Friday, November 19, 2010

Grilled veggies with oven roasted greens

A few weeks ago I bought a skillet for my propane grill so I decided to try some veggies on the grill.  I chopped up some turnips and the daikon radish, and also a few carrots from the store.  I tossed them all in a mixture of olive oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper and celery seed, then cooked them in the skillet on the grill for 15-20 minutes.  Incidentally I was also cooking a steak on the grill so it worked out well.  

I decided to also use the greens from the turnips and radish, so I tore them into smaller pieces and added a few pieces of arugula, then tossed them in the same olive oil mixture.  Then I laid them out on a cookie sheet and roasted them in the oven for about 15 minutes -- thanks for the tip Bryan!
The veggies had a great grilled flavor and were still nice and crunchy, and the greens were cooked but crispy instead of soft like when they are sauteed.  Overall a very easy, tasty and nutritious dinner!  I meant to capture a picture of it all put together on my dinner plate, but it all looked and smelled so good, I had to eat it right away!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mixed greens and veggie saute

If you aren't sure how to use up all the greens in your CSA bag, just throw them all together in a skillet!  Last night Nate & I combined some of our leftover greens and veggies into a big saute, and it was really tasty.

We started with a combination of butter and oil, then added these veggies and sauteed for 10 minutes or so: minced garlic, shallots, anaheim chile, green onion, beets, carrot, and radish.  Then we added these greens on top and put the lid on for 5-10 minutes: kale, beet greens, arugula, purslane, mustard greens, and mixed braising greens.  Purslane is an interesting green which is considered a weed much of the time, but is actually a quite tasty succulent green!  I've also read that it contains some great nutrients.  Who knew a weed could be so good!

After the greens were nice and wilted, we stirred everything together and added some seasonings: paprika, celery seed, dried basil, ginger and black pepper.  This all cooked together for a few more minutes, then we served it with a splash of lemon juice to enhance the flavors.

There were so many flavors in this dish!  If we had more carrots and radishes it would be even more colorful, and could make a very pretty side dish to serve to guests.  The moral is: don't think too hard about what to put together, just look in your fridge!

Week 8 veggies

I got some fun new stuff this week!  I got:

Baby bok choi (I can't wait to try this!)
2 eggplants
mustard greens

No basil this week, maybe that season is ending, but I have some frozen from previous weeks.  Which is a good note for me to make - you can freeze basil leaves!  First place the individual leaves around your freezer for a couple of hours, then you can place them all together in a plastic bag.  Freezing them individually for a couple of hours first keeps the leaves from freezing together in a big clump so you can pull out individual leaves for use later.  They defrost on the counter quite quickly and can be used for cooking almost as well as fresh.  They won't make a very good caprese salad though!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Broiled salmon with sauteed kale

Time to try out that lovely kale!  I've only had it before in restaurants so I was curious to try it at home.  I decided to make a sauteed kale mixture with marinated broiled salmon and brown rice.

I started with the salmon marinade - soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic powder, celery seed and black pepper.  Since I was using a salmon fillet, I put the marinade in a bowl and put the salmon upside down in it, then put it in the fridge for about 45 minutes.  An hour would have been even better, but I did not have that much time.  Then I started the brown rice cooking because it takes about an hour, then took a break for a few minutes.  Then I started chopping the veggies - I decided to mix some arugula in as well so I chopped up a few kale leaves and some arugula.  I also chopped one anaheim chile (all seeds removed, so it really was not hot, almost like a green bell pepper), half a tomato, 1/4 large yellow onion, and a large garlic clove (I decided to dice it rather than mince).  I put the salmon fillet in the oven under the broiler for about 10-12 minutes, basting it once with the marinade about halfway through.  To cook up the greens, I added some butter and olive oil to a heated skillet, then sauteed the garlic and onions for a few minutes.  I seasoned it with salt, pepper, cumin and celery seed, then added the chopped anaheim chile and sauteed for a couple more minutes.  Then I added the tomato and sauteed for a couple more minutes, and finally added the kale and arugula, stirred it all together really well and let the mixture cook for a few more minutes.  To serve I added a splash of lemon juice and some black pepper.

For the picture I kept everything separate, but I ended up putting the kale mixture on top of the rice and eating it all together.  This was a pretty good meal, and hopefully mostly healthy, especially after eating quiche for a few days!  The kale was pretty tasty - now that I am cooking greens a lot, I've learned that the trick is not to cook it too much, or they turn mushy and tasteless.  If you just do a light saute for a couple of minutes, and add the right seasonings, you will bring out the great flavor of the greens, instead of cooking it all out.  Greens are SO good for you!  For example, 1/2 cup of chopped cooked kale (about what I ate last night) has only 18 calories and less than 1g of fat, but has 5% of your daily fiber, 175% of your daily Vitamin A, 45% of your daily Vitamin C, and (get this) 650% of your daily Vitamin K!

Mixed greens quiche

I am a cheese lover, so one of my favorite dishes is quiche.  I finally got brave enough to try making it myself.  I really like spinach quiche, but with all the greens in my house from the CSA I decided to make it a mixed greens quiche.  I also had a few different kinds of cheese left from the arugula lasagna so I used multiples cheeses as well.

