Monthly Archives: April 2011

Field Report 04-29-11: So, A Vegan and a Caveman Walk Into A Juice Bar…

Field Report 04-29-11

Local Box Meal Plan: April 25-29

Well, hello heirloom tomatoes. So nice to see you again! If you’ve been sweltering in the 90-degree days we’ve been having lately, at least take heart in the fact that the heat is helping local tomato crops.

Spring Lettuce Mix – Tecolote Farm
Chard – Bradshaw Farm
Brussels Sprouts OR Green Beans – Hillside Farm OR Naegelin Farm
Summer Squash – Acadian Family Farm
New Potatoes – Green Gate Farms
Flat Leaf Parsley – Tecolote Farm
Heirloom Tomatoes – Bluebonnet Hydroponic
Mango – G&S Groves
Crisp Green Leaf Lettuce – Lund Produce Company

Tangy herbed lettuce soup – I told you last week I’d find you a lettuce soup recipe! This one even uses up some of the potatoes you’ll get this week. Use the green leaf lettuce you get for this recipe, and stick with using the spring mix in salads. Also, use parsley instead of basil (unless you happen to have basil on hand, in which case I’d use both).

Tomato-squash skillet – I usually don’t cook heirloom tomatoes because they have such an amazing raw flavor, but if you’re tired of salads and don’t feel like eating them raw this week, try this recipe. I might add a few chickpeas to round out the protein here and make it a vegan main course, or mix in some diced, cooked chicken if you eat meat.

Chard-mango smoothie – What? Chard in a smoothie? I know! Sounds weird, but I’m a fan of spinach in smoothies and this isn’t far off. Just give it a shot if you’re skeptical – I think you’ll be surprised at how non-chardy it tastes. I would add about a cup of a liquid to this recipe, maybe some almond milk or orange juice. 

For the brussels sprouts and green beans, I’m thinking a nice turn on the grill would work for both – I’m loving grilled veggies these days. Grease a grill wok and add the veggies tossed in some olive oil and your favorite seasonings (I’ve been using lemon pepper lately). Grill over medium-high heat until tender, around 10 minutes, stirring often to keep the ones on the bottom from burning. Make sure to trim the green beans or halve the brussels sprouts before cooking. If you don’t have a grill wok, just put the veggies on a big piece of aluminum foil on the grill, or use your broiler instead.

– Stephanie

Creamy Kale Casserole

I developed this recipe last month in preparation for Thanksgiving.

Yes, you heard me right: Thanksgiving.

I know that Turkey Day is months away, but now is the perfect time to try out new holiday recipes without the pressure of extended family and a big turkey in your kitchen. Plus many of our fall favorite ingredients like kale, potatoes, mushrooms and carrots are also in season during Central Texas’ late spring months, making them cost effective and easy to find this time of year.

This recipe is my mostly-local, from-scratch answer to traditional green bean casserole.  This kale dish has the creamy-salty-crunchy qualities that make green bean casserole great, minus the gelatinous condensed soup, palm-oil soaked onions, and soggy canned beans that make it not so great.

I’m using curly kale here since it’s cheap and in season in Austin in the fall. However, I’ve made this dish successfully with baby spinach, fresh green beans, field peas and chard, too, by reducing the cooking time for the tender veggies and increasing the cooking time and liquid for the field peas. Experiment now with your family’s favorite ingredients so that you’ll have your own version perfected in time for Thanksgiving dinner!

Creamy Kale Casserole (serves 4-6 as a side dish)
4 tablespoons melted butter, divided
1/2 yellow or white onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 head curly kale, washed and chopped
2 tablespoons white wine, veggie stock or water
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large pan, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Once onions are tender, add the chopped kale to the skillet along with the wine. Cover and cook for 7 minutes, until kale is bright green and tender.

Meanwhile, use an electric mixer to cream together the remaining melted butter,  softened cream cheese, milk, salt and pepper.

Once kale is par-cooked, combine it with the cream cheese mixture in a 1.5 quart casserole dish.* Top with chopped pecans and bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes.

*To make this dish ahead of time, follow the recipe up to this point. Store the casserole dish, covered with plastic wrap, in the fridge for up to two days. Bring the creamed kale to room temperature and remove the plastic wrap before adding pecans and baking the dish as directed.

Congrats to Mary Olivar aka @sourcEATari

Congrats to Mary Olivar aka @sourcEATarian ! Voted Best Overall at our soiree w/ her delectable local grapefruit, basil & mint salad!

Local Box Video Apr 25 – 29: http://ow.l

Local Box Video Apr 25 – 29: http://ow.ly/4HjHE

RT @Rocknrealty vegan greenling: Garlic,

RT @Rocknrealty vegan greenling: Garlic, Mushrooms & Kale oh my http://t.co/0F0vYuG

Kale-Arugula Quiche with Smoked Gouda

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I served this for Easter brunch today. There’s a lot I like about this quiche, like the smoky gouda complimenting the strong-flavored greens and how easy it was to make. And, like many things I cook, it’s very adaptable. You could use pretty much any combo of greens you happen to have on hand. At the last minute, I remembered that I had some mushrooms in the fridge and threw in some of those, with no ill effects. There are no fancy spices here, just salt and pepper, but the quiche has a lot of flavor thanks to the flavorful ingredients.

Kale-Arugula Quiche with Smoked Gouda

1 refrigerated pie crust, for a 9-inch pie
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 leek, thinly sliced (white parts only)
6 oz kale and arugula mix, coarsely chopped (ribs removed from the kale)
Handful of white mushrooms, sliced (about 7 mushrooms)
1 cup skim milk
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated smoked Gouda cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350°.  Place pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate. Freeze 15 minutes. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add greens and mushrooms, sauté 7-8 minutes or until greens have wilted quite a bit and the mushrooms have started to shrink and brown.

Combine milk and remaining ingredients in a bowl; stir well with a whisk. Stir in greens mixture. Pour filling into crust. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes.

– Stephanie