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Weekly CSA

Posted by on May. 23, 2012 at 9:57 PM
  • 27 Replies

I thought since this is my first year as a member of a CSA that it would be fun and helpful to share each week what came in my box.  I have ideas for some of it this week, but there's so much that I could use some help in how to use the rest.  If you're in a CSA, please post what you've received and any ideas for cooking, or questions for how to use any of it.

This week it filled our 40 qt ice chest and I had to get creative just to get it all in the fridge!
spring onions (They're beautiful! Nice green stems and pretty purple bulbs.)
tosano kale
lettuce mix
winterbor kale

Then we also bought a single bunch of orange fleshed beets, fresh garlic and 3 pounds of new potatoes.  The taters are for tater salad Monday and I'll use green onion tops in that also.

I'm planning to make kale chips with most of the kale.  I haven't tried this yet, but the foodie bloggers rave about how good they are.  The lettuce will be used for salads and I'll switch up Friday's dinner from parmesan chicken to hamburgers and use some lettuce there too (I never made chicken earlier in the week to have any ready for parmesan anyway).  I'll make salsa with the cilantro and some of the onions, and I've got some gorgeous small red tomatoes too.

So, what to do with these?
Chard-just braised?
Basil-I know it's good for Italian dishes, any other ideas?
Beets & turnips?

Other produce I have on hand to use with any of this are russet potatoes, peaches, apricots, celery, a few carrots, lots of yellow squash, onions, cucumbers, artichokes, green beans and zucchini and broccoli.  We have chicken, beef and pork.

I could juice some/any of the veggies and I'm going to make the soup that I posted last night using some of the kale and chard.

Hungry yet?  :-)

Some Things Cookin' at my blog! 

by on May. 23, 2012 at 9:57 PM
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by on May. 23, 2012 at 10:38 PM

What do you think of this recipe using turnips in place of the sweet potatoes and most likely switching up the seasonings?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

swiss chard and sweet potato gratin

swiss chard and sweet potato gratin

Surely I’m not alone in this: When I’m eating starchy foods, I think I should be eating more greens. When I’m eating my greens, I wish I had heavier foods to balance them. And pretty much all of the time, I wonder why it has been so long since I made macaroni and cheese.

so much chard!yamsmise, messgreens and yams gratin

And this is what happens when I stewed all of these thoughts together in my head over countless feedings. I love sweet potatoes but I find most preparations of them too heavy and sweet (which is why I stick to spicing, curry-ing and/or spicing, curry-ing and frittering them); I love chard but I find most preparations of it too earnest but when I put these together in a gratin I ended up with the most bubbling, gurgling, cooing delight of a fall comfort there could be.

(Or maybe I’m just talking about the baby.)

gray day

To me, this is the best of all worlds: so rich and cozy, it makes your apartment smell like there’s not a single good reason to leave it, but also chock-full of peak season, straight-from-the-market produce that I’d like to believe could not imagine a more decadent way to go out.

swiss chard and sweet potato gratin

One year ago: Home Fries, Apple Pancakes, Fennel, Proscuitto and Pomegranate Salad, Olive Oil Muffins and Chicken Pot Pie
Two years ago: Apricot and Walnut Vareniki, Chicken with Chanterelles and Pearl Onions and Pumpkin Waffles
Three years ago: Grilled Cheese and Cream of Tomato Soup and Cranberry Sauce, Three Ways

Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin

I won’t lie, Swiss chard can be a real pain to prep, what with the rib-separation and rendering of unfathomable volumes down to a few measly cups of cooked greens. I like to chop, wash and dry mine the day before, but if you’re especially in a rush, I see no reason you can’t swap pre-washed (3 pounds) or even frozen spinach (about 5 to 6 cups). I also don’t see why you can’t swap the sweet potato for thin slices of butternut squash but then you will have less of an exuse to say “yam-yam” to the baby over and over again until he laughs.

Finally, if my gratin looks a little “wet” to you, don’t worry, yours — providing you squeeze your greens out well — should not. I just mindlessly baked mine for half the time covered with foil which is not a bad idea for all-potato gratins, not drying enough for greens.

Serves 12

1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 pounds Swiss chard, leaves and stems separated and both cut into 1-inch pieces
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups heavy cream or whole milk
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons flour
2 pounds medium red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cut into 1/8-inch thick rounds
1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) coarsely grated Gruyére cheese

Prep greens: Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter in a wide 8-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Add chard stems, pinch of nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender but not browned, about 8 minutes. Increase heat to moderately high and add chard leaves by large handfuls, stirring, until all greens are wilted. Season with salt and pepper then transfer greens to a colander to drain well and press out liquid with back of a large spoon.

Make sauce: Combine cream or milk and garlic in small saucepan; bring to simmer; keep warm. Melt two tablespoons butter in a medium heavy saucepan over moderate heat and stir in flour. Cook roux, whisking, one minute, then slowly whisk in warm cream/milk and boil, whisking, one minute. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Assemble gratin: Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter deep 9×13 baking dish. Spread half of sweet potatoes in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, a quarter of the herbs and a 1/4 cup of the cheese. Distribute half of the greens mixture over the cheese, then sprinkle salt, pepper, a quarter of the herbs and 1/4 cup of the cheese over it. Pour half of bechamel sauce over the first two layers then continue with the remaining sweet potatoes, more salt, pepper, herbs and cheese and then the remaining greens, salt, pepper and herbs. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the gratin, pressing the vegetables slightly to ensure that they are as submerged as possible. Sprinkle with the last 1/4 cup of cheese.

