Thursday, June 9, 2011

CSA Week 1 -

We received our first  CSA boxes from Great Country  Farms and it was beautiful.  I am used to our produce delivery from Washington Green Grocer, which is always organic, fresh and filled with a wonderful assortment of fruits and vegetables.  Since WGC gets their produce from a variety of sources we were able to get an assortment of items and have some choice, to a limited extent, over what we would get.  With a CSA you get what you get and this is part of the reason I was always a little hesitant to join one.  At this point I am not able to depend on them as our sole source of produce, but that is ok because it is farmer's market season and we are lucky enough to have great markets throughout the week.
The first week we received strawberries, garlic scape, kale, lettuce, spring onions, asparagus and a small basil plant, which was a great surprise.
The basil plant went right into the herb garden, where it is thriving.  The strawberries went right into my kids' bellies.  They didn't even save me one, I had to eat the little bits leftover near the stem, not something I would do on ordinary strawberries, but these were so fresh it was worth it.  I roasted the asparagus with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and served it as a side, it was so incredibly fresh it needed very little done to it. I'm not a big fan of lettuce and was certain this would be the one item still in the fridge at the end of the week, but I am happy to report that I did use it all up by putting it on sandwiches and making a small salad.  The green onions were thrown in to my small salad and pretty much every other dish I made this week, again they really were much tastier than green onions you would pick up at the store.

The garlic scape was my challenge for the week.  At first I didn't think I had even received it.  I was looking for something that resembled garlic, but it turns out that scape is a beautiful green curly Q that resembles the top of a green onion.  After some searching around I decided to make garlic scape pesto, I was tempted by a white bean and scape dip, but went with the pest since my family needed dinner and probably wouldn't be happy with just dip. 

The pesto was wonderful.  Definitely garlicky, but not over the top.  I tossed it with pasta and grilled chicken, one of our favorite summer meals, and it was a nice change from the usual basil pesto.  

Garlic Scape Pesto

10 (approximately) Garlic Scapes chopped
1/4 c. Walnuts, lightly roasted
1/2 (approximately) Olive Oil
1/4 c. Grated Parmigiano cheese 

In a food processor combine garlic scapes and walnuts.  Blend until smooth and combined.  With the processor still running slowly add the olive oil forming a paste.  Scoop pesto into mixing bowl, gently mix in cheese.

Garlic Pesto Pasta and Chicken

1 1lb Box Penne Pasta
2 c. Chicken, cooked cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 c. Garlic Scape Pesto

Cook pasta following directions on box.  Strain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta water.  Place pasta in serving bowl, add chicken and pesto.  Stir to combine adding pasta water as needed to help coat pasta and chicken.