Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Keep it Simple

One thing I've learned as farm season starts to ramp up is that it's easier to keep up if I keep my meals simple. The vegetables don't need elaborate preparations to taste good when they're this good to begin with (and that's a relief when it's over 80 degrees in the kitchen, too!)

So with the many cooking greens we've gotten in the past 2 weeks - mixed baby braising greens, tat soi, komatsuna, swiss chard, collards, turnip and radish greens - the first step I've taken is generally to sautee, boil, steam, or blanch.

Two-thirds of the komatsuna got put away after sauteeing and eaten just like that.
The other third went into a quick grain salad - brown rice, komatsuna, raw scallions, and frozen corn from last year with a dressing of oil rice vinegar and a splash of soy. Grain salads are one of my go-to sides in summer - just mix some likely suspects including cooked greens up with something crunchy or chewy and sweet and some grains cooked in the rice cooker.

The swiss chard went into our favorite simple dish from the Croatian coast - chard and potatoes. ( Cook peeled potato slices in salted water, when they're close to done add the chard, then drain when the potatoes are cooked, mix, and season with olive oil and more salt.)

The braising greens got steamed in the microwave and sent to be part of a school lunch, and the remainder went into some scrambled eggs with greens.

The tat soi, which I love, but was looking like I might not get to while it was still in good shape, got blanched and frozen so I can love it when the season's ending too. I pulled a little bit out before I was steaming to go in some fried rice while it was cool enough to cook last night.

One place I violated "keep it simple" was the turnip greens - which I steamed, then incorporated into a pasta dough. It was healthy and fresh, but such a pain to work with - the greens made the dough wet and sticky and I didn't get them dry enough first. I actually stopped when I'd made what looked like enough for dinner and still had some dough left over, which we experimentally made into some firm gnocchi a few days later. I won't rule this idea out entirely, but next time I won't try to pretend pasta making is simple just because sometimes I can pull it off without seeming like a Project.

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