Tuesday, June 18, 2013

An Abundance of Greens!

No.  This is not a post about the next special at the Franklin Inn.  I just wanted to share in case there are a few like-minded folks out there among our patrons interested in learning, sharing, and experimenting with locally grown produce (and the health benefits). I have a blast with my CSA box and my trips to the wonderful local farms we have here in the North Hills. Some times my experiments fit with the Franklin Inn's Mexican theme. Check out the Strawberry Jalapeno Salsa recipe here. Other times, not so much.

With a ton of parsley (curly and flat leaf), spinach and various lettuces and mixed greens from my first two boxes and not much time to cook, I pulled out my handy dandy Vitamix (which I still love and is not collecting dust as was predicted by some.....).  First, I made a spinach and parsley pesto. I threw all the spinach and parsley into my Vitamix with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and fresh squeezed lemon juice. A brilliant green paste formed.  Why no cheese or pine nuts? Dairy and nut allergies in my family.  Grated cheese goes on the table for those who can partake of it. Sometimes I add sunflower seeds to pesto but being ill-prepared due to recent commitment overload (can you relate?) I had none on hand.

I then looked at all the bags of lettuce and field greens. I could not bare to make another salad this week. I put the romaine in the fridge since that will keep longer and tossed all the other lettuce and mixed field greens into the Vitamix with, once again, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. This time I added some fresh rosemary too. I wished that I hadn't used all the parsley in the spinach pesto at this point but oh well.  It tasted pretty good....like lettuce.....but not like mushy slimy lettuce....like fresh lively lettuce.  I have no idea yet what I will do with this lettuce pesto.  It is in the fridge. Any ideas? Maybe I'll freeze it and add it to soup or sauce in the middle of the winter for a taste of spring. I'm open to suggestions. There's always the green smoothie option. The spinach parsley pesto was used for dinner last night.  I tossed it with rice pasta and John grilled chicken breasts. A little pesto goes a long way so I am putting the rest in the freezer as well to enjoy at a later date.

A mysterious bag of greens with pretty little purple flowers was also in this week's CSA box. I had no idea what the heck these flower laden viney greens were or how to use them.  Don from Kretschmann Organic Farm quickly answered my inquiry via his Facebook page. Pea Greens! Huh. Something new. That's fun! A quick Google search assured me that these pea greens were okay for cooking so I sauteed a scallion and garlic in olive oil, added the pea greens to the mix, and topped them off with fresh squeezed lemon, salt and pepper. I also couldn't resist a couple shakes of Cholula Sauce. Wow.  They were delicious. My initial reaction was that it tasted close to spinach.  As we munched on them and discussed who among us liked them (everyone but my son, Joey, who dislikes most veggies), Grace decided that the pea greens kind of tasted like asparagus. Ya. I definitely could taste that too. The main stems, leaves and flowers were great but the very thin viney stems were like chewing on hay. Next time I will snip them off before cooking.

I can't wait to see and taste next week's produce.  Any suggestions for all these beautiful spring greens? I'd love to hear about them. Thanks!

No comments: