by Julie Hyzy
Our eldest daughter came up with a unique Christmas gift last year. She and her boyfriend bought us a farm share, that is: participation in a CSA - Community Supported Agriculture. Now, because they aren't wealthy, they couldn't buy us the summer share, it's too expensive. Instead, they bought us a six week fall share which began in mid-November.
This has been the most fun I've had cooking in a LONG time. Every week we pick up our box of vegetables and bring it home to play. I've learned how to make kohlrabi and Swiss chard (I remember making fun of these names when I was a kid. Things sure come back to haunt us, don't they?) among other new-to-me goodies.
I'm having a blast. This week I made black bean and kale soup. It looks... scary. Seriously, it isn't pretty. But it tastes great. I've also made a cabbage dish that was so good I wanted to lick the plate clean. Here's the link to that recipe: Braised cabbage. For the record, I skipped the carrots because sometimes they're too sweet for me, and I added bacon in addition to the bacon fat. It was fabulous.
Anyway, one of the items in our share was Queensland Blue Squash. Here's a link to what this looks like: Queensland Blue Images
I'd never seen one before, so I needed to troll the trust Internet for hints on how to slice, how to cook, how to serve this new treat.
Let me just say here, right now, that I'm not a squash girl. I think squash is just too sweet, overall, for my tastes. I baked the enormous Queensland Blue (and believe me, it's HUGE), then used the softened insides to make soup. I added all sorts of great ingredients - coconut milk, vegetable stock, onions, celery, garlic, even *jalapenos* ... and nothing. Nothing gave this thing any life. It was a huge pot of ... blah.
So I'm squashing squash soup going forward. I think it's just my personal taste. Boring. Bland. Blah. Sounds delicious, doesn't it? <grin>
Gotta tell you, though. The farm-raised, free-range chicken was AMAZING. Probably the best chicken I've ever had.
I'm thoroughly enjoying this experience. Every week is a new adventure.
Have you ever participated in a farm share/CSA? What fun things did you learn?