I started with a store bought, uncooked pie crust.  On a weekend day I might have tried making my own crust, but for a Tuesday, the store bought kind sufficed.  The ones at Sprouts came in a tin baking dish and were quite small, so I decided to make 2.  I chopped up my greens into strips - spinach, arugula, a little bit of mustard greens, and some radish greens.  The greens cook down quite a bit, so while I started with a large pile, I wish I had used more.  Then I cooked the greens for about 3 minutes, then spread them out on some paper towels to start draining.  Then I mixed together the cheese - ricotta (I had about 2/3 cup leftover), grated peccorino romano (in retrospect I used a little too much of this strong flavored cheese, about a cup grated), grated asiago (I only had a few tablespoons leftover), and grated white cheddar (about 1/2 cup).  I reserved some of the grated peccorino and cheddar for the topping.  I also mixed in a cup of heavy cream, 4 eggs, nutmeg and black pepper.  You can tell this is not exactly a low fat recipe!  Then I squeezed as much water out of the greens as I could, and put about half of them onto the pie crusts.  They were a little hard to spread out after squeezing the water out, so next time I will try to keep them more separated instead of a huge pile of cooked greens.  Then I poured the cheese mixture on top, spread the rest of the greens on top of that, and sprinkled the remaining grated cheese on top.  Both quiches went into the oven for about 40 minutes until they were nice and puffy.  I let them cool off and settle for about 10 minutes and most of the puffiness went away, here is the final product:

The only thing is the bottom of the crust was not totally cooked, so I'm thinking about how to remedy that next time.  And there will be a next time, this was sooo good!  I could eat this for breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack.... or all of the above.  It was actually pretty easy, and a good way to use up greens and cheeses in your fridge.  Then go for a run or to the gym :-)

Week 7 veggies

I got some great new stuff this week!  Here's what I got:

a large armenian cucumber
a daikon radish (looks like a white carrot but tastes like a radish)
a bunch of kale (yay!)
more okra (oh my goodness)
sweet basil
bag of mizuna
bag of arugula
bag of mustard greens
2 eggplants

This is a lot of food!  Luckily I have some people helping me eat it later this week.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sauteed turnips and greens

I could not resist those turnips for dinner last night!  I used the turnips and the greens as side dishes for a simple baked chicken.  I chopped half an onion, chopped the turnips, and removed the stems from the greens.  I decided to cut the turnips into chunks rather than slices, I feel like you get more turnip flavor out of them that way.  I cut some of the bigger greens into smaller pieces, and did the same with some arugula leaves.  Then I sauteed some minced garlic in olive oil in a skillet (the way most of my recipes seem to start these days!) then added the chopped onion and cooked that for several minutes until the onions almost started to carmelize.  I added the chopped turnips and cooked them for a few more minutes, then added some seasonings (salt, pepper, Italian seasonings) and the greens.  I turned the heat down and put the lid on to let the greens wilt, for 5-7 minutes.  That was it!
 I chose to keep the greens separate but you could just as easily mix them all together.  I added some more salt and pepper at the end, and was thinking the greens would have tasted even better with a little lemon juice, but I didn't have any.  The turnips were oh so yummy!  

One thing to note - I did not completely peel the turnips, I only peeled off the parts that were not smooth and clean.  I did not notice any difference in the taste, probably because these were young, fresh turnips and were well cooked, but there seems to be some controversy out there about peeling turnips.  If you are trying them for the first time, and especially if they are store bought, you should probably peel them first.  I'm just not a big fan of peeling vegetables and try to avoid it whenever possible.  With many root vegetables (like potatoes) there are nutrients in the skin, plus I like them!

Another point - I never thought that I would enjoy "greens".  I have seen them in restaurants, stores, etc, and thought that just looks awful!  But I am definitely gaining an appreciation for cooked greens, they are really quite good!  With the greens I have been using, there is a lot of flavor, and if you just wilt them instead of cooking them to death, the texture is much better.  I always thought they looked soggy and bland, like eating grass, but this is nothing like that.  I encourage you to try try try!  You never know until you try :-)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Week 6 veggies

I'm so excited, I got a bunch of turnips this week!  I have been hoping I'd get some.  Here is what I got this week:

I got more arugula and mizuna, more okra (oh my!), 4 anaheim chiles, a bag of basil, 2 red turnips, 3 white turnips, and 4 radishes (one white).  Yum!  Definitely going to have some sauteed greens, turnips and radishes this week!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Eggplant pasta

I finally used up that lovely big eggplant I got in my CSA bag last week!  Tonight I made eggplant with bowtie pasta.  First I cut the eggplant into small cubes, put them in a colander, sprinkled a bunch of salt, and let it sit for 30-40 minutes.  This gets all the bitter juices out.  Most recipes I've seen recommend peeling the eggplant, but I'm not big on peeling vegetables if the skin is edible so I left it on.  Then I rinsed all the salt off and dried the eggplant with paper towels, then sauteed it in olive oil for 15-20 minutes until all the cubes were nice and brown.  Then I added 1 1/2 diced tomatoes, several cloves of minced garlic, and a sprinkling of sea salt.  I also added just a splash of water and some more olive oil to make it a little more saucy.  I simmered this mixture for 10-15 minutes, and cooked half a package of bowtie pasta.  Then I added several chopped basil leaves and stirred that around for a minute or so, and it was done!  I served the eggplant sauce on top of the bowtie pasta, with fresh cracked black pepper and grated Romano cheese.

It was pretty good!  I served it (to myself) with a salad and it was plenty of food.  Pretty easy too!