I have to admit that my idea to blog about our CSA adventure this summer didn’t come to me until after we had started chopping vegetables, so for this first episode, I don’t have a picture of the whole spread. Here’s what we got in our firstCSA box:

Baby Bok Choy (Chinese cabbage)
Romaine and Butter Lettuce
Harukei Turnips (an early, Japanese variety)
Green Garlic

It’s only our first box, and it’s already obvious that we’re going to be trying new things this summer. We kicked off the season by having a little dinner party with some super-cool friends. My usual go-to move with vegetables is to roast them in the oven with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. It makes a yummy and healthier side dish, but we decided to do things a little differently. (I still did some veggie-roasting, but switched it up a bit.)

Inspired by the Bok Choy, we decided to go Asian. We made veggie-fried rice, using cashews, tofu, mushrooms, onions, and the CSA carrots, Bok Choy, and green garlic.

Green garlic, you say? Why, yes, I did say. I had never heard of green garlic before. Basically, it’s garlic that has been harvested before the bulb gets a chance to form cloves at the base. It’s got a great, mild garlic taste, and looks like a small onion. Not too mild, though. My fingers still smell like garlic…which I’m okay with.

Paul sauteed all the veggies first, removed them from the pan, scrambled up some eggs(if you don’t already know this, Paul is the Egg King), then threw in the rice (made beforehand) and veggies with some soy-sauce. I made a dipping sauce out of soy sauce, Sriracha, and honey to pour over the rice for some extra flavor.

To go along with our fried rice, I made some Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup. I started out with vegetable base and water. Once it heated up, I added vinegar, soy sauce and cayenne pepper. Unfortunately, I don’t measure when I do this…let’s say a good splash of vinegar, about the same amount of soy sauce, and a few shakes of cayenne. It all depends on your taste. Before I started the soup, I chopped up carrots and turnips, tossed them in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted them in the oven…then I put them in the soup along with some onion and mushroom.

I have to tell you about these turnips…I had never had a turnip before and these wereAMAZING. Let me say it one more time. AMAZING. The only way I can describe the flavor is that they tasted like a radish and a parsnip had a scandalous rendezvous, then produced beautiful, sweet, tender turnip babies… Yeah. That’s what they taste like…and they gave a great all-around flavor to the soup.

Needless to say, with the addition of some spring rolls our friends brought over, we enjoyed our dinner thoroughly.

We also got some greens: spinach, Romaine, and (I think) butter lettuce.

Do you guys remember Rapunzel? In the story, while pregnant with Rapunzel, her mother lusted after this lettuce-like herb (Rampion, or, locally, Rapunzel) in a garden behind their house. It was so delicious-looking, she decided she’d probably die if she didn’t get any.

That’s what these greens looked like to me. They ended up tasting delicious and not getting me or anyone I love thrown up into a tower, so it was pretty much a win/win situation. I’ve been having quite a few yummy salads this week for lunch:

So that was our first week in CSA-world… I would have liked to have gotten more produce than what we got this time around, but it’s early in the season. I’m sure within a few weeks we’ll have more than will fit in our apartment! One thing’s for sure: the flavors of the veggies you get in the grocery store aren’t even in the same realm as the ones we got to eat this last week, and on that front, I couldn’t be happier.

I’ll be writing again in a few days with our next round of produce!