Doctor Science Knows

Saturday, May 31, 2008

CSA Food: Lettuce Pray

I think I'm going to try to do a weekly post on, "what I got from my CSA this week and how I cook it". One of the things about a CSA is that it is *seasonal* -- you only get what's ripe this week, and you often get a *lot* of it. I'm glad to more of my flisties eating locally, so I figure I'll share some of my experience -- we've been in this CSA for maybe 15 years.

This week, it's lettuce. Four heads, each about as large as your head -- so each is maybe twice the size of what you'd get in the store, because so little is lost in transport. This week we got two red-leaf and two green leaf. We pick up on Tuesdays, so Tuesday dinner during lettuce season is generally this meal. We've had it twice this week so far, not counting leftovers for lunch.

All measurements are approximate.

Thai Beef or Chicken Salad
serves 4-6

fresh ginger, approx. 1 inch cube, cut into a couple of pieces
an equal quantity of fresh garlic
4 Tbl (1/4 c) soy sauce
4 Tbl (1/4 c) corn oil (cheaper) or peanut oil (tastier)
8 Tbl (1/2 c) lime juice -- I use Nellie & Joe's
2 tsp coriander seed, ground *or* about 1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped
1-2 lb beef (London broil is good) or chicken breast
another 2-4 Tbl oil
at least 1/2 head of lettuce, washed, then chopped or ripped into bite-sized pieces

Mince the garlic & ginger by whirling them in the food processor together. Add ground coriander (if you don't have cilantro), soy sauce, 1/4c oil, lime juice. Whirl together.

If using beef, marinate in lime mixture in fridge for at least 2 hours, more if beef looks tough. If using chicken, cut it into strips and marinate for only the time it takes your rice to cook.

When the rice has about 15 minutes to go (beef) or 5 minutes to go (chicken), heat the remaining 2-4 Tbl oil in the big frypan. When it's hot, take the meat out of the marinade, scraping the bits of garlic & ginger back into the bowl. Saute the meat until it's cooked -- for the chicken, just a few minutes of stir-frying. For the beef, cook until brown on both sides, then reduce heat (and maybe cover pan if needed) and cook to desired doneness.

Take the meat out of the pan and put it on a plate (chicken) or chopping board (beef).

Pour the remaining marinade into the pan with the oil & tasty bits from cooking the meat, and boil for 3 minutes or so, scraping up any bits.

Have the lettuce in a large to very large glass or stainless steel bowl. Pour a good amount of the hot marinade over the lettuce and toss it so that the greens wilt slightly. Then add the fresh chopped cilantro (if using) and toss again. Put any remaining marinade in a gravy boat or measuring cup to add ad lib.

Cut the beef into strips.

Serve: a pile of rice, either next to or covered with lettuce, meat on top, extra sauce dribbled onto the rice. There will be sauce in the bottom of the salad bowl, pour that on your rice, too. Some people will want hot sauce or peppers, others won't.

This is an exceptionally tasty meal, and one of my family's favorites.

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  • This is an exceptionally tasty meal; thanks so much!

    More CSA recipes, please.

    I substituted a tablespoon of water and a tablespoon of Thai fish sauce for two of the Tbs of soy sauce, and added a teaspoon of brown sugar. Also added matchsticked red peppers and sliced scallions to the lettuce before adding the sauce. (Cucumber and/or bean sprouts would be good, too, I think.)

    I used an inexpensive cut of beef I'd never bought before -- lean, very thin pieces that I marinated whole and cut up into strips before frying. They cook in no time.

    Many thanks again.

    By Blogger Nell, at 3:47 PM  

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