“So far, this has actually been the easiest part,” I said, chatting on the phone with my mother last week. We were talking about how my greatest hesitation, at the launch of this project, was coming up the recipes week after week, and how now, after two months, it has all gone smoothly. Until a couple of days ago, at least.
A few days after my second pickup from Stearns CSA, my fridge was once again loaded with leafy greens. Despite my best intentions, my husband and I weren’t able to eat all of the fresh produce that we had gotten from the first pickup, but thanks to the incredible FreshWorks containers, produce from the first share kept well into a third week after pickup. I prepped and stored the newest produce alongside leftovers from the first share.
After an hour of scouring old recipes from Blue Apron and Googling random combinations of veggies, I decided to make Bucatini Pasta with Peas, Chard and Scapes, and a Fennel, Beet, and Hakurei Salad on the side. I also sautéed some summer squash for an easy side dish to use up as much produce as I could.
My table looked so bountiful: the dark orange beets, the bright green snap peas, and the yellow summer squash. But it tasted terrible. I’ve made mistakes before, but they’ve been manageable, like too much soy sauce made my Chicken Lettuce Wraps too salty and not enough salt made my Kohlrabi Frittata bland but still edible. The only dish from this meal that I liked was the summer squash, since those were simply sautéed with olive oil, salt and pepper. Unfortunately, I ended up throwing out the big bowl of pasta and peas.
Cooking this week’s meal was a good learning experience, but I’m going to save you all the indignity of making/eating these dishes. Instead of sharing the recipe, I want to share with you some things I learned while cooking these dishes.
- Snap peas are not the same as snow peas. Snap peas, also called sugar snap peas, are sweet, crunchy and great to snack on raw. Snow peas are tougher and, while they can be eaten raw too, I found them to be a little too chewy to eat in the pasta. I used both in the pasta because I collected both from the farm, but I recommend only using snap peas.
- Hakurei (salad turnips) are small like radishes and have a similar bite. Fennel also has a bit of a bite, but both can be eaten raw. I’m not sure if I didn’t sauté the ingredients enough or maybe the combination of flavors didn’t work, but I wouldn’t mix these vegetables together with beets like I did.
- Dill seemed to fit with the pasta, so I added it to the pan like I would cook with rosemary or thyme. Don’t add dill to a dish while it is still cooking, it will turn brown. Add it to the final dish before serving.
Any readers out there have some ideas for better ways to use these ingredients or suggestions on what I should have done to make these dishes better? Post your recipes below and I’ll give you a shout out next time!
Alice Kathryn Richardson is a new media photojournalist and creator of The Clean Food Club. She previously spent two years working on Deserts in the District, a series of short-form documentaries exploring food access and hunger in Washington, DC. She is committed to supporting local and sustainable food businesses by telling their stories with photo and video. Follow her on Twitter @AKR_Pictures.