Thursday, June 3, 2010

My First CSA Basket of Summer!!!

We received our first CSA box from "Cooper's CSA Farm & Maze" yesterday (I picked up early not only because I live across the road, but because the first ones who picked up got fingerlings while the others got russets...not that I don't love a good russet potato, but my son Devon LOVES fingerlings!). The wonderfully warm spring that we're experiencing is obvious! Each box (because I'm greedy and get a double share!) had a big head of green and red lettuce, as well as a bunch of asparagus (nothing says spring more than this delectable member of the lily family in my books!), a massive bunch of sage, thyme and oregano! Then I have included a hot house share so I also received some beautiful, plump, red tomatoes and a cucumber!

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know that the main reason we joined this CSA four years ago was because my husband, Greg, is deathly allergic to fungicide. Even organics brought from the USA are bombed with fungicide prior to crossing the border, so he hasn't been able to eat raw vegetables and fruits for close to 13 years (cooking seems to break the chemicals down enough that he can tolerate cooked, thank goodness!). As soon as Greg came home last night and saw all this fresh, gorgeous produce on the counter he said "I hope we're having a HUGE salad tonight...I'm so excited for this!"

Although I didn't manage to use even a third of what we received in our boxes, a huge salad is exactly what we had! It was perfect in its simplicity and ease of preparation. The contents were only lettuce, fresh herbs and their flowers, tomatoes, asparagus (raw), and cucumber. What made this salad truly yummy (so much so that my daughter India even ate it), was the dressing!

2 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp Bragg's Liquid Soy Seasoning
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Finely diced fresh oregano and sage (approx. 2 tbsp)
  • Whisk all ingredients together and toss with a salad so the leaves are just lightly coated in the dressing (never have so much dressing on your salad that it pools in the bottom of the bowl -- although I have been guilty of this on more than one occasion!)


  1. Hi Yolanda here. We met at the Aurora Home show. I just received my first CSA basket too. So excited. Just wondering what you do with all the herbs if you don't finish them while they're fresh. I love fresh herbs but I've never had the luxury of so much.

  2. Hi Yolanda!
    I am in the middle of updating the Cooper's website and am including tips on storing the herbs. What I usually do is wash and thoroughly dry them, then lay the leaves or sprigs out on a cookie sheet. I place the whole cookie sheet in the freezer - after a short while the herbs will freeze and then you can just collect them and put them in sandwich bags stored in your freezer for future uses in vinaigrettes, meat rubs, stirring in roasted veggies etc. I also like to incorporate them into my salads (and since we have so many greens, I'm sure you'll be preparing salads!)
    As well, you can use the fresh thyme to create a bath sachet - simply tie the leaves and flowers into a piece of cheesecloth and suspend the sachet below the hot water faucet of your bath. It is considered to be stimulating and cleansing for the skin.
    Another use could be to use 10 tbsp chopped thyme or oregano, which you pound to a paste and put in a heatproof container. Heat 2 1/2 cups white wine vinegar in a non-reactive pan and bring to the boil. Pour it over the herbs and let cool after stirring well. Pour the herb and vinegar into a sterilized jar, cover and set aside for 3 weeks, shaking or stirring 1x or 2x's a day. Strain the vinegar into sterilized bottles. Add 1 -2 sprigs of the herb to the bottle. Seal and store in a cool place. These vinegars are perfect for marinades, casseroles, sauces adn salad dressings! (The recipe makes 2 1/2 cups)
    Do something similar to create herb oils (lovely for garlic breads or to dress salads!) Use 6tbsp of the pounded herbs and 2 1/2 cups of the best olive oil you can get.
    Lastly I also like to occasionally add a few sprigs of fresh sage to the water when boiling potatoes, carrots and/or parsnips. It infuses the veggies with flavour!
    Hope this helps!!