Friday, April 1, 2011

What to do with Green Garlic, Broccoli Leaves, Cabbage and Iceberg Lettuce

It was a beautiful afternoon at the CSA pick-up today and there were lots of wonderful vegetable choices. It was great to see green garlic again. Its delicate, fresh flavor is a real harbinger of spring. Be careful not to overcook it. It's delicious raw or sauteed lightly. Use a generous amount of olive oil or butter and toss this mixture with hot, cooked pasta. You might throw in some sauteed spinach, chard or kale and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese for a lovely meal. Omnivores might enjoy adding some cooked and crumbled Italian sausage and/or some hot red pepper flakes.

Broccoli leaves made their first appearance in our CSA box. I hope they become a regular choice. They're beautiful, delicious and simple to prepare. Just wash, chop, and saute them in olive oil for a tasty and nutritious dish. A sprinkle of salt and pepper and a little finely chopped green garlic, either raw or lightly sauteed would go nicely here, too. Some toasted pine nuts or walnuts would be a wonderful addition to this dish as well (or instead). You can substitute saute'd broccoli leaves for any of the greens mentioned in the above pasta preparation.

No worries if you missed the broccoli leaves. Make a delicious cole slaw with a light vinaigrette dressing from that beautiful head of green cabbage. Finely chop up 6 C of green cabbage, grate 1-2 C of carrots, chop 1 C of fresh Italian parsley, and finely chop 1 C of sweet onion or about 3/4 C red onion. If you find raw onion a little sharp, try rinsing the chopped onion under cold water. Drain well. Toss all of these ingredients in a large bowl. Then mix up a vinaigrette with 1/2 C olive oil, 3/4 T cider vinegar, 1 T sugar or agave syrup, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Pour over the vegetables and toss until everything is well coated. This cole slaw benefits from spending an hour or two in the fridge, but it's fine to eat right after you mix it up, too.

By the way, the iceberg lettuce that was among today's choices was some of the most beautiful iceberg around. Iceberg is the crispiest lettuce and makes a beautiful wedge salad. Douse it in blue cheese dressing and crumble some crisp bacon on top for a great mid-century classic.

Today's bounty included an amazing assortment of vegetables and fruit, all grown with love in Southern California:

From Sage Mountain Farm, a USDA Organic grower in Temecula, we had: baby heirloom leeks, butter lettuce, scallions, green garlic, orange Chantennay carrots, Tuscan kale, heirloom spinach, broccoli leaves, and heirloom bulls blood beets. Welcome on board Sage Mountain Farm!!

From Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark: celery, iceberg lettuce, yellow carrots, purple kale, Easter radishes, green cabbage, lemons and cilantro.

From Weiser Family Farms: savoy spinach.

From Rancho Santa Cecilia: golden nugget tangerines

From Silver Lake Farms: pea shoots and radish microgreens.



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