Posts Tagged ‘mustard’

Weeks 50-51: May 6 – 19

May 19, 2009

The first local farmers market (Copley Square, Boston) opened today for the season.  I wasn’t there.  I’ll wait another two weeks until farmers markets open that are close enough to walk to, followed about a week later by our first CSA drop-off.

I remember last year at this time that I eagerly anticipated a bounty at the farmers market.  I know better.  Harvest season starts slowly.  So, while I feel entitled to stop hoarding and eat whatever vegetables are still in our freezer, I know that we’ll need some of them for a few weeks longer.

Frozen mustard greens and frozen diced-and-stewed tomatoes joined chickpeas, lots of curry powder, a bit each of cumin, coriander, cayenne, ginger, and of course salt, in a curried mustard greens recipe based on one in Joy of Cooking.  The tomatoes can be thawed, microwaved, or simply cooked with the spices and chickpeas before the greens are added.  The mustard greens are finnicky, in that they need to thaw before cooking.  I left mine (in thin layers in ziplock bags) thaw at room temperature for a couple of hours, then cooked with them as if they were fresh.  It worked, and they didn’t overcook.  I don’t think I could tell the difference between cooking with frozen verus fresh, although it’s been many months since I’ve had the opportunity to taste it with truly fresh mustard greens.

Some frozen green beans went with a pasta and sauce meal.  Some were a bit mushy, most were sort of generic frozen green beans, but a few still had crunch!

Frozen broccoli and frozen pepper strips joined tofu in a stir-fry.  The peppers held up well, the broccoli not so well.  That might mean that the broccoli was already a bit old when we got around to freezing it.

Apple sauce came out of the freezer to go into lunch bags.  Tomatillo sauce came out of the freezer to go on top of tortillas with black beans and cheese.

In a demi-miracle of proper handling, we still had two happy, healthy butternut squash.  One of them joined cannelini beans and sage to make a topping for pasta.  Sage, a perennial, is up in our yard, but we didn’t notice until after cooking with stuff out of a spice jar.  It was a missed opportunity, but we’ll have others.

The end, I mean the beginning, is in sight!

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Week 28: December 1 – 7

December 6, 2008

This was the first week of our winter CSA.  We’ve done a summer CSA for years with the same farm, so we know pretty much what to expect for that.  The winter CSA is new to us.  What we got was kind of what I was expecting.  Amazingly, there was no squash this week! 

We’re splitting a large share with another couple who did a different summer CSA.  Some of their end-of-season surplus is different from ours, and that helped to determine who got what this week.  For example, they still have lots of sweet potatoes left, but our summer CSA doesn’t grow them at all.  So, we got all of the sweet potatoes in this week’s winter share.  Conversely, we still have lots of carrots, so the other couple got all of the carrots in this week’s share.  I can’t eat onions, so the other couple got all the onions, which I guess is why we got the one large turnip, because both couples still have turnips from our summer CSAs.  We also got the only cabbage.     Other things were split more obviously:  there were two kinds of kale so we got one and they got one.  They got the arugula and we got the mustard greens.  We split the apples and oranges, and also the thyme

Yes, we got oranges because they have some relationship with organic growers in Florida.  Some of them had stickers on them, which felt very odd coming from a CSA.  It’s less farm-direct than I’m accustomed to.  Also odd, the thyme was in a plastic box. 

Some of the produce is from their own farm (the greens), and, aside from the oranges, everything else was from farms in our region.  I wonder if they’d tell us where?  Maybe they’re getting odds and ends from lots of farms that are done for the season, and amassing enough to give some to all CSA members. 

What does one do with thyme?  It’s an herb I almost never cook with.  I’ve certainly never used it fresh.  Even splitting it with another couple, there’s an awful lot of it. 

Of the new CSA items, all we’ve eaten so far was some of the fruit and the mustard greens.  As usual, the mustard greens became curried mustard greens and chickpeas from Joy of Cooking.  We used a two-cup-lump of stewed tomatoes from our freezer.  We also added carrots because we have lots.  They worked well, adding a nice bit of color and a sweet flavor.  The key was to not over-cook them.

