Oct
20
    
Posted (Lori) in News

USING GREENS

We seem to be getting a lot of greens this season. Which is a good thing, I think. I know most of you know all this, but here’s a review:

STORING GREENS: Pick off any yellowed leaves; store in plastic bags, punched with holes in the crisper

PRESERVING GREENS: Chop roughly, blanch quickly, squeeze out as much water as possibly. Store in ziplock plastic bags. If you separate them into portion-size bags, they’ll be easier to deal with. Pound the bags to get out all the air and water—they can be pounded almost flat and take up very little room

COOKING GREENS: Remove the tough ribs and ends, chop them roughly. Then:

Steam by placing them in a steamer basket over boiling water; cover and steam for 2-3 minutes.

Stir-fry by stirring them in hot oil or butter for a few minutes. Stir-fry garlic and chopped onion in the oil before adding the greens.

Braise by stir-frying them as above for just a minute; then add stock (beef, chicken, vegetable) and let them simmer for 15-20 minutes until very soft

Add herbs, spices, beans, olive, nuts, meats—you can turn your greens into a full meal.

LEEK-POTATO SOUP AND VARIATIONS

With both leeks and potatoes in our share this week, posting a recipe for leek-potato soup seems almost too obvious. And most of us already know how to make this soup. But there are so many variations to it that it’s worth revisiting—just about everything in our share this week can end up in a leek-potato soup.

One other historical note: in 1997, when I first joined the core group, Deb and Pete Kavakos invited a bunch of members to visit the farm; it was the first time I was in Greene County. And she served us leek-potato soup. For me, it’s sort of like latkes on Chanuka or turkey on Thanksgiving.

LEEK-POTATO SOUP

1 large or two small leeks, trimmed and sliced into rings (the white part and part of the dark green, until it gets tough and starts to fall apart)

2 tablespoons butter or oil

About 2 pounds of potatoes, peeled and chopped roughly

2 quarts of water

2 cups of milk or cream (optional; light, heavy, half-and-half or sour cream all work)

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped dill

Heat the butter or oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the leeks and stir until the rings separate and soften. Then add the potatoes; toss until the potatoes are coated with the butter/oil. Then lower the flame and add the water. Simmer until the potatoes are very soft, usually about 35-45 minutes.

Pour off some of the water—but save it, you might want to add it back if the soup is too thick and even if you don’t, it’s a great stock for braising greens or other vegetables. Mash it all with a fork (this is the hard way); or use a stick blender or puree; you can also transfer it to a food processor or blender. The soup can be processed until it’s perfectly smooth or left chunky. At this point, you can thin it with some of the reserved stock or add the cream and blend again. Add salt and pepper to taste; sprinkle with chopped dill. Serve hot, room temperature, or cold.

VARIATIONS:

–Shallots or onions can be substituted for the leeks

–When you add the potatoes, add other vegetables; you should still have about 2 pound of vegetables for 1 large or 2 small leeks. Chopped butternut squash, carrot rings, parsnips, kohlrabi, broccoli or cauliflower floret, string beans, and pretty much anything else can be cooked and pureed with the potatoes.

–In the last ten to fifteen minutes of cooking, add roughly chopped or torn greens—mustard greens, spinach, kale, bok choy, swiss chard, collards. If your greens have tough stems, trim off the toughest parts, chop the rest and add them with the potatoes. Puree with the potatoes when the greens have wilted.

–Add whatever herbs you happen to have—thyme, sage, oregano, rosemary.

–Add a spice blend—curry, herbs de provence, Chinese five spices, chili

–Heat it up with jalapeno peppers or hot sauce

–Add sliced apples with the potatoes; or add a cup of apple juice or cider with the cream.

–Add a shot of sherry at the very end; swirl it into the soup just before serving.

–Add croutons; or chopped chicken, seafood, prosciutto.

–Add chopped vegetables—roasted broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi. I’ve never used summer vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplants, peppers; they just don’t seem right.

–Add pasta, rice or other grains.

