Spring 2013 Week 4 (April 16th) PLUS recipes

Pictures will follow later tonight, but here are the share lists (and a few recipes) for today:

SMALL
kohlrabi
baby turnips
baby rutabaga
collard greens
chard
asparagus
fingerling potatoes
parsnip
onion
spinach
roasted peppers (frozen)

MEDIUM
sorrel (aka lemon spinach)
mixed salad greens
extra chard
extra collards
extra baby turnips
extra baby rutabaga

A note on sorrel: This very “bright” green looks like pointy spinach, but it doesn’t taste like it. It is quite sour, but adds a nice flavor to salads, soups, and pestos. Store as you would spinach, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag with a paper towel added to keep it from wilting. Also see here for recommendations.

Root Veg Mash with caramelized onions
This will use four or five ingredients from the share today. Peel and cube the rutabaga and parsnips, and just cube the potatoes (unless you aren’t a fan of skins). You could add the turnips if you’d like. Boil the roots in salted water until tender enough to mash. In the meantime, saute a sliced onion and some minced garlic until the onions begin to brown. Drain the root cubes and mash with a bit of stock or cream, seasoned with thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir in the onions and serve.

Places to put collards, chard, and spinach
There are a lot of ideas for using up our greens here, from simply boiling them and serving, to sauteeing with garlic and putting over pasta. Sometimes I serve them as a side dish by themselves, but at least half the time I just slip them into other dishes. They pair well with eggs, so put ribbons of them into quiche, omelets, or frittata. I put one whole bunch of collards into a savory bread pudding with sausage this week (think stuffing as a main dish). I put them into soups quite a bit, especially chicken, vegetable, and minestrone style soups. Potato soups are good with crunchier kale and collards.

Pesto, generic

Pesto, which most of us know as a saucy mix of basil, garlic, and oil, tossed with pasta, is actually a generic term for things made by pounding.  It is traditionally made with a mortar and pestle, at least in Italy.  It is far easier in a food processor or blender.  Pesto is an incredibly versatile vehicle for using up produce at the height of freshness.  I’ll give you a generic basil recipe with some rough proportions, but it can be adjusted to taste with a free hand and ingredients are limited only by your imagination.  Basically, you need something bright and fresh, something nutty, something salty, and something oily.  (And as a side note, you’re not far off from hummus with this recipe, which also has infinite variations involving beans and seasoning.)

Generic Basil Pesto

3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
2 cups washed and dried basil
salt and pepper
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated hard cheese (pecorino romano, parmesan, italic)

Chop the garlic and pine nuts in the food processor.  Add the basil and pulse until a thick paste forms.  Season and add the oil while the food processor runs.  If you are making a dip or spread, add less oil.  If you’re tossing it with pasta, add a little more.  Lastly, stir in the cheese.  This will keep a week in the fridge (longer in the freezer) if you put a thin layer of olive oil on top to seal it in.

Alternatives:
– try cilantro, parsley, sorrel, spinach, or arugula as a partial or full substitute for the basil
– create a red pesto from sun dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers
– try almonds, cashews, walnuts, or beans as substitutes for the pine nuts
– cilantro, garlic, edamame beans, a little ginger, and a little sesame oil to replace some of the olive oil (cheese isn’t necessary for this one)
– cilantro, garlic, chipotle chile, and pepitas (pumpkin seeds) — fantastic in tacos, especially with a little tomatillo included
– scapes (coming soon), green garlic or green onions in place of most of the basil and garlic

Sorrel and green garlic pesto

Helena, our membership coordinator, collected a tasty recipe from the blog Local Milk.  Scroll down a little ways, it is the garlic scape and sorrel pesto.  I’m going to adapt it to what we actually have in our boxes, because the garlic scapes are a couple of weeks out.  It is a fairly basic pesto recipe, with sorrel replacing the basil.  I’m picturing this slathered onto chicken breasts, tossed with pasta and asparagus, or smeared on crusty dark bread.  I adjusted it down for the smaller bunches of sorrel, but bump it up if you’re a large or medium share and have a lot of it to use.

Sorrel and Green Garlic pesto

1/2 cup chopped green garlic (roots and tough green ends discarded)
1 cup chopped sorrel
scant 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
scant 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
juice of a quarter lemon
1/4 cup good olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Run the garlic, sorrel, pine nuts, Parmesan, and lemon juice quickly through a food processor to form a rough paste.  Add the olive oil slowly, pulsing until it is as smooth as you’d like.  Taste, season, and serve.  Pestos can be frozen in small portions for later use in sauces, soups, and dips.

** Helpful hint:  this is a good way to use up your green garlic all in a go — freeze it and save it for later.  I have made arugula pesto in the same way, which is spicy and sharp.

Recipes for sorrel

Sorrel

The sharp, almost citrusy green is more common abroad, particularly in Northern Africa, Russia, and South Asia.  Sometimes called lemon spinach, it adds a bright note to salads and an interesting taste to soups.  Below I’ll include two different uses for it, but add it anywhere you’re trying to make a sour soup.  These recipes are equally good with sorrel, arugula, cress, or any sharp tender green.

Creamy Greens Soup
2 cups of flavorful stock (broth from a pork or chicken roast is great)
4 cups of chopped greens (I used equal parts spinach and sorrel)
2 cups cream or milk
salt and pepper to taste

Boil the greens briefly in the stock, until tender.  Puree together if you want it really creamy (I didn’t bother).  Add the cream / milk, warm it a bit, season to taste, and serve.

“Russian” variation — add a cup of peeled, chopped beets to the boiling stock for 10 minutes before the greens.

Simple Sharp Green Salad
2 cups shredded greens (arugula, sorrel, basil with spinach)
1/2 cup feta or cotija cheese
1-2 cups of chopped tomato
drizzle of olive oil
spices to taste (I like a little red pepper flake or 5-spice)

The feta and tomatoes will bring down the harshness of the greens.  Toss this together and eat soon after.