Ada here. It’s been a while since we’ve done a Recipe Roundup, but I have full faith y’all have figured out how to use your beautiful spring produce. And if not, keep reading for some ideas.
We’re in that sweet sweet spot in Texas seasonality. The shallow rivers and streams are still cold, and the afternoons hot. Baby kale sits alongside spring onions in your CSA shares. Cooking right now is hopefully as easy as the season is pleasant. The produce is young and tender, and can delight with minimal fuss. If there was ever a time to delve into Alice Water’s The Art of Simple Food, it’s now.
“When you have the best and tastiest ingredients, you can cook very simply and the food will be extraordinary because it tastes like what it is. This is what we’ve learned at Chez Panisse after years of sourcing, preparing, and tasting food. Food tastes naturally delicious when it has been grown with care, harvested at the right moment, and brought to us immediately, direct from the producer… Good cooking is no mystery. You don’t need years of culinary training, or rare and costly foodstuffs, or an encyclopedic knowledge of world cuisines. You need only your own five senses. You need good ingredients, too, of course, but in order to choose and prepare them, you need to experience them fully.” Alice Waters, from The Art of Simple Food
Good ingredients? Check! If you’re currently receiving our veggie shares, you’re more than halfway there. (Still not getting our veg? They’re worth it!)
Chard, like cilantro, seems to be somewhat divisive. Personally, I love its silky texture and the way it so easily softens, the pop of color its stems provide, a welcome liveliness to an otherwise verdant pallet.
If you feel yourself drowning in greens, this Alice Water’s gratin recipe is a wonderful, methodical approach to dealing with them.
We all know the sauteed greens drill…olive oil, garlic, salt, greens. Sometimes it just takes adding a little topping to make these sensible dishes a bit more exciting. For the past week, I’ve been topping both simply sauteed greens, as well as simply dressed (raw) lettuce, with a mixture of fried panko, sunflower seeds, lemon zest, and herbs. The buttery crunch is just enough to make me feel special and is the perfect substitute when my pantry lacks my favorite bagged croutons. You don’t really need a recipe for panko crumbs, but in case you do, here is one that involves parmesan. Speaking of…
Another way to turn any sauteed green into a more unctuous side dish? Parm, of course. Here is Alice Water’s simple green + parm approach.
This one-pot barley and chard topped with cheese dish looks delightfully filling and would be the perfect thing to make soon, on a night when it’s still crisp outside and you maybe even need a sweater. Hurry!
The baby kale coming out of the fields is so fresh and so tender, perfect for salads. Here is a great one staring apple and cheddar.
In addition to kale, are you swimming in tender herbs? Checkout our recommendations on how to blitz these greens into a sauce. Depending on what you add, the sauce can become something akin to pesto, chimichurri, salsa verde, or even a smoothie. Need to get a handle on your greens inventory? Just make a big batch of one of these, and freeze for later.
This tomato fried rice salad sits on top of a bed of kale, though it could just as easily sit on lettuce or chard. Either way, it would be happy to accommodate any alliums your Vrdnt hall provides, too.
Lolita’s kale salad recipe: Basically a kale-caesar, with the addition of breadcrumbs (it’s a theme) and pistachios.
I know that daikon can be a tricky one for some of you. One trick to approach any new-to-you vegetable is to just substitute it for something you know well. Root for a root, green for a green, herb for an herb... or, texture for a texture. Let me demonstrate how this can work for daikon.
Daikon (instead of cabbage): Diakon Radish Slaw
Daikon (instead of potato): Cheesy Daikon Gratin
Daikon (instead of potato): Daikon French Fries
Daikon (instead of cucumber… or literally any other vegetable you would pickle): Dill Daikon Pickles
Daikon (instead of cauliflower instead of steak): Daikon Steak Recipe
There is nothing more springtime than alliums - spring onions, garlic chives, and soon big ‘ole bulbed onions. If you want to know a bit more about what type of onions we plant at the farm (it’s actually pretty interesting), read here.
And if you need some allium-inspired recipes, here ya go:
Zesty Green Goddess Dressing (using any herbs and green onions you have!).
Spring Onion Sabzi Recipe A Persian spring onion gravy that uses spring onions just like any other leafy green. Perfect for your spring CSA hauls!
What I’m Cooking:
Salad! I made my first *voiceover* Instagram reel about how I’m making lots of salads. With so many beautiful lettuces happening right now, we are eating a LOT of salads. Individual salad toppings are stored in small tupperwares, and lettuce + toppings get pulled out of the fridge and plopped on the table that way Regan and I can make our salads as we please. After dinner, toppings get put back in the fridge, ready for a quick salad smorgasbord the next night. Each week, the salad toppings change a bit. In the video, the weekly toppings included things like tuna salad, marinated veggies, olives, and cornbread croutons. This week the toppings veer more Mediterranean… chopped sweet peppers, shaved celery, marinated feta, chopped parsley and dill, green onions, and lemony breadcrumbs. Tonight I’m going to roast some broccoli to add to the mix.
What I’m Watching:
I’m also watching Farmer Becky chat about seed varieties for Central Texas TONIGHT on Zoom at 7 pm. Whether you’re a new or old gardner, figuring out seed varieties your specific bio-region is a lifelong pursuit! Thanks Becky for sharing your knowledge! (You can also watch in person at the Zilker Botanical Gardens.)
Till next time!