Back from the dead

(Or, at least that’s what it feels like.)

This has been a string of tough days and weeks on the real life front, and my  cooking and blogging have suffered. I hope that this has turned a corner, and we can get back to our regularly scheduled summer abundance.

I’ve been sick for two and a half weeks now, though I’ve finally turned a corner and would call myself “mostly better.” Unfortunately, that meant I was sick throughout a brief family vacation to southern Delaware. I still managed to meet my one cooking goal while down there: Aunt Suzy had commented on how appealing my fritatta recipe looked, and I was able to make one for all of us for breakfast at the condo. I’d forgotten how irksome it is to use unfamiliar pans, but it came out okay, regardless.

I used spinach and garlic scapes from my Bloomfield-Montclair CSA share, and summer squash from Coeur et Sol.

What are garlic scapes, you ask?

Whole, they are long and twisty. This is one cut up into sections. They’re the green part that grows out of the top of garlic. They are like a firmer, garlic-flavored chive. They stir fry well, and they pretty seamlessly go into recipes where you’d use garlic (like this breakfast). They also make a mean pesto, but I can do another post on that, later.

I brought all of both of my shares down to the condo with me. Of course, I ended up trucking quite a bit home, but we did eat Crazy Salad at a few meals.

I kept thinking of this salad as a Tale of Two CSAs. The base salad mix came from Coeur et Sol, but there’s spinach in there from Farmer John. The radishes and kohlrabi were from Chelsa, but the carrots came from Farmer John’s booth at the farmer’s market.

… If you’re asking yourself, “What the heck is kohlrabi?” right now, you’re not alone. Kohlrabi was the first “odd” vegetable I experienced via CSA, and from my google searches in the past, I am not alone.

This pudgy, alien-looking vegetable is Kohlrabi. It also comes in purple, though both are white on the inside. It looks like a root, but it’s actually a bulbous stem. It’s a brassica – related to broccoli and cabbage. (Pro tip: this means the kohlrabi scraps do NOT go in the scrap bag for stock. Brassicas get smelly when they simmer.) One use for kohlrabi (the one Farmer John recommends repeatedly, though I do enjoy roasting) is to use it like jicama. I did just that for the salad, thanks to a grater I found in the condo kitchen.

Honestly, it’s perfectly fine like that. It adds a different texture and layer of flavor to the salad. However, I love cubing kohlrabi and roasting it, often with other root vegetables and a bunch of spices. I did this the previous week, with some radishes.

Yum, yum, yummmmmmm.

Surprise Bonus Eggs

For anyone who follows my twitter (@omgcsa), this post is not a surprise and is largely repeating myself.

This week, we got a 4-pack of colorful eggs along with our microgreens!

I immediately wanted to implement them for breakfast on Tuesday, so I planned to make a fritatta. Fritattas are super versatile and easy. I’ve always loved omelettes, but I’m hopeless at flipping them without making a mess. Fritattas are the answer.

To build any fritatta, scramble your desired number of eggs with some milk (non-dairy milk works fine, too, if you have some degree of lactose intolerance, like myself). Whisk in spices and herbs of your choice. Cheese as well, if you’re so inclined. If you’re using large greens, onions, etc, saute them in the pan first. With the microgreens, I added them directly to the egg mixture – I didn’t want them to overcook. Dump everything in a frying pan and cook, without touching anything, until the eggs are mostly solid with some puddles on top. Transfer the pan to the broiler and cook until lightly brown on top.

Fritattas hold up well as leftovers, so often, during regular CSA season, I  often make them on Tuesday nights for the next couple of days’ breakfasts. When we have a large influx of greens, it’s a good way to get a head start on using them.

My plan for this fritatta was to use the remaining beet microgreens and the new Genovese basil microgreens, along with some soy cheese, garlic, and black pepper. I did end up doing this with three out of the four eggs…


…after my preschool-age son demanded, at eight o’clock at night, that I scramble  the blue egg for him. He ate it all, so I’m glad that I agreed to this out-of-the-ordinary snack.



Salad Turnips

If your experience is like mine, you’ve never encountered the phrase “salad turnips” before shopping at a farmer’s market or being a member of a CSA. Salad turnips are, in my experience, much closer to radishes than to turnips. Visually, they even look like white radishes:

The entire plant is edible. The bulb at the  bottom is like a radish, though usually with a bit more of a sharp bite. The greens can be used the same way one would use beet greens (or, actually, radish greens). The  bulbs can, as the name suggests, be put into salads, which is perfectly delicious. My fellow CSA members have suggested that roasting them is a way to curb the sharpness and bring out the sweetness. Every year, I enter the season intending to experiment… and then they all disappear. How do I eat salad turnips? Like chips:

I scrub the bulbs, halve them, and then cut them in thin half-moons. I then use them to dip in hummus. They are DELICIOUS like this. I’m dead serious when I say that there are none left to experiment with each time they appear in a share.

So, let’s talk about the greens. Today, Farmer John suggested that they could be sauteed or put into a soup.

Since we had onions and bell peppers in today’s share, I have garlic around from the Pocono Garlic Festival, and it was an egg week (we get egg/poultry shares from Griggstown Farm on alternate weeks), I decided to make a fritatta. Normally, one thinks of a fritatta as a dinner meal. Sometimes, we eat them for dinner, but often I’ll make them ahead for breakfasts for a few days.

Fritattas are basically crustless quiches. I sauteed the onions in extra virgin olive oil over medium low heat until they got soft, then added the garlic for about a minute. Then I added the red bell peppers and salad turnip greens until the greens started to wilt. In a separate bowl, I scrambled 6 eggs with some milk, some pepper, and some parmesan cheese. I poured that into the pan, and cooked it over medium heat until the eggs mostly set, then transferred the skillet to the broiler until the top was cooked.

The beauty of the fritatta is that, aside from the eggs, milk, and (usually) cheese, all of the ingredients are up for debate. Onions and garlic are always good. some other vegetable is tasty. Sausage, ham, or chicken  is able to be added. Greens always work – mustard greens, tatsoi, spinach, kale, beet greens, carrot tops… It’s all about method. Sautee, pour over scrambled egg mixture, set, broil.

I only used about half of the greens in the fritatta, so I was left with a choice. I chose soup. I’d originally planned for Wednesday night’s dinner to be a soup that I’d frozen in the spring,  along with salad, but I made a soup that will take its place.

I sauteed onion and garlic, then added potato and sauteed for a while longer. Then I added salad turnip greens and sauteed until they started to wilt. I added homemade vegetable stock, a can of cannelini beans, and spiced to taste. I simmered until the potatoes got soft, and ta-daa! I have half of dinner for tomorrow.

So, today’s lesson is: salad turnips are awesome. If they’re a choice in your share, get them. If you see them in the farmer’s market, get them. GET THEM. EAT ALL THE SALAD TURNIPS.

Chomp, chomp. Nom, nom. Goodnight.