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We recently joined a local CSA.  CSA is short for Community Supported Agriculture.  We are moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle in an effort to eat more healthy, support our local farmers & economy, and provide for a better world to leave to our son.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to get on my soapbox;) 

We have made quite a few changes of late and one of them is joining a vegetable & fruit CSA and a meat CSA.  The vege and fruit CSA has thus far been a neat experience.  We’ve only received 2 weeks worth of produce so far, and we find ourselves scratching our heads at some of the items that come out of our box.  As an example here is a sampling of some of the delicious items, we’ve received thus far:

Rutabages, mustard greens, fennel, squash, zucchini, corn, carrots, cherries, strawberries, peaches, melon, dill, swiss chard, red onions

I’m not sure about you, but we had to look up a good portion of these items on the internet just to know what they are and then to find a suitable recipe with which to use them.  At first, this sounds daunting, but my husband is THE man when it comes to researching stuff.  He found a few good recipes, and we have been thrilled with each of them. 

The cool thing is that we’re trying new things that we would never have thought to try before – glazed fennel bulbs is one example (p.s. fennel is sometimes called anise).  While cooking them, they have a strong licorice smell (something my husband can’t stand the taste of) and we both kept saying, “I’m not sure if we’re going to like this.”  But, he kept forging ahead and slowly the licorice smell died off, to be replaced with a citrusy, glazed aroma that not only smelled appetizing, it kind of made my mouth water a bit.  They are kind of akin to a little amuse bouche (a one bite appetizer).  You cut the bulbs in quarters and then pop them in your mouth.  I ate four – so much for a one bite appetizer eh?

Here is the recipe we found for the fennel.  Sorry, we didn’t take any pictures, but I’ve included a picture from Simply Recipes where we found the recipe and it looks just like how ours turned out.  I didn’t plan ahead and think to write about all this until a few meals were under our proverbial belt.  But, here is a picture of fennel (so you know what to look for when you’re in the market):

    

Courtesy of SimplyRecipes.com

 
We also received A LOT of rutabagas.  I mean A LOT A LOT.  We still have some in our fridge.  I’m not so sure we will end up using them all.  They may get cut up and given to the chickens…if they last until July 9th – that’s when we get our chickens;)  First, we took our sweet potatoes (oh yeah, we got sweet potatoes in one of our boxes too) and made delicious sweet potato fries.  If you want a great recipe for crispy sweet potato fries, you must visit my favorite blogger Karen at the Art of Doing Stuff.  Since rutabagas are a root and kind of like a potato, we thought maybe we could make some rutabaga fries too.  We didn’t like them – a little too, um bitter tasting I think.  Perhaps, you would have a better result than us though.  However, what we did make with them that was really tasty was one of my favorite Irish dishes – Colcannon.  It’s basically mashed potatoes with cabbage and perhaps some bacon.  And cream.  And butter.  Yes, it’s a stick to your ribs kind of dish.  You can find a good recipe for Colcannon here, then just substitute 2 of the potatoes for 2 rutabagas.  The rutabagas need to be cooked a bit longer than potatoes, so cut them up smaller and put them in first while you peel and cut the potatoes.  Here’s a picture of rutabagas so you know what to look for in the market and a picture of the Colcannon:

 

So, I will try to start blogging about our new culinary experiences and the recipes that go with them – we’ll even take some photos too;)  Who knows, perhaps you’ll even try something new that you never thought of before.

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