Please ignore the weeds.
I declared that the Kimchi had fermented and was ready to eat! That means a celebration with Korean BBQ. I put the grill basket directly onto the charcoal to generate maximum heat.
The side dishes were:
- Saam sauce
- Garlicky bean sprouts
- Hakurei radishes in sweet soy sauce
- Spicy cucumbers
- Pea pod sauté
What’s the term for a group of vegetables? We have a herd of cows, a flock of sheep, a murder of crows… but what do you call a bunch of vegetables? A bunch?
Either way, we got a lot of leeks this week in the CSA. I tried to chop and freeze them a few years ago, but I just didn’t get back to using them and they got freezer burn. I think I will put them into a quiche. Sound good. Maybe with bacon?
We got a healthy load of cucumbers this week. I’m completely OK with that. First, I’m at my fermenting workshop this week learning all about lactic acid fermentation and making old-fashioned “sour” pickles. Second, there’s nothing to beat the heat like an ice-cold cucumber. We’ll see what happens.
I’m also happy to see an influx of full-sized onions. We’ve been running low on aromatics over the past week. Spring onions are past, green garlic is scarce, and there’s not a ginger root or shallot to be had.
My answer? We don’t.
Sure, we do eat a good portion of these vegetables, or else we wouldn’t have joined the CSA. But, honestly, there’s a lot of things that still will turn bad in the bottom of our refrigerator. Arugula and red lettuce are common culprits. We don’t sweat it, we have a compost pile. The food isn’t “going to waste”, we’re making fertilizer for next year’s garden.
But only about 5% of our CSA box will go bad. That’s because I often anticipate foods that we might not eat, and I’ll either find a special recipe to use with that vegetable, like I did with the pesto and arugula. Alternatively, some of the foods we put away to eat in the winter. This week, we received a large head of broccoli. Broccoli is really easy to blanch and freeze, and we eat it all throughout the winter in different dishes like stirfry and garbage rice. I know that the value of that broccoli will be greater to me in November or March then it will be this week. So, into the freezer it goes.
Last, I know there’s some vegetables that we just don’t eat in our house. Eggplant is probably the best example. What I will do is leave the eggplant at the CSA pickup point. There’s often someone else there picking up their vegetables who might enjoy an eggplant which would otherwise just rot in my refrigerator. I also occasionally give away CSA vegetables to my friends and neighbors when we are really overwhelmed with too many vegetables.
So, when you look at these pictures and you think “how do you eat all of that?” We don’t. We have figured out how to cheat the CSA system so that we don’t have to eat all of those vegetables. But importantly we don’t let the vegetables go to waste.
We got two new and exciting things in the CSA this week: Cucumbers and Russian red kale.
The Cucumbers are the bearer of good news – Summer is almost here. They’re the first “vegetable” that we get each season that really needs some sun to grow. The turnips, asparagus, radishes, and bok choi that we’ve got over the last few weeks are cool-weather crops.
The red Russian kale is a fad, I think. Is there some local restaurant that’s doing something fancy with this type of kale? What ever am I going to do with an entire bag?
Two of my favorite summer vegetables are cucumbers and cantaloupe. They are a fleeting addition to my diet. I tried canning spiced melon balls and they were mushy and disgusting. Each year, I will make one jar of refrigerator cucumber pickles, but I don’t like the texture of home-canned pickles. From July through late August, I probably eat half a cucumber and a few slices of cantaloupe every day. By September, they’re not a part of my diet, and in June, I crave a cucumber on the first hot, sunny day of the summer.
This salad comes together quickly and can get soggy if let to sit. After cutting the fruits (Yes, cucumbers are fruits…), I assemble this salad in a colander set in a bowl, and use some of the juices to toss with a simple dressing.
Cantaloupe Cucumber Salad
- 1 medium cucumber
- 1/4 of a cantaloupe or muskmellon
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- Peel and seed the cucumber. Cut into matchsticks or julienne using a mandoline.
- Cut away the rind of the muskmelon. Cut into matchsticks or julienne using a mandoline. You should have about equal parts of cantaloupe and cucumber.
- Sprinkle the vegetables with a pinch of salt and toss in a colander set over a bowl. Allow to drain 15-20 minutes. Gently squeeze the vegetables to get the last liquid out.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of the drained liquid with rice wine vinegar to make a mild dressing. Toss with the vegetables and serve.
Afterthought: All this time, I was misspelling it “cantelope.”