Tuesday, May 19, 2009

CSA Week One: Lettuce Wraps

Welcome to The CSA Chef Blog. My intention is to share with you recipes that I have created based on what treats and treasures I receive in my weekly CSA share. Although my CSA comes from Fair Share Farm, the recipes could be easily adapted to most CSAs in the area. I have been involved with local food and farmers for over ten years and currently make my living as a personal chef and caterer. The recipes that I post are original. From time to time I adapt other chef's recipes to my style. When that is the case I will credit the source of the original inspiration. To find out more about what CSA is visit www.kc-csac.org/ or www.localharvest.org/csa/.

Here is my first CSA share from Fair Share Farm in Kearny, MO...

This is a full share and includes 3 heads of Lettuce, Tatsoi (one of my favorites), purple and green Asparagus, Leeks, Sorrel, Chive Flowers, Green Garlic, and Mint. I have put together some recipes based on these items.

The first is Lettuce Wraps. I created this recipe for a catering some time ago and also served it for lunches at the Pi Gallery last summer. It is a favorite with my vegetarian daughter, but is loved by non-vegetarians as well. Grilled pork or chicken is an excellent accompaniment. This is a great recipe to start off the season and the spring lettuce abundance. It is easily shifted to accomodate different items as the season progresses. As you will soon find out, I create recipes and meals based on what comes in my CSA and what is in the fridge and hope this will help you if you get stumped on what to fix or feel overwhelmed. This recipe is a snap if you have a food processor and still quick if you don't. Below is the recipe with step by step instructions.

Lettuce Wraps:

These are extra items from my pantry and fridge that I included in the Lettuce Wraps that were not a part of my CSA.

Cashews, Carrots, Dried Basil, Portobello Mushrooms

Ingredients to gather:
10 large Lettuce leaves
10 leaves of Tatsoi
4-5 medium carrots
3 Green Garlic stalks
handfulf of cashews
2 portobello mushrooms (or 10 crimini, shiitake, or oyster)
2 Mint sprigs
1 large Leek
1 Chive Flower
1 Tbsp dried basil (or about 7 fresh basil leaves)
Step 1:

Slice the white parts of one large Leek and three Garlic Chives and sautee on low to medium heat in about two tablespoons of oil - I use Grapeseed Oil.

Sliced Leek

Sliced Leek and Green Garlic in Cast Iron Skillet. You may need to add a couple of tablespoons of water to the sautee pan to help "melt" your Leeks.

Step 2:
Once they have softened add a couple of generous pinches of salt and pepper, then add 3 diced carrots and dried basil and stir.

To dice carrots: Peel and cut in half, take one half and cut in half lenghtwise, carefully cut each half in half again lengthwise, cut the lengthwise quarters into matchsticks, then cut the matchsticks into small dice cubes.

If you have a food processor, peel carrots and cut into chunks, pulse until carrots are finely chopped.

Step 3:
Continue cooking on medium-low heat. Let carrots soften a bit then add diced mushrooms.

Break off stems and compost (they can be used to make veggie stock which I will post on at some point), with a damp cloth wipe off tops of mushroom, slice into strips, then chop strips into smaller pieces until diced.

If you have a food processor pulse until minced.

Leek, Green Garlic, Carrot, and Portobello mixture.

Step 4:
Continue cooking on medium-low heat and add Tatsoi chiffonade and diced cashews then stir. Leave the mixture on the heat for just another minute or two then remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

To chiffonade the Tatsoi, remove stems and stack four or five leaves, roll the leaves lengthwise, and slice across the roll to form ribbons.

Chop cashews until minced or pulse in a food processor.

Add to skillet and stir.

Step 5:
While the mixture is cooling, break off 8 to 10 leaves of Lettuce rinse and pat dry. Arrange the Lettuce on the edge of the plate and place the mixture in a mound in the center of the plate. Serve with chopped Mint, Chive Flowers, and soy sauce.

Sliced Green Garlic (lower left), Chive Flowers (top middle), Mint (right)

Voila!! Lettuce Wraps...

To wrap take the top portion of the lettuce (the rib makes it hard to wrap) and add a few spoonfuls of the mixture, drizzle some soy sauce, and sprinkle Chive Flowers, and Mint then wrap lettuce around mixture and eat!!! You can use the sturdy inner smaller pieces of the lettuce head like spoons!

Enjoy...there is more to come!


  1. OMG Heather! That is the most beautifully photographed and well presented recipe I have ever seen. I see a book in your future.

  2. Well done! I'm so excited that we have a chef in our CSA this year.

    Would you be interested in writing for the KC CSA Coalition as well? If so, email me at csac (dot) kc (at) gmail (dot) com. I look forward to future posts, either way! :) -- season