Are you signed up for a CSA box this year? Landis is blogging through her own CSA box experience this summer (see her latest installment here) and we know that many of you are also preparing for armfuls of kale, buckets of broccoli, and the joys of farm fresh vegetables.
But what do you do when you have just too many turnips, or more chard than you can eat? Or what if you get a totally strange vegetable that stymies your ingenuity? Here are three cooking methods that will always work, on any CSA vegetable, and they have the added bonus of making your bounty wilt down to manageable levels very quickly.
Got a problem vegetable? You can...
1. Roast it.
Yes, any vegetable, in my opinion, is good roasted. Even kale (kale chips, yeah?) and other leafy greens are delicious when run quickly under the broiler. Toss wilted and slightly charred greens into a salad or risotto. Roasted radishes are one of my favorite things ever, and potatoes and other root vegetables go without saying.
2. Stir-fry it.
My favorite way to use up a whole head of lettuce is to stir-fry it with a little soy and cooking wine. The greens wilt down quickly and you're left with a very reasonable serving of savory, delicious greens. Stir-frying also works well for heartier vegetables like eggplant, rutabaga, and celeriac; you just need to cut them into small, evenly-sized pieces and adjust the cooking time.
3. Make soup out of it.
Soup is another surefire way to make something good (and freezable!) out of any vegetable. I can't think of many vegetables that aren't good in soup, from leafy bits of greens in a minestrone or chunks of rutabaga and potato in a stew. But the easiest way to transform a vegetable into soup, in my opinion, is to puree it. I've done this with daikon, potato, and other root vegetables, as well as carrots and squash. Here are some basic guidelines:
Of course there are lots of other ways to use CSA vegetables; I didn't mention slaw, or grilling, or risottos. These three suggestions above just seem, to me, to be the most universally useful options, regardless of what your box holds.
Got any other good tips?
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(Image credits: Cambria Bold; Faith Durand)