I noticed that some moisture was accumulating in the crisper drawer that has all the root vegetables we saved from summer.  That meant it was time to sort through and cull the ones that were soft, damp, or a bit moldy.  They got cleaned up (well trimmed), cut up, and oven roasted.  Before roasting I cut them into bite-sized pieces of varying shapes – wedges of beets and turnips, rounds of carrots and parsnips, and halves of radishes.  I tossed them with oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a blend of herbs de provence from the Herb Lyceum in Groton, MA.  The result was a colorful and tasty accompaniment to Thanksgiving leftovers.

Week 26: November 16 – 22

November 21, 2008

I’m a bit of a supermarket voyeur.  While I’m waiting in the checkout line, I look at what other people have in their carts and I make assumptions about what I see.  Today I was in line behind a woman whose cart was loaded with produce.  I thought about what she must think of me, if she was looking into my cart.  It was piled high with starches (all whole-grain, of course), some legumes, plenty of dairy.  The only produce I bought was a gallon of local cider and four pounds of cranberries.  I wonder if a stranger looking at my cart would assume (incorrectly) that I simply didn’t eat produce, or if they would assume (correctly) that my produce comes from elsewhere.

The cranberries might be local or might not.  The Ocean Spray grower’s cooperative now includes farmers in Wisconsin and Washington.  My bags of cranberries said they might have been packed in any of those places.  Simply because of the economics of shipping, though, I’m confident that my cranberries are local.

The Eat Local Challenge mentality has stuck with me.  I particularly noticed it in the fruit section, when I had to divert my gaze from juicy, delicious looking citrus and stay focused on finding cranberries.  They were next to the celery, of course.  It seemed to me a bizarre spot, but now that I think about it, maybe not so.  Celery was a fad food at the same time (1830s, give or take) that Thanksgiving was gaining prominence and becoming a national holiday.  So celery sticks have remained a Thanksgiving food, as have cranberries. 

Week 26 means we’re halfway through our challenge year.  We got our last mid-week farmers market vegetables this week (two bunches of bok choy).  The easy part is over.  Our regular sources of fresh vegetables (CSA and farmers market) are both over for the year.  Taking stock, we’re in decent shape.  We have plenty of fresh squash sitting around, and potatoes and turnips.  Inside our refrigerator are lots of carrots, parsnips, and beets.  Our freezer is full of an incredible variety of vegetables.  We have apples fresh, as frozen sauce, and as dried slices.   We need to process other things soon.  Some of the apples are developing rotten spots, as are some of the squashes.  We cut the rotten end off a butternut squash a few days ago, and baked the rest of it, and it’s just fine, especially mashed with butter and maple syrup.

The bok choy and a bit of lettuce are the only greens left in our refrigerator.  We recently ate the fennel from week 20, baked with paremesan cheese and rosemary.  Rosemary goes well with fennel, but it’s easy to use too much and overpower the flavor of the fennel itself.  It was the only way we’ve prepared fennel that we really liked, and it was easy.  The mustard greens that we picked ourselves and had intended to freeze never did get frozen.  Earlier this week, I picked through them and tossed about a third of the leaves because they had yellowed or developed too many brown spots.  The rest of it went into curried mustard greens and chickpeas (Joy of Cooking recipe), made with a hockey puck of frozen diced tomatoes

We couldn’t make it until next harvest season begins on only the vegetables we already have.  I think the plan was to see how long we could go.  As the local food movement grows, though, more options become available.  We joined our CSA the first year it operated.  (Our farmer previously grew for farmers markets and restaurants.)  We’re getting to repeat the process now as one of our farmers market growers is starting up a winter CSA.  I’m sure we’ll get yet more squash from them, because part of the CSA will be storage vegetables.  They also have greenouses, so we’ll be among the lucky few to savor fresh, local greens this winter.  In addition, they’ve arranged with other farmers and growers along the Atlantic Seaboard to get things like Florida oranges for us–not quite local food.  It’s still all from smaller farms that are important parts of their community and are mostly certified organic.  I certainly want to support that!

