Archive of ‘greens’ category

Eat Your CSA – Using your CSA Vegetables – Week 1

7337892844_9ac190416d_b

This beautiful spread is courtesy of Colvin Family Farms - for more information on this project, read the guidelines here.

I spent most of this week helping my parents pack up their old house in Kingsport and move their stuff down to Knoxville.  They closed on their old house Friday and won’t be able to move into their new house until July.  This occurred during a week when my sister graduated from high school and my mom had sinus surgery.  All of this was done in a kitchen with most of the pots and pans and dishes packed up.  It was also the second anniversary of my FIL’s death.  To say things were stressful would be stating the obvious.  Because things were so hectic I don’t have a set schedule of meals for you this week.  Next week I’ll be listing every meal out in all the gory details.

I would have posted a picture of my mom with toilet paper & bandages sticking out of her nose but she knows where I live.

Here’s what was in our box for week number 1:

  • Pint of strawberries
  • 2 Heads lettuce
  • 2 medium heads of cauliflower
  • 2 bulbs green garlic
  • 2 medium heads of broccoli
  • Bok choy
  • 1 bunch swiss chard
  • 1 bunch radishes

From the garden:

  • Raspberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Garlic scapes

Here are some of the meals I made:

  • Steamed broccoli & cauliflower with green garlic mayo served with hamburger patties
  • Lots of gorgeous salads – this was some of the prettiest lettuce I’ve ever seen
  • Eggs scrambled with swiss chard & garlic scapes, fresh raspberries
  • Stir-fry with broccoli and chicken
  • Homemade flatbread with cauliflower tahini spread (recipe coming soon) & tzatziki sauce, rhubarb syrup cocktails & rhubarb curd shortcake
  • Radishes dipped in softened butter and sprinkled with a little sea salt
  • Strawberries – straight from the box and didn’t even make it past Saturday afternoon.
  • Raspberries dipped into freshly whipped cream
  • Fried chicken served with homemade broccoli casserole

Leftover for next week:

  • Bok choy
  • bulb of green garlic

And I’m just going to say it up front. I ate at Taco Bell twice this week.  And drank copious amounts of bourbon.  Sometimes things like this happen during stressful weeks.

Check out those legs! {wolf-whistle}

Homemade broccoli casserole.  No Velveeta was harmed in the making of this casserole. However Cheeze-its were.

 If you’d like to join in with me, feel free to post links to blog posts where you talk about how you’re using your CSA produce.  Or just post a comment if you don’t have a blog.  I’ll also be tweeting about how I use my CSA box on twitter using the hashtag #eatyourCSA.  If we get enough participation, I’ll start a weekly round-up post as well.

 

Pan-Crisped Deviled Eggs Salad & Welcoming Spring

5486144131_14706c3bd7_b

 

It’s been beyond gorgeous here in Knox Vegas.  A purple carpet of crocuses have already taken over my neighbors’ lawn, incited a bee orgy and faded quietly away.

Bulbs are coming up everywhere I look with some already in bloom.

Forsythia is blooming all around, causing me to break out in my usual tirade against the people who prune them into little squares or balls.  Why, for the love of all that is holy, do people plant a shrub that is notorious for it’s sprawling growth habit and then prune it to within an inch of its life?  They look ridiculous – like the Iggy Pops of the shrub world have been shaved, shorn and popped into 3-piece suits with Dexter Poindexter glasses.  And I’m going to stop now before I start ranting about people who top trees and prune crepe myrtles into little stubs.

Birds wake us up every morning in the noisy mating ritual.  And since I live in the city, our favorite mockingbird has been sitting outside our bedroom window every morning, doing his best impersonation of a car alarm.  It’s beautiful – this music of springtime.  Sometimes he gets really creative and throws in a firetruck siren.

The air feels soft, warm and moist.  You can almost hear things growing.  When I walk through the lawn, I can smell the crush of violets, wild onions, parsley, catnip and other herbs that have escaped their garden confines and help me disguise the fact that we have all of 3 blades of real grass growing in our “lawn”.

East Tennessee is getting the Crayola haze – everything looks a bit misty and colored by my favorite colors in the crayon box.  It’s almost a cliche how green things look but I know it’s only going to get more breath taking

It’s been in the 60s every day and as I stand outside on my concrete patio, feeling the warmth of the sun soaking into my feet, I’m looking forward to the fresh peas that I’ll be harvesting from my garden in the next weeks.  That is, if dogwood winter doesn’t get us.

Spring is teasing us, murmuring to us with a husky come hither tone but I’m trying not to be too tempted by its siren song.  East Tennessee Spring has suckered us in before, teasing us with her husky warm breath before slamming the door in our face like a petulant lover.

