Wednesday, June 25, 2014

CSA Share - Summer Week 1 and Asian Pesto

It's finally summer season for our CSA!  Unlike spring and fall, where we get shares every week, we opt to go every other week through the summer.  With my own garden going so well, and my addiction to farmers' markets, it seems to be the right choice for us.  Although the way my kids are eating and growing lately, next year may be the year we go to weekly summer pick-ups.  So this is our first week of summer shares, but it's the farm's second summer share...for the sake of my sanity, I'm just going to number them on my own.  So, share number one:

We've got romaine lettuce, snap peas, bok choy, zucchini, summer squash, komatsuna, green onions, garlic scapes, and Tokyo Bekana, which is totally new to me!  It's an Asian green, that tastes very similar to cauliflower to me.

Plans are peas for snacking and lunches, salad with the lettuce, a quick stir fry with some of the bok choy, komatsuna, Tokyo Bekana, and scallions, summer squash and scallions in empanadas, julienne and pan fry the zucchini, grill up the scapes, and possibly make an Asian greens soup.

Oh, and make some pesto!

Asian pesto, that is.  Pestos are a great, easy way to go through a lot of greens quickly, and they freeze well, so it makes them easy to store.  This Asian version is great with chicken, in wraps, mixed into rice, or in a dip.

Take a bunch of Asian greens.  I used komatsuna and Tokyo Bekana, but tatsoi is also good here.  Bok choy tends to be a little watery in a pesto, but if you want to throw some in, don't let me stop you.  I also threw in a couple of garlic scapes, but garlic cloves would work just as well.  Roughly chop all that and throw it into your food processor.

Next, bring in the flavor!  Add about a quarter cup of almonds (peanuts would be good too!), some fresh basil, a bit of red pepper flakes, some sliced fresh ginger, a teaspoon of soy sauce, and about 2 tablespoons of miso paste.  I like white miso, but use whatever you prefer.

A note about miso: I know it's not something a lot of people have on hand, but it is worth giving it a try.  It keeps for a long time in the fridge, and you only need a bit to give that great umami flavor to your dishes, plus it's good for you!

Place all that in the food processor, and pulse chop everything until it's a nice grind size.  Taste it here and see if there's anything you want to adjust, flavor-wise.  More ginger?  More miso?  More greens?

Squeeze in about half a lemon, for some acidity and to help keep the color bright.  Set the food processor to run, and stream in some sesame oil until it comes into a smoother pesto consistency.

Tah-dah!  Asian Pesto!

For a quick side or a light lunch, just cook up some ramen, mix in about 2 tablespoons of the Asian Pesto, and then serve with chopped scallions and julienned carrots or other veggies of your choice on top!

It's a nice mix with the mustardy, peppery edge of the Asian greens with all those other great flavors.  Feel free to play around with it!  Add some siracha, if you're addicted to that pungent spice, or some rice wine vinegar.  Sweeten it up a little with honey.  Throw in some roasted red peppers.  Go crazy!

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