A year ago we went to Marseille. This month we’re heading off to Cannes. It occurs to me we failed to write-up our last batch of food exploits in Provence. This is what I can put together from last-year’s notes.
Last summer, after 9 months of working long hours with mostly no observed weekends, we took a vacation. Now, you might think that New Orleans in July is a terrible idea. On the one hand, it’s as hot and humid as it gets. On the other hand, NOLA doesn’t care about things like dress codes, and you’ve got the place mostly to yourself as far as tourism goes. We stayed in the French quarter through a package deal, and did not rent a car, instead opting for a cab to and from the airport, and public transit for the rest.
When I saw that Halloween would fall on a Wednesday, it was unclear whether I should throw my annual Halloween party the weekend before or after October 31st. With Frankenstorm bearing down on NYC, I’m glad I picked the weekend before.
They just keep coming. Wave after wave of apples from the fall portion of the summer farm-share.
Here’s the collection of recipes stocked against future apple attacks.
Last night was my annual Halloween Party. Salt Boy gets into it too, but the crazy motivation for throwing a giant costume party comes from me. Unsurprising, since these days it’s a holiday about sugar.
It’s three weeks into the farm-share season, and we are settling into the rhythm of cooking with massive or minuscule quantities of unfamiliar or unexpected ingredients. We were out of town last week (but that’s another post), so we bequeathed our share to another couple of foodies we know. Upon our return we checked in to see how they fared, and the response came back: thanks for the veg, we made some lovely things, but we couldn’t handle cooking this way every week…and you can have your kale back.
It really is a lifestyle, and not to be taken lightly.
This week began our fruit share. Last year we bought a vegetable share only, and all summer I remember looking longingly at the table of fruit, to be collected by my other comrades in veg. Now it is my fruit! Week one: 2.5 pounds sweet cherries, .65 pounds sour cherries, and one small bottle of raspberry apple juice from Red Jacket Orchards. That’s a lot of cherries, people.
I had plans for these cherries. In fact I had been anxiously awaiting them for weeks, ever since discovered that maraschino cherries were originally beautiful and were never meant to resemble the red-dyed monstrosities you find in bars nowadays.
Application 1: Maraschino Cherries (using sour cherries via thekitchn)
Application 2: Amaretto Cherries in syrup inspired by dessert at Esca in NYC
Application 3: Invite people over, put a bowl of cherries in front of them. And a bowl for pits.
If we get more sweet cherries next week (and I suspect that we will), there will be sweet cherries in bourbon, cherry preserves, and cherry shrub…you know, shrub, for cocktails.
Last year, we signed up for a CSA for the first time, which was a bit of a stretch, because we weren’t living together yet. There was a clear division of labor: Salt Boy paid the fee, and Sugar Girl provided the labor (schlepping the resulting veg to and fro, and 4 volunteer hours over the course of the summer).
For various reasons, mostly involving compatible subway lines and minimal volunteer hours, we chose the Prince George CSA. We paid approximately $350 at the outset (to fund the farmer). That happened in early March, though some places want you to pony up by Jan or Feb. The vegetable onslaught began on June 10th, and I think I remember that it continued through early November. It’s something like 18-20 weeks of vegetables. There are still pickled (canned) carrots and kirby cucumbers in our hall closet, so you could argue we haven’t finished with the CSA yet.
Summary: pay your money before the season starts. Collect veg once a week through the season. Volunteer to work behind the check-in table for two two-hour blocks. Go home happy. Also, learn to work with new, tasty, fresh ingredients.
How much would you pay for a large reusable shopping bag full of veg at Whole Paycheck? If I run the average weekly share through the Fresh Direct website, it comes out to $20-$30, and you know the organic stuff at NYC prices is going to ring up at an even higher weekly cost. Although the volume varies from week to week, we were mostly vegetarian by the end of the summer and could never finish the share by the time the next pickup rolled around.
Here’s a listing of CSA’s in NYC.
Here are the ones we’re thinking about:
Chelsea CSA (Stoneledge Farm): 24 weeks of vegetables, 20 weeks of fruit; 1/2 hour walk or 16 minutes with a subway ride; pickup on Tuesdays 4-7; Standard veg share is $530, standard fruit share is $250; volunteer 4 hours per veg share, 2 hours per fruit share. Other stuff: coffee, honey, maple syrup.
Merchant’s Gate CSA: 22 weeks of veg, 20 weeks of fruit; $335 for a veg share, $240 for a fruit share; 4-6 hours total volunteer time; pickup at 417 West 57th Street (at 9th ave), pickup Wednesday 3pm-7pm; other stuff: eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese.
Prince George CSA: $360 for a veg share of 22 weeks, $200 for 20 week fruit share, pickup at 28th Street between 5th and Madison, pickup Thursdays 3:30pm-7:30pm; four hours volunteer time; other stuff: eggs, honey, maple syrup, granola, ground beef, chicken, butter.
We’re still deliberating on whether to stay with Prince George (where we were pretty happy) or try one of the others. Stay tuned for the gripping conclusion: which CSA will provide us with too much kale and zucchini?!