Weeks 24-25: November 2 – 15

November 13, 2008

At the end of the CSA season, our farmer likes to invite shareholders out to the farm to do a bit of picking our own produce.  We went the first weekend in November.  It was a beautiful day to be outside.  We pulled turnips, saving the good greens, and leaving the brown or bug-eaten ones to compost in the field.  We cut tatsoi, mustard greens, and kale to freeze, and a bit of mizuna to cook fresh.  We dug potatoes, which was fun, because my husband had never seen the above-ground part of a potato, and it had been a few years since I’d last dug potatoes, so neither of us was quite sure what we were looking for.  Between my memory and our farmer’s directions (telling us where in his fields to look for what) we were successful enough.  There were also lots of squashes already picked for us, and we chose mostly butternut to take home, because I know more ways to cook it.  We also took a few Little Dumpling, because there’s something fun about one squash = one serving.  Unlike last year, when most of our haul was carrots and parsnips, we pulled neither this year.  The carrots were all gone, and the parsnips were in a different field.

We didn’t think turnip greens would freeze well, especially because we like the crunch of the stems, so we planned to eat them fresh while freezing the other greens from our CSA.  We made a turnip, greens, and tofu stir-fry shortly after our visit to the farm.  It was too hard to get the cooking times right, so the turnips ended up too soft (mush, even) before the greens were wilted enough. 

With the rest of the greens, after they’d had another week to wilt in the fridge, I pureed them into soup.  Wilted greens pureed into soup are wonderful.  I chopped, boiled, and then pureed together a few potatoes, a turnip, the remaining turnip greens, in a broth of water (1 to 2 cups per potato), salt, pepper, garlic powder, hot pepper, and smoked paprika.  Choosing the right spices for a vegetable makes such a difference. 

We’ve been eating some squash, too.  Buttercup squash is a lot like acorn squash.  It works, but is boring, baked and served with butter and maple syrup in the cavity.  Been there, ate that, lots more squash left.  At least all those are local foods.  My mother gave us a pineapple (very much not a local food) but we forgot to eat it while it was really fresh.  So we cut up the pineapple and filled buttercup squash cavities with pineapple chunks, plus a bit of water, and sprinkled the whole thing generously with a Jamaican spice mix, then baked the squash.  Jamaican pineapple squash is a delicious combination, well worth repeating. 

Pineapple isn’t the only fruit I’ve been playing with.  I made oatmeal this weekend (steel-cut, not rolled) studded with cranberries and chunks of apple (both local, of course), sweetened with maple syrup (local again), and spiced with cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Delicious!

We finally started eating from our freezer.  With dough from a local pizza place, we made our own pizza.  (We should have planned ahead and made our own dough in our bread machine.  We have yet to do that, but sooner or later we will.)  Everything we put on the pizza was local:  tomato sauce from the summer before last, fresh mozzarella from the farmers market, and vegetables from our freezer.  One one pizza we used large-diced green bell peppers, and on the other cubed eggplant.  Both vegetables had very good flavor and texture after being frozen and then baked.  Hooray!

We’ve supplemented our CSA veggies with apples, napa cabbage, and lettuce from the farmers market.  for later.  Apple report:  the Baldwins are still incredible, the Mutsus are still crisp and juicy, and the Northern Spy apples that have been sitting in a bag on my kitchen floor for weeks are still pleasant to eat (whereas McIntosh would have gone mushy or mealy ages ago). 

Also at the farmers market we got heads of green cabbage, as a storage vegetable.  I was inspired by the red cabbage from this summer that we ate 3 months after receiving it.  (We got it in week 10 and ate it in week 22.) 

Our kitchen is still overflowing with apples, squash, and pumpkin.  I want to make applesauce, curried squash-and-pumpkin soup, cubed squash, mashed squash, pumpkin puree…  But our freezer is full.  So we bought a chest freezer.  We’ve been talking about doing this since last winter, when we decided to go up to the large share.  Instead of eating a small share’s worth of veggies and freezing the rest, we’ve been eating more veggies, leaving us fewer to freeze.  Finally, in the fall, we got inundated with more than we could eat.  That’s a good thing, because we’re planning to keep eating our vegetables this winter. 

