Ideas for All Your Seasonal Produce
As I was about to title this post and series, “Recipes for your summer CSA” or something like that, I realized that just a few short years ago, I barely knew what a CSA was. Now I throw the term around like some kind of veteran, even though that’s far from the truth. I still haven’t grasped the whole farm wardrobe thing, nearly showing up in TOMS and yoga pants to pick my own strawberries in the clover-ridden field last week and contemplating daily if there’s a pair of work boots or cargo pants in my near future. Unfortunately, I don’t live with Toryn in Oklahoma, so showing up in my cowboy (errr, cowgirl) boots would probably be frowned upon.
Whether you are a true veteran of community supported agriculture (hence, CSA), you try to get to the farmer’s market a few times over the summer, you have a garden with anything from a couple tomatoes to an Ina-sized endeavor, or you try to pick out produce at the grocery store that’s local and in season, these seasonal summer produce recipes posts are for you! Every week, I’ll go over what I got in my CSA and/or at the farmer’s market, how I plan to use each item, and maybe some extra ideas from around the interwebs. I’m in Connecticut, so what’s seasonal for me at any given time might be past its prime or not yet peaked for you. My hope, though, is to continue these posts all year round so eventually, regardless of where on the globe you live, you can come to Natural Comfort Kitchen and find ideas and recipes for lots of different fruits, veggies, herbs, and other plant foods.
Summer CSA Week 1
Here’s how we kicked it off at The Hickories this week:
- Kale (and lots of it)
- Thin leeks
- Basil seedling
- Carrots (not pictured; I chose kohlrabi because I’m an oddball)
- Pick-your-own strawberries
When I set out on the 45 minute drive to go pick up my share last Friday, I was feeling stressed out with two big projects to prepare for–a fundraiser at Dew Yoga the following Sunday (more below), and a cooking group I’m heading up at church for some of the ladies (more on that in later posts). Both amazing, fun projects, but when there’s a deadline involved, I often forget to relax and enjoy the process.
I could see what was happening, though, so I made a conscious effort to clear my mind and take in the scenic, wooded drive on a gorgeous day. It was around 1:30 with no after-school or rush-hour traffic (barely a car in sight, actually), just me and my Jetta on the open road, windows down and country music cranked. I won’t say it banished every inkling of stress from my mind, but stepping back to appreciate my Friday afternoon definitely instilled some perspective. Being that I wasn’t sitting at a desk filling out tax returns, the truth is that I have it pretty dang good.
Early Summer Produce Recipes and Ideas
Right…you’re here for the recipes. Due to the crazy weekend, I haven’t made a dinner plan for the week yet (!), but here’s what I’ve already done and what I have in mind.
- Salad. I’m storing the perfect, jewel-toned leaves in my salad spinner, and as of this morning, they’re still nice and crisp. I made a big batch of vinaigrette at lunch today to use on salads all week.
- Lettuce wraps. Killer recipe for Greek yogurt and hummus lentil lettuce wraps coming soon!
The pound and a half in my share filled that entire big tub you see! Kind of intimidating, especially when the other individual in my household isn’t a big fan. Good thing I have some recipes for disguising it effectively!
- Massaged kale salads for lunch. I love this one from Kate.
- A big batch of parmesan kale puffs for the freezer
- Dragon bowls. Tor recommended this recipe from The Chew to me repeatedly, and I’m finally going to make it happen.
I was a little confused that what was listed as leeks at the pickup stand actually looks like scallions. I’m pretty sure they’ll still be excellent in mine and Steve’s favorite, purist leek preparation, stovetop braised leeks.
- The dragon bowls also call for fresh oregano!
- I’ll likely try my hand at freezing or drying what’s left, since oregano is potent when fresh and there’s no way I’ll use it all up.
- Storage: I’m experimenting with a couple methods. So far, the batch arranged in a shallow depth of water in a narrow jar, covered loosely with a clear plastic bag, looks best. However, the stems wrapped in a damp paper towel in an air-tight Zip Lock bag also look good, just a little less lively.
This little guy still has teensy leaves but smells amazing! Full on basil smell is in effect. I’m going to wait until he gets a little bigger before plucking many leaves. In the meantime, Steve got me some organic soil so I can transition the seedling into a larger pot where it has room to (hopefully) flourish all summer long.
My favorite use for fresh basil has been, strangely, this breakfast or post-workout blended “juice”: a cup of cold water, about 3/4 cup frozen or fresh berries, a couple ice cubes, 1 pitted medjool date, juice of half a lemon, and a few fresh basil leaves. It should be thin, and I serve it over ice with a straw. So refreshing.
I only got a few bulbs, so I scaled down the kohlrabi and blue cheese gratin recipe from The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. There was enough for everyone at dinner to taste a little portion of the extremely simple recipe, which, you guessed it, is forthcoming.
- As a snack. These fresh berries are so stinking amazing, they don’t need any added sweetness. I like them at room temperature for maximum juice factor.
- On oatmeal, with a bit of maple, cinnamon, and some toasted walnuts
So there you have it! Hopefully what’s in season here at least somewhat overlaps with your current harvest. If not, let me know what’s in season where you live, and I’ll prioritize those items as I build my new seasonal produce recipes page. Yep, that’s right, I’m putting everything in one place, without any ramblings from me, so you can quickly find a use for whatever local, seasonal, beautiful produce you’ve brought home. You’ll be the first to know when it’s live (as long as you follow via email, Insta, or Facebook)!
Update: seasonal produce recipes index is up and running!
Related: my Pinterest board for seasonal/CSA recipes
Note: This page contains affiliate links. It does NOT contain sponsored content. Affiliate links (to products I recommend, on Amazon) offset my ingredient and website maintenance costs, so I can keep bringing you seasonal recipe ideas like these. Thanks!