My second CSA share looked much more like winter to me than the first (clockwise from the top): beets, romanesco, cabbage, baby bok choy, fennel, scallions, celery, carrots, apples, clementines and two massive sweet potatoes. The most intriguing part of this week’s box was the romanesco. The green cauliflower variant was endless intriguing to look at and photograph. Its fractal shape felt both magical and alien for a foodstuff and, while it seemed a shame to ruin that beauty, it was the first thing we consumed from this week’s take.
It was prepared simply: roasted and then tossed with sautéed garlic, chili flakes and a fresh squeeze of lemon. Inspired by a side dish at one of my new favorite cocktail bars in town, this pungent mixture of spices and butter was a great foil to the toasted cruciferous stalks, coating each slightly sweet floret with a tongue-tingling mixture of sour, spice and heat.
Similar, relatively simple preparations were used for the rest of the vegetables.
The baby bok choi were braised in chicken broth and garlic as a side dish for this simple and succulent chicken terryaki.
And a dinner of roasted squash and a creamy-vinegary slaw (cabbage, carrots, celery, scallions and beets with this remoulade sauce – thanks, Camille!) was a needed break from the endless meat- and sweet-heavy holiday meals.
Unfortunately, several entrées went undocumented in this round. Rather than see 2012 out with a bang on New Year’s Eve, we stayed inside, cuddled up on the couch, nursing colds (or frantically popping vitamins to avoid getting one), eating bowls of minestrone (where the remaining carrots and celery found a home) and watching The Walking Dead. I may have missed out on a lot of American pop culture in the past four years (someone please explain the appeal of Justin Beiber???), but I am certainly having fun catching up.
Also unphotographed was my attempt at this recipe from Saveur. It both the fennel and apples and involved cooking lamb; something new for me and, therefore, usually a win-win combination. Instead, I accidentally melted my meat thermometer (yes, that can happen), resulting in an overcooked (still edible) roast. Barring that rather glaring mistake, I highly recommend trying this at home. The extensive ingredient list was well worth it as the flavors harmonize extremely well and the sauce was genius. The silver lining of this cooking adventure was my discovery of pomegranate molasses. If you like the mixture of sweet and sour, go get some immediately and try (I dare you !) not to just eat it with a spoon. It seems obvious to add it to barbeque sauces and marinades, but I am also envisioning a bubbly pomegranate cocktail (gin? vodka?) in hand, pool-side, for the long summer afternoons to come.