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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

CSA Goodness!

Whenever I mention our CSA goodies, I get a lot of questions.  What is CSA?  Do you have to drive all the way to the farm to pick things up?  How do you use all of those strange vegetables?
First, CSA stands for Consumer Supported Agriculture (CSA Explained).  We belong to a CSA through Avalon Acres Farm.  Each week during the spring/summer we receive a box of Tennessee grown produce.  You can also choose to get a meat selection.  This season, we are sharing a full-share of produce with friends and our delivery is taken to Otter Creek Church on Sunday mornings.  There are lots of different delivery options and as of today, you can still sign up for the summer program.  I'd suggest sharing with someone so that you get a bigger variety of veggies to try.  
And, how do I use all of this stuff that we get?  I have to be honest.  There is a big learning curve when it comes to using up the produce.  Last year, I'm pretty sure that I had quite a bit of stuff go to waste because I didn't know what to do with it or just didn't have the patience to figure it out.  I'm trying to start out this year with a bang.  There are so many resources out there to help me identify our veggies and to figure out what in the world to do with them to make them taste fabulous.  Avalon Acres has a recipe blog and a facebook group that are great resources.  It's great for me to break out of the carrot and broccoli rut!  
Last night, I went a little crazy and tried to use up lots of our items in one evening.  I made a cream cheese and radish spread, a recipe that I got from my friend, Carrie.  I made stirfry with chicken, broccoli, and spring onions.  I roasted kohlrabi and beets that I sliced in the shape of fries (gotta trick the kids somehow!).  And for our lifegroup the night before, I made a strawberry cake with strawberry cream cheese icing.  I'm going to include the recipes for the radish spread and strawberry cake because I could eat both of them all day long.  Oh wait, I did eat them.  For breakfast.  Don't tell anyone.  

Radish Spread (Recipe given to me by Carrie)
10 radishes (about 8 ounces)
3 green onions, white and green parts
4 ounces (preferably) or 8 ounces neufchatel (low-fat cream cheese)
Salt & pepper to taste

Whizz all the ingredients in the food processor. Season to taste. Serve & enjoy!

Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing
Cake Ingredients:8 ounces cream cheese, room temp2 1/4 cups cake flour (sifted)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup butter, room temp (2 sticks)
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons strawberry extract (you can use vanilla if you can't find strawberry)
1 cup whole milk, room temp
3 eggs, room temp
3/4 cup hulled, pureed fresh strawberries
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice

strawberry cream cheese frosting
1/2 cup butter, room temp (1 stick)
1/2 cup pureed fresh strawberries (or frozen thawed)
1 teaspoon strawberry extract (or vanilla)
3-6 cups confectioners' sugar (powder sugar)

  1. 1. Combine sifted flour and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs 1 at a time; mix well after each addition. Next add pureed strawberries and extract and combine well. Gradually add the flour (and baking powder) and the milk alternating between them until completely mixed. Then add lemon zest and juice and mix well.
  2. 2.  Lightly grease and flour a 13 X 9 pan or (2) 8" round pans. Pour batter into pans and bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 min or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.  (My cakes fell a little bit when I took them out of the oven but it didn't affect the taste one bit.  In fact, it may have been better. *Suggestion: have your 6 year old help you and you'll probably have flatter cakes too!)
  3. 3.  For the icing : using a mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until nice and smooth. Add the extract and pureed strawberries. Gradually add the powder sugar until it has the consistency and sweetness you desire.  If it gets too sweet, add a little bit of lemon juice.  I ended up doing this because Peter doesn't like icing to be too sweet.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

thanks for sharing the strawberry cake recipe. I can vouch that the radish dip is great...even my boys liked it on crackers!! :)