When I think of joining a CSA, I think of weekly bundles, overflowing with leafy greens, plump & fragrant fruits; coming home from my day at the farm, dirt under my toenails, my hair flowing free..blahblahblah.
It was my first CSA pick-up the other day, and sad to say, my expectations were not met. Cut to the farm. It is down-pouring. Me in a tank top, sans jacket, frantically pulling up basil plants by the root, trying to get out of there as fast as possible. Then sitting in the car, wondering how I’m supposed to justify spending $600 a season, when all I have to show for it this week are 3 garlic scapes, a quart of strawberries, a dozen eggs, and some mesclun. Feed a family of 4 for a week?? More like an hour.
I understand that it’s the beginning of the season and I cannot rush the garden, but c’mon; a girl can’t survive on garlic scapes and spring mix alone.
On a more positive note, I did manage to incorporate this weeks CSA into one great dinner. Smitten Kitchen’s Leek Toasts with Blue Cheese, with my scapes added, Mediterranean salad with a lemon/feta dressing, and this lovely bean, leek and mushroom stew from the Veganomicon.
It’s earthy and creamy, pretty much a full meal on its own, but taken to a whole new level when served up with the leek toasts.
Rustic White Beans and Mushrooms
Adapted from Veganomicon
2 cups dried white beans, soaked over-night
1 small onion, peeled and sliced into quarters
1 stalk celery, cut in 2
1 small carrot, sliced in half
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsps. dried tarragon
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, peeled & minced
1 large leek, (white and light green parts only) thinly sliced
1 lb. mushrooms (whatever kind you want. I prefer a mix of mushies like shiitake, oyster, or cremini), thinly sliced
2 tsps. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Drain and rinse the beans and transfer them to a pot. Add 4 cups of cold water, cover, and bring to a boil. Boil for about 3 minutes. Skim off any white foam from the top. Cover the pot and lower the heat to medium; add the onion, celery, carrot, thyme, and tarragon.
Simmer for about 45 minutes, until the beans are tender. Remove the onion, carrot, and celery. Lower the heat to low and continue to simmer while preparing the remaining veggies. The beans should resemble a very thick stew, not a soup. If there’s too much liquid, leave the pot uncovered and stir occasionally.
About 10 minutes before the beans are done, places the garlic and 2 tbs. of olive oil in a cold skillet. Heat the skillet over medium heat, allowing garlic to sizzle for about 30 seconds. Add the sliced leek and saute until soft, about 1-2 minutes. Scrape the leeks into the beans. Add the remaining 2 tbs. oil to the pan, allow to warm for about 30 seconds, then add the mushrooms. Sprinkle the mushrooms lightly with 1/2 tsp. salt and saute until most of the mushroom liquid has evaporated, anywhere from 8 to 12 minutes. When most of the excess liquid is gone, add the mushrooms to the beans. Turn off the heat and season the beans with the remaining salt (or more, if desired) and freshly ground pepper. Allow the beans to stand for about 10 minutes before serving.