CSA Challenge: Box #3

13 Jul

Here’s what we had in the box this week!

Red Head Lettuce
This lettuce is great raw or cooked. Saute or braise it for a yummy side dish or use it as a bed for some grilled chicken or fish. The pigment in the lettuce will give you a nice source of antioxidants and vitamins A and K.

Summer Savory
This herb has a bright flavor similar to dill combined with thyme. Great with roasted potatoes, mushrooms or green beans or really any vegetable dish. Also try adding it to tomato based dishes, marinades and fish. It works well as a dill substitute for variety and a change in flavor — you could make a summer savory dip the same way you would make a dill dip.


You’ll want to store your zucchini and any other summer squash loose in your crisper drawer. Watch for chill damage though; if they get too cold they wrinkle up and shrink. They should be good for up to 5 days.

Sage leaves are beautiful — grayish green with a silvery bloom covering. It has a very delicate flavor, so it’s best to add it at the end of the cooking process. Add it to bruschetta, season tomato sauces, add it to omelets, sprinkle it on pizza, make an herbed yogurt dip with it or bake chicken and fish with it.


Broccoli Stems
The stems of the broccoli can be eaten too! And they are delicious, full of vitamins, minerals and fiber that you would lose if you discarded them. It also adds a nice crunch to dishes.

You should store your fennel loose in your crisper drawer. You can spritz the greens with water and wrap them in plastic to keep them from wilting. Should stay fresh for up to 7 days. People usually love or hate fennel because if its strong licorice/anise flavor. It has a texture similar to celery. They bulb, stalks and leaves are all edible. Sauteed fennel and onions combine nicely for a quick side dish, for a unique and flavorful salad, combine sliced fennel with orange slices and avocado, add fennel slices to your sandwiches, top fennel slices with plain yogurt and mint for a quick snack or combine it with fish (especially salmon) for an amazing entree.

Arugula has a peppery flavor that reminds me of watercress. It is one of my all time favorite salad greens. Add it to any green salad, top sandwiches with it, serve poached eggs over it, add it to pizza before you bake it.

Baby Swiss Chard
Nutrient packed swiss chard in miniature form. The tender baby leaves are delicious.

The buds, blossoms and leaves of the daylily plant are edible. They leaves are great added to a stir fry and the blossoms and buds can be cooked as well, or used to make a beautiful raw salad with your favorite veggies.

Buffalo Chickpea Salad (serves 4)
2 cans chickpeas
1/4 cup hot sauce, divided
2 tablespoons oil (I used grapseed)
4 teaspoons hot sauce
juice from one lemon (about 1/4 cup)
2 small cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons honey
big pinches of salt and pepper, to taste
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
mixed salad greens – use red head lettuce
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
handful or so of grape tomatoes, cut in half
crumbled goat cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place the oven rack to the upper third position. Place chickpeas on a large, rimmed baking sheet, add 2 tablespoons hot sauce and 2 tablespoons of oil. Toss them together until coated. Bake for 15 minutes then pull a chickpea out to taste. If you like them spicier, toss in additional hot sauce. Return to the oven 15 minutes even if you don’t add more sauce.
  2. Meanwhile, put all dressing ingredients except for the oil in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Add oil in a small continuous stream.
  3. Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl, top with dressing and chickpeas then toss to combine.

Basil Pesto
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese (try sheep cheese)

  1. Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.
  3. If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

Bonus! 50 things to do with pesto!

Stuffed Mushrooms 
4 cup basil, chopped
2 cup sun dried tomatoes
2 cup pine nuts (or walnuts or any other raw nut)
4 clove garlic, chopped
4 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon celtic sea salt
1 cup olive oil
4 (8) ounce package mushrooms

  1. In a food processor, place parsley and pulse briefly
  2. Add sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice and salt, then pulse until almost smooth
  3. Drizzle in olive oil and pulse again briefly to incorporate
  4. Remove stems from mushrooms and stuff with pesto
  5. Bake at 350° for 30-45 minutes

Grilled Zucchini
3-4 smallish zucchini, or summer squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon celtic sea salt

  1. Trim off the top end of the zucchini, then cut in half
  2. Cut each half lengthwise into ½ inch thick strips
  3. Place zucchini in a large bowl with olive oil and salt
  4. Grill each side for 3-6 minutes, until zucchini is tender with pretty grill marks on each side

Summer Squash Salad
2 small yellow summer squash, thinly sliced
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons basil, sliced into strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup almonds, chopped
¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt

  1. In medium bowl, combine squash, zucchini, basil, olive oil, lemon juice and salt
  2. Toss ingredients together
  3.  Allow to marinate for 20 minutes to 1 hour (time permitting, I have also served mine immediately and it was fine)
  4. Sprinkle with almonds

Zucchini Muffins with Pecans (Gluten-Free)
(Makes 6 muffins but can easily be doubled, recipe inspired by Zucchini Bread from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elena Amsterdam.)