VEGETARIAN KALE AND WHITE BEAN SOUP

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup diced yellow onion

4 large garlic cloves , roughly chopped

1 box low-sodium vegetable broth

4 cups packed chopped kale

1 can Italian-style diced tomatoes

1 can no-salt-added cannellini beans , drained and rinsed

1 can sliced carrots , drained, or two large carrots, peeled and sliced

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes longer. Add broth, kale and tomatoes (and fresh carrots, if using) and cover. Cook 5 minutes or until kale is tender. Add beans and canned carrots and heat thoroughly. Serve hot.

BEANOCCHIO’S ORGANIC VEGGIE SOUP

Barbara got the recipe for the great veggie soup that served at Beanocchio’s on York Avenue; use as much of each vegetable as you like—quantities depend on the size of the pot. The stock should cover the vegetables; add more if it starts to boil out.

Red and green bell pepper

Celery

Carrots

Cabbage

Kale

Potatoes

Butternut Squash

Green peas

Onions

Sweet potatoes

Mushrooms

Parsley

Water or vegetable stock

16 oz. can diced tomatoes

Salt and pepper

Paprika or tomato paste for color

–Cut everything into small pieces

–Place everything in a big pot; cover with veggie stock.

–Add canned diced tomatoes

–Cook for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding water/stock when necessary.

–Season with salt, pepper, paprika, or tomato paste.

HERB JAM

From this week’s New York Times. I’m making it right now; will bring for our tasting.

1½ pounds various greens and herbs (like chard, kale, broccoli rabe, dill, marjoram, parsley, cilantro, celery tops and scallions, and outer leaves of lettuce or similar greens)

6 large cloves garlic, unpeeled  Extra-virgin olive oil

2 small hot red chiles (dried) or a pinch of crushed red pepper Salt

1½ tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted in a dry pan until fragrant, then ground

¼ cup roughly chopped pitted black olives, such as Kalamata or oil-cured

Pinch of pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)

Lemon, for final seasoning

Pita or flatbread, for serving

Put the greens and herbs and garlic cloves all together in a large steamer set over medium-high heat, and steam until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. (If you don’t have a steamer, use a large, deep skillet with a lid. Put 2 inches of water in bottom of pan, add greens, cover and cook at a brisk simmer.)

Set the garlic aside. Drain greens, let cool and squeeze out moisture; pick out the tougher herb stems if necessary. Put greens and herbs on a cutting board and chop very finely with a large knife.

Put 4 tablespoons olive oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chiles and let them sizzle without browning (or use a pinch of crushed red pepper), then add the chopped greens, a pinch of salt and half the cumin seeds. The flavor is concentrated by cooking most of the moisture out of the greens; this will take about 10 to 15 minutes. (Stir the herb jam mixture often as the water evaporates; it will want to stick.)

Turn the heat off but leave the mixture in the pan. Peel the steamed garlic and mash it into the pan along with the olives. Mix everything and taste; add salt as needed, a good splash of olive oil, the pimentón and more cumin to taste. The herb jam should be highly seasoned. Add more chile if it isn’t spicy enough. Just before serving, add a squeeze of lemon. Spread on toasted pita or flatbread if desired. The herb jam can be stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for about 5 days.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH

Qiana Mickle of Just Food has done it again; here’s her super article on butternut squash:

The coming weeks will be high time for winter squashes in many of our CSA shares. Known for their long shelf life, the most popular variety of the butternut squash is the Waltham Butternut which was initially cultivated in Waltham, Massachusetts. Squash is known as one of the “Three Sisters”, the three main crops along with maize and beans planted by Native Americans.

Butternut squash should be kept dry in a cool, dark area and without any spots it can last for about 6 months. When you are ready to use it, check out these easy steps on how to peel, seed, and cut your butternut squash.

Roasting butternut squash brings out the natural sweetness and complements the herbs and garlic in this recipe. If you really want to experiment with interesting flavors such as garam masala and turmeric- try this butternut squash and chickpea curry. If you have dinosaur kale still to use, you could throw it in the curry or use it here in a butternut squash, apple, sausage, and kale hash.

Want a different spin on the classic burrito? Instead of using meat or chicken, swap in butternut squash like in this black bean and butternut squash burrito recipe! If you want to explore the savory combination of butternut squash and black beans in another recipe, try this chili instead.

Finally, butternut squash is not just for hearty meals. Whether you are in the mood for a sweet snack or a salty one, butternut squash is a great fruit (yes, it is a fruit!) to make an easy jam or roast the seeds.



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