Original post, Eating Local in the Lou, JUNE 3, 2014
Ah Summertime! Fresh produce is finally starting to pour in! Well...in the case of my small garden maybe not pouring in, its more of a trickle, just enough for a couple of nibbles. From my modest sized garden, we have so far enjoyed a tiny amount of fresh spinach, a few sugar snap peas, and one tiny finger eggplant. I’m certainly not growing enough to sustain a family but having fun with the process nonetheless.
To assure that we don’t starve while make believing that I'm an amazing farmer, we enjoy getting fresh summer produce from a Community Supported Agriculture membership (CSA for short).
This summer, we are trying out a new-ish CSA in the Lou. It is called Local Chefand last week was the first pick up. When I heard about this CSA I was intrigued. It is run by a CIA-trained, former Executive Chef named Rob Uyemura and his wife Mitzi. It is obvious that Chef Rob shares my passion for fresh, local and sustainable foods. This CSA not only includes fresh produce, but also offers pasture-raised meats, eggs, and local artisan cheeses. But what makes this CSA unique from all the rest are the chef made specialties. Each week, Chef Rob includes a few creations that he has cooked up.
Here’s a look at what we got in our first box:
Local Chef CSA week 1:
Red leaf lettuce
Farmhouse Colby Cheese
Maple garlic chive vinaigrette
Smoked “nose to tail” pork broth
Slow cooked heritage pork
One of the best aspects of being a member of a CSA is the creativity in cooking that results. Immediately after picking up my CSA box, my mind started racing with ideas of what to do with the contents. The radishes, lettuce and chef-made vinaigrette were an easy option- nice salad for lunch. The asparagus and baby leeks would be used in an Asparagus and Potato Galette. I spread the wealth of the box by sharing the oregano with a co-worker (since I have a WAZOO of oregano growing out of control in my own garden). As the chef suggested in the “Chef Notes”, the turnips, pork broth and slow-cooked pork made a nice light soup, served alongside another salad. And the strawberries…no creativity there- they barely made it out of the box before being gobbled by my hungry bunch.
We received not one, but three different varieties of kale- Dinosaur, Curly and Red Russian. I chopped all types together and made this Kale in Thai Peanut Sauce. The sauce was inspired by a “Sweet Sesame Noodles” recipe fromCooking Light that I tried last week. The sauce on these noodles was so tasty, it left me wanting more so tried it over the sautéed kale.
We still have a few of the box contents to enjoy including the whole chicken, a couple more leeks and the broccoli. I doubt it will be too difficult to figure out what to do with these items.
until next time...
Kale in Thai Peanut Sauce
- 2 tsp. coconut oil
- 1 bunch (about 4 cups chopped) fresh kale
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. dark sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. peanut butter
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
- Rinse kale, remove stems and roughly chop.
- Heat coconut oil in large skillet or wok. Add kale and garlic, saute on medium heat for about 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, peanut butter, sugar and red pepper.
- Pour sauce over kale, sprinkle with sesame seeds.