I think of the spring several years ago where Marcus and I decided to eat only local fruit. We were blessed with an early spring and we watched our strawberry patch flower more profusely than it ever had before.  That was the same strawberry patch we coated in row cover fabric & plastic, finally resorting to sticking actual lamps in the bed to coax it through the 12 degree night.  That was the summer we refer to as the Melon Summer.

I am a sucker for anything that involves, includes, alludes or even hints of deviled eggs.  They’re like the cupcakes of the egg world.  I’ve actually heard people squeal out loud at parties when they realize deviled eggs are being served.  I’m actually chagrined that I don’t have a proper platter for serving deviled eggs.  My excuse is that my kitchen is in a crazy state of transition and there’s no room for it but the Southern woman in me weeps at my disgrace.

But as awesome as deviled eggs are, imagine them crisped up a bit and caramelized around the edges.  Imagine a tiny bit of resistance on your teeth before you bite down into that buttery, sun-shiny yellow of a yolk.  And imagine a deviled egg that’s been souped up – Spring-style with garlicky overtones and the greenness of parsley.  When I bite into these eggs, it reminds me of my lawn with all of its wild onion and parsley seedlings.  These yolks taste like a dandelion should taste – all buttery and full of springtime.  And if you scatter them on a carpet of fresh greens dressed with a piquant vinaigrette?  Dogwood winter – do your worst.  Spring is here to stay in my kitchen.

PS – As I hit publish on this post, I’m giggling because there’s a winter storm warning in the mountains tonight.  BRING IT DOGWOOD WINTER!!!!

Pan-Crisped Deviled Eggs Salad
Serves 2
Adapted from The Splendid Table’s How To Eat Supper

EGGS:
4 large eggs, hard-cooked and peeled
1/2 scant teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 teaspoons minced onion
1 1/2 tightly packed tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 1/4 teaspoons mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

DRESSING:
Leftover egg stuffing
1 1/2 extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/4 tablespoons milk
1 1/4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
Salt & fresh-ground black pepper

SALAD:
4 generous handfuls mixed greens

Cut eggs in half lengthwise.  Remove yolks and place the yolks in a bowl and set whites aside.  Add mustard through vinegar and mash and mix thoroughly.  I usually use a regular fork for this.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add the mixture into the hollows of the reserved egg whites.  Make sure you don’t mound them up, the mixture should come to the top of the whites but not  above.  You will have some of the yolk mixture left over.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat.  Place eggs stuffed side down in the pan.  Cook for around 5 minutes or until browned.  Mine cooked for just over 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with 1/8 tsp of salt and a few grinds of pepper as they cook.

While the eggs are sauteing in a large bowl, mix the leftover egg yolk mixture with the dressing ingredients.  Whisk together thoroughly.  Toss the salad greens with the dressing.  Divide greens onto two plates.  Remove the egg halves from the pan (4 halves per plate) then serve.

Please click here for a printable recipe!


 

Curried Onion & Spinach Pizzas and Why Curry Doesn’t Suck

IMG_3873

I'm going to be honest with you.  I'm not a big fan of the flavor of curry.  It's not that I've ever hated the taste, I just never found myself craving it like I do some foods.  And a few years ago, an episode of food poisoning turned my meh attitude towards curry into an active dislike.  It wasn't the curry's fault.  Strangely enough, it was Greek food that was the culprit but curry was the unfortunate victim.

IMG_3849

I'm kind of a weird bird though.  I hate having aversions to food.  I have very few of them and they tend to be oddly specific.  I hate cooked raisins and black walnuts.  Other than that, just about everything I can eat.  Granted – there are things I'm not super fond of (nuts in brownies) but I can eat them without feeling ill.  The idea of not being able to eat a food because it contains a certain ingredient irritates me.  I can think of few things more annoying than being a picky eater – not that it irritates me in other people but it irritates me to be the one picky one.

IMG_3853

My curry aversion has had a strange hold on me so I've turned it into a project over the last couple of years.  I started out by adding it back in to my diet in small doses in a spoonful of food.  When I could handle that without feeling sick, I added it to foods that I really love.  So when I saw this recipe in Vegetarian Planet, I decided to give it a try. 

IMG_3856

What did I think of this pizza?  I really liked it.  I'd love to rave on and on about it but I think that's still beyond me when it comes to curry.  But this recipe was really tasty and I would make it again.  Leftovers were eaten gladly and I think I might be able to finally move past my curry aversion.  The sweetness of the onions, the vegetal greenness of the spinach, the spices all mixed with the butteriness of the cheese makes this a win.  I did increase the cooking time for the onions and I liked more cilantro on it than the recipe called for.

