July 1, 2008

Admitting defeat

Over the winter I signed up for a weekly half-share of produce from a local farm. This is a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, wherein you pay X dollars to a local farm during the off-season and get a box of produce per week during harvest season.

You not only support local farms when they have minimal income during the off-season but you get awesome super-fresh produce delivered practically to your door all summer long. Plus, possible hot farm boy sightings every week.

I think it’s genius.

And I like to cook and really, really love vegetables, so this seems like a perfect arrangement, right?

Well, this is what I’ve received so far:

2 bunches swiss chard
2 bunches kale
2 large bunches arugula
2 heads lettuce
2 huge bags spinach
2 bunches of beets, with (you guessed it) greens
2 bunches radishes
2 pints strawberries

I understand of course that it’s early in the season and this is what’s ready to eat in New England right now. That’s actually part of the charm of a CSA – you’re 100% guaranteed to be eating seasonally. And the greens are seriously gorgeous.

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But I live alone, so the vast majority of this stuff needs to be cooked and eaten by me. And quickly. I’ve made countless salads with the tender greens. I’ve sautéed pounds of kale and chard and spinach with garlic and oil. They're particularly tasty with polenta and roasted portabello mushrooms. I’ve tossed leftover cooked greens with orzo, parmesan and good olive oil for pasta salad.

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I’m done. I can’t eat any more greens. The greens have won. Anyone local want some of this stuff???

Also, despite a valiant effort at cooking them and a sincere appreciation of their beauty, turns out I am not such a huge fan of beets.

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Or, if I can't share the wealth with you, do you have a favorite recipe for greens??? Cuz I’m getting a whole new batch of them this weekend…

12 comments:

Olga said...

LOL! Maybe it's time for a hamburger. I understand the unsuccessful desire to like beets...everyone around me likes them, but I just think they're weird. Anyway, a friend made a beet salad with goat cheese, which made them quite palatable!

Siercia said...

Wow, those greens look VERY familiar! We've got a whole share from the same place, and even with three of us, we are drowning in them.

In theory, you can blanch and then freeze the greens - particularly the hardier ones, so you can have them in the dead of winter when you actually miss them.

My favorite kale recipe is a soup called caldo verde - saute an onion and 1/2 lb of chorizo together. When they're cooked, add about 8 cups of water and six peeled, diced potatoes. When the potatoes are cooked, puree the soup (blender, food processor, etc.) then add in about a pound of kale, cut in a fine julienne (which takes forever, so do it while the potatoes cook). Heat just long enough for the kale to soften and turn bright green. Serve, topped with the rest of your chorizo diced and sauteed on top of the soup.

What's really killing me right now is the lettuce. Got any ideas for that?

Siercia said...

We've also got a week off due to the holiday. At first I was sad, but now I think I'm grateful.

I saute the chard and spinach and put them into omelets and frittatas all week, too.

Karen said...

Mmmm, I'm afraid I have no advice for you. But seeing all those yummy greens is making me hungry!!

Sarah said...

Hey, I'm local and could probably use some more greens in my diet. Maybe we can work something out?

ChefSara said...

So, I live in the south, and we just passed our "really? more greens? again?" phase of our CSA. Like you, I'm not a huge beet fan, but found that goat cheese does make the palatable, especially when prepared with this recipe: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1120280. Made as is and sprinkled with goat cheese. Also, beets are in the same family as Swiss chard so their greens can be used interchangably with chard. One of my favorite beet green recipes so far was a quiche...assuming you're not vegetarian, you cook 4-5 slices of bacon, then remove to cool and drain. Saute some onion (i used leeks) in the left over bacon grease then add the chopped beet greens and saute til tender. I made my quiche "batter with about 4 eggs and 2 c. milk (I used whole milke), and grated in a bunch of parmesan and swiss cheese (however much you like). I crumbled the bacon and put the greens mixture in the bottom of a store bought pie crust, and poured the batter over it and baked at about 400 for about 30 minutes, or until set and browned and puffy. I sprinkled some goat cheese on the top for the last 5-10 minutes of baking.

This made enough for 2 quiches, so I now have a second one waiting in the freezer for one of those nights when I'm just not up for cooking. Served with a nice simple salad (that uses up some of the lettuce) and you have a great meal! Feel free to email me (sara[at]thepaynes[dot]cc) if you want more of my "oh my god, what am I going to do with more greens?" recipes.

knittinginpink said...

If things don't work out with Sara, maybe we can work something out! I've been wanting to try CSA but couldn't find one close by.

Quinn said...

Have you already plumbed Debroah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone? It's usually where I go for veggie guidance . . . And then when everything else fails, I start making soup.

Kristy said...

There's a book called "Greens, Glorious Greens" that's quite good. I'll e-mail you one of my favorite recipes which includes chard. It was our favorite from last summer when we started with a CSA.

It will get better. There will be tomatoes and onions and potatoes soon!

Jenny said...

I've honestly never had most of the things you've mentioned. Apparently swiss chard is really great, no idea if I'd like it. But if you truly are drowning in them, and after Sarah and knittinginpink (is that... Valerie?) have their share, if you STILL have some of whatever you get (but not beets, I also really can't do beets) I'll happily take some.

One more question- did you leave a black sweatshirt at my house?

Ooh! Do beets work well as dye?

Anonymous said...

It's Joanna from Smith. I talked to Quinn and she suggested that I look at your blog. We have a TON of collard greens growing in the backyard and have been eating them for weeks. Here's the recipe we enjoy the most:

2 lbs. greens, roll the leaves and slice into 1/4 in strips (can sub olive oil)

3-5 slices of chopped bacon

salt, pepper to taste

Fry bacon until crisp. Add greens. Cook greens until bright green, cooked through, but still slightly crisp. I use a wok to fit everything. Very good, fresh tasting w/o the over-stewed taste of most greens.

Hope all is well.

Andrea said...

Roasted kale:

Strip the leaves from the heavy parts of the stems as well as possible. Toss in olive oil with salt and other seasonings (whatever you like - black pepper, garlic powder, you name it). Roast at 375 on a cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then flip over and roast for another 5 - 7 minutes.

Better than potato chips, I swear! It would probably work for other heavy greens like chards. The frilly edges on the kale are perfect for retaining a bit of oil and seasoning.