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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Randomness with the CSA

So it goes without saying that signing up for a share with a CSA fills your house with vegetables. Some things are obvious what to do with like eggplant (eggplant parm!) and tomatoes (panzanellla!), and some things are less obvious (bunches of basil bigger than our heads). And while careful thought and planning can lead to amazing results with different and unique dishes, sometimes it is easier to just throw it all together and hope for the best. And in that spirit I decided to make a soup. First I chopped up leeks, both red and yellow beets, both yellow and orange carrots, huge amount of cabbage, garlic, and crookneck squash. I put in the pot some butter and canola oil and added the leeks and garlic. I cooked that down a little and added  the rest of the vegetables and salt and pepper. I added some oregano and red pepper flakes. I threw it a ton of chicken broth, good amount of dry vermouth, and some water. I put in a bouquet of oregano, thyme, sage, and dill from the CSA. At this point I walked around the kitchen and found a lone chicken breast in the freezer. Well, what good is that ever going to do anyone? So I threw it in there. Then tomato paste, a ton of paprika, some cumin, more paprika, more salt and pepper and Marie Sharp's hot sauce (the one we have is made from a carrot base and is very good). I put in some garlic Tabasco, and walked around the kitchen again and found a small amount of tri-color rotini  in a box and stirred that in. What good is a small amount of one kind of pasta going to do for anyone? Not much, so in it goes. I put it up to boil until the pasta was cooked, and then added white wine vinegar and finished off a bottle of buttermilk.

The final result you ask of my random wanderings through my kitchen? It was absolutely delicious. It was more delicious that a lot of soup recipes I have actually followed in recent weeks with ingredients from the CSA. It was almost like you start out with some ingredients and realize the direction you are going and finish it with seasonings. I started out with the beets, dill and cabbage, realized it was an Eastern European combination, added paprika and the buttermilk (tastes like sour cream), and it was actually amazing. I would order it in a restaurant, that is how good it was. I was so impressed with how it randomly turned out, and in the process I cleaned out not just tons of vegetables and all the garlic in the house, but a tube of tomato paste, a frozen chicken breast, the remnants of a box of tri-color rotini. What are you going to do with all the leftovers in your kitchen without making a soup? A lot of different kinds of vegetables require thought and planning, which can be difficult since fresh produce does not last forever. I can't wait to eat it, and I can't believe it was actually that good.

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