Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fresh from the Farm: arugula, chard, and potatoes

Last week was the final week of my CSA share. It's been fun learning about some new vegetables and some very interesting recipes have resulted. But I'm not sure if I will do it again next year. I still feel guilty about the many times I threw things out because they went bad before I could use them. And I cannot for the life of me figure out how to store greens without them going limp! Any suggestions??

Here I will share with you some recipes I made that featured the last pickings of the crop.

First up, Arugula Pesto Pasta
I got the pesto recipe from my CSA newsletter:
3 cups packed arugula (about 3/4 pound) washed well and dried
1/3 pine nuts, toasted golden and cooled (I substituted almonds)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt (I used 1/4)
1 large clove garlic, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil (I used 1.5 tbsp olive oil and the juice from half a lemon)
1/4 cup hot water (I used pasta water)

1/2 lb pasta of your choice

While the pasta is cooking, make the pesto. In a food processor, pulse together all ingredients except oil, lemon juice, and water until chopped fine. With motor running, add oil and lemon juice in a stream, blending until smooth. (Careful with this part! If your processor tends to shake a lot like mine, then it's probably ok to add the oil a little bit at a time, blending after each addition.)

Drain pasta, reserving some liquid, and place in bowl.

Stir 1/4 cup of the hot pasta water into the pesto to loosen. Toss with pasta, adding more water if needed. Combine with a meat, if you desire. I chopped up some leftover Italian-seasoned chicken to add.

Next comes the potatoes. The first thing I made with them was Bacon and Blue Cheese Potato Salad. I have to say, I detest normal potato salad. Actually, my real issue is with the mayonnaise. No, it's not because it is unhealthy, because they have all those low-fat versions now. I have just never liked the taste. If I forget to ask for no mayo at a sandwich place, my lunch is ruined.

So anyway, I decided to make potato salad sans mayo. I forgot to write down the proportions, so please forgive me. It should be pretty easy to eyeball it.

Bacon and Blue Cheese Potato Salad
new potatoes
1 container crumbled blue cheese
3-4 slices bacon
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
small bunch of parsley

Heat a pot of water on the stove. Slice potatoes into consistently sized chunks. Boil until tender. Meanwhile, chop parsley and cook bacon. Crumble. Place potatoes in a bowl. Drizzle a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar down the sides of the bowl and toss. (This allows for more even coverage and lets you use less.) Mix in blue cheese, parsley, and all but 1-2 tbsp bacon bits. Top with remaining bacon and serve warm or chill and serve cold!

I also got some delicious yukon gold potatoes and used them in another recipe provided by the newsletter. I thought it was good. Ryan thought it was good. But it looked...strange. Just a warning.

Chard and Potato Soup
2 tbsp butter
1 cup onion, chopped (I omitted this for Ryan's sake)
1 bunch swiss chard, trimmed, leaves and steams chopped SEPARATELY (makes 6 cups chopped leaves)
2 cups yukon gold potatoes, peeled, diced
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk
salt and pepper
For garnish: 1 tbsp vegetable oil, 1/4 cup swiss chard, 2-3 slices cooked and crumbled bacon

Heat butter in a pot over medium heat. Add swiss chard stems (and onion, if using) and saute for 2 minutes or until softened. Add potatoes, chicken stock, and milk and bring to a boil. This is when it turns pink if you used any red swiss chard.

Simmer soup for 5 minutes. Add leaves (reserving 1/4 cup for garnish) and simmer 5 minutes longer or until potatoes are very soft and chard is wilted.

Puree soup with blender, food processor, or an immersion blender (greatest invention on earth!!). This is when it turns green. Season with salt and pepper.

For garnish, heat oil (or if using bacon, just use leftover grease) in a small skillet over medium high heat. Add swiss chard (be careful! it will splatter!) and fry for 1-2 minutes or until crisped. Drain on paper towels.

Garnish and enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Have you tried the Green Bags for your greens? Those have helped me but greens really only stay fresh for a couple of days after being picked. Kale stays firmer longer but chard goes limp quickly.

    What CSA did you join? We did Elmwood and it was a shorter duration than yours. Maybe that would work for you next year?