Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Surviving the CSA

I've been a CSA member for several years now, first at Land's Sake in Weston, MA, and now at Siena Farms in Sudbury, MA.  The shares at Land's Sake ran from spring through the late fall, and, when I first joined Siena Farms, I started with a similar share.  This past year, I decided to try the full year share, which started last March.  Every week, I pick up a half bushel box of vegetables.

Lately, the box has been quite heavy on purple top turnips and cabbages.  Other roots come as well, including parsnips, beets (although, sadly, not for the past couple of weeks), carrots, watermelon radishes, daikon radishes, kohlrabi, shallots, and potatoes.  But it's the turnips and cabbages that are proving to be a challenge.  (Seriously, is there anyone out there who can manage a huge cabbage each week?  Sometimes green, usually red, but always huge.)

I've foisted shared cabbages and turnips with family and co-workers, but I think their willingness to take raw vegetables is waning.  (And, let's face it, I've been keeping the easier to use veggies for myself.)  So lately, I've been using red cabbage in almost every meal -- making slaws, adding it to salads, putting it into stir fries.  So tonight, I turned to the internet to search for another option and found a Cabbage and Ricotta Timbale recipe from the New York Times.  I was dubious; it sounded like an odd mix of cabbage with eggs, but desperate times call for trying any recipe that uses a pound of cabbage.

I made a few changes to the recipe. 
  1. Although the recipe did not specify the type of cabbage to use, I assume green was intended, judging from the photo on the recipe page.  I used red. It colored some of the hard boiled whites with streaks of purple.  If you'd find this off-putting, go with green.
  2. I unintentionally added cilantro to the recipe.  While the recipe called for dill, I pulled out what I thought were dill cubes from my freezer (I made herb ice cubes back in the summer when the bunches of herbs were coming almost as frequently and in the same quantities as today's cabbages), but they turned out to be cilantro cubes.  (Mental note: using stickers on plastic bags in the freezer is a bad idea.  Use a Sharpie next time so labels can move from one bag to another.)  Once I noticed the error, I added dill cubes as well, figuring more flavor was never a bad thing.
I made it in the larger casserole rather than in ramekins.  Had a bit of trouble getting it to come out of the casserole in one piece; half stuck to the bottom while the other half came out onto the plate.  A bit of careful placement, and it almost looks like it came out whole (if you ignore the couple of pieces of egg white in the photo below).

Verdict: A great way to eat cabbage.  Probably one of the best things we've tried lately with cabbage.  Even the husband says he'd be willing to eat it again, although it was suggested that it should be made on an occasional basis rather than every week.  I might try skipping the hard boiled eggs next time.  I'm not sure that they were really necessary.  Not bad, but I'm not sure they added much.

Next to the timbale in the photo above: parsnip fries.  Will post about those another time.

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