“I joined a C.S.A. because I wanted to be frugal and I thought it would force me to be creative in the kitchen, but it generated a huge amount of work and all this debris.”

July 27, 2011 at 8:10 am

Way to go New York Times,  Today’s main feature in the dining section covers the blessing and the curse of local living, the food.  Specifically, the fact that your CSA broccoli comes whole: flowers, stalks, and even some leaves.  To my chagrin, at least, that always means more work than I especially want to handle.  I am not one of those Zen in the kitchen kinda guys, going into some form of felicity after 50 pea pods shucked.  I am, however, cheap.  Thrifty, I mean.  I have long exulted the double duty available to CSA users.  Kohlrabi leaves go with the pot likker.  Market beets provide three meals, make use of the roots, the leaves and the stems in distinct dishes. Today’s article covers an array of throw-aways, some I’ve known, some I forgot about, and a few I never figured.

Somewhere Beet Founder Michael Morowitz wrote about making salsa verde from celery leaves, but I cannot find that post; try figuring out your own version. I knew about cauliflower greens because the Welsh family that cooked me Sunday lunches many years ago while I was in Graduate School did that, and radish greens I always want to do because of the way Fergus Henderson writes it up in Nose to Tail.  I find peach leaves on the menus of Chez Panisse, which I love to check up on, but I’ve never managed to make my own peach leave dish.  In today’s article they suggest steeping in red wine.  I’ve made infusions from cherry pits (the almond of the North!) but never thought to take a hammer to them for panna cotta flavoring.  The article does note that double duties require a bit of caution. “Cherry pits, like peach leaves and apple seeds, contain minute amounts of cyanogens, compounds that can produce the poison cyanide. Other plant parts can also contain small amounts of toxins, so be cautious when eating them.” Still, don’t get to scared. Relish “the strange shoots that emerge when a garden has bolted from too much heat: cilantro flowers, broccoli seed pods and tough lettuces that cry out for creamy, rich dressings and bacon-fat vinaigrettes.” “Milk” corn cobs for their sugary syrup (or use the cobs in chowders). Check out the story for several more ideas for using the whole beast, vegan style.  And share with us your ways for handling these things.