Week 20: Thinking inside the farmbox

I subscribe to a CSA not only because it’s fun to receive a box of fresh, local produce every week but it also helps me understand what’s in season throughout the summer and fall. This week, I received some beautiful mixed baby lettuce that prompted me to do some research. I didn’t know lettuce is a cool-season crop that grows best in spring and fall, and many varieties are even able to tolerate frost.

I also learned lettuce can be grown in a container. I’ve had some luck in the past with vegetables in my container garden, and this knowledge inspired me to consider planting lettuce in the spring next year and see how it does out on my balcony.

This week’s lettuce made fantastic salads—one with a honey dressing and the other with a mustard dressing.

The Week 20 box contained rapini, red beets, red radishes, green cabbage, sunchokes, fingerling potatoes, Japanese sweet potatoes, Italian garlic, and Romanesco cauliflower.

I love to eat both radishes and cabbage, but I have to confess that I often am stumped when trying to figure out what to prepare with them. If you have any favorite recipes for either of these, please let me know. I’d love to try them. I sliced the cabbage thinly and sautéed it with onions and then stirred in chopped prosciutto, salt, and pepper. I’m planning to use the radishes in a salad with next week’s arugula.

The Japanese sweet potatoes had purple skins and beige insides. In addition, they had a drier texture than the the sweet potatoes typically available in grocery stores. I roasted them with olive oil and sage. They were starchy like a plantain, although they were nowhere near as sweet.

Per last week’s post, I tried to come up with another method for preparing the beets. I considered eating them raw, but I thought that was similar to the previous salad recipes. As a result, I did end up roasting them, but then they were diced and stirred into a creamy horseradish dressing. And those horseradish beets were a perfect pairing for ribeye steaks. I want them to accompany every future steak on my plate.

I’ll end with a tidbit I learned from Twitter. October 21 is National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day. Although, I was unaware of this on Sunday when I made a pumpkin ginger cheesecake pie with a gingersnap crumb crust, we were able to eat leftover pie on Tuesday and participate in the celebration. I have enough puree left over from the pie pumpkin to make some pumpkin bread—one of my seasonal favorites.

Only two weeks left for the summer share. I’ve already subscribed to the fall share, though, which will keep my boxes of vegetables coming until just before Christmas.