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Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)


CSA COOKOFF: WHAT CAME IN LAST WEEK’S FARM SHARE & HOW WE USED IT
Hearty thanks to World Peas, the food hub that feeds me and hundreds of other New Englanders weekly. Keep on growing!

1. Plum tomatoes: Between these, the heirlooms (#3), and Cherokee Purples from the backyard, we’re rolling in tomatoes. Sometimes you’ve gotta prioritize. These got blended and frozen for winter, when we’ll appreciate them even more.

2. Peaches: Sweet, juicy snacks.

3. Heirloom tomatoes: These went into a big salad with #5 and #7.

4. Lemongrass: See this week’s recipe, below.

5. Cucumber: See #3.

6. Amaranth: A good reason to revisit this greens and beans veggie burger.

7. Carrots: See #3.

THIS WEEK’S RECIPE:
MUSSELS WITH LEMONGRASS,
GINGER, AND BEER

After reading in my CSA’s newsletter that lemongrass was coming in last week’s share, it took me all of two seconds to decide what to do with it. Mussels! I had never considered making them at home until a few days before, when I spotted bags of the bivalves at the grocery store.

Turns out they’re a cinch to prepare and because they’re farmed domestically, they’re a responsible choice. According to this New York Times article, “In the best of all worlds, mussels . . . would replace shrimp as the leading shellfish.” (Not to knock shrimp.) We used Mark Bittman’s preparation method from Fish but went our way when it came to flavoring. The result was a knockout—and so easy that next time we’ll make frites to go alongside.

Serves 2
» 2 lbs cleaned and debearded mussels—local, if possible (Ours came superclean, but we scrubbed the shells under running water for good measure.)
» 2 Tbsp butter
» 1 medium onion, sliced
» 3 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed
» 1 bunch lemongrass (Remove any dry outer leaves, wash and trim the stalks to 4 or 5 inches, discard the woody uppers, chop the bottoms into 1-inch pieces and smash in a garlic press or using the flat side of a knife.)
» 1-inch hunk of fresh ginger, grated
» ½ cup beer (We used my favorite Massachusetts ale, CBC’s Sgt. Pepper, a saison brewed with peppercorns. If you’re lucky enough to be in Wisconsin, look for Futhermore’s Knot Stock.)
» Half a lemon, juiced

Melt the butter over medium in a large stockpot. Add the onion, garlic, lemongrass, and ginger and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the beer and lemon and stir. Boost the heat to high, put the mussels in a steamer and set that into the pot. Cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes, frequently shaking by the handles.

After 8 minutes, check to see if the mussels have opened. Don’t overcook! This is one pot you want to watch! If you harvested the mussels yourself, strain the sauce in a cheesecloth-lined sieve before dishing. (With mussels from the fishmonger, you can skip this step.) Discard any unopened shells. Serve with crusty bread. Drool. Shuck. Dip. Repeat. Happy farm sharing!

STILL HUNGRY?
CSA Cookoff is an ongoing series devoted to putting farm share bounty to good use. What did you get this week? And what did you make with it? Post a comment or photo and share the farm share love!

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