This was the last week for the summer CSA share. I am a fall share subscriber, however, so I’ll be receiving boxes filled with tasty vegetables like sunchokes, beets, carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, winter squash, and kale until just before Christmas. Then, I get a little break during which I will order pizza on Fridays and make huge pots of chili and spaghetti to get me through the cold winter days in January and February.
The most interesting item in the week 22 share was the cardoons, which taste a little bit like artichokes. However, they’re a thistle, and as a result, they are spiny and will prick your fingers. Wielding a peeler, I approached the pile of celery-like stalks with careful trepidation. I was following the recipe for cardoon gratin in Hugh Acheson’s cookbook, “A New Turn in the South,“ which boiled the cardoons and then layered them with a leek cream, thyme, and breadcrumbs before putting the whole baking dish into the oven for 30 minutes. It smelled and tasted amazing, and it was worth the effort.
I was looking forward to preparing the cardoons, but my husband practically jumped for joy when he heard we were getting a spaghetti squash. Two years ago, we received several spaghetti squash in our CSA. With the first, I made a recipe for spaghetti squash with sausage filling, and I made it again with the second because he liked it so much. Apparently, he’s been waiting for a spaghetti squash to show up so he could request it. I was happy to oblige.
I’ve made many roasted chickens over the years, and I still can’t get it right. The end result is usually tasty, and they often end up with delicious crisp skin and moist meat, but it somehow takes far longer than I expect, and I’m always trying to keep sides warm while waiting for the chicken to finish cooking.
This particular chicken was rubbed with a lemon herb butter; stuffed with herbs and lemon; and roasted amid vegetables, including golden beets, fingerling potatoes, purple carrots, and kohlrabi. Because it was dinner on Sunday, and I have a little more time, there also were homemade biscuits, gravy, and lemony chard.
Finally, I received a huge napa cabbage. After much brainstorming, I decided to make hot-and-sour soup with shrimp, napa, and shiitake mushrooms. Although I increased the amount of curry paste, I thought it needed to be spicier. A small dime-size drop of the ghost chili hot sauce in my cupboard was a simple solution to the problem.