Arugula - great for salads, pesto, and sandwich additions
Bok Choy - Grilled, sautéd, soup...great ideas here. In our kitchen, I've found that a quick blanch prior to high-heat cooking like grilling or sauté goes a long way in achieving a texture and color that I look for in bok choy, a great combination of seared but firm and bright.
Basil - Best storage option: stems in water on the counter, your refrigerator is too cold. Great for pesto (try cashews or walnuts in place of pine nuts), Caprese salad, traditional pizza, something refreshing...thinking about freezing pesto, blanch and shock the basil first to ensure color retention.
Beets - Roasted, raw, fermented you name it, beets can be some good eating. Quarter-inch slices on a grill pan til tender or raw, shaved thin with lime juice and chili powder are a couple of our gotos.
Bouquet Garni (garnished bouquet) - biodiversity and seasonality in every aspect of our diets is front of mind in our kitchen. We hope these mixed herbs bunches serve you the same as you add pops of flavor and color in your kitchen endeavors. We usually store on the counter with stems in water, changing the water daily.
Carrots - Nevermind what I have to say on carrots, BON APPÉTIT has some fantastic perspectives on the subject but could stand to have a chimichurri recipe in their list like this one from Fork in the Road.
Cabbage - Not just for slaw or stuffed cabbage rolls, here are 50 ways to do something different with cabbage. Not included in the list are a couple of our favs, hashbrowns with half of the potatoes swapped for cabbage and a simple cold bean salad with shredded cabbage and pickled carrots and peppers.
Cucumbers - One of the heroes of summer we all have our goto cucumber recipes, vinegar-based cucumber salad is one of ours. Sometimes we'll add a little greek style yogurt for a creamy variation.
Delicata squash - Delicate and mild this cultivar sits somewhere between a summer squash and a long storing winter squash. Like a summer squash, its skin is editable and preparation options are plentiful. We enjoy stuffing with a mix of whole grains and dried fruit. Tips for roasting, as a pie or galette, these tacos are nice too.
Escarole - Looks like lettuce, but is a member of the chicory family along with endive. Popular in Italian cuisine and can be served either raw or cooked. Try as a sautée or in a stew with cannellini beans.
Fennel - Like so many vegetables fennel stores best when separated from its greens. Fennel has a fresh delicate flavor that when shaved thin lends itself to a quick pickle. Also sautés and roasts well. We like to use the frilly parts of the fronds as a herb and sometimes make a grilling platform from the fronds for delicate foods like fish.
French Sorrel - a member of the buckwheat family. I think of this herb as the leafy green version of a Granny Smith apple. Nice in salads, pesto, soup, and pairs well with eggs.
Garlic scapes - like green garlic, but from the flower stalk of the garlic plant. Use raw or cooked. Makes a nice addition to pesto, aioli, eggs, a sauté...makes a great pickle, and are lovely roasted.
Garlic Scallions - like green onions/scallions, but from the garlic plant. Use raw or cooked. Makes a nice addition to pesto, aioli, eggs, a sauté...
Garlic (fresh aka uncured) - Most garlic we as home cooks encounter has been made ready for shipping and the not-so-tender handling that tends to happen on the way to the produce aisle. Curing is also necessary to make the garlic suitable for storage; the process is essentially good air circulation and controlled humidity for a few weeks to a couple of months (we harvested ours on June 9). Another thing that's notable about the garlic you'll find in your Good Life Box is the variety, most garlic available on the market happens to be softneck (no scapes and lots of small cloves). Why is commodity garlic often softneck? Longer storage potential and much cheaper seed cost. So why do we grow varieties like Music, Spanish Roja, German White, Inchelium Red...in short because they're different and we love them. With their large cloves and punchy flavor what's not to love. BTW, if using raw garlic and you want to lose some heat, but keep a big garlic taste, smash the garlic and let it macerate in lemon juice or other acid for 10 minutes or so to mellow the sharpness. The garlic in your CSA is ready to use, the papers that wrap each clove may present as a little less papery and more like a soft membrane.
Greenbeans - There are a million choices of beans that we could grow, but we choose Jade. This bush variety doesn't require trellising and does fairly well in the hot and dry late summer of Tennessee. What we really like about these beans is their straight, stringless, tender pods. While they are suited to all the usual bean dishes, consider blanching til just tender, cooling, tossing with shaved onion, feta, olives... then dressing with a vinaigrette.
Green Onions - Aka scallions. Besides their typical use as a finishing move to add a bit of green in the final movements of recipe fruition, we've been enjoying pickling (btw the sugar is not necessary and cumin and mustard seed is a nice addition...) and grilling scallions. Onions and their botanical cousins, garlic, leeks, and shallots contain antioxidants and other compounds that fight inflammation, decrease triglycerides, and may offer a litany of other health benefits from the support of bone density, blood sugar control, and the promotion of gut health.
