Emo Eggplants Winning Smackdown Dishes

Grand Street CSA’s own Emo Eggplants, Dan & Caroline, cooked their way to Smackdown glory in Just Food’s first ever CSA Smackdown Final on January 5, 2013!! It was a great afternoon of local food. Thanks to Dan & Caroline for providing details on their winning dishes – innovative but simple takes on local, cold-weather vegetables. Check out Just Food’s Smackdown Page for a full recap. Scroll down to find out about Grand Street CSA’s 2013 season.

Grand Street CSA’s Top Chefs
Dan & Caroline’s winning dish at the September 30th qualifying event
    Delicata Squash Donuts with Kale and Red Cabbage Fall Slaw
  • Delicata squash was sliced into rings, dipped in egg, coated in cornmeal and fried crispy golden brown.  A small ring of onion and a small slice of poblano pepper were prepared in the same way to accompany the squash.
  • For the slaw, kale and red cabbage were sliced into thin strips and marinated and tossed in a dressing made from olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, diced jalapeno pepper with the seeds removed, and salt and pepper to taste.  Cauliflower florets were added for color, texture, and flavor.
 The 2013 Great CSA Smackdown Winner
Reconstructionist Latkes with Apples and Honey and Kale Salad

The two different latkes are a reconstructed take on traditional Jewish potato pancakes. 

  • Shredded potato, kohlrabi and carrot seasoned with salt and pepper and mixed with egg were fried in olive oil and topped with diced apples (with the skin on) that had been sauteed in butter and honey.
  • Shredded potato, bok choy, broccoli rabe, and garlic were mixed with egg and a liberal amount of pecorino romano cheese and fried in olive oil to form the second latke.  
  • The latkes were served with a raw kale salad dressed in olive oil, white wine vinegar, honey, siracha, salt, pepper, and pecorino romano cheese to taste.

Smackdown Recap

Grand Street CSA’s Saturday Afternoon Smackdown at the Hester Street Fair

A fun, action-packed and delicious afternoon featuring our beautiful Provider Farm veggies!

The Emo Eggplants’ (Dan Tainow & Caroline Maggi)
Ray Riga (the famous original)
Smackdown officials: 
Deborah Noch & Shien Chiou
Aaron Stoquert, co-owner and chef of Cowboy Pizza
John McGrath, father of Hester St. Fair’s own Rachel Mae Farms CSA
Nivia Mendez and Derek Baldwin of Our Lady of Sorrows Food Pantry
Special Guest:
Just Food’s CSA in NYC Program Manager Paula Lukats

20 minutes to prep …
The cooking begins – 30 minutes to go!
The Emos fry delicata rings dredged in cornmeal & egg
Ray cooks red cabbage, apples, cauliflower & onion in butter & oil.

  Our competitors both used 9 CSA ingredients each, including delicata squash, kale, onion, red cabbage, hot peppers (poblano, jalepeno, cayenne), onion, cauliflower, apple & pear (from Breezy Hill).

Finished with time on the clock
Down to the wire

   Dan and Caroline presented Delicata Doughnut with Fall Slaw inspired by a dish from Back Forty – fried delicata, red onion & poblano pepper strips over a fall salad of kale, red cabbage, apples, pears & cauliflower dressed with apple cider vinegar and olive oil.

   Ray’s fall trio included a massaged kale salad in lemon dressing, an Alsatian inspired choux rouge aux pommes (red cabbage with apples) with the addition of cauliflower, and pan seared delicata with pears that just made it onto the plate as time was called.

Our judges taste and score the two dishes.
Spectators and volunteers taste and give their own 2 cents.

Judges scored each dish on taste, presentation & creativity. While Deb tallied the scores, the judges complimented both dishes, especially Ray’s red cabbage, apple & cauliflower sauteed in butter and the Emo Eggplant’s fried delicata squash ring. Ray’s last minute delicata could have used a little more time in the pan.

Judgement time

 And the winning dish was … Delicata Doughnut with Fall Slaw!!

Congratulations to the Emo Eggplants, who took home a set of T-Fal pots courtesy of Just Food and a ticket to the Smackdown finals next month!

