What is interesting about getting a farm share is you’re forced to confront some of these vegetables that you know you should eat and you know you should try and yet … you never manage to put them in your cart when you’re at the store.
The past two weeks, it’s been kale. The first time I ever heard of kale was when I worked at Shoney’s. (Have you quit laughing? OK, good. You can continue reading.) Kale was the decorate green put on the plates. No one ate it, for pete’s sake. It was tough, for one thing. It was MERELY DECORATIVE. I had the privilege of being a hostess, which involved wearing a navy blue polyester dress with a plaid dickey, seating people, then settling the bills. Frequently, I worked late on Friday and Saturday, which means I saw a lot of drunks, since it’s a college town. My favorite was when someone came to pay the bill and the kale leaf was hanging out of his pocket, as though it was a pocket square. I managed not to lose face, but it was so funny, I remember it 28 years later.
I had never eaten kale (to my knowledge) until last year when I attempted kale chips. I failed that, baking them too long and they had a smoky flavor. Unfortunately, they were not supposed to have a smoky flavor. Now I’ve eaten it at three meals in the past week. I’m catching up for lost time at this rate.
SO, this week I had:
- Romaine lettuce (took some to work. The romaine is HUGE.)
- Radishes (my mom picked it up for me, so I gave them the radishes)
Sunday: We missed Cinco de Mayo. I had been out of town for all day on Friday, at a UCDA workshop in Atlanta. Great workshop, but do NOT get stuck in Atlanta midtown on a Friday afternoon, especially if that Friday afternoon is also Georgia Tech graduation. As a result, it took me a little longer to get back than I thought, so I met my daughter and her friend at the Relay for Life in Pendleton. Dinner was a brownie left over from lunch and muffins and almonds that my daughter mercifully brought when a friend drove her over to the event. So, Saturday was a good time for a relaxing evening and we went to Brioso after seeing Chimpanzee. (Christine gives it a B. Cute, a little Disneyesque, but beautifully shot. I’d rather hear Morgan Freeman narrate, not Tim Allen.) What a perfect night to go out for Italian: not only are exams over, but everyone else was standing in line at Mexican restaurants.
As a result, I decided to make up for missing this and found a recipe on the Whole Foods site. They have great recipes out here. This one was perfect, since it used greens. I did use frozen corn, but I made black beans in the pressure cooker (should have made more, whoops), and I used the rest of an onion I had in the fridge. I also diced a green pepper and I chopped two tomatoes. The greens were my bunch of kale. So, while getting the beans cooked in the pressure cookers, I sauteed the onions, garlic (added that too) and pepper for a few minutes, then added the kale for a couple of minutes, stirring it all up. Then I added the tomatoes, the corn, the lime juice, some cumin, some chili powder and some Adobo. Then I slapped the lid on it and left it that way for about 8 minutes, stirring it up about half way.
After that, we followed form, going with Mexican cheese and then only very lightly. These were really good. One did make a full meal (along with a ton of chips, which everyone at Ingles also apparently ate chips this weekend), so we packaged up the remaining two for Tuesday night, and the rest of the filling, which we can either make more or just eat with chips.
Monday: Bok choy and broccoli were up next. Instead of trolling the net for a recipe, I went back to an old gem from my husband: his chinese vegetable cookbook. I’m not sure you can even get this book any more. This one used dried mushrooms and broccoli, so it would be easy to add bok choy to this. Since you can’t get the book anymore and I changed it up enough, I’ll share the recipe.
Prep the ingredients:
- Soak 4 ounces of portabello mushrooms in 2 cups of hot water for 30 minutes. When that’s done, pluck out the mushrooms and strain the water. I’ll be honest: I’ve skipped this step and regretted it. There’s dirt in there and you will taste the grit. Strain it.
- Cut the florets off the broccoli and then peel the stem and chop into pieces.
- Separate the greens and the stems of the bok choy. Chop up the stems and shred the leaves.
- Make a mixture of:
- 3 T soy sauce
- 2 T rice vinegar
- 1 c mushroom liquid
- 1 t sugar
- 1 t Chinese five spice
Heat your wok and add some wok oil (or peanut oil.) Add the mushrooms and broccoli and bok choy stems and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Add the leaves and stir fry for another minute. Add the liquid and stir to coat, cooking for a few minutes. Add a tablespoon of corn starch mixed with a little bit of water and boil until the sauce is thickened. Serve with rice. A big hit with all. Rich tasting without the waking up in the middle of the night with an angry belly.
Tuesday: Just me and the kid, so we had the leftover veggie tortillas. Just as yum as before AND it did work well with chips.
Wednesday: again, just the two of us, so we had the leftover stir fry. Very flavorful still.
Thursday: finally, husband made it home, so he picked up a gigantic piece of salmon at Whole Foods. He seasoned with Old Bay and slapped that sucker on the grill, along with the gargantuan scallops wrapped in bacon. Me, I made what I thought was a kale bulgur salad. I have to confess when I found another batch of greens at the bottom of my bag, I almost cried. I assumed this was kale, since the web site said that I was to get two batches of kale. (My mom picked it up this time as a favor to me as I was stuck in Atlanta.) Turns out it was a collard bulgur salad. Either way, it was an enormous hit and this meal also fed us for two nights. My dad came over and ate very heartily. I based the meal on this, but obviously, accidentally used collards. I also didn’t have an jalapeno, so I used some chili pepper. And, turns out, I forgot the feta! It was still delicious.
Next week, I have even MORE food: tatsoi, kale, romaine, lots and lots of radishes and 2.5 pounds of zucchini and squash. I’m thinking kale pesto, some black eye peas and collards (I kind of have to do that with the collards at least once, right?) and a stir fry with tofu are in order. Come back next week to see if I actually did that. (Or, let me know if you have any suggestions as to what to do with all this food!)