Chardy, Chard, Chard
This week you will be receiving chard alongside some of your everyday favourites, and that's a cause for celebration.
While chard, which is often mis-categorized as a green, is actually an amaranth, and is closely related to beets.
This means that it packs a different set of nutrients than the average lettuce mix.
For the same reason, it also requires a different set of culinary techniques.
Ever try to eat a raw chard salad? Well, if you haven't, don't, this is not how chard shines.
To avoid the slight bitterness of this beet relative, it is best to cook said chard, but beware, it will cook down as spinach does, so keep that in mind when deciding on portions for supper.
I love sautéeing chard. It really doesn't need to be fussy: a little oil, maybe some garlic, salt, and chard. Perhaps if I am feeling adventurous I will add some lemon juice and toasted sesame oil at the end.
You can also add chard to a host of soups or curry. Finally, when we want to make sure Maddie will eat it, we resort to incorporating it into a dip, which, incidentally, makes it delicious for picky adults too.
And while I wanted to highlight swiss chard for our newsletter, please also send some love to lovage, a most worthy herb that can be tossed into anything you would use cooked celery in.
Still unsure about Lovage? Throw it in spaghetti sauce or potato salad for an extra delicious kick. I've also heard that it lends itself well to a bloody mary ;)
Before I started farming, I would look at the clamshell case holding a head of "Boston Lettuce" in the produce isle and wonder "Why"?
Why would this tiny, often-wilted, head of sadness warrant a high price and an armature of plastic?
It didn't take long for me to recognize that "Boston Lettuce" was what our seed suppliers referred to as "Butterhead Lettuce" (I tend to prefer the latter, as it harkens to the silky-smoothness of the head).
But, aside from having the same humble origins, these lettuces couldn't be more different, and this lies in the fact that they were grown very differently.
We've found that our soil-grown heads are typically larger, taste better, and store longer (provided that you've placed it in a hermetically-sealable container or ziplock-type bag) and hope that this is your conclusion as well.
As my title suggests, the best thing you can do with this melt-in-your-mouth lettuce is to make a wrap out of it.
You don't need to be picky about the filling. We've gotten away with stir-fried mushrooms and onions, quinoa, shaved carrots. The important thing is to add a sauce that makes sense with your accoutrements.
Still unsure how to make this ingredient shine? This write-up is a good starting point to falling in love with one of my favourite lettuces.
Warm salad, anyone?
Your fridge probably looks a lot like ours lately.
What's in the crisper? Greens. And outside of the crisper? A few more greens.
What should we have for supper? Something with greens.
And while they are healthy and delicious, you might, at some point, find that you have too many greens.
After all, even salad lovers can run out of ideas.
When I start feeling like I may no longer appreciate these harbingers of spring, I start getting creative.
Warm salad is one of those back-pocket meals that I start craving on humid spring days. It comes together quickly, and feels hardy and delicious. Here is a recipe that I enjoy along with a slice of homemade cheesy toast (vegan version here).
Did you know that you can make pesto out of pretty much anything green? I can vouchsafe that arugula, radish greens and spinach are ideal candidates.
Feel free to be flexible, as any oil / oily nut will do. Only have lime juice in the fridge? Do it. It will be delicious in a different way. Want to try with peanuts, what a cool twist! Not into parmesan, we never add any and it is always good.
Once the pesto is made, you can use it as a spread on pretty much anything, or spoon it last minute into a bowl of soup.
And if all else fails, just blend it with sweet stuff into a smoothie, like I did with water organic strawberries, arugula, mesquite powder, and dates. Yummy.
Make greens part of everyday meals
Every meal now includes four adults, two three-year olds, and one "sampling" babe.
This means that our everyday meals ressemble a feast, and there is something quite special about all of it.
Since greens is what we have available at this time of year, we are consuming vast amounts of them. Yes, even the three-year olds partake in this green-o-copia.
But, you know, it's not actually that hard to make greens part of your everyday meal routine.
A real easy one to sneak into, well, pretty much anything (including three-year old bellies) are microgreens. Curry? Check. Salad wraps? Check. Chili? Check. Even salads and stir-fry's can be topped with microgreens.
Guess what sat atop yesterday's wood-fired pizza? Yes, you guessed it, microgreens (and arugula, of course!)
And while you will have to wait until you get arugula again, you can keep the radish greens for an easy substitute.
What about you? How do you like to eat your greens?
Join our CSA Shareholders' Group on Facebook and share your favourite recipe for your chance to win a bonus item at next weeks' drop off. Contest closes Tuesday, May 7th at 10 pm.
Those without Facebook can send me their favourite greens recipe via email.