(above) Sugar Snap Peas
(Above) Strawberries surrounded by mint,
lettuce and collard greens.
Opening today's CSA box was like a snapshot of spring: butter lettuce, watermelon radishes, sugar snap peas, and strawberries. Sweet potatoes and collard greens rounded out the bounty.
This is my plan of action:
1. Strawberries. Gobble gobble. I'm not a big fan of cooked strawberries. The color goes to mud and the texture is indescribably unappealing. Fresh berries need so little care to make them edible. I hull and slice them, wash and dry them, then place the berries in a container in the fridge awaiting snackers. Nice to offer the girls fresh strawberries with their morning toast or maybe a few bites to stall them while I cook supper.
2. Collard Greens. Collards are one of my favorite foods. They are certainly this green-loving girl's favorite green. As much as I love Southern-style greens cooked with pork, I'll probably stir-saute these in olive oil with a bit o' garlic. Serve with ham and homemade mac and cheese.
3. Mint tips. The fragrant, pointy tips of the mint plant. A nice change from the chocolate mint which is taking over my front flower bed. I'm a little stumped on how to use this. It's a little late for Derby Day and mint juleps. (Don't even get me started on the Sterling julep cups that by all rights should be mine.) My trusty Gourmet Cookbook offers three suggestions: roasted lamb with new potatoes and English mint sauce, summer fruit salad with mint sugar, and minted peas and onions. The mint sugar for the fruit salad looks to be a winner - perhaps the strawberries will last long enough for a shower of mint sugar.
4. Lettuce. A pretty, fluttery rose-like flower of butter lettuce. Salad on the hoof, in a manner of speaking.
5. Sugar Snap Peas. Maybe I should use the mint with Sugar Snap Peas? I'm inclined to go with shallot sauteed in butter and then a few minutes with the peas. Like strawberries, they are so perfect, they require very little work.
6. Radishes, watermelon variety, with greens. These are fun to slice, rather like pastel version of the showy Chioggia radishes. Really peppery bite, but radishes are not meant to be candy. Roasting is an option. Gourmet Cookbook braises the radishes and serves them with raspberry vinegar. Some will be sliced thin and used on salads. The greens are peppery also, and will be stir-fried with some chard.
7. Sweet Potatoes. An All-South meal is coming together here - ham, mac and cheese, and collard greens, to be finished off with Sweet Potato Pie (that song will be running through my head for days). The pate brisee is already in the fridge and the sweet potatoes are roasted. I'll make Ma Ma's Sweet Potato Custard Pie from "Beans, Greens and Sweet Georgia Peaches" by Damon Lee Fowler, one of my favorite Southern cookbooks. He's a man who knows pies.