Member Diary #6: George & Melissa- June 18th Share

This is our third year with Southside CSA and the coming of the new season has become one of the most exciting parts of our year!  We are a couple sharing a half monty, including veggie, orchard, and egg share, as well as a half berry and half chicken share.  We did do the meat share last year but felt like the chicken share would match our eating habits better this year.  A half share for two people seems to be the right amount for us, as we both work busy jobs, but try and eat most of our dinners at home during the week and at least one big meal during the weekend.

This week was the first week of veggie share, which was very exciting.  Here is the share in all of its glory on our dining table once we got home on Monday night.  Especially impressive this week were the amazing amounts of strawberries and yet another beautiful big chicken from Feather Ridge:

One storage tip when you get this many berries- we have found it’s good to wash them and store them in a container that allows them to breath, like a big colander.  They are less likely to get mushy and/or moldy as quickly.  Even super fresh berries need to be handled with care!

While we’re on the topic of strawberries, what do with all of them?  It happened to be George’s birthday this week, so there was an opportunity to make a chocolate cake with fresh strawberry Jello icing.  Here is a pic of it from the BBQ we had to celebrate George’s 30th.

Cut up 1lb of strawberries.  Simmer in a small pan with 3tbs sugar.

Meanwhile, place 1 packet of unflavored gelatin in ¼ cup cold water.

When the strawberries have softened, remove the whole berries and bring the juices to a boil. Add the gelatin, and stir until it dissolves.

Add the strawberries and juice a half of a lemon into the mixture.  Place mixture in the fridge for about an hour to thicken.

While mixture thickens, beat whipped cream to hard peaks.  When the strawberry mixture is cooled and thickened, fold in whipped cream.  Let the entire icing harden for another 30 minutes, and spread on your cake!

Earlier in the week, we made a strawberry cake with fresh strawberry topping, a recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  Here is the recipe link:

First is a picture of the cake, which was very simple and just moist enough without being too heavy;

But before we forgo decadence while eating dessert, let’s not forget the delicious strawberry reduction – infused with some of the fresh mint we got this week – which was a nice addition along with fresh whipped cream.

This week’s veggies included some amazing fresh kale and spinach.  We’ve had conversations with other CSA members who agree that some of the best use of our fresh greens and amazing eggs is fresh quiches—perfect for pretty much any meal of the day.

We also used the spinach and, you guessed it, the strawberries!- for a nice salad that was topped with shaved parmesan and a nice balsamic vinegar which we buy in bulk from Brooklyn Kitchen.

The quiche and salad made for a delicious and light summer dinner as the heat wave started to hit NYC

Some other great summer recipes that use our great CSA loot and were a perfect addition to the birthday bbq were the beautiful CSA eggs that made delicious deviled eggs.  Here Melissa recently discovered a recipe that combines the mayo with siracha, making for a slightly spicy and delicious picnic treat.  On top is some fresh chives.

When we saw the fresh cilantro we were getting, we immediately knew that there was going to be a healthy dose of that in the fresh guacamole we were making for the party

Finally, we’ve been enjoying our whole chickens with the chicken share, and we know many of the CSA members also get whole chickens as part of the meat share.  While a roast chicken is never bad in our books (and usually is good for 3-4 meals, including salads, soups, chicken pot pies, and great chicken stock for freezing), we decided to get in the summer grilling season a few weeks ago by grilling a chicken whole.  It was a bit daunting, but it turned out amazing!!  First you butterfly the chicken, admittedly a daunting task (but well worth it) and marinate for a while.  We used a basic ready-made dressing from the supermarket.  Then, after lighting the charcoal grill light up, I cut off the air so that the temperature stayed pretty low.  We splayed the chicken right on that puppy and let it slow-cook for about an hour and 15 minutes, turning it over once.  It made for some amazing crispy chicken that was still incredibly moist inside!  Here she is about 25 minutes in, when we were still nervous and checking every 10 minutes to make sure it was going well.

Since we’re A weekers and only pick up every other week, we have more recipes planned, including a kolrabe cole slaw (yet to find the recipe, feel free to post any suggestions!) and roasting this week’s chicken.  There may also be a few summery cocktails with mint in store, as well!

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