Week 3: Yes, It’s Late

I meant to post this Sunday, and . . . things happened.

The lettuce has started showing up in the farm share boxes, which always provides me with a little dismay. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice lettuce, and usually a fairly wide variety of  greens, not just a bag of limp green stuff, but I am not a huge fan of salad, and there’s really not all that much else you can do with lettuce. (Some of you remember the Lettuce Soup Experiment, and the green pile of Fail that turned out to be.) Yes, I know, we’re all supposed to love salad, and, really, I’m usually perfectly happy to eat it, but it always feels like way too much work. Also, I can’t really eat just a bowl of lettuce–that is just beyond boring–but I also can’t eat bell peppers or cucumbers, which are two of the things most frequently added to salads to make them more than just a bowl of lettuce. Thus, in order to make the salad an actual meal, I have to come up with things to put on it that aren’t peppers, cukes, or out-of-season tomatos (which, ew, why not just eat some pink kitchen sponges).

The other option, which I utilized last year, was to give all of my lettuce to a coworker–so he had salad all summer, and my lettuce didn’t go to waste, but I didn’t actually have to do anything with it. This year, though, I’m determined to eat at least some of it.

Toward that end, Saturday I roasted the beets from a couple of weeks ago, and I’ll slice or chop those. I also shredded a bag of carrots, and tossed them with a little oil and ginger syrup, with the intention of roasting them, too. However. I did not pay attention, or set a timer, and I ended up with a pan of charcoal. I was more than a little peeved, but there was nothing to rescue; it truly was a pan of charcoal. I still have more carrots in the fridge, so I have been grating one or two of those, but roasted carrots would have been nice. I have noticed that the carrots have been a little watery, and I thought the roasting would help that by getting some of the moisture out of them, but clearly I went a little far on that experiment.

I have cheese, too, some spinach from a few weeks ago, some whole wheat rolls in the freezer, so I had enough to make some meals out of this week’s batch. With just a little more ambition, I could have added sundried tomatos and/or steamed broccoli or some of the dried cranberries in the cupboard. Also, because a lot of the greens were bitter greens or cook-able greens, rather than straight-up lettuce, I’ve been wilting them in the microwave for 2-3 minutes with the beets and carrots and cheese, and it’s been yummy.

The other thing about salad is the dressing. (Yes, I know, I’m full of complaints today.) Bottled dressings have so much crap in them–thickeners and stabilizers and the like–that I hate to buy them, so I often settle for olive oil and balsamic vinegar and call it a day. Sunday, though, I went crazy: I took the last of the garlic–which I had chopped Saturday night for dinner, but hadn’t used all of it–and sauteed it over the very lowest heat in a little olive oil for an hour or so. I scraped it into a measuring cup (one of those Pyrex cups) and added ginger syrup, lemon peel and syrup, and two cubes of lemon juice from last week’s squeeze-a-thon, then stuck the immersion blender in it.

Hmm. Not bad. But it needs something. I ended up adding some raspberry mustard, some apple cider vinegar, and some salt and pepper, as well as a little more olive oil. The immersion blender doesn’t just puree the garlic and peel, it also emulsifies the whole dealio, so it hasn’t separated in the fridge. I mix a tablespoon or so with the carrots and beets so I don’t have to haul the bottle to work.

The rest of last week’s share was more Asian greens, including bok choi, some hakurai turnips with their greens (some people apparently put those on salads, too, because they’re milder and can be eaten raw), and the aforementioned salad greens. My downstairs neighbor came up for dinner Saturday night, so I marinated some chicken breasts in chicken broth with a little sesame oil, garlic, ginger syrup, lemon syrup, a splash of soy sauce and some salt and pepper (do you see a trend here?). I also had the last farm share onion to use, so I sliced it thin and caramelized it, then took it out of the pan to sear the chicken. I cooked a bunch of greens for a side dish–the turnip greens (they don’t last that well), a handful of kale from a few weeks ago, and one of the bunches of tatsoi–in a little oil and butter, along with some toasted sesame seeds. They were still crisp and bright green, so they made a nice complement to the chicken with its oniony reduction sauce.

This week’s share arrives tonight, and it should be similar to last week, though with some actual lettuce in addition to the other greens. I’m also getting a pile of hakurai turnips and bok choi, with which I’ll need to do something. That’s a problem for another post, though.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Tammy
    May 10, 2013 @ 09:08:29

    I so agree with you on the bottled dressings. I really cannot tolerate them.

    Reply

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