Green grows the kitchen

It’s all or nothing in the wonderful garden world. Not surprisingly, the first box of vegetables from my CSA at Coon Rock Farm is fluffy and leafy. Spinach, some exotic cabbage and lettuce – lots of frilly lettuce.

In addition, my neighbor-gardener Tom called the other day to ask if I wanted some lettuce from his backyard, before the un-springlike heat makes it bolt and become bitter. I didn’t realize “some” meant three gallon plastic bags full. Next time, I’ll ask for a definition.

I will long for this green stuff in a few months. For now, it makes for monochromatic meals. This afternoon, I’ve been rummaging through cookbooks, looking for ideas. The triumvirate of greens-olive oil-garlic in a hot saute pan (maybe a little chile pepper, too) is heavenly in its simplicity, but some variety would be nice, too. There’s a classic Italian dish that combines greens with potatoes which looks quite promising. Who has some other ideas?

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9 Responses to “Green grows the kitchen”

  • Comment from tim

    it’s not really that far from the old triumvirate, but the chewier, heftier varieties of greens, cooked up with cumin and some chiles, make a good filling for soft tacos.

  • Comment from Mary

    What about lettuce wraps, using the leaves as vehicles for stir-fries, or whatever spoonable food you want?

  • Comment from VaNC

    Greens also make great soup with white beans. Or toss in pasta with olive oil, garlic, etc. and maybe some white beans or chicken, or whatever else you have on hand.

  • Comment from Debbie

    Great suggestions, all! I have also stuffed sauteed greens in refrigerated pizza dough (it works pretty good) for calzones.

  • Comment from Ailsa

    Just saw a recipe today that uses Swiss chard instead of cabbage for the old ‘stuffed cabbage’ idea – it’s on the Eating Well website. We too are awash in wonderful greens including lemon basil from our CSA, and do the usual braising with garlic and olive oil. BUT – a new twist has us swooning. Mix with cooked elbow macaroni or other small pasta, sploosh on some balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with lemon zest, and top with fresh parm cheese. We’re in heaven!

  • Comment from VaNC

    Eating dinner last night, I thought of this thread. Have two more greens ideas for you. Last night, I used russian kale (from Coon Rock) to make a DeNici’s Philly market type “pork and greens” sandwich. I didn’t have time to slow cook the pork, so I just seasoned a tenderloin (salt, pepper, oil, crushed garlic, smoky paprika were my choices last night), browned it on the stove in my cast iron pan, added some thinly slice, small “new onions” from the farmers market and a splash of chicken broth. Covered it with foil and stuck it in a 375 oven. It took about 45 minutes for it to come to temp. and was amazingly tender and the onions melted and yummy.

    I blanched the greens and sauteed them in garlic and oil.

    Then just put the pork and greens on a bun (the kids ate theirs on leftover hot dog buns!) and chowed. It was a hit and got more greens in the kids…who like greens, but are getting tired of them on the side all the time. My oldest and I put Zing sauce (from WF) on ours, but I could see putting hot vinegar on it too.

    On Thursday, I am going to the home of a new Vietnamese friend (refugee) who is going to show me how to cook greens with dried shrimp and chili peppers that she served me at her home the other day on rice. My kids woofed it down, so I need to know how to make it. Will post the “recipe” when I get it. She told me in her very limited English, but I did not follow….so she agreed to just show me.

    Greens are good.

  • Comment from Debbie

    Oh, I want to see that Vietnamese recipe. Sounds great. So does the sandwich, except I cook for a non-pork lover.

  • Comment from VaNC

    Basically the recipe is a Vietnamese version of the “saute garlic in oil and toss greens in it” recipe. In the oil, she sauteed some finely chopped shallots, some of those tiny dried shrimp, and some thai chili peppers (chopped up and added to taste). Then add the greens and cook down. You can add water/broth if you want, or I guess blanch the greens first. My kids love this…but watch for those peppers!

    Oh, and she added MSG. I don’t.

    Actually, when she did it for me, she used zucchini, not greens, but I first had it from her kitchen done with greens.

  • Comment from VaNC

    Oh, and you need to make the sandwich sometime when your husband is out of town….it is very very yummy. I have just been reminded by this post to do it again!

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