This week was our first visit to Hollygrove Market and Farm, right in the city. Hollygrove offers a CSA (community supported agriculture) box filled with freshly picked goods from farms within a hundred-mile radius of New Orleans, and I’m sure many of you are taking advantage of these types of boxes in your own areas. They really are a great way to support local food growers and to learn how to cook with what’s in season. Two things I love about Hollygrove’s operation are that they offer two boxes each week, on Tuesday and Saturday (sometimes slightly different), and you don’t have to subscribe–just come get it when you want it (or order home delivery). Also, you can pick up other vegetables and fruits a la carte at the market, as well as organic meats, coffee, dairy products, and some interesting pantry items.
The mid-week box included: eggplant, green bell peppers, a bag of chanterelle mushrooms, a bag of shiitake mushrooms, tomato, cucumber, key limes, okra, peaches, sprouts, and Cajun grain rice. Those skinny white beauties are heirloom eggplants we bought separately, and I wish I’d remembered to get the big bunch of herbs and the black-pepper goat cheese in the photo. Oh, well.
I get really excited when farmers shop for me, which is basically what CSA boxes are about. You don’t make the decisions, the farmers do–and they’re making their decisions based on what’s prime and what makes a good variety for the box. Of course, using these beautiful fruits can be a bit of a challenge, especially when you’re not entirely sure what some of them are. When I haul home a load of super-fresh produce, either in a CSA box or from a farmer’s market, the first thing I do is figure out what’s going to be hardest to keep fresh. In this case, it was definitely the chanterelles. So the first night, we made a divine pizza with chanterelles, shiitakes, bacon, garlic, and goat cheese….rawr.
Today I set my eyes on the peaches and herbs….wait a second.
I set out to make a little peach crisp, adding to it some blueberries from the freezer. I know that basil is smashing with most soft, juicy summer fruits, so even though I’d never tried it before with blueberries, I just went for it. So first, I mixed up the peaches, blueberries, torn basil, a bit of sugar, and a little lime zest…
…and I declare it was a wonderful accidental fruit salad. Go ahead and just eat this, it’s great! Also, mint or thyme would be just as good as basil.
I went ahead and made the crisp. It was a ticket to yummytown in itself, and the recipe is below. But what I really wanna know is, how do you all use up your CSA boxes? If you’ve ever come up with something awesome just by using the stuff you got, please share it here. We’d love to hear about it!
- 2 large ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup blueberries (if frozen, do not thaw)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon torn fresh basil leaves (or thyme or mint)
- grated zest of 1 small lime
- ¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 Tablespoons white sugar
- 3 Tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
- 3 Tablespoons quick-cooking oats
- scant ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small dice (plus a little extra butter for greasing)
- 2 Tablespoons sliced almonds (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 and lightly butter two small baking dishes, about 2-cup quantity each.
- In a small bowl, combine peaches, berries, sugar, basil, and zest.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugars, oats, and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until it's evenly distributed and the bits of butter are small as BBs. Or a little bigger than sprinkles on a donut, I guess. Mix in almonds. (You can also blend in the butter with your fingers.)
- Divide the fruit mixture evenly between the baking dishes. Sprinkle half the topping mixture over each dish, patting down slightly to even it out.
- Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, or until fruit is bubbling hot and topping is light golden brown. Let cool slightly and serve as-is or with ice cream, whipped cream, or a big ol' glass of milk.