Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Adventures in CSA: Week 8, Part 2 + Week 9, Part 1

CSA: Week 9

Due to a lack of planning in week eight, I ended up swimming in CSA greens again. My week 8 leftovers were:

2 medium garlic
1 Napa cabbage
1 lb assorted greens (1/2 lb collard greens, 1/4 lb. ruby chard, and 1/4 lb. kale)

For week 9, I received:
1.5 lb. green tomato
3/4 lb. baby fava
1 lb. cucumbers
1.5 lb. squash
1 lb. eggplant
1 lb. choice of greens (I took home all kale, planning to make kale chips -- see below)
2 onion

So, what's been on the menu since Sunday?


1. Kale Chips (shown here with a rather nice Cuban-inspired sandwich). I've run across several blog posts about kale chips recently. I'm no health nut, but I do like a good, crispy vegetable, so I decided to try making my own.

The recipes I found online were pretty general and adaptable, and I didn't follow any one I found exactly. Here's how my version goes:

Fresh kale leaves

  • Preheat oven to 300 F (recipes suggested anywhere from 200 to 375. I chose to split the difference and just watch my kale to make sure it didn't burn.).
  • Remove kale leaves from stems and tear into reasonable-looking pieces. Wash and dry kale leaves (I used my salad spinner). I had 1 1/4 lb. kale before removing the stems.
  • Combine 3-4 T. olive oil and the juice of a lemon (or a splash of your favorite vinegar). Use less if you have less kale than me. Pour over kale leaves in bowl. Add grated cheese (I used emmentaler. Asiago and parmesan are also recommended). Toss together with your fingers.

Kale ready to roast

  • Spread oil, cheese and lemon-coated kale in one layer on cookie sheets lined with a silicone mat, parchment paper or aluminum foil. For my amount of kale, I used 3 large cookie sheets.
  • Sprinkle sea salt (not too much!) and a little more grated cheese over the kale.
  • Put the kale in the preheated oven. Check it every 15 minutes, gently loosening it from the cookie sheet if it is sticking. Remove from oven when crispy and browning on the edges. Mine took about 15 minutes on the bottom rack of my oven, and 25 minutes on the middle rack.

Kale chips

  • Remove kale chips from cookie sheet, cool, and eat. Store it in the refrigerator for up to a week.
I'd been warned, but I still couldn't believe how good kale chips are. I hope I receive more kale in the coming weeks. I popped these like potato chips, though they're much thinner and crispier. Dan liked the flavor with a little salsa sprinkled on top, too.

Cucumber Yogurt Soup

2. Cucumber Soup. I followed Madhur Jaffrey's recipe (in Quick & Easy Indian Cooking) for a cold yogurt soup but added two or three times as much ginger, cucumber and tomato as she called for. This soup was light and refreshing the first night, but even better the next day for lunch.

Whisk 2 1/2 cups plain yogurt. Add, while whisking, 4 cups good-quality or homemade chicken stock (it won't be cooked, so you should like the raw flavor of the stock you use). To this, add at least 1/2 tsp. of grated ginger, at least 1/2 cup cucumber, at least 1/2 cup tomato, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, and 2 tsps chopped mint or cilantro (I used cilantro). Stir well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill until it is served.

Collard greens with double garlic

3. Collard Greens with Double Garlic. Dan found this recipe in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. I thought they came out of the pan tasting slightly too salty, but I still couldn't stop eating them. Moist and tender, there were several layers to the flavor experience. Deliciously complex!

Fava invention

4. Baby Fava Beans with Egg and Tomato. I combined a couple of Spanish recipes in 1080 Recipes and used my own ingenuity to create a new fava bean dish that doesn't take long to cook (some recipes called for boiling the beans for an hour!). For a healthy, light supper, try this! I really enjoyed the finished product, especially with the interplay between hot beans, small-curd scrambled eggs, and cool, refreshing tomato.

Serves 2

3/4 lb baby fava beans, shelled
2-3 T. olive oil or vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic (or more or less, to taste)
2 tsp. chopped parsley
4 eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
1 tomato, chopped roughly or diced

Prepare the fava beans. According to the cookbook, very young, tender fava beans can be cooked in the pod (after being cut up), but I did not have success with that method, considering I wanted to cook the beans quickly. I recommend just cutting the pod down the side and releasing the beans.

Heat the oil in a medium-sized pan. Add the beans, garlic, and parsley and cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time.

When beans are tender, turn the heat to low. Add the beaten eggs to the beans. Stir until eggs begin to scramble and set up. When eggs reach your desired consistency, remove from heat.

Serve garnished with raw tomato.


That's the week so far. Jeepers! There are still a ton of veggies in the fridge. Time to stop writing and get cooking. See you soon with more tales of CSA eating.

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