Curried Onion and Spinach Pizzas
Adapted from Vegetarian Planet

Makes two 8-inch pizzas

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups sliced onion
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 garlic clove, minced
5 cups packed spinach leaves, large stems removed
Salt & freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons chopped cashews
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Your favorite pizza crust recipe – this is mine. This recipe will make four 8" pizzas and the toppings are enough for two pizzas.  Either double the toppings recipe or save the extra dough for later.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Place pizza stone in oven to heat for an hour before baking.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until they turn light brown. Add curry powder, fennel seeds and garlic.  Cook, stirring for 1 minute.

Add spinach and 1 tablespoon water and stir until spinach wilts.  Season with salt & pepper.

Divide full recipe of pizza dough into four balls.  Put two of those balls back in the fridge to use later. Roll the other two balls out into two 8 inch pizzas.  Sprinkle a flat cookie sheet or pizza peel with cornmeal, then place the pizza dough onto the sheet.  

Top the pizzas with the spinach onion mixture. Slide pizza directly onto the baking stone.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Remove pizzas, sprinkle with mozzarella and the cashews and cook for 3 minutes more.  Top each pizza with cilantro, cut into pieces and serve.

IMG_3865

Please click here for a printable recipe!  

Please join us by participating in Fall Fest 2010!  Post on your blog or in the comments or join us on Twitter by using #fallfest.

Fall-fest-logo-ruled
 


Mess of Greens, Peas & Cornbread – Oh My!

IMG_2731


Southerners love their greens.  And their beans (AKA cowpeas AKA Southern peas).  Pair them with cornbread and you'll hear rapturous sighs throughout the whole room.  You really can't get much more iconically Southern than these three dishes, except maybe for fried chicken.  There's a million ways to cook collards and shelly peas and the only right way is the way your grandmother cooked them.  However, if your grandmother didn't cook them, then you get to make up your own recipes without horrifying your extended family.  Just don't ever cook them for the in-laws!

I'll be honest – I was never a fan of either dishes.  The only greens I had ever had tasted really bitter and I didn't understand what the big fuss was.  Even though I grew up in the South, my family hadn't so the only times I ever had these dishes were when my aunt {very badly} attempted them or when we ate a chain known as Po' Folks.  My husband grew up eating all three of these dishes and while he'd stuff himself with his weight in cornbread, he was never a fan of greens or beans cooked Southern style.

I think these dishes depend very much on the way the main ingredients are grown.  Organic collard greens always taste better to me than un-organic ones – we've done taste tests at our house.  In the fall and winter, I can eat collard greens out in the garden because they're that sweet.  During the summer, they're a bit too strong flavored to eat raw but the farmers at our market know how to grow these greens without the sulfurous nastiness of a lot of grocery store collards.  Just a tip – collards are easy as pie to grow in a home garden.  I usually wait to plant them in fall but I have grown them in the summer and as long as they get some shade and plenty of water, they taste just fine to me.  If you don't like any bitterness to your collards though, I'd wait to make this until after frost or see if you can find "baby" collard greens.

Both dishes seem to have a natural affinity for smoked pork.  We usually use a little bit of country ham or bacon.  But if you're a vegetarian, you can still enjoy them with one little trick – smoked paprika.  If my husband's grandmother knew that I just typed that, she's go into paroxysms of grief.  But smoked paprika is a wonderful trick to add the smokiness of smoked pork to dishes without the pig.  Just use olive oil instead of bacon and add a little extra smoked paprika in the recipes below.

The last thing I'm going to type might very well send my husband's grandmother over the edge just because it's so against every fiber of her being.  Greens and beans do not need to be cooked until they're almost unrecognizable.  Shelly peas are often cooked until they're just mush floating in a sea of bacon grease.  I never knew that these peas had a natural sweetness to them before I got brave and tried cooking them myself.  Collard greens are supposed to be….duh….GREEN!  Not brown and decomposing.

The two recipes below contain all the soul of the Southern kitchen without letting tradition mire them down in 8 cups of bacon grease.  I love these so much that every year, I grow collards in our garden and shelter then with makeshift hoop houses and row cover fabric and blanch bags of shelly peas in the summer so that we can eat these in the dead of winter. 

Come back Thursday when I'll post our favorite cornbread recipe. You'll want this to soak up all the delicious potlikker.


Shelly Peas

3 cups shelled shelly peas (approximately 2 pounds unshelled)
4 strips bacon (half is for the collard greens)
1 medium onion, diced (reserve half for the collard greens)
1 large red bell pepper, diced (reserve half for collard greens) 
1 tablespoon minced hot pepper – optional
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

IMG_2691

Shell your peas/beans.  These gorgeous beauties are pink eye purple hulls.  2 pounds of un-shelled beans turned into about 3 cups of shelled beans.

