Every week we get a big box of fresh produce from our local CSA, and it has been indispensable to our cooking routine. It helps us plan our weekly meals, reduce time at the store, saves us money, and sometimes lets us branch out from what we normally cook.
If you've never heard of a CSA before, in effect it's kind of like one of those meal subscription services (like Blue Apron, or Graze) except it is seasonal, fresh, packaging-free (or low-packaging), and most importantly, local. They exist all around the country and benefit local farmers, as well as reduce your environmental footprint and increase transparency in your food consumption. Basically, a bunch of people come together to pay farmers for a share of their crops - if it's a good season, you get a lot of food, and vice versa. (Read more about CSAs here!)
Our CSA is the Good Food Collective out of Rochester, and their model is pretty hands-off - we just pick up our box every week, and when one of us was at his last job, he just grabbed it from his workplace where they dropped it off. Other CSA's have different elements to them, where you can volunteer at the farm or volunteer to do drop-offs. Luckily, there are many out there, so you can choose which one seems like the best fit for you. Here's a great CSA finder if you're interested in looking into one for yourself.
We're so passionate about our CSA that we wanted to start a kind of series here, showing you meals we've made with our box that week.
What we had from our CSA in our pantry
This is a pretty standard kind of box for an upstate NY winter. This week's "challenge" of coming up with meal ideas from the box was an easy one for me, as we make edamame & noodles whenever we're short on time and are sick of cereal or pasta. Adding in the CSA veggies was just a bonus. :)
Edamame Noodle Bowl
This isn't any kind of traditional recipe whatsoever - just something we came up with that tastes good and is quick & easy to put together. Serves two!
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 medium shallot, sliced thin
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 piece of kombu
- 1 cup chopped napa cabbage
- 1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli
- 1/2-3/4 cup shelled edamame
- veggie broth
- noodles - soba or lo mein, just make sure they're egg-free
- 2 tbsp miso
- fresh lemon
- fresh ground pepper
- fresh herbs
- Put the coconut oil in a medium pot and heat to medium. Add in the shallot & garlic and cook until softened.
- Add in the kombu, cabbage, broccoli, and edamame. Pour broth over to cover it all, plus an inch or two to accommodate the noodles later. Turn the heat up to medium-high and let come to a simmer. (About 10 minutes.)
- Once simmering, add the noodles and miso and remove the kombu. How long you cook it will depend on what kind of noodles you use, but it should range from 5-12 minutes.
- Serve hot with a big squeeze of lemon juice, ground pepper, and whatever other toppings you like. Enjoy!