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Spring in a Box
Jun 4th, 2006



My CSA box delivery has been chock full of spring goodness lately: asparagus, spring onions, snap peas, fresh spinach, and lettuces. There are times during the year when I look at the list of what is to be delivered that week and wonder how exactly I'm supposed to whip such a diverse group of items into a week's worth of healthy meals for my family. Other times, usually when the season is in full swing, meals just jump off the page. It's really not hard to figure out what to do with asparagus and snap peas in June, corn and tomatoes in August, or winter squash and pears in December. It's those transitional times that can be tough.

Summer might be nearing on the calendar, but it's high spring here in Seattle. Grass and trees are florescent green and growing almost visibly. One minute the skies are gray and pouring down rain, the next it's seventy degrees and sunny, and on the weekends what seems like the entire population of the city descends upon the local nurseries to lug home pots of flowers and mulch. So these days when I've tucked in the last daylily into my flower bed and wiped the mulch off the knees of my jeans, I go in and cook something green and fresh. When our box arrived this week we ate a pasta primavera brimming with vegetables and fresh herbs, the noodles slicked with butter, cream, and parmesan. (Lot's of butter, shhhhh....)

Last week we made pizzas, four individual pies to decorate as desired. I topped mine with blanched asparagus spears, thinly sliced zucchini, and rounds of spring onion with a sprinkling of thyme over thin slices of Canadian bacon and melted mozzarella cheese. It was delicious, but in the interest of full disclosure I must say that the uncooked pizza pictured above never quite made it out of the oven in an edible state. My pizza may have been a bit heavy on the toppings and suffered a small pizza stone related accident. So if you're using a pizza peel and stone combination, make sure you've heavily floured or cornmealed your peel and your toppings are secure before attempting the transfer from peel to stone. Otherwise you might find yourself scraping asparagus and cheese off the bottom of your oven. Theoretically of course.

But if you click the picture above you'll see that a smaller, more modestly topped pie did make it out of the oven safely, and the salvagable remains of the first glorious experiment were delicious, if perhaps not entirely photogenic. Our CSA program incorporates organic produce from the warm and dry eastern part of the state as well as the cool and misty west, so summer is already creeping into our weekly deliveries in the form of the first tiny peaches and tender zucchini, but for a few more weeks at least we will celebrate spring.


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© 2006, Kimberly Cooperrider | kymmco@excite.com