Kohlrabi - greens can be used like other greens—raw in salads, sautéed, or steamed. You can use the crunchy bulb in fresh slaws or with dips; cooked in soups or stews; roasted like you might other vegetables, or sautéed in stir-fries or fritters. We do a traditional ferment with shredded kohlrabi, ginger, and garlic.
Leeks - can be boiled, braised, fried, or roasted. Also, great on the grill with a little olive oil and over indirect heat and served with Romesco or Muhammara sauce.
Lettuce Mix - besides salad, sandwiches, and wraps here are some other ways to use lettuce (and other greens).
Kale - a great cooking green but also great in salads like this one.
Microgreens - if you're new to microgreens try to think of them as any other member of the "greens" family, but with a much bigger (for their size) nutritional punch. We dress them just like a salad (often mixing them in with a salad), top tacos, avocado toast, great with eggs...you name it. Note, that many denizens of online communities neglect to differentiate between microgreens and sprouts. With sprouts, the harvested/eaten portion of the plant is the seed, root, and emerging plant and is grown in a wet environment vs. microgreens (we grow in soil) that are harvested above the seed and root system and the early leaves and stem are to be consumed. Terminology is important from a food safety perspective as sprouts can be problematic in this regard.
Mustards - punchy and full of flavor when eaten raw, but mellows significantly when cooked. Likes acids like lemon juice and vinegar.
Onions - bulb/storage onions, we love all things alliums, over the last few seasons we've been trialing onion types to find something that grows well for us in the large storage category. We're coming to the conclusion of these trials. This week's share reflects what we'll be growing a lot more of in the future.
Parsley - Obviously great in Tabouli and many other dishes, but adding fresh herbs like this to almost any meal really ups the game.
Radishes - A fan fav, whether eaten out of hand or served with a buttered baguette. The leaves some enjoy as pesto or even a blended soup.
Salad of the Moment - as the name implies, this is a perpetually evolving blend of great salad greens that changes with the seasons. This week it's our standard lettuce mix with the addition of baby mustards, a mild Asian green called mizuna, and cress.
Swiss Chard - When folks say to eat the rainbow, this is part of what comes to mind. Great raw or cooked. Related to spinach and beets, and like those tend to perform best if cooked "low and slow" for better texture. Leftovers beg to be in an omelet.
Sugar Snap Peas - Sweet edible pod that's great raw. Not to be confused with English peas or shelling peas. Sugar snaps are related to snow peas. We love sugar snap peas and were very worried that we wouldn't get to harvest any this year as just a few too hot days puts the entire crop in jeopardy. That and since the pandemic, seed quality has been poor with regard to germination.
Salad Turnips (Hakurei) - While these roast quite well they're a real winner in the raw food space. There they can make great salad additions and when sliced thinly make excellent chips. It should go without saying to use those green tops. One of our favs is to do a saute with the sliced turnips adding the greens toward the end of cooking. Pickling is also an option.
Tomatoes - For many, summer isn't officially here until the first tomatoes arrive. Every year in middle TN, farmers aim to have tomatoes by the Fourth of July. This year we're growing a few new cherry tomatoes along with some of our old favorites as well as a collection of heirloom slicers and some newer varieties like Copia, Caiman, and Beefmaster. Tomato season starts this week, and with any luck (and mercy from the raccoons) we'll enjoy it for as long as possible.
Parsley - Obviously great in Tabouli and many other dishes, but adding fresh herbs like this to almost any meal really ups the game. For falafel burgers and more check in with a couple cooks.
Pea Shoots - Sweet and nutty, these tendrils add lovely texture to salads or a finishing touch to roasted veggies and proteins.
Power Mix Greens - a combo of kale, tatsoi, and mustards, enjoy as a salad, but also nice as braising greens
Rapini - aka broccoli rabe, is one of my favorite greens. At home as a pizza topping (blanch first) as it is paired with brazed meats or taking a starring role as in this saute with raisins and hazelnuts.
Squash/Zucchini - growing up in the south in the 70's and 80's my family's exposure to these lovely vegetables was limited to mushy casseroles with a cheese crutch or fried in a manner that if you could find and identify the underlying vegetable someone did something very wrong. How different things are now. From crudités to zoodles as at home on the grill to no cooking at all. Zucchini and summer squash have so much in common we use them interchangeably. We enjoy lasagna subbing out the noodles for strips of zucchini and look forward to trying this dish described as a "Classic Zucchini Slice" that makes me think of a frittata; looks interesting, though I can't figure out where the color variations come from...maybe carrots/corn, scallions, and beets respectively...
More zoodle recipes
Sweetpotatoes - Called "Yams" by some as part of the lingering legacy from the 1937 marketing campaign from Louisiana Sweet Potatoes growers group. Whether roasted whole, served in tacos with poblano peppers, or creamed with coconut milk and rolled in chili powder, these members of the Morning Glory family can shed the Thanksgiving cloak of toasted marshmallows and shine on their own.
Watermelon Radishes - Great raw or roasted. Closely related to daikon with beautiful pink inner flesh, it has a mild flavor that is slightly sweet yet peppery. Try dipping slices into hummus or your other favorite dip.