Many thanks to our farmers, competitors, judges, and volunteers, as well as our friends at Just Food, the Hester Street Fair and Seward Park Housing for making the Smackdown possible! 

Food Drive and Just Food Visit

On the second Tuesday of each month, we try to do something a little special at distribution. This month we have two small but highly relevant events:

OLS Food Drive
Our Lady of Sorrows food pantry is a full partner in our CSA — each week, any food left unclaimed by members gets collected by OLS volunteers to be distributed at their food pantry the next morning. They help ensure that none of our fresh food goes to waste.

Many emergency food organizations are dealing with cuts in funding and donations at the same time that even more families rely on their services. Please clean out your pantry of non-perishable food items and help us fill a box to complement our leftover veggies. We’ll have a box set up near the front of the amphitheater. If you’d like to add something to your shopping cart to donate, here is a list of suggested items:

brown/white rice, dried beans, cereal, oatmeal, peanut butter, canned meat or fish

Just Food Visit

Just Food is the non-profit that helped get us started — over the years, they’ve helped over 100 NYC neighborhoods connect with local farmers to create an extensive network of CSA throughout the city. They also take on issues of food justice, and help promote affordable, fresh foods in a variety of other ways.
This year, they’re formalizing their relationship with all the CSA members who have benefitted from their help by creating an CSA Network that each one of us contributes to — $5 of your membership fee goes to Just Food to help them build new CSAs and promote their mission, for a total of $580 from Grand Street CSA.

Just Food staff members Paula Lukats and Jessica Cortes will be joining us at our distribution this Tuesday to meet members, talk more about Just Food and answer questions about the new Just Food CSA Network. Be sure to take a minute to say hi when you pick up your share.

Just Food’s CSA in NYC Conference — March 5

Just Food is the great non-profit that helps hook up neighborhoods in New York with local organic farmers to create CSAs. They got us started back in 2008 and still provide us with assistance. They also host a dynamite conference each year for farmers and CSA members to meet and discuss issues of mutual interest.

Last year, a few members of the Grand Street CSA core group went to the conference and learned a great deal about the importance of CSAs to the survival of small, organic farms in the region. We also were able to have an eye-opening discussion with Elizabeth Ryan of Breezy Hill Orchard (our fruit supplier) about the near-impossibility of growing organic fruit in the northeast. Altogether, we gained a deeper understanding of the larger community our CSA is a part of.

All of which is just introduction to an invitation to join us for this year’s conference, on Saturday, March 5. They always sell out: click here to register. And here’s the official announcement:

Join Us for Just Food’s
11th Annual CSA in NYC Conference
Saturday, March 5, 2011
8:30AM to 6:00PM
Food & Finance High School
525 West 50th Street, NY, NY 10019

The Just Food CSA in NYC Conference is an opportunity for CSA members and farmers from around the city to come together for a day of workshops, discussion, and good food.

For updates on presenters, workshops and expo participants, please check our website periodically.

Keynote Speakers: John-Paul Courtens and Jody Bolluyt of Roxbury Farm
Jean-Paul Courtens and Jody Bolluyt of Roxbury Farm will join us as this year’s keynote speakers. Jean-Paul partnered with New York City residents in 1991 to start New York City’s first Community Supported Agriculture group. 2011 will mark Roxbury Farm’s 20th season of providing CSA shares to New York City communities.

Conference Schedule
Registration & Breakfast (provided): 8:30-9:30am
Welcome & Keynote Address: 9:30-10:30am
Workshop Session 1: 10:45-12:00pm
Lunch (provided): 12:00-1:30pm
Workshop Session 2: 1:45-3:00pm
Farmer Panel: 3:15-4:30pm
*Q & A with local farmers
CSA Expo & Reception: 4:30-6:00pm
*Wine and Cheese, informational tables.

Ticket Information
Student/Fixed Income/Just Food Member $15
Non-Member Rate $25
Supporter $35
Supporter Plus $50
Super Supporter $100
EXPO only $10

Help your CSA win a free canning class!
This year we are excited to offer a free canning class to the CSA with the highest percentage of members in attendance at the conference. Register today and be sure to tell us which CSA you belong to in order to secure this prize for your community!