wife ever.

  22. Even easier way to roast beets (with no added fat) is to cut the greens about 1 inch or so from the beet, wash them and wrap in foil.  Bake in the oven about 350 for 30 minutes or so (depending on size).  If I’m not ready to use them I put them in a container and leave them in the foil.  When you want to use them, remove foil, cut off top and bottom, peel (slips right off) and eat.  So yummy!  We get a “bounty box” from our local foods grocery.  So far I’ve liked it even better than a CSA since they aren’t held to one farm.  We’ve had garlic scapes, zucchini, squash, greens (lettuces, chard, kale, etc.), beets, tomatoes, peaches, canteloupe, blueberries, new potatoes, corn, basil, onions, garlic… next week they’ll have watermelon!  So much fun!

  23. I love that yellow thingy (squash), it is yummy with stews and stuff, but here in SA we only get small ones…usually the big ones like that is bitter…but that is in SA…

  24. My CSA would always include a few recipes in an email to subscribers every week, especially if there was weird stuff (one of the farmers was a chef, so the first box actually also always came with a cookbook!). I loved trying all the new stuff.

    1. I’m really enjoying the new veggies too! We just got a cookbook in the mail too. Very helpful!

  25. Our CSA from Watsonville, CA has a great database of recipes that go back 15 years.  They are organized by vegetable ingredient and each one I’ve tried has been simple and successful.  I’m also surprised your CSA doesn’t include a list of what’s in the box.  We get ours emailed a few days ahead so we know what we’ll be getting.  Here’s the database:  http://www.writerguy.com/deb/recipes/keyingred.html

  26. I know you love goat cheese, Mrs. Q.  Since you love roasted beets too, I’ll throw my favorite recipe idea out there with everyone else.  Roasted beet and goat cheese salad… it’s too good to describe.  There is something so yummy about the flavor of roasted beets and goat cheese together!

    This salad is simple.  To each serving plate/bowl of lettuce add: roasted beet wedges, thinly sliced red onions, and crumbled goat cheese.  Dressing: 1 tsp. finely chopped shallots (I often use onion), 2 tsp. dijon mustard, 2 T balsamic vinegar, 2 T extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.  Whisk the dressing up in a bowl or in a small processor.  That’s it!  It’s my favorite salad ever… so amazing!  I usually roast my beets wrapped in foil (no oil), once they cool, the peel comes right off.

  27. Also, any type of summer squash and zuccini is awesome if you slice and saute in olive oil with chopped, fresh garlic.  Season with salt and pepper, and any fresh herbs of your choice.  Mmmm… I LOVE summer food!  🙂

  28. I think that it is a wonderful thing to purchase a crop share. You are supporting the community as well as receiving fresh amazing produce at a fraction on the cost. I enjoy getting “out of the norm” veggies to prepare for a delicious dinner. You last CSA post made me laugh. The arugula comment is something my children would also say. I agree, it can be bitter. However, coming from a pasta loving family, I have an amazing arugula pesto recipe. Its quick and easy. Throw some arugula, basil, olive/grapeseed oil, garlic, pinenuts, salt and pepper, parm cheese(can be left out for you dietary needs) into a blender or food processor. The basil and oil cut the bitterness of the arugula while still getting the fresh taste. We toss on pasta, use in place of sauce on pizzas, or drizzle over fresh tomatoes and peppers for a great salad dressing. YUM! Love reading your posts!

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