These recipes will all be focused on extending the life of your share by fermenting and using all parts of the vegetables.–From apprentice Jessica
My favorite part of spring is the amount and abundance at which green leafy vegetables grow and flourish. Anything green can be categorized as my “favorite” of vegetables. However, I too suffer with too many greens and not enough stomach power to eat them all. You all have received your fair share of greens, and I am sure you are looking for ways to make them last a bit longer or even get rid of some that have been hiding in the back of the fridge. I have recently fallen in love with the art of fermentation, so I have been taking all of the bok choi and any other leftover greens and turning them into kimchi, a spicy Korean take on sauerkraut. Fermentation is easy and the other time consuming part is having the patience to wait for the right amount of sour that you prefer!
1 bunch of greens
2 tbs salt
shredded radishes and/or turnips
2 tbs ginger, minced
2 tbs white part of green garlic, minced
2 tbs crushed red pepper
pinch of salt
a few glugs of soy sauce
The first part of fermenting greens is to brine the greens first to help soften them and break down the plant cells so the natural moisture in the greens can be released. Chop the greens in half inch pieces, and add to 5 cups of water with the 2 tbs of salt. Make sure the greens are fully submerged under the water. I do this by placing a plate on top of the greens and push down until the brine is in the plate and all greens are under the brine. Let this sit for about 12-24 hours.
When the brining process is over, drain greens in colander, making sure to keep the brine by putting a bowl under the colander. Put greens into clean bowl and add remaining ingredients. Now begins the fun part. Start to massage the greens and other ingredients together, this process should start to release all natural waters within the greens and radishes/turnips. Once all mixed together take a sterilized wide mouth pint sized jar and begin to pack mixture into the jar. It is important to pack vegetables tightly to ensure that they are all under the liquid. If when all vegetables are packed tightly into jars, be sure to add a bit of leftover brine to fully cover in liquid. Now its fermentation time! Keep jars in an area in the house that is about body 65-75 degrees F, and let sit for a few days. I keep a lid on mine and just remember to open the jar once a day to allow for pent up CO2 to be released so that the jar does not explode. You may also just keep a towel over top of the jars instead of lid. Taste the ferment daily until the perfect sourness is achieved (usually 1-2 weeks), then place in the refrigerator. Eat as is or add on top of some sticky rice!
For more information on kimchi and other vegetable ferments check out these websites:
Or let’s talk during CSA pick up!
From Compost to Plate
I also bet there are some of you out there that cannot get enough of the greens and tend to run out before Tuesday comes around. For you all, I will introduce some ways to use parts of the vegetables that usually end up in the compost pile! It is easy to toss things that seem to be “inedible”, but for most plants all parts of the plant are edible.
Radish Green Pesto
Ivy introduced you all to Sorrel Pesto and it made me think, why not turn any greens into a quick pesto? Radish greens give the pesto a great bite, much like the radish itself. Instead of tossing those radish greens, blend them with a bit of olive oil, nuts, Parmesan, and garlic. Pesto is simple to make and great to toss on flat breads, using as a sauce for pizzas, or just putting on a bit of your favorite pasta. It is another great thing that I will make plenty of and then pour into ice cube trays and freeze for days when I have no motivation to cook something from scratch.
Chard, Collard and Kale Stem Gratin with Green Garlic
This is a great way to leave your compost pile smaller and stretch your share a tad bit farther.
All chard, collard, and/or kale stems from your share this week
Salt to taste
1 to 2 white portion of green garlic, minced
1 recipe olive oil béchamel, recipe to follow
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil while you stem the greens. Fill a bowl with ice water. Wash the stems thoroughly, trim away the ends and slice crosswise about 1/2 inch thick. When the water in the pot comes to a boil, salt generously and add the stems. Turn the heat down to medium, and boil gently for five to seven minutes until the stalks are just cooked through. Remove from the pot with a skimmer or a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Oil a 2-quart gratin dish. Put the cooked chard stems and add the garlic, béchamel and freshly ground pepper to taste. Gently stir together, and scrape into the gratin dish. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the top. Place in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the top begins to brown. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool until the bubbling has subsided, then serve.
Olive Oil Bechamel
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped green garlic
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups low-fat (1 percent) milk
Salt to taste
Freshly ground white or black pepper
1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the shallot or onion, and cook, stirring, until softened, about three minutes. Stir in flour, and cook, stirring, for about three minutes until smooth and bubbling but not browned. The paste should have the texture of wet sand. Whisk in the milk all at once, and bring to a simmer, whisking all the while, until the mixture begins to thicken. Turn the heat to very low, and simmer, stirring often with a whisk and scraping the bottom and edges of the pan with a rubber spatula, for 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and lost its raw flour taste. Season with salt and pepper. Strain while hot into a heatproof bowl or a Pyrex measuring cup.
Kids in the Kitchen
I am sure you all have noticed, but we are really trying to give you all ways to incorporate your veggies into kid friendly recipes. I do not have kids, but have worked with kids for a good while now. I have learned that kids love to be involved in the cooking process, even if it is just peeling the vegetables or buttering the bread. A great way to get them to eat more vegetables, is to have them prepare their own meal. I personally love pizza and it is such a simple way to get kids to eat vegetables, because after all it is a vegetable.
First you must prepare your dough. For a quick dough I follow this recipe, and for a more relaxed dough I follow this one. Dough is great to mix by hand, thus an easy way for your kids to be involved right at the beginning of the dinner process.
Then preheat oven to 350 degrees F, about 15 minutes before your dough is ready to go. If you have a pizza stone, this is a great time to start heating it.
For a sauce I either use whatever pesto I have on hand (refer to 2nd recipe in post) or I saute some green garlic, white and green parts, in a bit of olive oil with oregano and thyme. When the garlic is nice and translucent I take the pan off the heat and let it sit until I am ready to put it on the dough.
In a different pot I will saute whatever veggies I have on hand. There is no method to my madness in this one, I just pick whatever vegetables I want to eat and either saute them or leave them raw. If using greens, make sure to cook them first before putting on pizza (sauteing is imperative to their overall taste). Also if using greens, refrain from chopping them, and let your kids tear them with their hands!
Once my dough is ready I will roll it out and add whatever sauce I have decided on. Then goes the veggies, and then cheese if you please! Everyone can make their own. Bake for about 15 minutes. Let the pizza cool a bit, then enjoy!
Whoever made eating their greens trendy by turning them into chips, is okay by me. I am sure you have all heard of kale chips, but this is a fun way to eat your greens using any green not just kale! Broccoli and cauliflower greens (which you may see soon in your share) are similar in texture and taste as kale. All you need for this is a bit of oil, salt, pepper, and whatever other spices and herbs of your choosing. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Rough chop greens into small bite size pieces and mix with oil and spices. Put mixture on baking sheet and bake in oven for 5-7 minutes. Keep the light on to monitor the greens, as they are easy to burn. You may have to pull some of the small bits out first as they will cook faster. Once the greens are nice and crisp they are ready to be taken out of the oven and enjoyed as is or in your favorite salsa!
If any one has a favorite recipes that they have come up with in the past few weeks, please share! Leave a comment with the recipe, let’s get this good food conversation started!