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CSAs and Meal Planning

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Spinning off the recent swiss chart post, is anyone else in a CSA? We are!

If so, how do you plan meals if you are not quite sure what you are getting from week to week?

What kind of things are you getting, and what you are going to do with them?

This week, we got:
-lettuce (red and green leaf) - made salad for potluck
-swiss chard - frittata with tomatoes - YUM!
-garlic snapes - used like garlic in other dishes
-spinach - Mediterranean tuna casserole
-rhubarb - gave to friend who likes to bake pies cause I knew I wouldn't get around to it!
-strawberries - ate, delicious
-fennel - no idea what to do--any suggestions??

I love fresh, local summer produce!
post #2 of 17

I bet we're in the same CSA!

I am also in the Chicago area and we basically got the same, but garlic greens not snape. Next week we get garlic snape. Last night I made this awesome polenta w/tomatoes and used the garlic greens and spinach. The recipe was in the moosewood simple suppers cookbook.
Do you want me to post it? I don't know protocal for posting recipes...
Anyway, I found this cookbook was perfect, because it is vegetarian it uses many more unusual vegetable ingredients. So I just look in the index and there is a recipe for almost everything in the box! Now for the garlic greens I just substituted instead of garlic and used about half the bunch, chopping only the harder parts through the firm greens. I think there is a lot of leeway in some recipes and you just have to think of what would taste good to you.
By the way, what is so great about this cookbook is most of the recipes take 30 minutes or less (and that is real time not rachel ray time and they use a lot of pantry items. So CSA boxes are great or just a quick trip to whole foods!
Also if you are in the same CSA the newsletter each week usually tells you what to expect for the next week, so you can plan a little!
Good Luck
post #3 of 17
I am actually in two CSA's and it is really making it challenging to meal plan. I think I am just going to start having a pasta night, a quesdilla night, beans night. meat night, and other stuff. We don't get told what we might expect next week in either CSA. Thi week I got CSA 1: lettuce, chard, turnips, kohlrabi, garlic scapes, basil, storage potatoes, and radishes. CSA 2: lettuce, spinach, carrots, kohlrabi, brocoli, peas, strawberries, and beets. We had an amazing pasta with some of the carrots and the peas in a white ine sauce. We've had salad out our ears. I made a brocoli sandwich. Had spinach and garlic in red beans and rice. Had roasted potatoes. I am a scrupulous planner so this is hard for me. We live an hour away from town so I have to shop when I pick up the first basket with two little ones. I'm having issues!
post #4 of 17
We are in a CSA also but up here in Northern VT it is just starting. We got some herbs(oregano and thyme), kale (2 kinds), basil, radishes, fresh cut flowers. Next week we should get peas, little carrots, strawberries, kale, herbs, (maybe radishes) , fresh flowers possibly spinach and lettuce as well. It's been extremmely wet here so some stuff just isn;t growing well. Hopefullly it will eb dry a bit adn then it can really boom
This is our first year and we are mainly just using the recipes that they put in teh newsletter adn also some I've found on here. (We made kale quiche last week, had kale in potatoes and stirfry and I made pesto with the basil)
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Izzesmommy, I think we are in the same CSA! We are splitting our share with friends and they have been getting the newsletter with the preview, recipes, etc. Now they are forwarding to me which makes planning easier.

To others in CSAs, you might want to suggest to the organizers that they provide something like that. On the weekends, they email us a list of what they "forecast" for the upcoming week. This helps a lot with shopping and planning.
post #6 of 17
I'm also doing a chicago CSA and I just got my first box on Saturday. It's so exciting, but a little out of control. For two adultss we have three heads of lettuce, a huge bag of baby spinach, a huge bag of mixed salad greens, head of broc., zuccini, radishes, scallions, basil, and tons of oregano. So here it's salads twice a day. I'm thinking I might make a spinach pie and zuc. bread later in the week.

one of my problems is that I get so excited about the beautiful produce that i end up making recipes that are higher fat, more expensive, and more time consuming than I would otherwise, which negates some of good things about getting the CSA box.

