What to Do with that CSA Box
During the summer there are local farms that offer Community Supported Agriculture memberships, or CSAs, where for a set fee, you can sign up to receive a box of fresh (often organic) seasonal produce on a regular basis.
All this is great in theory, but what does one do when confronted with a diverse array of perishables? We made a bee-line to our chefs for ideas.
The first line of business was to get our hands on a CSA box without actually enrolling in a full delivery program. After a little looking, we found New Leaf Natural, “a grocery dedicated to providing an affordable alternative to overpriced organic produce by offering weekly organic produce boxes at the lowest cost available and you can pay by the week, so no long-term commitments.” Sounded good, not quite a farm box, but close enough; and they had us with the no commitments bit. So we plunked down $25.50 for a medium size box of produce. When we opened the box, we found a mix of local (Michigan blueberries, Illinois beets and Wisconsin zucchini) and non-local (bananas, oranges, plums, cabbage, spinach and more) produce; but all was organic.
Next, we lugged the box to Gilt Bar, cornered Jason Vaughn and asked what he’d make faced with this ingredient assortment. Here’s Jason’s clever, off-the-cuff salad.
Roasted Beet and Peach Salad:
Roast the beets on a low temp 300°F for an hour or as long as it takes to soften them.
Cut peaches in half and eliminate the core, dip fruit in sugar and put in the oven on a high heat. Get the juices and sugars to caramelize.
Smash up the plums, strain the juice and cook the juice over the stove with a simple syrup (sugar and water mixture).
Eat a banana from the box while everything’s on the fire.
Grab the cooked beets, and peaches. Cut them in pieces
Layer with English triple cream, and drizzle the plum jus over the top
Sounds pretty good to us. And we dig that it’s not another banal fruit salad. If you want to give it go, contact New Leaf Natural Grocery about a box of organic produce.
New Leaf Natural Grocery
1261 W. Loyola Street, Chicago, IL 60626