Bake gratin for about 1 hour until golden and bubbly, and most of the liquid is absorbed. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Do ahead: You can make the entire gratin but not bake it up to a day in advance and keep it in the fridge. You can also make and bake the gratin and reheat it. Gratins reheat well, but they take almost as much time to gently heat through as they do to bake in the first place, especially deep ones like this. As for reheating, already baked and frozen, I will find out very soon! But I am near-positive it will be fine. 

by on May. 24, 2012 at 9:01 AM

That sounds like a great selection.  You can use the fresh basil in just about anything but I love to make a veggie pizza and top it with fresh basil.   You can make your pizza crusts or use the whole wheat flatbread pitas to make individual pizzas.  I use a white sauce (softened cream cheese with some parmesan, oregano, garlic,  and other cheeses if I have them, then thin it a little with milk) then top with mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, black olives, onions, and fresh basil.  

by on May. 24, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Great idea (and I'm back! Still very busy but I'll try to stop in each morning).

We had to give up our CSA in the early spring because they didn't offer a "veggie only" share and we can't eat what is given out in the localvore share.  So we just started up again 3 weeks back.  This week we got:

Mesclun Greens; Beet Greens; Green Frills Mustard Greens; Redbor Kale; Pac Choi; Baby Leeks;

Red Savoy Cabbage

Actually we didn't get a Red Cabbage but a green Savoy one instead.  So, the Mesclun will be in a couple of salads (like tonight's Taco one).  Last night we grilled Chicken and I sauted up the mustard greens with onion, garlic, cumin seed, and a pinch of chili pepper flakes, then a drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar.  The cabbage will be turned into Asian Cabbage Slaw to take to a pot luck on Saturday.  I'll saute up the Beet Greens and Leeks, probably with bacon, to go with some fish.  Finally, I'll combine the kale and pac choi in a saute, with probably an asian flair - a touch of soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar probably.

When I do greens, unless they are going in a specific recipe, I typically saute them.  Wash, shake, chop, set aside.  Do the other veggies (usually onion), then once the onion is done I start putting in the greens a double handful at a time.  Saute until the start to wilt, then put in more.  Once they are all wilted I drizzle on vinegar.  Viola!

DH is not a beet lover so I usually use them in ways that I like.  I don't have time now but I'll try to post a couple of recipes.  I did, however, last fall make a Chocolate Beet cake and he *never* knew, lol.  It was good, although a bit dry due to the gluten free flour I used.  I topped it with a chocolate ganache that helped it out though.

by on May. 24, 2012 at 11:36 AM

I put chard on my salads and sandwiches. Basil, I dry for later use. Beets are another great salad addition or pickled and added to sandwiches and turnips can be mashed like potatoes. 

by Platinum Member on May. 24, 2012 at 12:01 PM

 You could make pesto with the basil or freeze it. I like to freeze basil rather than drying it, much better flavor.

 Basil is a delicate leaf that can be ruined easily so you want to take caution in finding a way that works best for you. The first method that many herb aficionados recommend is to place your basil in an ice cube. You should take about 1 teaspoon of basil and add it to unfrozen water in your ice cube trays.

You can then freeze as many as you'd like and when you're ready to use it, just take out an ice cube and add it to whatever dish you are making. The water will evaporate, leaving just the fresh taste of basil to spice up your recipe. This works especially well with homemade spaghetti sauce. Another popular method is to throw the leaves into a food processor with enough oil to make a thick or thin paste depending on your taste preference. You then put the paste in a zip-lock freezer bag and lay it flat in the freezer.

When you are ready to use the paste you can break off a piece and put it into the recipe. You would want to use this for dishes that have some form of liquid in it, such as a sauce, soup, or salad dressings. This is also a wonderful way to make pesto in a hurry. You can also just let it thaw and remove the basil from the oil to add to your meals. Another basic method for freezing basil is simply placing it on a cookie sheet and putting it in the freezer. After they are completely frozen you can take the leaves and put them in a zip-lock freezer bag.

by Platinum Member on May. 24, 2012 at 12:05 PM

 Here's a different recipe, I was skeptical at first, but it really works for any greens.

Sauteed Greens

1/2 cup chopped onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

1 serrano pepper, split*

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 (1-lb.) package fresh collards or kale, washed, trimmed, and coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Sauté onion and next 3 ingredients in hot oil in a large skillet or wok 1 minute. Stir in salt and pepper. Add greens; sauté 2 minutes. Add sugar and vinegar; cover and cook 3 minutes or until wilted. Remove and discard serrano pepper before serving.

*1/2 jalapeño pepper, split, may be substituted.

by Platinum Member on May. 24, 2012 at 12:06 PM

 I like this

Swiss Chard

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems and center ribs cut out and chopped together, leaves coarsely chopped separately
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt to taste
Melt butter and olive oil together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic and onion, and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the chard stems, the white wine and raisins. Simmer until the stems begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chard leaves, and cook until wilted. Finally, stir in lemon juice and Parmesan cheese; season to taste with salt if needed.

by Platinum Member on May. 24, 2012 at 12:08 PM


You can also just put greens in the crockpot with some garlic, black pepper, chicken broth, ham hock or salt pork or neck bones and jalapeno if you want it a little hot. Let it cook on low all day. Good and easy.

by Platinum Member on May. 24, 2012 at 12:09 PM


These are crispy, crunchy, and kids like them. 

Kale chips

1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried

2 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt. Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes. Serve as finger food.

by Platinum Member on May. 24, 2012 at 12:25 PM

 I would roast the beets and boil and mash the turnips, like mashed potatoes.

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