CSA 2008, Week Eleven.

It’s interesting: while the list of items in our CSA box grows, we’re still at the point where everything fits comfortably into the box itself. Well, I suppose that is a lie, as the cantaloupe was outside of the box, but that’s only because its heft would have undoubtedly crushed a few poor, innocent tomatoes into sauce. This week’s box from The Food Project held the following:

  • Basil
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Cilantro
  • Cucumber
  • Fennel
  • Hot pepper
  • Potatoes
  • Purple peppers
  • Scallions
  • Tomatoes

The first thing I did was process that basil into pesto, which is now in the freezer in three separate containers because we received such a large bunch of the fragrant herb that I could have probably wallpapered the bathroom with the leaves. (This is not an exaggeration. I have a very small bathroom.) The cabbage, purple peppers, tomatoes and cucumber will eventually be turned into a very colorful salad; the chard and scallions went into a savory pie; the cantaloupe, probably the sweetest I have smelled in a long time, was devoured all but instantaneously; and the carrots I will somehow incorporate into dinner tonight, leaving us with only cilantro, fennel and the hot pepper. And, let me tell you, I’m really excited about that hot pepper.

This will without a doubt come to a surprise to those of who you know me and my aversion to hot foods — I literally can’t stand the sensation of something hot in my mouth. I find the tingling (and the burning!) most unpleasant. I know this eliminates some truly flavorful foods from my diet, but what can I say? I have tried, during the course of my entire life, to get over this and I’m sorry to say that I can’t. In spite of two trips to Thailand and my love of its cuisine, the hot pepper is not my friend. That said, I’m dying to mash up that pepper with some salt and sugar, as per Pim Techamuanvivit‘s recipe, below. I’ve got a bowl of strawberries in the fridge and a hankering for some pineapple… I’m ready to dip away, hotness be damned.

Prik-kab-klua, from Chez Pim

2 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1-2 fresh red chili

Put all the ingredients in a small mortar and grind everything together. Serve with fruits cut into bite-sized pieces.