I did some maintenance work in the garden boxes this morning. My new mantra is “just keep growing … just keep growing …”
The basil finally decided to get its groove on:
All of the transplants have been released from their mini greenhouse lids … and look at that happy, full row of kale!
I’m proud of the pepper progress, albeit super slow.
And, there’s even a baby tomato hiding in there!
How’s your garden growing this week?
The weather here is still all over the map but my mini-greenhouses are doing pretty well. I had to cover everything recently for a flash flood-type of thunderstorm that, in reality, only lasted a few minutes, but would have devastated my tender little plants if they had been exposed. The overnight temperatures haven’t been too bad. However, it does flirt with the freezing mark on a regular basis despite hitting near 90 the other day. I live in a crazy dry … and very wide ranging little climate zone.
So, every little success must be celebrated. Today, we celebrated GREENS. Mmmmmm. There were just enough greens for me and the Fresh Hubs to each have a big, green salad for lunch today. Lucky us.
This recipe is from my CSA’s newsletter and I actually tried to stick to the instructions. (Miracles never cease.)
2 lbs potatoes, cubed, boiled and kept warm
7 T olive oil
3 shallots, minced
1 bunch of kale, washed well, stems removed and chopped into bite-size pieces
1 clove minced garlic
2 T vinegar
2 T lemon juice
2 T minced tarragon
Saute onions in oil, add kale and garlic until tender; about 5 minutes. Mix vinegar, lemon juice, tarragon and salt/pepper to taste. Add kale mix to pototatoes, add dressing and serve warm.
I opted to add some of the roasted garlic that I had saved. Mmmmm. Good call.
I like kale more and more every day. Who knew that the ‘garnish’ on your plate you weren’t supposed to eat would actually turn out to be good for you?
Finished product. I had a mix of baby yukon gold, russet and purple potatoes that really made a pretty combination with the kale for this salad.
Final opinion: It was a nice, warm salad and a good way to do something different with kale. I will make some modifications if I try it again. The recipe was good but the lemon/vinegar dressing just wasn’t my taste favorite. My inner carnivore wants to add bacon to this. (Bacon makes everything better, right??) I think that if I had used an apple cider vinegar with bacon grease dressing and just a touch of sugar, it would have balanced out the bitter of the kale and added to the savory for the potatoes. Just my opinion. Overall, it is good the way it is and I’m glad we tried it!
This week marks the start of the summer subscription through my local CSA program. It was nice to have a break for a week but I missed my fresh veggies. Here’s a group shot of my fine, fresh produce:
What’s going on in there? Zucchini, cucumers, carrots, braising mix, chard, garlic, purple ruffle basil, kale, yellow cherry tomatoes, arugula, shallots and mustard greens. Yum!
I had to spotlight a few because they are so beautiful all close up and personal.
The first tomatoes of the year:
Not to outshine the bigger, bolder carrots that are very dear to my heart:
Wha-wha-what??! Purple ruffle basil? Oh, this is going to get some good lovin’ with a balsamic vinegar shot and the possibility of mozzarella/tomato on the back!
And, TADA!, it’s also fruit season! It’s early for Nevada so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. There’s a canteloupe (My little boy is already eyeing this one for breakfast.), a big ol’ bag of cherries (including the ever spectacular RAINIER variety) and a sun jewel melon.
What on earth is a sun jewel melon? I have no clue. I’ll let you know when I cut into this bad boy. But, for the time being, the newsletter describes it as “much like a honeydew.” We’ll see … won’t we?
Last but, not least, I just wanted to focus on these shallots and the garlic. Nom nom nom. I’m thinking about doing something special with them. Maybe a sauce or baked thing or just something new. Any suggestions?
And, on a final note, there was a little bit of drama this week going down in the Whole Foods parking lot. Apparently, several people were a little miffed by the quantity of veggies and, in particular, the fruit share. Technically, the canteloupe and the sun jewel were in the veggie box. The cherries were the fruit share. Now, to be fair, that’s a 4 pound bag of cherries. Rainier cherries go for $6-8/pound at the regular store. So, let’s just ballpark it that I received a $25 bag of cherries in my share. The share costs $22.50 per week. Fair enough. Now, would I have blown my whole wad on a bag of cherries? Probably not. I was willing to accept that cherries are what’s in season and that was a good amount of cherries. Other subscribers did not feel the same. And, many voiced their opinions. So much so that the CSA Program sent out an email to everyone this morning clarifying the whole cherry situation … whoa …now it’s serious.
