While I was in France, I became accustomed to buying very fresh produce (even from the supermarket!). The philosophy there seems to be to only sell fruits and vegetables that are in season. I learned to love this, and although I did pine away for a peach or two in the middle of winter, waiting until they were in season was totally worth it.
Early in the fall, I read an article about a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) called Rolling Fork Farm near my small town in Kentucky, and decided to go for it. I picked up my first box on Wednesday, just two short days after I arrived home...and I already can't wait for the next one next week! This week we received a bunch of carrots, a bunch of turnips, a bunch of spring onions, a bunch of kale, a quart of green beans, a cucumber, and two pounds each of tomatoes and zucchini. (To find a CSA near you, go to LocalHarvest.)
In the next few weeks, I'm going to try to do a cost analysis, but my feeling so far is that even if it costs a little more than the grocery store, it's totally worth it. Can you imagine those colors (and flavors, I might add) in grocery store veggies?! And not to mention the fact that I have to come up with ways to cook veggies that I might not otherwise buy in the grocery store. I don't really like cooked zucchini, so have never bought any. I have also never bought turnips. And my one attempt at cooking kale was disastrous.
So far I have made or plan to make the following with this week's veggies (I'll link them as I blog about each recipe):
Potato and Turnip Mash
Asian Green Beans
Zucchini Parmesan Hummus
Roasted Carrots (if my oven ever gets fixed!)
I decided to start with the kale and did a simple sauté based on a recipe I found at Epicurious. For some strange reason, I completely forgot to buy garlic at the grocery store, so I left that out and it was fine, but I will definitely put it in next time. And there will be a next time...kale is one of those veggies that I discovered after moving to the South, and am very glad I did...
Sautéed KaleAnd instead of throwing away those stems and little leafy bits that were left over, I cleaned them, dried them, and put them into a freezer bag to use in my next chicken or veggie stock!
makes two small servings
1 pound kale, tough stems and center ribs cut out and leaves cut into 1-inch-wide strips
2 Tbl olive oil
1 small red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 garlic clove, minced
Pinch of dried red pepper flakes
1 Tbl red-wine vinegar, or to taste (I put in a little less than this)
1/4 tsp salt
Cook kale in a pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 10 minutes, and then drain in a colander.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and sautée onion until softened. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for about 1 minute more. Reduce the heat and add kale. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is heated through. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar and salt.