As part of this endeavor I joined a CSA this past January, as soon as a drop off point was established in our area. We get a basket every other week, so I thought I would show you what we got this Wednesday. B was very pleased with this one, he has whined in the past about all the "greens" (heaven forbid!) we get. The winter baskets do contain a fair amount of dark greens such as kale and chard, which I love. He is a total fruit fiend (I think he would be almost a fruititarian if left to his own devices). In this basket, starting from the left: purple and yellow green beans, eating pumpkin, purple basil, scallions, red chard, carrots, romaine lettuce, celery, corn, Valencia oranges, red bell peppers, a large yellow tomato, plum tomatoes, russet potatoes, green apples, cucumber, red apples, pears, yellow onion, and zucchini. This was the very first basket that I didn't trade anything (our CSA always offers a "trade basket" if there are items you aren't fond of). I don't remember all the specific varieties they gave us, but most of them are not "commercial" strains.
We've been getting a bunch of purple basil pretty much every basket this summer and I wasn't really sure what to do with all of it. One of my experiments was basil vinegar, which you can see below in the glass bottle. The purple basil turns the vinegar a beautiful red color after it seeps a couple weeks. You just need one large bunch purple basil, a sterilized quart canning jar, and enough white wine vinegar to cover (about 2 cups). Just wash the basil (no need to stem), stuff in jar and cover with vinegar. Leave in a cool, dry place for a couple weeks then strain into a clean jar and stash in the fridge. It is fantastic for making a quick and flavorful salad dressing, which is what I use it for below.
This serves 4 as an appetizer, or 2 as half of a meal. It's yummy paired with a light soup and is a great way to use up some of that garden bounty which may be coming out of your ears. This keeps well in the fridge for a day or two if you like.
1 lb tomatoes
1 small red bell pepper
1 med cucumber, partially peeled if desired
1 med zucchini
1 small leek or one large shallot
1-2 tsp chopped thyme
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp flax oil
2-3 tbsp basil vinegar (alternately you can use white wine vinegar and add 1 tbsp chopped basil to the salad)
salt and pepper to taste
betta feta or diced avocado, optional
Dice tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, and zucchini and place in a medium bowl. Thinly slice leek and add to bowl. Sprinkle on herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Wisk oils and vinegar in a small bowl until pretty well emuslified then pour in to bowl. Toss to combine. Add feta or avocado, if using and toss gently. I like this best after it has hung out a few hours and the flavors have had time to marry and mellow.