Blooming Glen Farm | CSA Dinner Club
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CSA Dinner Club

CSA Dinner Club

Friends gather weekly to cook and share the farm bounty. I hope you are inspired as I was by this creative idea from CSA member Judie Much, as well as her wonderful recipe for Roasted Fennel with Parmesan.

When my husband, Dave, and I began thinking about investing in a share at the CSA, we realized that the two of us could not eat all of the food ourselves.  Luckily, we have surrounded ourselves with self-proclaimed “foodie” friends.  At least weekly, this group (can be anywhere from 6-13) gathers for food and fun at one of our houses.  The host usually decides and provides the main part of the entree and the rest of those who attend contribute sides, salad, appetizers, or dessert.  We wondered- would anyone be interested in splitting a CSA share?  Two couples voiced an interest, allowing the share to be divided into thirds. 

In our first year of CSA membership, we divided the share into thirds and our group met as usual on a weekly basis with each of the three of us who had acquired veggies contributing as we saw fit.  But alas, separating our food in this manner really restricted what we could provide for a larger group.  So this past year, the suggestion was made that whoever picked up the share, would plan and create a “CSA Dinner”, generally attended solely by the three couples who owned the share. What a wonderful experience this has been. The food amount is easily sufficient for six, and the items not used are divided between the three couples for the rest of the week (and there was ALWAYS a lot left!).

So what kind of meals did we create?  Space does not permit, nor can I remember all of the wonderful meals we had, but one of our most memorable was early in the season and was hosted and prepared by our friend, Dave.  In our share we found cantaloupe, turnips, zucchini, summer squash, beets, fennel, herbs, and spring onions.

First Course: Dave started the meal with cantaloupe, yogurt, and blueberries. 

Second Course: Grilled chicken, grilled turnips and beets (who knew you could grill slices of raw turnips and beets and have them cook in a few minutes?).  Dave also made a potato salad which included grilled summer squash and zucchini, as well as the potato!  And did you know that if you slice fennel very thin and roast it with olive oil, kosher salt and parmesan cheese, that people eat it like candy?  It’s true!

Dessert course: Grilled cantaloupe in a hot caramel sauce served with Owowcow vanilla ice cream.   What more could you ask for?  Perhaps a recipe?  Needless to say, we will continue this fine tradition this year.

Roasted Fennel with Parmesan

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 45 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 4 to 6

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish.

Take 4 fennel bulbs, and cut horizontally into 1/3-inch thick slices, fronds reserved. Arrange the fennel in the dish. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then with 1/3 cup freshly shredded Parmesan.  Drizzle with 4 tablespoons olive oil. Bake until the fennel is fork-tender and the top is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Chop enough fennel fronds to equal 2 teaspoons, then sprinkle over the roasted fennel and serve.

Written by Judie Much, a happily retired Oncology Nurse Practitioner who lives in Ferndale, Pa with her husband David. She and David are members of a group of neighbors who love to cook, laughingly called “The Ottsville Eight.”

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