Early summer shares — a menu

I know we’re often at a loss for how to use up all those greens, or how to combine what we received into a menu for the week. To give you all a few ideas, here’s some things I might do with this week’s produce combination.

PEAS and CHERRIES
If you don’t eat them outright (which I already have while taking pictures), you can mix them up as a pseudo-fruit-salad. You’ll also need some basil leaves, and maybe a dash of paprika or cayenne. Stem and pit the cherries, and then halve them if your pitting didn’t do that. Chop the pea pods into half-cherry sized pieces. Take about a dozen big basil leaves, stack them, and cut them into thin ribbons. Add a dash of oil and cayenne if you’re inclined, possibly a little balsamic, then mix it all up and let sit in the fridge 30 minutes before serving. Cutting the cherries takes a while, but guests are awed by the flavor combination of cherries and basil.

PAK CHOY
This tender little cabbage makes wonderful coleslaw-type salads. You can go a little lighter on the dressing because it is more tender than cabbage, and almost any dressing will do. Try tossing with cold Asian noodles for a light meal.

ARTICHOKES and BEETS
Handle the artichokes as suggested here, and use the beets either raw or roasted. Add warm to salad greens for a change of pace from your usual salad.

BABY SQUASH
I don’t think I’d bother to do more than halving them and saute quickly with oil and garlic. They’re pretty nifty just like they are. You could also slice them very thin and add them to the pak choy salad above.

BROCCOLI
These are small heads at this time of year, so I would just sneak it in elsewhere.

MUSTARD and KALE and COLLARDS
I know it is a dead horse by now, but I do sauteed greens as a side a couple times a week. They’re great on their own, or tossed with pasta and garlic. That kale is tender and mild enough that it cooks completely when reheating other foods (I had leftover quinoa and pork chop — I was microwaving them anyway, so I added a handful of ripped up kale to the dish before heating. Easy balanced lunch at work.)

RHUBARB
Since I tend to add a splash of vinegar to my sauteed mustard (cuts the bitterness to a socially acceptable level), the rhubarb is a natural addition to that dish. No vinegar needed, and we get some flavor variety. I don’t tend to bake, especially not in July, or I would have other good suggestions for you.

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