Today on Alphabet City: A Bon Appétit recipe helps Jon Paul recover from an altercation at the neighborhood CSA.
Summer in the city is supposed to be more relaxing. But by mid-June, I start to get anxiety over a Tuesday night routine—picking up goodies from our local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) that we’ve come to refer to as “The Share.” For five years now, we’ve been trendy little urbanites buying into a program supporting Windflower Farms in upstate New York and marveling at whatever produce is on offer each week. For several years, Chef has enjoyed his own “quick fire” challenge—what to make with all the root vegetables—while I am left to deal with a range of characters at The Share pick-up spot.
Each week, Chef blasts a medley of Cher songs on the iPod while I download him about my latest confrontation at what is supposed to be a lovely, neighborhood bonding ritual. He rolls his eyes at my antics like he’s Ricky Ricardo to my Gay Love Lucy. But I can’t help it. Somehow The Share is never quite the calm experience I would like. Last year, I wrote about my issue with parents letting their children finger vegetables with their germy hands. This year, my problem is with line hijackers. I’m always behind some earthy crunchy women who have decided to split their share—on the spot. The discussions over who might enjoy more Bok Choy while the rest of us are waiting have become excruciating.
“Ladies, you’re going to need to speed this up!” I shouted from two spots back.
“We’re just discussing who might better put this to use. See I’m leaving town in two days and not sure I can use it all,” one of them told me.
“And I don’t need to be held hostage by your decision making process. Take it to the curb!” I huffed.
The ladies pretended they didn’t hear me, so I skipped ahead of them and gave them an evil eye.
I suppose my own tension is enhanced by the stressful new cooking duties I have assumed. Since Chef often gets home later on Share evenings, I thought it might be nice if I tried my hand at the CSA Quick Fire Challenge. The results have been, well, mediocre, at best. I’m very good at whipping up a leafy green salad and roasting some kale. But staring at just one garlic snape and two beets can flummox me.
Last week, though, I nearly peed my pants when the fruit takeaway was a cornucopia of plums! The August issue of Bon Appétit had the perfect suggestion for a lazy unimaginative challenged home cook like myself—Vanilla-Scented Plums and Blackberries. So easy—cut up some plums, add blackberries, 6 T of sugar, ½ vanilla bean split lengthwise and scrape in the seeds, stir and let stand for about an hour. It makes this delicious topping that can be served over angel food cake.
Later on our patio, while Cher sang out Dark Lady, Chef and I enjoyed my new go-to light summer dessert. And I made a mental note to consult the rules of CSA membership—I didn’t want to be evicted over poor behavior. Food that tastes this fresh and delicious will pretty much make me put up with anything.