Local food, Soup

Greens Galore!

(cross-posted at www.gfcmarket.com)

tuscankaleGreens galore! This is the time of year when CSA bags are stuffed full of them. Some people love ‘em, some hate ‘em. I kind of walk the line – I like to have some collard or tendergreens now and then, but they wear out their welcome soon for me. I love to grow Tuscan kale in my backyard garden over the winter, but the critters in our neighborhood love it too. And Lucy, our produce inspector that you can see in a photo a couple of posts ago, is nuts about turnip greens. I always have to give her some for her to leave me alone so that I can prepare them for the human eaters of the house.

So. My CSA bag from Handance Farms has had lots of greens each weekend. What to do? The tender young collard greens were excellent cooked with a splash of olive oil and chopped garlic, using just the water that clung to them after washing. Since we are trying to cut our cholesterol in this house, I use Liquid Smoke to get the flavor of traditional Southern hamhocks or fatback without the fat, but sometimes I buy certified humanely-raised bacon from Deep Roots Market.

Kale is good cooked the same way, and white navy beans makes the dish a meal. My favorite, though, is Kale Chips. I’d read about them, but didn’t try cooking them on purpose. Instead, I set a saute pan with the barely cooked kale and garlic on the back burner over my oven vent when I was baking something. Ten minutes later I noticed that the kale was crispy. Hmmm. One taste and I was gobbling them up. So if you don’t think you like kale and would like to get it into your diet, try drizzling a tray of kale pieces with olive oil and chopped garlic and bake them in a low oven. That’s what I’m doing with this week’s kale, and for the first time I am looking forward to it!

For lunch, I decided to make an improvised soup with the turnips, mixed greens, and shiitake mushrooms in my CSA bag. I can’t promise that these are the exact amounts of ingredients. You’ll have to taste and experiment – make sure that you have some sweetness to offset the tartness of the greens. My husband and I both found that this was tasty.

1/2 chopped large sweet onion
2 smashed minced cloves of garlic
1 cup of chopped little white turnips
A couple of big handfuls of torn, destemmed mixed greens
1/2 pound of chopped shiitake mushrooms (save those stems for stock later!)
Corn scraped off a leftover cooked ear (save that cob for stock!)
6 cups of chicken stock (4 cups were fake chicken stock)
Egg noodles
1 teaspoon five spice powder
Splash of Asian fish sauce
Splash of tamari sauce
Salt and pepper
A little cornstarch

Saute the onion and garlic in oil (I used olive) on low heat. Add the next four ingredients, turn up the heat a little and cook a few more minutes. Add the stock and cook until the turnips are tender. Add the seasonings, then the noodles, and cook until the noodles are done. Mix about a tablespoon of cornstarch with some hot broth and add to the soup during the last minute of boiling.

It would be even better with chicken, but I was using what I had and this low fat healthy soup was delicious!