Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at 6:14PM
This weeks "busting at the seams" box is full of lots of seasonal greens... and I mean lots! The reality is most folks don't know how many different varieties of greens there are out there - the diversity of flavors, textures, colors, it's all pretty amazing! When grown fresh and local they are an excellent way to get an array of vitamins and minerals. They are also pretty versatile too. They can be dedicated to a side dish or incorporated as part of a main dish over pasta or in a stir fry. Raw or cooked - greens are even better when you bring some of their friends along for a cacophony collaboration of mixed green goodness! After going to a local Farmers Market this last weekend - those of you out there in the local produce buying scene are fully aware - there's very little to be bought... well, we decided to buck that trend and overfill this share a full week before we REALLY expected the CSA to start! So, what's in the box?
Swiss chard- The green that has the colorful stems and looks a little like rhubarb but isn't! A Swiss chard frittata is one of our favorites, easy to make meals. Sauté the chard, and combine with eggs, milk and whatever else you have on hand- cheese, sausage, chicken or even bacon (mmmmm).
2 types of bok choy - larger Joi Choi variety (same as last week) and baby variety of bok choy - called Mei Qing. The flavors are quite a bit different - awesome in the recipe below!
2 varieties of lettuce - green leaf and red leaf lettuce - fresh and full of flavors. This is what a salad is SUPPOSED to be made out of...
Greens mix- (Identified by the bunch of different shape, color and textured leaves) This mixture's name is "Ovations". A great combination of both mild and spicy ingredients greens. The mix includes Red Mustard, Mizuna, Tatsoi, Kale, and Arugala. Great for sautéing or adding to a fresh salad for some really interesting flavors (no rules here).
A small bunch of Broccoli Raab or sometimes called Spring Raab because of the little broccoli florets on it (pronounced rob) - This is our first year growing this green and it's got us divided... some of us like the taste and think it's terrific and some of us think it's got a bit of a bitter aftertaste (which is rumored to go away after cooking). To find it in your box - Raab looks like turnip greens and may have small broccoli like structures in it. What are your thoughts on raab? (Information about raab here)
Garlic scapes - These crazy curly looking things are the "flower stalks and stems" off the garlic plant. Until just a few years ago farms used to cut these off and send them to the compost pile - then someone figured out they are great to cook with and now some people charge $0.25 each! Purists will argue cutting them off the garlic plant, while it makes the bulbs in the ground larger, takes away from their flavor. I don't know - it's just too hard to wait another 6 weeks before eating any fresh garlic - so - use scapes for a distinctly garlic like addition to anything you might use a green onion in! (big hit last year)
Even though we have been eating this way for years and years now we're still exploring the best ways to utilize what's available seasonally. We received this book as a gift this past year and have found it to be a fun resource for different seasonal recipes. It's also got some cool stories about other small farms that have unique production offerings as well - great to cook from or to read from. Click on the book or the link to grab your own copy!
Oh and during greens season, you will definitely want a salad spinner for cleaning those greens! This is the one we've used for years - without it... washing and drying is slow and tedious... leading to less washing... leading to "extra protein" in the greens...
This weeks recipe:
Simple Greens and Pasta Sauté
Chop garlic scapes and sauté in olive oil. Add bok choy stems and sauté until tender. Then add in chopped greens any or all of the above). Sauté until slightly wilted. Season with salt and pepper. We added in leftover cooked chicken (but any thing added is good!) and mushrooms and served over pasta. We also added in some hot sesame oil for some heat. You can add in a stir fry sauce or any other favorite spice! Serve with some soy sauce and chopsticks. You really can't go wrong with this one.