I loved having a box of organic vegetables delivered to the doorstep every week. Until about the third week.
"Oh look, kale again," my husband said, peering over my shoulder at the contents, which included kale, kale, a head of cabbage, and kale.
I started delivery for the usual reasons: to support farmers, to connect the food on the plate to the field where it grew, and to force my children to eat more vegetables (or any vegetables, for that matter). With a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box, you're buying a share in one farm's seasonal harvest. But it's not like going to a farmer's market (or even a good grocery), where a glorious universe awaits. The box is at the whim of the elements. Drought, pestilence, wind storms, wild fires, and even raccoons can affect the harvest—and lead to a lot of kale (kale -- you know we love you). Other times, you'll get lucky. Every week is a surprise. Here's what to make for dinner after you open the box:
Above: Carrots and snap peas and turnips and ... mystery greens. What to do with tough greens? Braise them. For a recipe, see Nourished Kitchen.
Above: Asparagus and onions and parsnips. For easy roasted parsnips, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel and dice into one-inch cubes. Toss with olive oil and your favorite chopped herb (I like rosemary on parsnips) and salt and pepper to taste. Spread in one layer on a low-sided baking sheet and roast until crispy. Image by Bill Roehl, via Flickr.
Above: Rainbow chard and tomatoes and a small, sweet watermelon. To make a Rainbow Chard Salad with Raisins and Walnuts, go to The Kitchn. And for dessert, chill the watermelon and slice; arrange on a platter and sprinkle with chopped mint. Image by Noelle Renee Markee, via Flickr.
Above: Notice the blueberries? The other night, I went to Julie's for dinner, and for dessert she served New England Instant Blueberry Pudding. Here's her recipe: Cube five handfuls of white bread. In a deep sauce pan, melt a stick of butter. Saute the bread cubes until golden. Stir in in half a handful of sugar and then add two handfuls of blueberries, which will essentially melt immediately. Voila. Image by Heisler, via Flickr.
Above: And now for something completely kale. I had an excellent curly kale salad the other day at Tremont on Bank Street in New York City -- a mound of glossy dark green ribbons dressed simply in olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. To replicate, remove the tough center stems. Then chop the kale leaves finely. Toss with dressing and a light dusting of freshly grated parmiagano reggiano cheese. Serve on a platter. To get fancy, sprinkle some toasted pine nuts or walnuts -- whatever's in the cupboard -- on top. Image by Suzie's Farm, via Flickr.