Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Its CSA Time!

All last year I envied everyone in the lower 48 who talked about their CSA bounty from week to week. Fresh veggies and fruit were hard to come by in AK, and when they did make an appearance, they weren't wallet friendly.

Now that we are back in Ohio, I debated on joining a CSA (community supported agriculture) or planting my own garden. Weighing the pros and cons of both, we decided our money was better spent supporting a local farmer and getting a varied array of fruits and vegetables throughout the year.

I researched local farms on the Local Harvest website and came down to two choices. I like the idea of Crown Point Farm but they already were waitlisting for next year. They were closer, but ended up being costlier and had a work requirement (not that I am opposed to that, but the demands on my time during the summer are unpredictable). Shepherd's Fold Farm was a close second, and after some research about their farm and CSA program, I would have likely chose them anyways, as they also sell their own honey, pastured beef, lamb, and poultry in addition to their CSA program. The hubs and I chose a half share, and this week was our first pick up of the season.

In this week's basket we got:

Baby Lettuce
Green Onions
1 Doz fresh eggs
3 Cherry tomato plants

Last night I mixed some of the baby lettuce, sorrel, and radish tops to some spinach we had.  Topped the salad with chopped red pepper, cubed fresh mozz, radishes, and peppered turkey :D.  This weekend I need to get a planter/pot for those tomatoes and get them planted!

May Daring Bakers - Oodlez of Strudels

Boy did the month blow by fast, here we are again, time for the montly installment of Daring Bakers!

The May Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter and Courteny of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafes of Vienna, Budapeset and Prauge by Rick Rodgers.  Because I'm in a rush, you can find the recipes for this month's challenge at the hosts' site(s).

Strudel dough is one of the few things I haven't dealt with in my varied baking past. Didn't seem that hard, considering there's only flour, water, oil, salt & vingar in the dough. I must say, my first attempt turned out the best, I forgot to oil the dough before resting, and the resultant texture of the strudel was crispy and flaky. The attempt I made yesterday afternoon/evening had a better dough feel, plus I oiled it this time, but after baking, the crust was crisp and tasty, yet the flakyness was gone. Granted there is a significant difference in the climatic conditions from the beginning of the month to now (its a lot warmer and humid), so maybe that has something to do with it.

Regardless the dough tasted the great both times and MY OH MY that apple filling recipe has to be one of the best I have ever tried! My first attempt I made a savory strudel with a mushroom filling. I reduced equal parts red wine and basalmic vinegar by half then added chopped mushrooms (used white, crimini, portabella, and oyster - both fresh and reconstituted dry) and cooked until all the liquid was gone and the shroomies were glazed. I topped with chives and gouda cheese wrapped and baked. (This topping is a total winner for putting on pizza or foccacia) The crust was perfect... I left it out to cool for pictures, and came back to an empty pan.... The hubs thought I already taken pics and ate it.

The apple filling was amazingly good. Usually I don't like raisins with apples, but it was a great combo. I let the raisins soak in the rum overnight.

Strudel is certainly as versitale as puff pastry, though without all the hassle of turning multiple times and with out the tons of butter! Stretching was fun, and i was surprised how elastic the dough actually was. I think I would default to studel vs danish for everyday recipes because of how easy it really is!