Home Cooking: How to cook up the bounty from the first Summit CSA harvest | SummitDaily.com

Home Cooking: How to cook up the bounty from the first Summit CSA harvest

Suzanne Anderson
Home Cooking

Last Wednesday I was as giddy as a girl on Christmas morning. It was the first weekly pick-up of locally grown, organic vegetables from the Summit CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), from the High-Country Conservation Center. Way back in February, we were invited to buy a share in this summer's crop. This is the second year I've purchased a share, and I'm willing to bet that most of the annual 'shareholders' are also repeat customers.

If you are driving along Highway 9 and pass the Senior Center, you'll see some of the Summit CSA greenhouses; there are others near the bus transit area in Frisco. The very aptly named, Kyla Laplante, is the farmer in charge of selecting the vegetables to be grown each year, and growing them. A remarkable feat given our short summer and unpredictable weather.

On Wednesday, because of the warm weather, Kyla sent an email informing us that the first week's harvest was ready. When I walked up to the greenhouse, I greeted Kyla with a broad smile and gratefully received a bag of Asian braising greens, a bag of baby spinach, and a small bag of chives. How rich the taste of locally grown produce is compared to what we buy from far away. I immediately put the fresh spinach to good use in a salad with overly ripe peaches and a tart Southwestern vinaigrette, which I made for six friends who were joining me for dinner that evening in my small apartment. I also served a heaping bowl of spaghetti with a pesto of two kinds of olives and lemon.

And then on Monday, a friend came over and I wanted a lunch that could be prepared ahead of time, so we could enjoy our it in conversation instead of talking across the kitchen. I used the braising greens for a wilted-greens with blue cheese and walnuts, paired with what I call a 'deconstructed' beet and potato salad because it's served with the Greek yogurt as a dollop to be mixed in at the table, allowing the beauty of the potatoes and beets to stand alone.

The recipes for the olive and lemon pasta, as well as the wilted greens with blue cheese and walnuts were inspired by the Moosewood Restaurant Table Cookbook. If you are trying to incorporate more vegetable forward meals in your diet, this cookbook is a great resource, and is available at the Next Page bookstore in Frisco.

In the spirit of cooking with the seasons, I will use the produce I receive in my weekly CSA box to create menus for this column. I hope you'll join me in this culinary adventure. And I hope we'll all be inspired to buy locally grown or produced foods, whether through the CSA, the local farm stand or in our supermarkets. It's a way to support our local economy, shrink our carbon footprint and learn how to eat with the rhythms of the seasons. Imagine if we had year-round greenhouses producing organic vegetables for our schools and community. A noble endeavor.

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Lunch Menu

Serves two to four

Lemon, honey and cumin roast chicken; wilted greens with blue cheese and walnuts; deconstructed beet and potato salad

Lemon, Honey and Cumin Roast Chicken

Ingredients

1 roasting chicken

½ cup lemon juice

¼ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin

2 tablespoons honey

Directions

Preheat oven to 375F. Put chicken into roasting pan, either roast the chicken whole or spatchcocked (aka butterflied with the backbone cut out). Mix together the lemon marinade, then pour half of the marinade over the chicken. Roast the chicken for 20 minutes, then use the remaining marinade to baste the chicken again at 40 minutes. Roast the chicken for about 50-60 minutes longer until the juices run clear.

Wilted Greens with Blue Cheese and Walnuts

Ingredients

One clamshell of mixed greens (I used my CSA greens)

Blue cheese crumbles

½ cup chopped walnuts

Splash of balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Wilt greens in a large saucepan with olive oil until just wilted. Add a splash of vinegar. Put into serving bowl, toss with blue cheese and walnuts, season to taste.

Deconstructed Beet and Potato Salad

Ingredients

4-5 five Yukon gold potatoes

1 can of beets

1 large dollop of Greek yogurt

Fresh dill

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Cut potatoes into cubes and boil until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water until room temperature. Toss potatoes with beets chopped to the same size. Add a dollop of Greek yogurt. Season with dill, salt and pepper.

Dinner Menu

Serves four to six

Spring greens with ripe peaches and chives, southwestern vinaigrette and pasta with black and green olives

Spring Greens with Ripe Peaches and Chives

Ingredients

One clamshell of mixed spring greens

Chives (keep the long stalks)

Very ripe peaches cut into slices

Southwestern vinaigrette

Lemon juice – one part

Olive oil – two parts

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

½ tsp oregano or mint (not both)

Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

Mix together in a jar, taste and adjust to your preference for acidity and heat

Directions

Toss the salad greens, top with chives and slices of peaches. Dress with vinaigrette at the table.

Pasta with Black and Green Olives

1 cup of black olives

1 cup of green olives with pimentos

1 bunch of parsley

½ cup olive oil

Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

Zest of one lemon and juice of the lemon

1 lb of dry spaghetti

Directions

Fill a large pot with water and salt, bring to a boil, add pasta and cook until al dente. Berfore pouring out the water and draining the pasta, reserve a cup of the pasta water.

While the pasta is cooking, put the olives, parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice into a food processor, pulse a few times, just to rough chop the olives and parsley, while drizzling in olive oil. Put drained pasta into a large serving bowl. Toss with the olive pesto.

Suzanne Anderson lives in Breckenridge