IMG_2698

Render bacon in a non stick skillet over low heat.  This will take about 15-20 minutes.  You're going to be cooking enough bacon for both dishes here.  If you already have bacon grease, just cook 4 pieces of bacon.  Make sure to add in a couple of extra pieces for the bacon tax.  Dice bacon and reserve half for collard greens.

IMG_2703

Measure 2 teaspoons of bacon grease into medium saucepan on medium heat.  Saute onion, red pepper & hot pepper until onion is translucent.  

IMG_2705

Add garlic, smoked paprika and thyme.  Saute for 30 seconds and add chicken broth – 1 1/2 cups if you don't like really soupy beans, 2 cups if you want them soupy.  We always go with soupy.  Add beans and diced bacon.  

Cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes.  You want to cook them until they're tender – this will take longer if the beans are older so you'll need to test them periodically. Serve!

Collard greens

1 large bunch collard greens
2 teaspoons bacon grease
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 large red bell pepper, diced 
1 tablespoon minced hot pepper – optional
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth

Pull the collard greens off the stems and wash well.  The easiest way I've found to cut collard greens is to roll each leaf into a roll and cut into long strips. 

On medium heat, heat 2 teaspoons bacon grease in a saucepan big enough to hold the collard greens.  When grease is hot, add onion, red peppers and hot pepper. Saute onion, red pepper & hot pepper until onion is translucent.  Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.  

IMG_2706

Add broth and add collard greens.  Cover and simmer.  Again – I hate to drive anyone nuts by not giving exact times but our collard greens were a bit older and coarser tonight.  I've had them take 30 minutes to cook until tender but tonight it took a little over an hour for them to tenderize.

IMG_2712b

When greens are tender, serve!

Note – don't ever say you're having greens.  You're having a 'mess of greens'.  If you don't say it like that, bad things will happen.  Really bad things.  Things so bad that they'd rival what would happen if you said you didn't like UT football and you lived in Knox Vegas.  And we all know how bad that is.

Summerfest-badge-150x150

This is my entry for week three of Summerfest.  Join in the fun!

For a printable recipe, click here!

One Local Summer – Week Four

Mosaic0dab1ab4972d6e88582af15e6ab3279e45c8e364

This week has been full of OLS meals!  On Monday, I made a delicious frittata with local eggs, ham, zucchini, potatoes and onions.  In fact, even the mozzarella we subbed in for the cheddar was local because we made it from Cruze Farm milk!  Tuesday, we made tortillas using local lard and filled them with local chicken and onions.  Only the cheese wasn't local.  We served them with homemade salsa made from local ingredients.  Wednesday was tomato toast made with homemade bread, local garlic and tomatoes from our back yard.  On Thursday, we made one of my favorite grilled meals, Vietnamese Chicken, made with local chicken and grilled local zucchini and onions.  We finished the night off with a cherry crisp made from frozen local cherries. We made a simple pasta sauce out of local zucchini, tomatoes and garlic on Friday and served that with a grated beet salad made from beets from our friends' yard.  On Saturday, we started the day off with local raspberries, blueberries and blackberries and had that with a scone from VG's Bakery.  We had a wonderful sandwich for dinner made with our homemade local milk mozzarella, leftover grilled zucchini and onions, homemade basil mayo and ciabatta rolls from VG's bakery.

However, today was our "official" OLS meal and everything we ate today was local, except for some feta cheese and flour.  We started the morning out with local eggs scrambled with feta and local garlic scapes.  For lunch we had local beet greens and swiss chard sauteed with local bacon and served that with steamed local new potatoes with local butter and dill.  Tonight for dinner, we had a pizza with local potatoes and leeks and local goat cheese.  I even made a sourdough crust so we didn't have to use yeast in our pizza crust!  For dessert, we had homemade peach granita we made from local peaches.  I had wanted to make sorbet but all the recipes I found contained lemon juice.  Instead, we made peach granita from David Lebovitz's book, Perfect Scoop. I do have an ice cream maker but the beauty of this dish is that you don't need one to make this.  I had never had granita and I had visions of it being an icy mess.  I'm an idiot because this is good stuff.  I love that it doesn't have a lot of sugar and it was perfect for the 93 degree day we had today.

Peach Granita:

6 ripe peaches, peeled
1 1/3 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

Slice peaches and cut into small chunks.  Cook with 1 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Cook until cooked through which is about ten minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in sugar and let cool.  When cool, place in blender with remaining 1/3 cup water and blend until smooth.  

Pour the mixture into a shallow non-reactive pan in the freezer. Check after 30 minutes. As the mixture begins to freeze, use a fork to scrape the frozen puree that froze around the edges into the center. Return to freezer.

Check every 30 minutes, scraping each time.  David says it usually takes 2 hours but when we went to bed last night, it still wasn't frozen enough and it had been 3.5 hours.  So we some for breakfast!  If it gets too hard, just leave it out for a bit.

IMG_1443