Also, for people seeking more vegetable recipes, I recommend "A Midwest Gardener's Cookbook" by Marian Towne. It has tons of recipes divided by season and the recipes are really varied, from traditional midwestern and mennonite recipes, to all sorts of other ethnic recipes, and simple veg*n.

post #7 of 17
I'm having trouble keeping up with my CSA:

What I have in my fridge right now from a fruit/veggie perspective -
bok choy (2 heads)
Napa cabbage
salad mix
1 head curly leaf lettuce
1 head red leaf lettuce
1 head mezula (spelling??) - a leafy green, mild - probably could eat as salad or cook
2 heads kale
sugar snap peas - 1 quart
strawberries - 1-2 quarts (already made a pie, this is what's left)
beets - about 6 with greens
purple basil
cilantro - chopped up and placed in freezer (I do the same thing with parsley)
3 leeks

(I also have some potatoes and ripe bananas from the grocery store)

All organic, all very healthy, and I can't keep up!!!! :
My hubby and I are on an every other week delivery (can't imagine if we were getting weekly)

Any suggestions from old pros at this would be appreciated!!! All the recipes I can find for a lot of these things are for soup... but I'm 7 1/2 mos pregant, and it's June, so soup (unless it freezes well) might be difficult to eat a whole lot of...

Thanks for starting this thread.

ETA: I made freezer jam out of the remaining strawberries and I'm making pickled beets as we speak...

THANK YOU veganf.... I will likely make those stir fries
post #8 of 17
Here's what I'd probably make with that:

- a big salad obviously! of lettuces and mizuna w/ some sugar snap peas.
- stir-fried sesame cabbage over asian noodles.
- a green thai curry w/ the remaining peas, bok choy & basil (and whatever "meaty" thing you like) served over rice; accompanied by warm steamed beets w/ a miso tahini dressing.
- potato leek soup (which is equally yummy cooled to room temperature).
- kale sunflower veggie burgers; or chop, lightly steam, then freeze the kale for soups in the fall.
- freeze a quart of strawberries, use the rest for blending with yogurt or making a sorbet.
post #9 of 17
Originally Posted by kreyno4
-garlic snapes - used like garlic in other dishes
Garlic scapes are awesome in homemade hummus! Or for use in asian stir fries or pasta sauces like a pasta primavera.
post #10 of 17
Originally Posted by kreyno4
-rhubarb - gave to friend who likes to bake pies cause I knew I wouldn't get around to it!
-strawberries - ate, delicious
Next time you could just chop and mix with sugar, a little flour, etc. and cook just the filling in a pan then pour it over ice cream! Yummo!!

As for fennel recipes, I seem to recall there being a few at our CSA's website in the "recipe corner":
The day before our weekly pickup we receive a newsletter with a list of what we'll be getting. I wish it was a few days earlier so that I could plan grocery shopping better.
post #11 of 17
I plan my weekly menus according to my CSA box. I have six days to view the menu before I recieve the next box so that really helps. Anything leftover that we don't end up using, we just add to dh's daily vegetable juice.
post #12 of 17
I do the menu planing for the week the day we get our CSA box. ALso, our CSA has a recipe finder section on their web site. You can download pdfs of the recipes, which are simple and good. We just had the grated kohlrabi, whihc was excellent:
post #13 of 17
what is CSA?
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
CSA stands for community-supported agriculture. Basically a farm, or group of farms, sells "shares" of their harvest. Members pay a certain amount to receive a box of produce--fresh from the farm(s)--every week or every other week.

Members benefit by getting fresh, local produce without any middlemen. Farms benefit by having enrolled buyers who they can plan to sell to each week (as opposed to not knowing how much they will sell at a farmers' market) and by selling direct to consumers (instead of stores, restaurants, etc.)
post #15 of 17
Fortunately, my CSA includes a newletter with the box and it has recipes for each item in the box. We get our boxes on Wed and I do grocery shopping on Thrusday I'm having a hard time using up everything before we get another box. I've probably got 6 red onions and about 5 cucumbers. I can't take it anymore The only neighbors I know don't "do" veggies So I've got to find a way to eat all these! Anybody have a good recipe for red onions?

Tomorrow we're getting:
-Multi-color sweet corn
-summer crisp lettuce
-red lamuyo peppers
-yellow lamuyo peppers
-red lasoda potatoes
-more red onions :
-champagne grapes
-pink lady apples
post #16 of 17
Originally Posted by KeanusMomma
what is CSA?
here's one in your area: http://www.fairsharefarm.com/
post #17 of 17
One thing that helps me is to organize veggies into "kinds". For instance root things (beets, potatoes, carrots, even fennel!) which can be roasted. Green Leafy things (kale, spinach, beet greens, etc), which can be sauted, etc. I also have a few standby recipes that easily combine different veggies. My favorite, "I got a lot of odd things from the CSA, now what?" recipe:

Saute the onions in evoo
Add the slow cooking pieces of things (carrots, turnips, whatever)
Add the pieces of things that need a bit less cooking (broccoli, green beans)
When things are nice and tender, add some cut up tomatoes and throw in some pesto or herbs.

I realize that this isn't exactly a recipe, but it turns out delish!
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