Monthly Archives: May 2015

The First C.S.A. Box Of The Year

This is the 8th year that we have participated in the C.S.A. program of Riverview Farms, a beautiful spot around an hour’s drive north of Atlanta. As well as growing the veg that we enjoy from May to December they produce superb heritage breed pork and grass fed beef.

C.S.A. boxes are not for everyone. You have no choice over what you get, just a box of whatever is in season and ready to pick that week. At the height of summer that can mean 18 ears of corn, or as autumn arrives, huge bunches of collards that won’t fit in the fridge. Luckily, we enjoy the challenge of working out what to do with this abundance of vegetables, eating seasonally and preserving the surplus to reduce our reliance on supermarkets through the winter months.

CSA box from Riverview FarmsThe first few boxes of the year tend to be a little lighter until the crops really get going in the summer months, but that doesn’t diminish the excitement of getting that first box of the year after the long winter hiatus.

When we get a summer glut we often retire to our neighborhood coffee shop with a few well thumbed cookbooks to give us inspiration and plan some menus but this first box of the year needed little menu planning: we started our evening meal nibbling the radishes with butter and sea salt, the green onions and eggs would go into an onion and Parmigiano frittata accompanied by a salad made with the lettuce, cucumber and local feta cheese, and to  finish we enjoyed the fresh strawberries with ice cream. A simple meal but a deeply satisfying one.

The first CSA box of the year from britinthesouth.com

Green Onion and Parmigiano Frittata

Prep time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 20 mins

Serves: 4

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 green onion, stalk thinly sliced and bulb finely diced

6 eggs, beaten

¼ cup of of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

 

Preheat your broiler.

Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat.

Add the onions and sauté for 10 minutes until soft.

Season the beaten eggs with salt and black pepper, add to the pan and cook until the frittata begins to set at the edge.

Sprinkle the grated Parmigiano cheese over the top of the frittata and then place under the broiler until the eggs are set and the top of the frittata is golden brown.

Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

 

Strawberry Liqueur

Back home in England the strawberry season heralds the arrival of summer. The traditional season is a relatively short one, stretching from mid-June through July, which happily coincides with the Wimbledon tennis tournament where strawberries and cream are consumed in notorious quantities.
Strawberry Liqueur from britinthesouth.com
Here in Georgia, the climate means strawberries are a spring crop, their delicate nature unable to stand up to the temperatures and humidity of a southern summer. So April invariably sees us paying a visit or two to Southern Belle Farm, our favourite pick your own place. It takes less than an hour to get there but it is good to get away from town and feel the sun on your back and the birdsong in your ears as you fill a few baskets with fresh berries. Strawberry Liqueur from britinthesouth.comWe invariably get carried away with our picking which means our bucolic trip to the country is followed by a strawberry processing marathon once we’re back in the kitchen, but it’s worth it if we never have to go to a supermarket to buy strawberry jam, or on a dark winter evening we can sip a jewel red strawberry liqueur which instantly transports us back to those sunny fields.
Strawberry Liqueur from britinthesouth.com

As usual we brought back a huge haul of strawberries. Some we simply ate while they were fresh but the bulk of what we picked were quickly transformed into three different types of jam, strawberry lemonade concentrate, strawberry shrub and strawberry champagne truffles. Some were pureed and frozen whilst others were pickled. We still had enough left to infuse in alcohol to preserve that beautifully fresh taste to sip in the future. Preserving strawberries from britinthesouth.comInfusions are a simple yet delicious way to preserve a glut of fruit. My introduction to them many years ago was the classic British hedgerow tipple of sloe gin. Sloes were abundant close to where I used to live in London and turning them into a liqueur is pretty simple.

Strawberry Liqueur from britinthesouth.comI would describe the process as more of a formula than a recipe: simply fill a jar to the top with fruit, add sugar to approximately a third of the level of the fruit, and then fill the jar with your alcohol of choice. It can be sloes and gin, blackberries and whisky, or in this case, strawberries and vodka. I usually leave this strawberry infusion for around six months before straining and bottling. The resulting liqueur is a beautiful shade of red and still carries a delicious taste of fresh strawberries. Of course, if you make a batch every year you will still have some previous vintages to enjoy while the current one matures.

Homemade strawberry liqueur from britinthesouth.comFor good measure I also infused a small batch of strawberries in bourbon without adding sugar. Something I haven’t tried before and I look forward to seeing how those turn out. I plan to enjoy the 2015 strawberry season for many months to come.