We realized that we only need another freezer about as big as the one on our refrigerator.  At first, we thought we’d find a freezer on Craigslist, but those were mostly much bigger.  They’re also older, and much less energy efficient.  We looked at a few stores to get a sense or how big the freezers are, and how the space inside is arranged and accessed.  For each, we wanted to know about price and energy rating.  Nobody had an EnergyStar freezer for sale.  Finally, we got onto the EnergyStar website, and found that for small freezers the standard is much stricter than for large ones.  Instead of being at least 10% more efficient than the industry average, they have to be at least 20% more efficient.  Only one freezer currently has that rating.  And it’s sold only at one store.  And that store is Walmart.  I’ve never set foot in Walmart.  I abhor their labor policies, and the way they intentionally drive their competitors out of business.  At the same time, they’re a real leader when it comes to the environment, both for how they run their stores and what products they demand from their suppliers.  The long and the short of it is that I still haven’t set food in a Walmart store, and don’t ever plan to, but, thanks to mail-order, I’ve now done business with them, to save about 50 kilowatt-hours per year.

Week 20: October 7 – 13 (Part III)

October 12, 2008

Of the six peppers in our crisper drawer, only two were still in good shape yesterday.  One was so bad it had to go straight into compost.  The other three had parts I needed to cut out (or at least wanted to cut out – they might not hurt me, but I’m not going to find out).  Some of them had parts where the outer layer of skin had detatched from the flesh and looked white, just like dead skin does on a blister.  As I said, I cut those parts off.  What was left was sort of funny-shaped, so I diced what was left of the three peppers, probably equivalent to two whole, healthy peppers.  I tossed the diced peppers into a skilled with garlic and olive oil, and softened them over medium heat.  When the peppers released their juices, I added lots of coriander and turmeric and a bit of cayenne and cinnamon, along with some salt.  (You might recognize my Tunisian spice combination.)  Then I added some leftover couscous, maybe a cup or so, and mixed it up until it turned a turmeric-stained yellow.  When it was warmed through, it was a colorful and very flavorful pilaf for lunch, with a neither local nor organic veggie burger for each of us.  We need to eat veggie burgers to make space in the freezer.

With the peppers out, there was more space in the crisper drawer for new farmers market purchases.  I came home with another four pounds of potatoes and a bunch of dill for making another potato salad for another potluck.  I bought a bunch of chard and a bunch of mustard greens because we barely had greens from our CSA last week, so I was craving them.  I bought a bunch of mizuna to go with the remaining two peppers and two or three baby eggplants, and some of the local tofu, into  a stir-fry for supper tonight.  Because they were there, I bought two huge sweet potatoes, a jar of herbs de provance, and a pint of wild foraged mushrooms.  I couldn’t resist trying Roxbury Russet apples, one of the oldest heirlooms in this area.  When we eat them, I’ll let you know how they are.

We dried another 6 McIntosh apples yesterday.  They go down to something like 1/5 of their original size.  Those 6 apples, when dried, would fit comfortably in a sandwich size bag.  We keep adding to a gallon bag, and it’s finally looking filled. 

We haven’t been doing very well with the Eat Local Challenge.  A lot of socializing recently has involved eating out.  That’s sort of eating locally because it’s supporting local eateries.  (We avoid chain restaurants, and we’ve been doing that for quite a while.)  The eateries that use local ingredients, though, are haute cuisine, and we aren’t looking for (and can rarely afford) that sort of food.  At brunch this morning, I realized that the cream for my coffee might well be the only local food I was consuming, out of the entire meal.

Week 17: September 15 – 22

September 18, 2008

I’m kind of looking forward to winter, when I won’t have to wash or chop any vegetables for months. Our freezer is getting very full of yummy things. During the spring and summer, I keep it running efficiently by filling empty space with containers of ice, because keeping ice frozen takes less energy than keeping air that cold. It’s another kitchen chemistry thing, having to do with phase changes and specific temperatures. As we fill the freezer with vegetables, the tubs of ice come out to make space. Almost all of them have come out of the freezer by now.

Our CSA share this week was one bag of mixed baby lettuce, one bunch of arugula, one bunch of mustard greens, one bunch of chard, one bunch of large orange carrots, one bunch of scallions, six green bell peppers, four tiny eggplants, one pound of green beans, four pounds of tomatoes, and one pint of cherry tomatoes.   For fruit this week we got Mutsu and Shamrock apples from the mid-week farmers market. 

We’ve been eating last week’s arugula on sandwiches, and carefully worked our way through this week’s lettuce as quickly as we could.  Baby lettuce is always a race against sliminess.  While arugula is good raw, it can also be just another sharp Italian green good over pasta (wilted with garlic, parmesan, olive oil, and red pepper, of course).  Chard I like so much that we ate it right away, steamed and dressed lightly with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. 

My husband cooked up delicious homefries with four huge red-skinned potatoes and two bell peppers.  He microwaved the potato chunks for 5 minutes before putting them in the frying pan with garlic, smoked paprika, oregano, basil, and salt (and oil, of course). 

We’ve been getting more cherry tomatoes than I really care to eat fresh.  (The first pint is irresistable, but we’ve reached overload, especially because my husband doesn’t eat them at all.)  It had been frustrating me that cherry tomatoes were, like lettuce, not able to be “put by.”  Then, at the farmers market last weekend, a friend told us that she had dealt with a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes by dehydraing them.  Another friend, a neighbor, had offered us the use of her dehydrator, so when we got cherry tomatoes again this week, I took her up on the offer.  Halved and dehydrated overnight, cherry tomatoes become incredble little bite-sized “sundried” tomatoes.  They’re now under olive oil tucked away in a cabinet.

As long as we were running the dehydrator, I cored and sliced (but didn’t peel) the remaining two Gravenstein apples, and dehydrated them, too.  Apparently, in their heydey, a lot of Gravensteins turned into dried apples because they are good for that.  The dried rings have a sweet, strong apple flavor.

Other vegetables we preserved, as usual, by freezing.  I froze the pound of green beans, the bunch of mustard greens, and three of the bell peppers.  The green beans and mustard greens get blanched and shocked first, the bell peppers don’t.  Greens start off at such a volume that I have to blanch one bunch in two batches, while the entire pound of green beans fits easily in one batch.  When the tomatoes are ripe enough, I’ll stew and freeze them, too.

Week 13: August 18 – 24

August 20, 2008

Our CSA share this week consisted of a bunch of mustard greens, a bunch of parsley, four Asian eggplants, two regular eggplants, four peppers, a pint of yellow cherry tomatoes, two pounds regular red tomatoes (six tomatoes), twelve ears of corn (but gave away three), one pound of shell beans (might be cranberry limas) and four Zestar apples.

Zestar apples are tart and weirdly crunchy without being crisp.  I like them very fresh, but I think they would quickly develop an unpleasant texture if stored.  It’s a treat to get fruit from our CSA at all, though.  When we have it, it’s because our vegetables-only farmer has traded produce with a fruit farmer neighbor.

The tomatoes were in mediocre condition.  I had to toss one entirely.  Another I had to cut off a quarter of it, but then the rest of it was very good.  Rotten tomato smells awful, but it’s easy to know quickly if tomato needs to be tossed right into compost (or garbage disposal, or trash, depending on where you are).  To keep the yuck from spreading, I dealt with the tomatoes right away.  After cutting out the bad parts, I cut up the good parts into chunks and put them into a saucepan.  I stewed them for 10 or 15 minutes (I wasn’t keeping track), then froze the chunks-in-juice.  What was effectively 4 to 4 1/2 tomatoes yielded about 3 cups. 

Today was cool enough, and the volume of veggies in our refrigerator was overwhelming enough, that I did a whole lot of freezing today. 

  • Peppers are the one vegetable that gets frozen without blanching!  All four went into the freezer, some diced, some in strips. 
  • Mustard greens got the usual blanch-shock-freeze treatment. 
  • Eggplant gets steamed rather than boiled to blanch, and then their shocking water gets lemon juice added, according to Putting Food By.  I cubed the two conventional eggplants, and made stir-fry slices of the four Asian eggplants. 
  • We boiled all nine ears of corn (4 minutes to prep for freezing).  Four of them we ate.  I cut the kernels off of the remaining five and froze them. 

For our lunches today, I used up some leftover vegetables.  I cut the kernels off the three (boiled) ears of corn left over from last week (when we were away), diced up the one remaining pepper from last week (which was looking decidedly sad), tossed in a can of black-eyed peas, seasoned with honey, cider vinegar, and Tabasco sauce, and microwaved it for a couple minutes. 

There were still leftover vegetables to be used up at supper.  I steamed the remaining Kentucky Wonder green beans.  I sauteed up the shell beans in olive oil with garlic, basil, cumin, cayenne, and salt, adding the radish greens at the very end.  We also ate some of the corn from this week, while it was still deliciously sweet, crisp, and tasting just like summer. 

I went to the farmers market today intending to buy fruit for the week, since four apples last us two days if we ration ourselves.  I found plums – not the red plums with red flesh we’d liked so much in Lake Placid, but purple plums with green flesh, labeled as “prune plums.”  I bought a pound of them, which was thirteen.  I also bought a pound and a quarter of tomatillos, a hot pepper, and a bunch of cilantro to make salsa.  Most of the yellow cherry tomatoes will go into the salsa, too, because they’re not very flavorful (probably because of the rain – dryness pushed tomatoes to make sugars), and they’ll keep it a nice green-yellow salsa.

Week 5: June 22-28 (part II)

June 30, 2008

Disclaimer: This is about as boring a post as they get.

The turnips, turnip greens, and broccoli from this week’s CSA drop off became a stir-fry with tofu, garlic, ginger, and Korean barbecue sauce.   (See my tofu-with-texture directions in Week 3.)  There were enough veggies to make a full 4 adult-size servings. 

The mustard greens, as always, will become “curried chickpeas with mustard greens” from Joy of Cooking.

At the farmers market, we couldn’t resist 2 bunches of basil, which will become pesto.  We similarly couldn’t resist a pint of cherries, which became snack. 

I’m surprised we haven’t been overwhelmed with lettuce.  I keep not buying it at the farmers market because I expect to get lots from our CSA.  I guess the weather hasn’t been right.

Week 5: June 22-28 (part I)

June 25, 2008

When we decided to get all our veggies farm-direct this year, we changed from a small share to a large share from our CSA. That means we’ll get twice as many vegetables as usual from June through October. If we were getting just the right amount for 5 months, then we should now be getting just the right amount for 10 months. We’ll supplement from the farmers markets whenever we see good prices on foods that we like that also freeze well.  On our to-do list:  buy a chest freezer, probably used and cheap from Craigslist.

This week what we got from the CSA were: parsley, broccoli, turnips (with greens, of course), chioggia beets (with greens, of course), mustard greens, two bunches of kale, two bunches of small carrots (whose greens are inedible – a rarity), and two pints of strawberries.

The farmers market strawberries we got a few days ago were uniformly small, unblemished, and bruise-free. They were incredibly sweet and flavorful when we ate about 2/3 of them right away, around lunch time. We decided to save the other 1/3 to eat after supper. By the time those few hours had passed, the berries had lost a lot of their flavor. Our CSA farmer doesn’t grow any fruit at all, but he sometimes trades with other farmers in his area to get fruit for us. This is the first time we’ve ever gotten strawberries from him. Some of the berries were beautiful, but my husband was out for the evening and it didn’t seem fair to eat them myself, so they had to be saved. Many of the berries were overgrown, or blemished, or bruised. Generally they seemed better for making into something than eating straight. Putting Food By says strawberries freeze better sliced and with sugar than whole or without sugar. What would we do with the strawberries later? Ice cream! The recipe book that came with our ice cream maker has a strawberry ice cream recipe that calls for the berries to be sliced, macerated with sugar and lemon juice, and allowed to sit at least two hours. Perfect! So we prepped the strawberries, and then put each pint into the freezer, to become ice cream sometime later this summer.

Parsley, of course suggested tabbouleh.  I’ve learned that tabbouleh can change with the seasons depending on what vegetables are available.  Usually I use dried (store-bought) parsley and mint.  Having fresh herbs is a treat.  This week, tabbouleh involves parsley, carrots (finely chopped), and chickpeas.  Radishes would have made a nice addition, but we didn’t have any.

For a long time, kale was relegated to the short list of vegetables-I-don’t-like, along with brussels sprouts.  It’s so good for you, though, and we kept getting it from the CSA, so when I couldn’t give it away, I kept trying recipes.  I finally found a way I like kale (and my husband does, too).  It’s a soup, so more of a winter food than a summer food. We froze both bunches to use next winter, following the blanching steps in my previous post. Kale stems are tough, so the leaves have to come off. It sounds awfully laborious, but turns out to have a trick: gently pinch or wrap your fingers around the stem, just below the bottom leaves. Pull away from you. If you get the pressure right, your fingers will push the leaves up off of the stem, sort of un-zipping. Quick, easy, and bizarrely fun!

Here’s the kale soup recipe I created:

  • 1/2 lb dry lentils (French green are best)
  • 1 large bunch kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 – 2 tsp garam masala (Indian spice mix)
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic (I buy it jarred, no idea how many cloves)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 5-10 grinds fresh black pepper
  • 6 cups water
  • In a 4-quart saucepan combine the lentils, garlic, garam masala, and water. Simmer until the lentils start to break down. Add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Taste to adjust seasonings. Add the kale and simmer until it is wilted.

Week 3: June 7-14

June 22, 2008

Week 3 was when the season really got going.  The most local market opened and then, days later,  our CSA started drop-offs.  Luckily our farmer also has a farmstand at the market, so we were able to ask him for predictions and shop at the market for things we would not get from the CSA that week.  He predicted lettuce, so we didn’t buy any.  Then he didn’t include lettuce in the drop-off.  So we bought some romaine at the later-in-the-week market. 

The only vegetable we bought at the weekend market was bok choy, for more stir-frys. I had finally, the week before, figured out how to cook tofu the way I like it.  I’ve been vegetarian for well over a decade, so you’d think I’d have figured out sooner how to cook tofu.  Nope.  The trick is this:  brown the tofu in an un-oiled non-stick pan.  No oil.  Let it sit, triangular slabs arranged in a single layer over medium-high heat, until that side is browned.  Then flip them over and do the same to the other side.  The triangles might stick to each other a bit.  When the second side is browned, then add oil and garlic, or a sauce (either bottled or home-mixed).  Then add whatever vegetables. 

In our CSA share, we received arugula, mustard greens, spinach, and pea tendrils (stems, leaves, and some flowers).  We ate a lot of the pea tendrils raw, a bizarre curly finger food.  Since there wasn’t lettuce, the spinach became spinach salad, with feta, olives, and balsamic vinaigrette.  Some of the arugula became a different salad, with blue cheese and balsamic vinaigrette. 

The rest of the arugula and the rest of the pea greens, wilted by the end of the week, went over pasta.  My husband brought home some garlic scapes from a co-worker who had surplus.  He chopped up and sauteed the garlic scapes, arugula, and pea tendrils in olive oil, seasoned with lemon juice, cayenne, basil, and oregano.  We tossed it with pasta and shredded parmesan cheese.  Yummy!

The mustard greens went into “curried mustard greens and chickpeas” from Joy of Cooking.  The first year we were in the CSA, we received mustard greens.  I’d never cooked mustard greens before.  I don’t know whether I’d ever eaten mustard greens before.  So we did what we always do with a new vegetable:  start by looking in Joy of Cooking.  We own the 2004 edition.  It has two recipes for mustard greens.  One of them involves pork.  We’re vegetarian, so that was out.  The other is the curried chickpeas recipe.  We tried it.  We liked it.  Now whenever we have mustard greens it’s the first thing we make.  Last summer we bought Greens, Glorious Greens – a cookbook I wish I’d had the first year.  It has lots more mustard greens recipes, including a different one involving curry and chickpeas.  Unfortunately, most of the mustard green recipes in Greens seem all to require random other produce like yams.