I joined the Sunnyside CSA this year, I have resisted in past years because my mother and I garden together on the farm, but after a challenging spring, we were not able to focus that much on the garden. Thankfully, being part of a CSA makes you feel like you have an organic garden, full of summer’s bounty at your disposal, which for a city dweller feels like you have found the world’s best kept secret. I have found that the CSA has complimented my personality, I am frugal and like to get creative, so all the vegetables force me to cook more, and to experiment. Also, it is so easy, you just need to pick up the vegetables and you are set all week. Not to mention how reasonable it is, for just over 20 dollars a week you have enough vegetables for four adults. The CSA forces you to eat out a lot less, so there is extra savings on top of that and the icing on the cake is that all the money goes straight to the farmer.
A friend recently gave me the book La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy, which is filled with ancient Italian recipes that have been compiled by chefs in an effort to preserve Italy’s culinary tradition. My favorite section of the book is the one devoted to vegetables, there is nothing more inspired or simple than how the Italians prepare vegetables. Every recipe I have tried has not only been surprising but a perfect compliment to the abundance that the CSA has provided us with. Growing up in New York, one would be hard pressed to not have a strong tie to Italian food, however I have never been a fan of Italian American food: too much pasta, cheese and tomato sauce. I have since learned, that Italian food can be fresh, delicious and seasonal.
All these seasonal vegetables would not have been made possible if it were not for the organization Just Food, that creates CSA’s in NYC, the farm Golden Earthworm Organic, or all the wonderful volunteers that work hard to create such a wonderful resource for our community. All this community involvement makes the vegetables taste even better. The whole experience has made me very optimistic about where our food movement is going and the potential we have to make each others lives better.
One of my favorite recipes from the book is a “marinated zucchini recipe” which uses white vinegar, garlic and mint. It is delightful. I tried it once with basil, and I almost prefer it. Also, it is advised that you serve it cold, but I prefer it served hot.
Marinated Zucchini with Mint or Basil
adapted from La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy
- 2 zucchini, sliced thinly
- handful of basil or mint
- 3 cloves of garlic, sliced or minced
- 1/3 cup olive oil plus 1 tablespoon if needed
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
- Using a mandolin or knife, slice the zucchini thinly
- in a heavy bottomed skillet fry the zucchini until tender and just golden
- you will need to fry these in batches
- place on serving dish
- mince the garlic and mint or basil
- after you have sauteed the zucchini
- check the level of olive oil, if you think you need a bit more add a tablespoon
- fry the garlic and herbs, until fragrant
- add vinegar, then salt
- pour over zucchini and serve!