At first the idea of a weekly produce share disturbed me. What would I do with a big jumble of vegetables and fruits that I hadn’t chosen? I worried that the pressure to use it all would diminish one of my greatest pleasures: cooking.
I’ve found the opposite is true.
Every week I log on, eager to create a meal plan by the list of vegetables and fruits in the produce share. Pen in hand, our schedule and the share’s produce in mind, I work through days and meals. Instead of thinking of the vegetables and fruits as one disjointed mass, I imagine them as pieces of a puzzle. One may remind me of a recipe I’ve clipped from a magazine; another of a familiar favorite I’ve been craving.
I think of Swiss chard and it’s a salad with almonds and pecorino or it’s quickly sautéed with garlic in olive oil.
I think of beets and they’re roasted for a salad with nut brittle and Gorgonzola cheese, or just roasted, sliced, and tossed with olive oil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
Carrots and parsnips might be roasted with olive oil and rosemary or infused with ginger in a warming soup.
I think of broccoli and it’s roasted and eaten as a side – 15 minutes at 425 degrees on parchment with a swirl of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of fresh pepper – or tossed with pasta, olive oil, and Parmigiano Reggiano.
Romaine is handy for crunch in a sandwich or as a bed for a quick lunchtime chicken salad.