Yesterday a nor’easter came to town, covering everything in a premature swath of snow. I left the museum early, with the second head-cold I’ve had in so many weeks, hoping to get back to my apartment before the bad weather really hit. I didn’t quite make it and got stuck waiting for a crosstown bus as the snow started to really come down. The view from my window back at home says it all:
Yesterday also brought the first shipment of a CSA Cesar and I joined. I was very excited to get it. I’ve never joined one before and always depended on a mix of produce from farmers’ markets, supermarkets and corner stores to get through the week. The decision to join was an ethical and financial experiment: would receiving a weekly shipment of produce (and in our case eggs and cheese) force us to cook more seasonally, and would it end up saving money? Only time will tell: the weekly cost of this CSA is $18 for each of us (a half share of veg, a dozen eggs and 1 lb of cheese). Not exactly cheap, but I could easily spend that amount on a trip to Mr. Melon to buy chips, sparkling water and broccolini (at $3.99 a head, those greens are neither cost effective nor local).
And now for the first shipment: this week’s share was 1 carnival squash, a bag of sweet potatoes, turnips, a large rutabaga, a romanesco cauliflower, and a bag of small, sweet peppers.
The produce does look lovely, and so far it tastes good too, especially the eggs, which are rich and yolky in comparison to the ones we buy at the supermarket. I’m thinking up dishes as I type. Tonight I’m hoping to use the carnival squash and have something decent to report back about – something with cheese and hot red chili pepper. The sweet potatoes will be more of a challenge: I never loved them as a child, but I recently tasted a sweet-potato dish (in Berlin of all places) that made me want to revisit this one.
I still have my cold today so I’m staying in and avoiding the snowy outside. This morning, after reading for pleasure for several hours, I went for a second helping of our CSA eggs. The best way to use up stray vegetables (or CSA vegetables you have no other plan for) is in an egg dish. I like to cook eggs in the form of a thin pancake, so that both sides cook but aren’t folded over like an omelette:
First, I browned a quarter of a sweet onion in a cast-iron skillet with olive oil over low-med heat. Then I chopped up and cored several of the sweet peppers that came with this week’s share. I added these to the skillet and let them cook until just soft. Meanwhile, I whisked two eggs together with salt and red chili. I poured these over the cooking vegetables, turning the pan around so that the eggs slid across every inch of the hot surface. Every now and again as the bottom cooked through, I lifted an edge with a spatula and tilted the pan toward me so that the runny egg on top would slide into the crevices and cook. When I could do this no more, I turned off the heat and covered the skillet with a tight-fitting lid and let the eggs “steam” for 3 minutes or so, until they were cooked through but not browned.