Recipes – Vegetable

Kale Chips

We’re not talking about those foolish things you find in bags in over priced ‘health food’ stores.  When I say kale chips I mean oven crisped kale that you just picked from the garden, received in your CSA Share or just brought home from you local farmer’s market.  In other words, real kale, not mass produced, mass fried excuses.

Ingredients:

  • One bunch Red Russian Kale (another flat leaf type will work well also).
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil
  • Dried or fresh garlic (optional…isn’t everything?)

Preparation:

Rinse the kale and tear the leafy part from the stem.  Be sure to remove the entire leaf so you don’t waste any!  Put the stems in your compost pile or feed them to the chickens.  Place the leaves in a pile on a cookie sheet.  Pour some olive oil over the top of the pile.  Using your hands toss the leaves for a minute or two until they are all thoroughly coated with the oil.  Spread out the leaves so they are as close to one layer as possible. Wash your hands (you don’t want to get olive oil all over the other ingredients).  Sprinkle the sea salt, pepper and if you’re using it (I usually don’t bother because it’s delicious with just sea salt and a dash of pepper) garlic.  Place in a pre-heated 400 degree oven.  In five minutes check the kale and if it’s begun to crisp and brown around the edges use a spatula and flip it over.  It should go without saying but…don’t burn yourself.  After you flip it you only need to wait another thirty seconds to a minute.  The trick with kale chips is to understand that there is an EXTREMELY fine line between awesome and burned to a disgusting crisp.  You’ll need to simply pay attention quite closely for the entire 5-6 minutes the first few times.  I still routinely burn kale chips and have taken to not using the timer.  Instead I just stand there and check frequently to ensure I don’t burn them.  It’s well worth the wasted 5 minutes.  Want your kids to eat kale?  Try this.

Braized Choi

Braizing is a wonderful way to quickly ‘wilt’ greens and it works particularly well with spring choi.

Ingredients:

  • One Bunch Farm Fresh Choi
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Olive Oil, Butter or Bacon Drippings
  • Minced Garlic

Preparation:

Using a large, sharp knife, slice the root end off the choi plant.  Be sure to slice as little off as is necessary to break the stalk into individuals stems.  Put the root and bottom few centimeters of choi in the compost pile.  Carefully slice the remaining choi stems into pieces about 1″ long.  Continue right up through the leaves.  Separate into two piles, one for stems and one for leaves.  (see photos below).  Heat the fat in a large skillet.  Toss in the stems and turn with a wooden spoon.  Saute until slightly softened turning frequently to coat with the fat and keep from burning.  Toss in the leaves and turn quickly to coat with the fat.  Sprinkle liberally with sea salt and add the minced garlic.  Toss with the wooden spoon to ensure even distribution of garlic and salt throughout.  Remove from heat after the leaves have been in only a few seconds.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Sauted Green Beans and Spinach.

Green Beans and Spinach go together so well and freshly minced garlic from the root cellar add even more depth to this delicious hot salad.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups green beans
  • 2 cups spinach, sliced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbs olive oil (I use fat rendered from our grass fed pork)
  • 2 tbs butter, divided
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

If it is winter and you’re using green beans that you froze the previous summer, remove them from the freezer and thaw by immersing in warm water.  If you’re using fresh green beans in the summer months then cut them to about 1″ lengths.  Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Rinse and slice the spinach.  See our tip for slicing spinach below in the “Pickle Beet and Spinach Salad” Recipe.  Drain the green beans and add them to the hot oil.  Add the salt and pepper.  Saute until lightly caramelized.  Add the spinach and toss.  Allow to wilt.  Add the butter and minced garlic and cook for 5-10 minutes stirring to incorporate all flavors.  Serve hot and immediately.  Enjoy!

Pickle Beet and Spinach Salad

This delicious treat is super easy to make and takes almost no time on the night it is served.  The real effort comes in the autumn when it is time to pickle the beets.  But the reward is delicious.  Pickled beets are a huge hit at our house.  Pair them with freshly harvested spinach and you have a salad that comes with its own dressing.

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound freshly harvested spinach (divided)
  • 4 large spoonfuls pickled beets (including the onions)

Preparation:

Rinse the spinach in a colander.  Place about ¼ cup into a food processor.  Add the pickled beets.  Be sure to include some of the pickling liquid in each spoonful.  Process briefly until you have a chutney texture.  Stack the remaining spinach as shown in the photo and slice to a desired size.  Arrange on plates and then spoon the beet/spinach mixture over the top.  Serves 4+.