Tuesday, June 29, 2010

CSA Cooking: Blueberry and Rhubarb Crisp

Last week we picked up the first share of our CSA for this summer. CSA stands for Community Supported (or sponsored) Agriculture, and it means you buy into a share of the farm and get fresh, organic produce on a weekly (or bi-weekly) basis. It's a great way to get beautiful, fresh produce, and to support local family farms. Also, as someone who loves to cook, it is a great challenge to try new ingredients and recipes. I can give our previous CSA credit for introducing me to kale, which we now eat on a regular basis.
This week's share included rhubarb, garlic scapes, mushrooms, oregeno, snap peas, lettuce, and kale. It was all so fresh!

This year we are doing a half share from Simply Wisconsin, which is actually a group of farms that work together for the CSA shares. It means we get to support lots of different farms, and we should get better quality and variety that we would get from a single farm. Some might say that this is a kind of weak way to do a CSA, and that you should really commit to supporting a single farm, but I really like the idea of getting produce from so many places. And the woman who organizes the whole operation, Deb, is so informative and helpful! I think it's going to be a great experience, and next year we'll most likely commit to more than the half share we're doing this year.
A colorful mix of rhubarb and blueberries

The first pick up included a lot of great looking produce, and I was most excited about the rhubarb, which I have never cooked with before. I thought about doing some kind of muffin or scone, but most of the recipes I found were for sweet desserts or rhubarb chutneys or sauces. I didn't want to do a strawberry and rhubarb combination, because that seemed too easy. I have been eating a ton of blueberries lately, though, because the organic half pints have been on sale at my grocery store a lot lately. I found this recipe for Blueberry Rhubarb Crisp with Pistachio Crust online, and couldn't resist the combination. It came together easily, and was a nice mix of sweet and tart. The crust was buttery and rich, and the pistachio made this a better than ordinary topping. A wonderful summer dessert!

Blueberry Rhubarb Crisp with Pistachio Crust

1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 pound rhubarb
2 cups blueberries (about 11 ounces)

For topping
1/3 cup shelled natural pistachios
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375°F. and butter a 2-quart shallow baking dish.
In a bowl stir together sugar and flour. Trim rhubarb and cut enough of stalks into 1/2-inch pieces to measure 2 cups. Add rhubarb and blueberries to sugar mixture, tossing well, and spread mixture in baking dish.

Make topping:

Finely chop pistachios. In a bowl whisk together flour and sugars. Cut butter into 1/2-inch cubes and with your fingers or a pastry blender blend into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add pistachios and toss well.
Squeeze a handful of topping together and coarsely crumble in chunks over filling. Squeeze and evenly crumble remaining topping over filling in same manner. Bake crisp in upper third of oven until filling is bubbling and topping is crisp and golden, about 50 minutes.
Serve crisp warm or at room temperature.

No comments: