Posts Tagged ‘greens’

Greens and Beans

A common challenge this time of season is what to do with all the kale that keeps showing up in our CSA box. Our farm grows two kinds of kale – the standard curly edge kind, and Tuscan kale, which has narrower leaves and has a bluer tint.

Prior to being a CSA member, my only exposure to kale was when I worked at Ruby Tuesday’s, where kale is used as a garnish on almost every dish. The kale is washed with mayonnaise-water prior to use to help turn the leaves a dark green. I have washed so much kale in mayonnaise water that I can still smell it. (gross)

There are a few restaurants in town that serve steamed kale, and despite my attempts at liking this stong-flavored green, I hadn’t found a way to eat kale that I enjoyed. My strategy thus far has been to give it away as much as possible.

So last night, with another two bundles of kale in my refrigerator, I decided to try the Tuscan kale with beans for a simple yet wholesome meal. And it was delicious! Here’s what I did:

Greens and Beans

Heat a can of pinto beans in saucepan; add cumin. In separate pan, saute a small amount of garlic in olive oil. Add rinsed and chopped kale to pan, stirring to prevent sticking. Add a small amount of bragg’s amino acids to the pan and cover with a lid. Saute kale until dark green and tender, but don’t overcook. Remove from heat and add a bit of lemon juice.

When beans are hot, drain water and add to bowl; shred a little mild-flavored cheese on top and add the greens to the bowl.

The light flavor of the pintos did a great job of balancing the strong flavor of the kale. mmmm!

Holy Greens, Batman!

This week’s share box included several kinds of yummy greens, including spinach, kale and my personal favorite, butter lettuce.

I have a confession to make. Although I’ve been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for six years, I really don’t like raw salads. I know, crazy!?! It’s especially unnerving when restaurant servers insist on recommending salads first for vegetarians. I prefer foods that are warm and flavorful to a raw salad any day.

Growing up, we hardly ever ate raw salad, and it was usually a standard mix of iceberg lettuce, carrot shards, cucumber slices and, you guessed it, ranch dressing. Can I even begin to explain how much I hated it?

However, raw salads and greens ARE very nutritious, and one major problem we’ve had each year of the CSA is finding ways to consume several heads of lettuce (along with all the other greens) each week. I can saute spinach and give away kale until the cows come home (yes, really, I can’t stand kale, it’s so sad), but there’s only so much I can seem to figure out with lettuce greens.

Imagine my happiness at finally discovering a raw salad combination that I absolutely love. I can eat this salad twice (or three) times a week, easily. It seems so strange, but trust me, this is delicious. The portions described are for one big salad, so adjust accordingly:

Butter Lettuce and Apple Salad

1/2 head of butter lettuce or other greens (I would guess 4-5 cups of greens when torn into forkable pieces)
1/2 Avocado, cubed
1/2 Apple, cubed (you can also use pear)
2 handfuls of walnuts, chopped (maybe 1/2 cup?)
Shredded Gruyere or other similar Swiss cheese
Ginger sesame dressing of choice (I really like Annie’s Sesame Ginger with Chamomile Vinaigrette)

I find that adding the shredded Gruyere after tossing the dressing in keeps the cheese from just clumping together.  Pears tend to be more watery in the salad, so be sure you drain/spin the greens well after washing.

I made this salad yesterday with my first fresh lettuce of the season. Even though I soaked the lettuce for at least 10 minutes in a bowl full of cold water and then rinsed A LOT, I still had some grit in my salad. (Now you know how I came to name this blog) Therefore, don’t forget to soak and/or rinse your farm fresh veggies, and enjoy the spring greens!

CSA Starts Tomorrow & Keeping Greens Fresh

Our 26 week CSA season begins tomorrow. We’re hosting the CSA at our house this year, so today we cleaned up a little section of the driveway and put up a canopy for the fruit and veggie boxes that will grace our house each Monday.

I went to the grocery store today to pick up a few items, and realized that so very soon, we’ll have lots of lettuce and herbs from the farm that we’ll have to use. [Our refrigerator needs a serious cleaning out of old food items.] And since it’s lettuce season, I thought I’d share our most successful tips for keeping the lettuce fresh.

Paper Towels in Drawer
The easiest and cheapest option is to rinse off the lettuce with a bit of cold water, loosely wrap in a clean paper towel, and then put the whole thing in the cripser drawer. (Which, in our usually dry climate, is always set as humid as possible)

Green Veggie Bags
Last year, we invested about $20 in a box of the “as seen on TV” green veggie bags, that are supposed to keep veggies fresh longer. I don’t know why they work, but they seriously do. I’ve been able to keep our CSA lettuce and other greens fresh for weeks in these bags. We wash and reuse all our plastic bags, so we’ve only used about 5 or 6 of them out of the box of 15 or so. Whether it’s true to the product advertisement or not, I am asserting that they still work.

Reviving Limp Lettuce
I’ve been able to keep lettuce longer (and make it crisp again even when limp) just by placing the lettuce in a bowl of cold water and letting it soak for 10 minutes or so. And a tip for those of you that have never been a CSA member: greens and other farm-fresh veggies often have a bit of dirt left over, especially spinach. Unless you love crunching dirt with your salad, I highly recommend the 10 minute soak before using any of your farm fresh greens.

Looking forward to the start of our CSA and to meeting all our fellow local food supporters!