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What’s for Dinner?

CSAYou have picked up your share and brought it home, unpacked it on the counter and say, “What do I do now? What’s for dinner?”   For the person who has not experienced the mystery and seasonality of a farm share, it can be a bit intimidating.  Keep most of your share in the refrigerator, as the spring greens are full of moisture and will wilt and dry out if left out for too long.  If you don’t have a salad spinner, you will need one.  There are many out there, I have an OXO which operates with a push down knob that can be locked in the down position, so it will fit in the refrigerator.  I often store my lettuce or greens in the salad spinner in the refrigerator. Although all of your greens and vegetables have been rinsed, you will find soil,  a weed and perhaps a bug or two (remember we don’t use insecticides) so all of your produce needs to be washed prior to eating.  Fill your kitchen sink with 4-5 inches of water. Throw in your salad mix/leaf lettuce, swoosh around a bit to loosen any dirt, then pick them up  and put them in the salad spinner.   Spin, then place greens in a towel, then in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator.  If you do this for each green or vegetable on the day you receive your share, dinner all week will go a bit faster.

You will be receiving many different types of kale.  Taste them raw and if you like the taste (many of them are not bitter), remove the ribs, chop and use them in a fresh raw salad.  Lacinato, aka Tuscan, aka Dinosaur kale and Red Russian kale are especially good this way and there is a recipe for that salad which to this day is my favorite.  If you don’t like it raw, saute some onions and garlic in olive oil, add torn bunch of kale without ribs and saute for about 10-15 minutes.  Try the recipe here for the sauteed kale or kale chips.  Kale is one of the most nutritious of the greens.  While the ribs of kale are certainly eatable, they take a longer time to cook, so save them for a soup, or your morning green smoothie. My lab loves kale ribs, she can not get enough of them.

You may also see different Asian greens in your share: bok choy, pak choy, tatsoi, mizuna and others.  Stir fry is a quick and healthful dinner where you can use your greens, scallions, cilantro.  All of these can be sauteed and added to your morning omelet.

Swiss chard will come with red, white, orange, pink and yellow ribs, all with green leaves.  I like chard in a quiche, or sauteed just like the kale in onions, garlic and olive oil.  Swiss chard, unlike kale is used with the ribs as they don’t take long to cook.

Radishes are great fresh in a salad, but if you don’t like them that way, try roasting them in a 425 oven with olive oil and kosher salt, the spicyness will mellow and the radishes will have a sweeter taste.

Lettuce is fairly easy for most folks, but try some new things on your salad.  I always try to have something sweet (fresh or dried fruit), crunchy (nuts or croutons), salty (goat cheese) on every salad.  Our family likes rice vinegar when we make salad dressing: 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar can make a salad.