Someone Else's Farm

August 08, 2010

Using Up Greens

Filed under: what we did — Tags: , , , , — M @ 10:39 AM

I think Casey took pictures of the last couple of meals we’ve eaten, but I’ll find those pictures later.

Friday night, for the first time in about a week, it wasn’t so hot and sticky that cooking would have been unpleasant. We took advantage of the situation by, well, cooking! Dinner was a pork tenderloin à la Fine Cooking magazine, cooked on the grill, and some garlic naan from the freezer. We also used up the green beans that the neighbor picked up and didn’t use herself, but instead brought over after we got back from vacation. Casey did an Indian-spiced recipe that came from the BBC. The naan definitely needed to be used up, but the green beans were terrific. The pork tenderloin definitely holds possibilities, but to me, the sweetness and fruitiness needed more spicy kick to balance it. Pork tenderloins come in packages of two, so we have a second one to refine our technique.

Last night, I looked in the fridge and noticed that all three of the cooking greens from this week’s box were wilting pretty badly. I don’t know if I’m not storing them properly, but we’ve consistently had this problem since the start of our share. Of the three kinds of greens, the chard was the most wilted, and thus the most in need of being used. (But I’ll stop complaining about greens, as that’s a subject for another post.) I started by putting on a big pot of water to boil, for the half-pound of rigatoni in the cabinet. As far as the vegetables, I trimmed the ends of the chard, sliced the stems into pieces about half an inch long, and boiled them in salted water till they were nearly tender. They came out of the water, and the leaves went in for a couple of minutes, just until they were done, and then I pulled them out, squeezed them mostly dry, and roughly chopped them. We had three supermarket tomatoes on hand, which I peeled with a carrot peeler, cut around the equator and seeded, and roughly chopped. They went into a saucepan with a smashed and peeled clove of garlic, until they’d softened and the juices were concentrated. I added a bit of chicken broth from the open box in the fridge, and kept on simmering. When the pasta was nearly done, I tossed in the stems. And when the pasta was done, I drained it and put it in the pot, along with the leaves, and tossed it all together over the heat for just another minute. When I dished out the servings, I topped each bowl with a sprinkle of grated feta.

We ate it all. Whether this was because we were both starving or because it was truly delicious, I’m not sure.

The Serious Eats blog has noticed that chard is in season. (Great news for us, since we’ve been inundated with chard since June, when chard was apparently not yet in season.) At the bottom of this post, they give links to six different recipes to use up chard. (They don’t quite phrase it that way.) In the body of the post, they also say, “Avoid limp, blemished leaves and wilted stems.” When we pick up each week’s share late Thursday afternoon, the chard has neither of these. By Friday night, it’s Limp Wilted City. I’m starting to wish I had a nitrogen-fill apparatus for plastic bags at home, so I could wash the greens and seal them up. The greens we’ve bought from the store that come in sealed plastic bags seem to last much longer than the ones we get from the CSA.

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