Category Archives: CSA Cooking

KISS Your Greens, gluten free

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K.I.S.S Collard Greens - GF, of course

Keep It Simple, Silly:  Collard Greens
Photo by Kate Chan

I have to be honest.  The last couple of CSA boxes have had collard greens.  And I’ve swapped them out every week because I’ve been intimidated.

My Love really enjoys collard greens – but it is also because he loves southern food and has had some great food in Chicago.  And me?  Yes.  I like collard greens, but cooking them?  *Yikes*

I’ve heard how “long” and “tough” it is to cook collard greens and have them turn out fabulously.  Seasoning them and making them the right texture and not having either mushy or bitter greens to serve.  And you know what?  I’m much more of a baker than a cook, so that whole “you’ll know when it’s done” thing?  Doesn’t always work for me.  Well, unless I’m grilling chicken or pork chops.  I’ve got that down.

Last week (and this week’s) CSA box had collard greens, so I bit the bullet.  I was going to prepare them and prove my Love wrong.  I was going to make simple and tasty collard greens.  And guess what?  It totally worked.  He wants more.

So tonight, with my family here visiting, we’re making grilled chicken breasts, some more KISS (Keep It Simple, Silly) Collard Greens, fresh new potatoes roasted with feta cheese and parsley and watermelon.  And for dessert?  I’m attempting a checker-board sponge cake.  (Yeap, now I’ve gone ’round the bend, huh?)

So, for those of you with greens and not southern touch to your cooking (like me), feel free to copy.  These are fabulous greens.  I’m thrilled to have an easy recipe to make collard greens with now.  And I won’t be swapping out my collards for any more carrots.  I promise.

K.I.S.S. Collard Greens

K.I.S.S. Collard Greens

Serves two.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of collard greens, cleaned/washed
  • 4 cloves of garlic, mashed and minced
  • olive oil
  • salt/pepper for seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • Squeeze of lemon juice.
  • OPTIONAL/Main Dish Salad:  chopped chicken, raisins or dried cherries, toasted almonds.

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of water (salted. optional) to a boil on the stove.  While you wait, prepare your collard greens.
  2. Cut the thick center vein/stem out of the collard greens.  Split each leaf in two.  Roll together and slice into thin strips (1/4 inch – 1/2 inch).  Cut the strips in half.  (See picture above of rolled collards that have been cut into strips.  I just sliced the rolls in half one time.)
  3. Drop the greens into the boiling water.  Boil for 6 minutes (thin slices) – 8/10 minutes for thicker slices.  Remove the collards once they have reached the “al dente” noodle stage after 6 – 10 minutes (depending on the thickness of your strips).
  4. Drain and press out the excess water.
  5. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a pan.  Add your garlic and stir until fragrant (1 minute).  Add the greens and stir fry for 4 – 5 minutes until tender.  Drizzle with sesame oil and season with salt and pepper.  Continue over the heat until even temperature.  (The greens will remain “al dente” or just tender and not mush after such speedy cooking.) Squeeze a half a lemon over or drizzle a teaspoon of lemon juice over (or more, to taste) and toss.
  6. Serve warm as a side.  Or top with a few raisins, sliced chicken and toasted almonds to make a fabulous entree salad.
Happy Eats!
~Kate

Creamy Brown Rice Risotto

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Risotto.  It’s one of the dishes I first ate after being diagnosed with Celiac.  I know for some of you the idea of NOT knowing what risotto is a little stupefying, but it’s true.  It’s not really a daily menu deal in my upbringing in Minnesota (or at least it wasn’t back-in-the-day).

Since my diagnosis came just a month before our wedding and two months before our honeymoon to Rome, my Love and I were doing a little food “research” about naturally gluten free foods because the store-bought ones we were finding were….well…disgusting.

Having grown up in Chicago, my Love was much more familiar with diverse food offerings than I.  When I told him that I’d read that risotto would be easy to find on our honeymoon and that I wondered if I would like it, he chuckled.  He said that I would LOVE it and was surprised I hadn’t eaten it before.

Needless to say, we made it a mission that week to make risotto.  He made the most divine seafood risotto for me.  I had plenty for leftovers and made many a colleague jealous with my lunch the next day.  It left a serious food-memory on my taste buds.

And the slow cooking – the standing together in the kitchen and slowly stirring and stirring the risotto made for perfect time together too.  It was rather fun to stand and stir and wonder what it would end up tasting like after all that.  It was totally worth it.