1 cup blanched almond flour (not the same as almond meal)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 large egg
1 egg white
1/3 cup agave nectar (OR honey OR maple syrup)
1 T canola oil or grapeseed oil
3/4 cup grated raw zucchini, wring out moisture slightly and loosely pack into measuring cup
1/2 cup chopped pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Measure 1 cup almond flour into medium-sized bowl. (If flour has been stored in freezer, let it come to room temperature for 10-15 minutes.) Add salt, baking soda, and cinnamon to flour and use a fork to combine and press out any lumps.
  2. Put 1 egg and 1 egg white into small bowl. Add the sweetener and use a hand mixer to beat until the mixture has tripled in size, about 2-3 minutes. (You shouldn’t beat it until the eggs begin to form peaks like meringue.) Gently stir in canola oil and buttermilk.
  3. Wash zucchini and grate with large side of a hand grater. Squeeze water out of zucchini if it seems wet, then loosely measure out 3/4 cup of grated zucchini. (Zucchini doesn’t have to be completely dry but shouldn’t be dripping water.) Measure 1/2 cup pecans, then chop coarsely with chef’s knife.
  4. Stir the egg mixture into the dry ingredients, only stirring enough to barely combine, then gently fold in the zucchini and pecans. Spray 6 muffin cups (or muffin tin) with non-stick spray or oil, then divide mixture evenly into cups.
  5. Bake muffins about 45 minutes, or until top is browned and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (I was surprised they took that long to bake, but the batter is quite moist and dense and I really did bake them for 45 minutes.)

Sage Crock-Pot Chicken
Whole Chicken
1/4 cup dry white wine
3-4 springs of fresh sage
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Place the chicken in crock-pot. I will even put it in frozen. Pour wine over chicken. Tuck springs of sage under wings and in butt. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hrs. The chicken is done when internal temp is 175 degrees.

See the video – “Don’t be chicken of the whole chicken

Broccoli Stems
1 large bunch broccoli (about 1 pound)
Coarse salt
1 can (15 1/2 ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced into half-moons
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup (about 2 ounces) shaved Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese (available in sheep or goats cheese, too)

  1. Cut the tops off each head of broccoli, and trim into 1-inch florets; set aside. Peel each stem to remove tough outer layer. Slice peeled stems on the bias into 1/4-inch pieces; set aside.
  2. Prepare an ice bath; set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt and broccoli florets. Cook over high heat until florets are tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to ice bath. Add stems to the boiling water; cook until tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, about 3 minutes. Transfer to ice bath. Let florets and stems cool completely, and drain.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine broccoli, beans, onion, lemon juice and zest, oil, and red-pepper flakes. Stir to combine; season with salt and pepper. Top with cheese; serve immediately


Roasted Fennel Recipe
2 fennel bulbs (thick base of stalk), stalks cut off, bulbs halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise in 1-inch thick pieces
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Rub just enough olive oil over the fennel to coat. Sprinkle on some balsamic vinegar, also to coat. Line baking dish with aluminum foil. Lay out the pieces of fennel and roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the fennel is cooked through and beginning to caramelize.

Shaved Fennel Salad Recipe
1 fennel bulb, shaved paper thin with a very sharp knife, mandolin, or meat slicer
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 Tbsp chopped flat-leafed parsley
2 Tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese

  1. Mix all ingredients together. Serves 2-3

Marinated Fennel Recipe
1 lb fennel bulb
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

  1. Wash, trim, and quarter the fennel, then finely slice it, discarding the core.
  2. Mix lemon juice with salt and pepper, and gradually add olive oil. Marinate fennel in this mixture for two hours. You can enjoy this fennel raw after marinating, or sauté and serve with rice.

Fennel, Orange, and Parsley Salad
2 medium fennel bulbs, (8 ounces each)
5 medium oranges
2/3 cup fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons slivered, pitted black olives
1 teaspoon olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper

  1. Trim fennel bulbs. Quarter, core, and thinly slice the bulbs crosswise.
  2. Using a paring knife, remove the peel and pith of oranges. Separate oranges into segments over a large bowl (to catch the juices), then add segments to bowl.
  3. Add fennel, parsley, olives, and oil; season with salt and pepper. Gently toss, and serve.

Daylily Petal Salad
6 cups lettuce, washed, spun dry and torn into bite-sized pieces
2 Tb cold-pressed olive oil
2 tsp fresh, lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup purple basil leaves
Petals from four to eight blossoms (remove the stamin)

  1. Place the lettuce into a serving bowl. Drizzle the oil evenly over the lettuce. Toss well.
  2. Drizzle the lemon juice over the lettuce and sprinkle with salt. Toss again.
  3. Add the basil, but toss with only the top layer of the lettuce, so the beautiful purple leaves show through the greens. Grind a bit of pepper over the top.
  4. Garnish with daylily petals–placed randomly, or in a circle around the outside, or decoratively in the center of the bowl.


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