Thursday, April 3, 2008

Cooking From A CSA Basket


The saga continues....

Last night I prepared a greens in cream recipe that I tweaked slightly off a Serious Eats "I Love Creamed Spinach" post. I also prepped roasted herbed organic root veggies, and grilled up a couple of ham steaks served with leftover Jalapeño Cranberry sauce from our Easter dinner. Finished up the Thyme Bloomed Cornbread with that, and we ate like kings and queens last night.The Creamed Spinach recipe is an easier faster way to get the flavors of creamed spinach without a lot of the fuss. More a technique than a recipe really, it goes as follows:

1/2 to 1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
dash freshly ground nutmeg
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
salt, pepper to taste
One bag spinach or equivalent amount of greens with stems and tough ribs removed as needed
1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream

Heat olive oil and butter in a large saucepan. Add onions and garlic and sauté until onion is transparent.

Add greens to pan. Lightly press down as they wilt. Stop when wilted before greens begin to fall apart.
Add one half to one cup heavy cream. Season with nutmeg, salt and freshly ground pepper.

Stir and allow cream to warm through and reduce slightly. Serve.

Now - mustard greens cook WAY down so we ended up with just about 3 servings. Spinach holds up a little better so I am guessing you might end up with 4 servings but I can't vouch for that yet. The author of the original post noted that an entire onion might be a little much but she loved the contrast. I used a half onion last night and my husband missed having more in there so next time I'll go for 3/4 of an onion and see if that hits the mark. I also used half/half because I had it in the refrigerator and I was trying to hold the fat content down a little. It worked just fine although I can see where the heavy cream would add a slightly more cohesive consistency to the final product.

I really enjoyed the slightly sweet flavor of the roasted turnips in our roasted root mix but my husband (who has been a great sport about all this Adventures in Veggie Eating so far) has declared himself not so much the turnip fan. This probably means next week's basket will have 3 different varieties of turnips but if so, that means my work will be to find a way to prepare them that will pass muster.

So far I have used about half the Tecolote salad mix from our basket, nearly all the mustard greens, half the turnips, half the green garlic, a handful of the mache, and all the radishes. Tonight we are heading to Belton to celebrate a friend's birthday and I will take her some of the basket bounty since she is an excellent cook herself.

It will take work to use up an entire basket each week going towards dinner for only two people. I was right to think that it might take some sharing to get a basket fully utilized each week, but what better way to help celebrate fresh organic local food than to share it with friends and family?

Friday I will take a serious look at the Bloomsdale Spinach and see what I can come up with to pay proper respect to this heavily savoyed (crinkled) heirloom and it's "sweet and meaty" flavor. I might try the creamed greens recipe again to see what difference using spinach makes...not quite sure yet. Stay tuned......

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