But these days, my risottos are less creamy.  Mostly because I’m not standing there stirring it as much as we used to because I’m running after someone, or someone is pulling up to “help” or… well, any number of things, really.  And really, the creaminess of risotto depends heavily of two things:  (1) constant slow stirring with warm broth added regularly in small amounts and (2) the starch of the aborio/risotto rice.
Garlic Scapes

When these fabulously curly garlic scapes showed up in our CSA box last week, I had NO idea what to do with them.  The gal at the farm stand told me to saute them in butter with a bit of salt.  But I thought surely there must be something more I could do, right?

Since I have enjoyed adding fiddlehead fern to our risotto or even green beans, these garlic scapes looked like they would make handsome risotto fixings.  They have a bit of a seriously garlic sting/bite when eaten raw (I’m a taster before I cook things).  I thought the flavor would be lovely when mellowed a bit.  So I liked the idea of saute until soft/tender.  But after that, my plans went awry.

No aborio rice on hand.

Say what?  How did I do that!  It seems that the last time I picked up a bag of short grain rice I did a fabulous job.  I have short grain rice, alright, but it is brown rice.  Not so fabulously known for its starchiness.  Nor its risotto fixings.

I had to make do.  I’m not running out for rice when we have rice in the house even though it isn’t the same grain.  And besides brown rice is healthier for you as it has the whole grain and has not been stripped of the bran – or outer layer.  And you know what?  With a few cooking adjustments to my risotto recipe, it made a great risotto!

GF:  Creamy Brown Rice Risotto with Garlic Scapes and Ginger
First things first, I made this with SHORT GRAIN brown rice that I did NOT prewash in order to keep the starch.  There *IS* a difference with the starchiness of the different grains of rice.  If you have long grain brown rice on hand, your risotto may not turn out as creamy as the grains will not stick together.  You can still make a risotto out of your long grain brown rice, but you will need to consider adding a bit of water + starch (I would add 2 Tablespoons of cold water + 2 teaspoons of cornstarch (not flour) premixed) at the end of cooking to thicken it a bit.

Second:  be sure to have precooked your brown rice – as outlined below – since brown rice takes MUCH longer to cook than white rice.

Third:  add whatever you’d like to your risotto.  The basic recipe is outlined below, but in lieu of garlic scapes, include your own veg or seafood, etc.  You really can’t go wrong.  (PS.  If using seafood, be sure to add it only at the end – it will cook quickly in the hot rice and overcooked seafood?  Not so fabulous.)

Creamy Brown Rice Risotto with Garlic Scapes
Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups short grain brown rice
3 cups of water
1/4 pound garlic scapes, halved and chopped into 1 inch pieces
5 green scallions, chopped
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
1/2-inch knob of fresh ginger, finely diced
2 1/2 cups GF chicken (or veg) broth
1/2 cup grated or shredded cheese (parmesan, etc – I used sun-dried tomato + basil cheese)
garlic powder, salt and pepper – to taste

Directions:

  1. Put the rice into a pot with the three cups of water.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.  Simmer for 16-18 minutes or until the majority of the water is absorbed and the rice is tender.  Drain in a strainer over a bowl.  (You may wish to use the reserved liquid to thicken your risotto – your choice, thus reserving.)
  2. Saute your vegetables (garlic scapes, in this case) until tender.  This took quite a bit of time with the garlic scapes as they are quite hardy.  However, it is important that they are tender as they won’t cook the same in the risotto.
  3. In a hot large pan (I used a two-inch deep, 10 inch wide pan), drizzle your olive oil.  Allow to heat for a bit, then put in the thinly sliced onion and ginger.  (If your love is like mine, you can carmelize your onion for added flavor too.). Cook until tender (or carmelized)
  4. Add the precooked rice, garlic scapes and 1 cup of the broth.  Stir until the broth is absorbed and stirring the rice allows you to “see the pan” without the rice covering up your spoon tracks quickly/liquid like.  Add another 1/2 cup of broth and continue stirring until you once again see the pan easily.  Continue this adding/stirring until you have used all of the broth.
  5. After the last addition of broth, season your risotto with garlic, salt and pepper.  Taste!  (This is important!)  Adjust the seasoning (and or the consistency by adding more broth) now.  Depending on your rice, you may need more broth than what I used.  This is natural.
  6. Add the shredded cheese and stir in.  Taste again.
  7. Serve hot with the scallions sprinkled over the top.
Happy GF Eating, All!
~Kate

