Saturday, June 15, 2013

Week One: Green Monsters

My fridge is full of leafy green things. As Dan so eloquently put it, the “fridge looks like a damn prehistoric forest. Some small creature is going to jump out and bite me!” We, along with some friends of ours, have just kicked off our first ever CSA season, and the amount of produce that’s now in my fridge is astounding. On Tuesday, Aly and I picked up collard greens, Swiss chard, bok choy, scallions, spinach, radishes, and Napa cabbage from the harvest barn, and then picked some sugar snap peas (I think 9 total – the weather was not so good for leisurely picking) and a few random snips of herbs (thyme, sorrel, catmint, and what I think is chocolate mint) from the fields.

It doesn’t seem like much when I write that, but as you might be able to tell from the pictures, these greens are ENORMOUS. The Napa cabbage is longer than my forearm and weighs 3 pounds. The collard greens could be used to fan me while I sit on a lounge chair by the pool, book and frosty beverage in hand. The Swiss chard leaves are the size of a sheet of printer paper (and I gotta say, I LOVE that the stems are hot pink and yellow!).

It’ll be a challenge this week to cook all of this up, so I’ll be doing some research into preserving this for later!

First project: Green Smoothie (Tales of a Kitchen)
1 small cucumber, cut into chunks (The recipe called for the cuke to be mostly peeled – I didn’t do this but might next time. I may also seed it.)
1 apple, cored and cut into chunks
1-2 handfuls spinach, washed*
1 lime, juiced
1 T ginger, minced or grated on a microplane
1 T honey/agave/simple syrup
1 cup water

Throw everything into a blender and process until smooth.

I had to process this for much longer than I had expected, first to get everything down to the blades of the blender, and then to get everything to a “drinkable” consistency. My first iteration was … meh. I added the juice of a lemon to wake it up a bit, but I think it needed something else. It was pretty tart (probably because I used a Granny Smith apple), so I think next time I’ll use a sweeter apple and some more honey. After consultation with friends who’ve made this type of smoothie before, I’ll also throw in some yogurt or avocado for a smoother texture.

*Washing greens: Snap or cut the stems off your greens – I also had to chop the root ends off (yep, this stuff’s fresh!). Dunk the leaves into the pot filled with cool water, a few at a time, and swish gently to rinse off all the dirt and crud, then shake gently over the pot or sink. Pile the leaves on a clean dish towel, gather up the corners into a hobo bundle, and give it a few lasso spins to dry everything. If it’s not raining, do this outside, otherwise you’ll get water all over your kitchen (maybe you could avoid this by carefully arranging a plastic bag around the bundle?). Or you can be all fancy-pants and use a salad spinner!

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