Instead of doing my favorite part of running a CSA while the gardens are a mud bog, I am putting my attention into The Country Gardens Test Kitchen. One of us attempts to test each recipe that will end up on the boxes during the season (there are a few thrown in that we don’t get to before the print deadline).
To be honest, I am not a chef. I used to trade my brother his outdoor chores for my kitchen chores when I was growing up! There a couple issues with running a test kitchen when you are a gardener rather than a chef.
First, I am a free spirit kind of cook. I find myself making substitutions, adding things, skipping steps, combining two recipes… So I make something tasty that works out and I couldn’t tell you how I actually made it! When you pick up your box and read your recipes this summer…remember that the “bones” of the recipe are good but feel free to create your own special recipe.
Second, my kids aren’t the best taste testers. My husband will try just about anything…once. It makes for a challenging meal time and when you try to cram 10+ new recipes into a two week span, mutiny is considered. It is also hard to smile and encourage your kids to try something that you would like to feed to the chickens instead of eat for yourself. Last season, I made a soup and bread combination for lunch that none of us wanted to eat. I find recipes that include bacon are the best crowd pleasers!
Third, I am even less used to buying produce at the store than you are! I get at least an additional month (actually longer) of fresh vegetables out of my garden then a CSA member! Even during the winter, I am using canned, frozen and dried produce from the past season. To actually buy a bundle of beets or a bunch of kale seems CRAZY! I also know that many of the items that I need to buy are out of season and will not be as delicious as they could be. I may be a little bit of a produce snob…
One of our hopes is that we can introduce you to new vegetables and help you find ways that you like to eat them. We know it isn’t always popular but we try to incorporate some of the lesser known vegetables into your basket a couple times during the season. This allows you to try a couple different recipes and maybe hit on the one that you like. We also try to help give you new ideas for the common vegetables that show up regularly in your basket.
Here is the list of “must find a recipe for” vegetables: kohlrabi, garlic scapes, kale, beets, fennel, eggplant, tomatillo, pak choi, summer squash, cucumbers, turnips, swiss chard, leeks, fingerling potatoes, winter squash and parsnips. I have six that have made the final list…only a dozen left to go.
Remember, our website has a recipe box full of past season’s recipes and I attempt at adding recipes and ideas to our Pinterest page on a regular basis. Bookmark and follow us so that you can make the most out of your basket.
Have a great recipe that you found last year, an old favorite or a new one you want someone else to try first? Share it with me. I will run it through the TCG Test Kitchen and give it our rating.
Off to the stove…tonight’s menu: Roast Chicken with Rosemary Roasted Beets and Sautéed Brussel Sprouts. I love it when the menu sounds fancy but the prep is easy!