“The share size is based on the seasonality of fruit at Kelly Orchards. It will be light the first few weeks when cherries are the main fruit available, and quantities will increase as the season progresses and stone fruits are harvested (peaches, nectarines, plums, etc.). Over the 10-week period, you will receive the full value that you have paid. Cherries were the only fruit available this week. Rather than load members up on too many cherries that might go to waste, the farm provided a bag of what they considered a good amount for a family to consume. Yes, there are those of us who can never get enough cherries! This is the second year that Kelly Orchards has provided fruit for our CSA. They received rave reviews last year with lots of repeat customers this summer. We are confident that you will be more than satisifed with your fruit share” Great Basin Basket CSA
I get it. I will wait patiently for the variety that summer and fall have to offer. And, I will enjoy my cherries. I freakin’ love cherries!
Yup. It’s Sunday again … and that means prepping for next week’s dinners and lunches. I added the beets to the mix this week and made a mini-broccoli salad. I’m thinking about adding some grilled chicken to that one with french dressing. (Tasty!)
I always feel like I should own stock in the Gladware company. My fridge is packed with little containers. I don’t miss the hassle and expense of Tupperware at all.
And, I am marinating some flank steak and zucchini for the grill:
We ended up having that for tonight’s dinner but the pictures didn’t get taken … it was GOOD. So good that I forgot to snap a shot. Ooops.
Now, I still have a big bag of kale that I want to do something different with later this week. Any ideas?
I fell off the motivation wagon over the weekend and didn’t do any CSA-focused meal planning. That translates to lots of salads this week. I am OK with that, how about you?
Have you ever noticed how much work it is to prep for a decent salad? Clean, chop, store … Geesh.
Oh, but it is sooooo worth it. Isn’t it? Mmmmmmmm. Green goodness.
I opted to mix a little bit of kale and spinach in with my tango lettuce. Yum! (Just don’t tell my hubby … He thinks kale is gross. What he doesn’t know is good for him!)
What was in your lunch box today?
The excitement of Thursday’s CSA box hasn’t worn off yet. I look forward to this day all week! (Kind of nice to have something exciting to think about rather than the mundane Thursday drive home.) Here’s this week’s batch of goodies:
What’s in there? Organic Ovation (everyone stand please) Greens, Carrots (I actually yelled YIPPEE! at the CSA girl when I saw these. Awkward.), Tango Lettuce, Chard, Green Garlic, Turnips, Cilantro (YUM), Rhubarb (what am I going to do with that?), Kale and … get ready … Thyme! (if it were only so easy to get extra time, haha)
OK. First things first, what the heck is a Organic Ovation Green? Hmmmm … they look like braising greens or most any other greens to me. According to the handy dandy newsletter, Ovation Greens are a mix of Red Mustard, Mizuna, Tatsoi, Kale and Arugula. How about a round of applause for that?
The real treat for tonight was my newly purchased salad spinner. Let me remind you that I thought these things were dumb and I have thrown them away in the past because I never used them. Tonight, I learned a new trick. My three year old son showed me how to use it and we laughed and laughed and laughed.
He even just ate lettuce for no good reason. He’s THREE! Do you know any pre-schoolers that say “YUM! Lettuce!”? I doubt it.
We played with this ridiculous contraption for about an hour. Just spinning and stopping and munching and spinning and laughing.
I don’t think I could have ever imagined that a stupid salad spinner could bring this much joy. And, clean, dry lettuce.
Kale is pretty awesome. Packed with all kinds of goodness, I am not sure how it got such a bad rap in past years and was delegated to garnish status. Kale is great in soups, wilted, sauteed with eggs and definitely holds its own in the lettuce/salad category.
How does it fare as a crispy, salty snack? I decided to find out. I have been checking blogs/websites/my local store and have been tempted by kale on several occasions. My local store sells little, tiny snack bags of kale for $6 each. Ouch! Too rich for my blood.
This week’s CSA was loaded with big bags of greens so I thought I would try a creative use to mix things up a bit.
So, here’s how it goes … Clean, dry and trim kale from the stems/ribs. Toss with a tiny amount of olive oil. Bake at 300 until crispy but not brown. Easy. Supposedly, any kind of kale will do. Pick your favorite or just experiment.
I also baked some chard, just for fun.
Now, I need to admit that the smell of baked greens and olive oil is bad. It totally grossed me out and smelled like butt. Not at all appetizing. Bleck.
Once the air cleared, I was brave enough to try them. The leaves all turned out just right for crispy and I was careful to not overcook them. (warning: BITTER)
The chard had a lighter flavor than the kale but the leaves are very thin and delicate. Very, very delicate. I saved the chard ribs for another recipe. Aren’t they pretty?
My husband even tried them and said they weren’t bad. Overall, kale chips are a good way to try something different for your greens.
But, they will never replace potato chips for me. Not even close.
This week’s goodies include:
organic spinach, organic tango lettuce, organic gourmet lettuce, organic red chard or mizuna, organic breading mixed greens, organic green garlic, organic green onions, organic carrots, organic asparagus, parsley and organic lacinato kale.
Yum. I wonder what green creations I will make this week!