CSA: Week One

Can you guess what this is?

It’s not a leek or a really large green onion (which were my initial guesses).

For several years now I’ve thought about joining a CSA. For those of you not in the know, CSA stands for community supported agriculture. You give the farmer some money in the winter/early spring and they give a box of food every week in the summertime. It supports local farmers and forces you to eat food that is in season. Not a bad deal. But, you have to be around all summer and you have to be willing to eat a LOT of vegetables. Neither of which I was willing to commit to 100%. So a friend and decided to split a share. We’ll split the boxes when we are both in town and somehow manage to get through an entire box when one of us is out of town (and amazingly none of our travel dates overlap). We ended up going to a CSA fair earlier in the spring and ended up deciding on Featherstone Farm, partly because of the long season (21 weeks), the promise of some fruits along with the vegetables and because they had a super convenient drop-off site. The boxes are dropped off at a restaurant in our neighborhood on Thursday afternoons and last Thursday was the first week of the season.

I was beyond excited about getting the first box of food. Mostly because of the likelihood getting more rhubarb (as indicated by the weekly newsletter by the farm). But also to see how I would face the challenge of cooking the things in the box. It’s kind of a toned down version of Chopped (at least in my head). So here’s what we got: salad greens, spinach, radishes, asparagus, rhubarb and something I’ve never seen or really heard of before – green garlic. So I immediately googled “green garlic” and learned it’s really just young garlic, harvested before the cloves develop. You don’t see it at most supermarkets because they get all of their garlic from China and the farmers there don’t harvest it. It’s a stronger flavor than a green onion, but not as intense as mature garlic. To say that I felt like a complete food yuppie because it was in my kitchen would be an understatement. Then I started searching for recipes.

I decided on Green Garlic and Spinach Souffle. Having never used this ingredient or made a souffle before, I wasn’t confident in how this dish would turn out – but I think I did a pretty good job of it. I mean, it really was just cheesy eggs with garlic and spinach.

Green Garlic and Spinach Souffle

adapted from Local Flavors

Green garlic infusion
1/2 cup green garlic, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1 cup half and half
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bunch spinach
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 1/3 cups milk
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 ounces goat cheese
4 egg yolks
6 egg whites

Preheat oven to 375º. Butter two 3-cup baking dishes (or one 6-cup souffle dish) and dust with some of the grated parmesan. Set aside.

Combine the half and half, green garlic and onions and dried thyme in a saucepan. Bring slowly to a boil. Once boiling, turn off heat, cover and let steep for 15 minutes.

Wash spinach well and wilt in skillet. Drain well, removing excess liquid and finely chop.

Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour and cook for a minute or two. Whisk in milk and stir until it thickens.

Add salt, parmesan and goat cheese, cooking until melted. Whisk in egg yolks.

Turn off heat and whisk in  spinach and garlic cream mixture.

Whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. (For some reason I lost my mind and decided to do this by hand with a whisk – I do not recommend this!). Fold in egg whites to the base. Scrape batter into baking dishes and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.

I was particularly pleased with how this dish came out, given my earlier concerns.

There will be no CSA: Week Two post as I am in Florida right now with Scott and his family. In fact there may be a lack of posts in general due to the general nature of vacation and the crappy internet connection.


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