Food Coops and CSAs are great. They’re an easy way to guarantee LOCAL farm fresh produce. With a CSA get to know the farm, often the farmer. You can visit. It’s like your very own farm, because you actually “own” a piece of it. With coops, you own a store, with maybe a few hundred or a few thousand other members. You get a say in what’s stocked and how the store is run. Plus, by buying in bulk, you save.
I’m getting a little minted out at this point of the summer. I’ve been getting bunches and bunches from my CSA and feel like I’m drowning in it! I’ve made ice cream, cookies, but mostly drinks. To me, there’s nothing more refreshing than a mojito. The blend of soothing mint and crisp citrus with a little sweetness is perfect. I bought a few bunches of mint last week prior to the dinner party. I had a Polish moment, and thought there wouldn’t be enough food and cupcakes as a dessert might seem a bit sparse. So after seeing how beautiful the mint looked and smelled, I made a last minute decision to add some mint dark chocolate chip cookies to the menu as well. After all, they take about 15 minutes to make, minus the baking time. At this point I practically have the recipe memorized.
I’m a corn fanatic. My husband’s actually getting a bit irritated at this point. “Corn again?” But the thing is I only eat it in the summer, when it’s fresh. Frozen corn just doesn’t taste the same and I’d never touch the canned stuff. So as soon as it’s out at the markets during the summer, I’m buying it up to get my fill.
Last week I got some red cabbage in my CSA share. I’m not a huge fan of cabbage. I guess it has to do with my Polish roots. For most of my life, the only cabbage I knew was boiled or steamed until it was a mushy texture with no flavor left. Now I’m not knocking Polish food. Feed me some pierogies, kielbasa and potato pancakes any day and I’m a happy camper. But some foods the flavor just gets cooked out of like veggies and cabbage. So when I received my cabbage, I wasn’t really sure what to do with it. My new motto has been, “when in doubt, pickle!”. Seems to work pretty good for cabbage too.
Purple basil. It looks more like something that belongs in a rustic floral arrangement than in food. I received a bunch in my Tribeca CSA share this week and wasn’t really sure what to make of it. I also had a sinus infection this week (I know, only me in the middle of summer…) so I wasn’t really able to smell/taste it. Based on a quick Google search, I found it was a bit milder than regular basil with a hint of licorice. To be completely honest, the sinus infection was wearing me down and I felt a bit lazy. My go to recipe for extra basil is pesto. I couldn’t think of any reason not to do the same with purple basil. I decided to go with a sun dried tomato pesto. Purple, red–how could it not look (and taste!) stunning?