Thursday, August 5, 2010

Suffering succotash

I have a secret, the kind of trashy, tawdry secret that could get my Certain Kind of Brooklynite membership card revoked.

I don't like being in a CSA.

It's true.

I've had CSA envy every summer for years now and still love the ethos of the thing, but now that I'm actually IN one: meh. Part of it is that I signed up for a half share, but the CSA I belong to has half-share people pick up a full share every other week instead of getting a smaller amount every week. I get it; it would be an organizational nightmare otherwise, but it means that I'm either overrun with produce and I have to gorge myself before it all spoils or the fridge is empty but I don't want to buy more because all I already prepaid a not-inconsequential amount of money for my June-through-October produce, goddammit.

I had gotten into a good rhythm over the winter of planning meals ahead of time, shopping for pantry items infrequently, picking up produce/dairy/eggs more often and just generally being efficient and thrifty, while also eating really, really well. It was a state of affairs that pleased me to no end. Not knowing what I'm getting — my CSA isn't one of the ones that lets members know what to expect ahead of time — and not being able to get and use it on my own schedule is driving me a little bananas.

I know that a lot of people like CSAs because it forces them to try foods that they wouldn't normally, but I actually do that all the time. I nerd out like crazy when I see a kind of apple I've never heard of or some dark, leafy greens that are new to me. And yes, the quality of the CSA produce is very high, but I also belong to the one of best food coops in the country, which carries loads of local, organic produce that's equally good.

So, I won't be rejoining this one, but if I move away from the coop and into a different CSA's territory, I'd reconsider.

I haven't been blogging much about cooking, partly out of CSA-related demoralization and partly because it's been too hot to cook anything, but I did make a succotash-ish dish Tuesday night that turned out pretty well. My distribution on Tuesday included five ears of corn, which is one of those foods I insist on eating immediately because refrigerating it destroys all of the good flavor chemicals and leaves it fit, basically, for cattle feed. (There. That should ensure that I don't lose my Entitled Brooklyn Asshole status for a while.) So I cut it all off the cobs and sauteed it in butter with green beans and a huge tomato, both chopped into manageable pieces. I cooked about a cup of orzo and added that too with some of the pasta water. Two changes I'd make next time: I would have preferred a pasta that was not the same size as the corn kernels for some additional textural contrast, but I didn't have anything else on hand except linguine, and would have finished the dish with a bit of cream, but mine had gone bad, so I used buttermilk instead, which tasted good, but didn't thicken up the way I wanted it to.

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