Author Archives: Kathi

Simple Spinach! (or…

Simple Spinach! (or Quick Kale, Minute Mustard…)

Heat overcooked, limp greens?  Me too, but how do you keep that spinach just right? A trick I learned a few years back, only cook spinach to the point that it just wilts. The trick, drain and dry the spinach leaves as well as possible.  Use a salad spinner if need be, before cooking them. This works with all braising greens like kale, mustard greens, swiss chard.  Give it a try!

Ingredients:

2 large bunches of spinach, about 1 lb

2 Tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil,

3 cloves garlic, sliced

Salt to taste

Optional: ¼ tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

 

First cut off the thick stems of the spinach and discard. Clean spinach by filling up the sink with water.  Soak the spinach to loosen any sand or dirt for just a minute or two. Drain the spinach. Put the spinach in a salad spinner to remove any excess moisture or pat dry with a towel or whatever method you like to get the green as dry as possible.

Next heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute.  Add the spinach to the pan, packing it down a bit if you need to with your hand. Turn the spinach over in the pan (use two big spatulas if necessary) so that you coat more of it with the olive oil and garlic. Do this a couple of times. Cover the pan and steam for 1 minute. Uncover and turn the spinach over again. Cover the pan and stream for an additional minute.

The spinach should be completely wilted. Remove from heat immediately and drain any excess moisture from the pan. Add a dash little more olive oil and optional Apple cider vinegar, sprinkle with salt to taste. Serve immediately.  Do you feel like Popeye yet?

 

Recipes for this weeks CSA package (Kale)

Fresh Kale Salad with a Lemon Zest

1 Tbsp lemon zest

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil

6-8 c coarsely chopped kale, ribs removed

1/3 c toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil until well combined. Add kale and toss to coat. Add hazelnuts; season with salt and pepper. Toss before serving.

Warm Kale & Tomatoes on the side please

1 Tbsp + two tsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic

2 c cherry tomatoes – Quartered (or other fresh sweet tomatoes in season)

1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1 lbs blanched, chopped kale leaves

Celtic sea salt and ground pepper

Optional 1-2 Tbsp Pine Nuts

Directions

In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbs olive oil over medium. Add garlic cloves, thinly sliced, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add quartered cherry tomatoes and fresh thyme leaves. Cook until tomatoes begin to break down, 2 minutes. Add kale and cook until heated through, 2 minutes. Season with sea salt, pepper and toss in pine nuts. Drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil and serve.

Dressing Recipes

Salad Dressings with Easy Variations!
These two bases can be used alone, are very nice and clean tasting that will let the greens of your salad shine. Of course, you can mix it up with some simple additions!
Homemade is easy!

BASIC DRESSINGS
#1 Base
1/2 tsp. Celtic Sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. wine, apple or balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. E.V. Olive oil

#2 Base
3/4 c. E.V. Olive Oil
¼ c. + 1Tbspc wine, apple or balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. Celtic Sea salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Combine ingredients, whisk/blending together well. Store in the Refrigerator if you have some left over or plan to use in day or two.

VARIATIONS
Mustard Honey Dressing – Best with #1 base
1 tsp. French Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. raw honey

Herbed Mustard French Dressing – Best with #1 base
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 Tbsp. fresh minced basil
1 tsp. marjoram, chives or tarragon
Add to Mustard Honey French Dressing.

Italian mild– This is best with #2 base
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
Dash of minced garlic
Great for marinating too.

Herbed Italian with zing– Best with #2 base
1/4 c. chopped parsley
5 cloves minced garlic
2 Tbsp. fresh minced basil, 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes.

Avocado Dressing
1 Ripe Avocado in place of ½ of the amount of Olive Oil. Puree Avocado and blend in remaining ingredients. Think about Infused Olive Oils and/or Vinegars! Talk with Debbie at the Gourmet Cellar – Ask her about the Lemon Olive Oil – It’s fantastic!

Just about any herb can be added to salad dressings. The ratio of oil to vinegar may be varied to taste.
A basic French dressing has a ratio of 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. Italian styles have a bit more vinegar.
Dried herbs need extra time to rehydrate and release their flavorings. Make dressings with dry herbs 2-3 hours ahead of use. Fresh herbs are preferred when you can use them.

Lovage. An herb and a CRAZY straw!

Yesterday’s CSA contained Lovage, an herb that we don’t use very often. So, here’s a few recipes and general information:

The leaves can be used in salads, or to make soup, and the roots can be eaten as a vegetable or grated for use in salads. Lovage tea can be applied to wounds as an antiseptic, or drunk to stimulate digestion. The seeds can be used as a spice, similar to fennel seeds. In the UK, lovage cordial was traditionally mixed with brandy in the ratio of 2:1 as a winter drink. Lovage is second only to capers in its quercetin content. Quercetin is a bioflavinoid noted for its anti-inflammatory action.

Lovage Butter
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons of minced lovage
½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste

Lightly heat the butter to melt, stir in the remaining ingredients. Serve over steamed veggies, fish or poultry. Can be cooled and refrigerated to use later.

Lovage & Green Garlic Sauce:
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Pepper
1/2 cup lovage, chopped
1/4 cup green garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Season with salt and pepper. When the oil is shimmering (but not smoking), add the lovage, green garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Remember, you can use the stalk of the plant as a drinking straw. We tried it last night with some mineral water and it embued a subtle celery/licorice flavor.