CSA Week 2: Radish Cakes

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GF Radish CakesGluten Free Savory Radish Cakes photo by Kate Chan

A couple weeks ago, we opened our first CSA box with joy and glee.  Zoe flipped the top open with a giggle.  “It’s like Christmas, Momma!” she exclaimed.  Ha!  In my mind, I was thinking “Thank God Christmas doesn’t come with radishes!”  (I’m going to regret posting this thought as I’m sure someone will find it fun to gift some radishes to me.  Alas the joke will be on them.  My baby and I love them now!)

We started the first week with radishes.  We roasted them.  And yes, they are good roasted.  Even the carnivore in the house helped polish off the small bowl of roasted radishes.  But, I think he thought that would be it.

HA!  Week #2 CSA box:  more radishes.  In fact, this is what we got:

  • radishes
  • collard greens (recipe for this below as well)
  • scallions
  • spinach
  • red butterhead lettuce
  • green butterhead lettuce
  • mixed salad greens
  • broccoli

Most of the veggies easily fit in to our regular veg-habits.  True, we are eating more salad greens – but using them mostly as wraps for grilled meats or sandwiches.  I think we’ve only had two salads in the last two weeks “because we had to eat the veggies”.  Rather,  we are incorporating the veggies into our regular routine.  I mean really?  We eat a ton of stir fry and fresh fruit/veg.  So adding spinach?  Done.  We would have bought it weekly at the grocer too.  So from that above list only two were things we would not have picked up at the grocer:  radishes (still not super fans here) and collard greens (not always in our stores).

So those are the two things I chose to tackle.  First:  collard greens.  My love enjoys collard greens southern style.  I’ve enjoyed them as well.  But prepping them myself?  Nope.  No experience.

The greens were tender and I used one as a wrap for a sandwich.  It was good, but I knew I wouldn’t eat them all like there.  And there weren’t enough to make in the style my husband wanted.  (The beauty of the CSA is that there isn’t so much as to intimidate and just enough to encourage us to try it all.)

So, I made Collard Green Chips.  Yes.  The same thing that people are making with Kale.  The same kind of dried chip that we love (especially the seasoned lavar with sesame oil and salt – YUM!).   For the collard chips, I did the following:

  • wash the greens, trim the stalk and cut into chunks (fourths, in my case)
  • massage greens with sesame oil and salt for a few minutes – be sure to cover every piece evenly.
  • lay out on parchment or a silpat, put into a 350F oven, bake until crisp 6-8 minutes

I loved eating the chips plain.  So did the baby.  But really, my favorite was crumbling the chips over the top of some scrambled eggs or some brown rice at dinner time.  I loved the flavor it added without being overpowering that way.

But those pesky radishes.  Surely I wouldn’t have to roast more, right?  I didn’t want to spend my summer roasting veggies.  I have a few in the fridge from this week that I plan to figure out with the gas grill outside.  (I have a rockin’ recipe for a grilled potato salad that I think would benefit from some grilled radish.)

Anticipating more radishes from the CSA, I began to plan.  I made several batches of these savory radish cakes and to be honest, they became quite addictive.  The baby demolished them for breakfast one day and lunch the next (much to my mother’s dismay).

I have to beg your forgiveness though.  For once, I am posting my estimates and guesses at what would be the final recipe.  I altered it some many times and stopped taking notes at some point along the way because it got to be too much to manage:  the cooking, the baby who wanted it ASAP, the toddler who wanted to help cook, the final exams to be written and graded, etc.  It was just all too much.

Thankfully, summer has started.  Grades are in.  Classroom is cleaned up. And life is beginning again.  I’m trying out my mommy wings again and enjoying it.  Swimming lessons, slurping strawberries, painting fingernails, and planning naps.  NAPS!  Life is good when everyone naps, huh?

Anyway.  Stopping the yammering.  Posting the recipe.  Just know:  You’ve been warned.  It’s rough.  BUT DANG.  It’s good!

Savory Radish Cakes – gluten free

1 recipe makes 12 – 18 cakes

Ingredients:
3-4 medium radishes (4.5 ounces), shredded
salt
1/2 cup millet flour (88g/3 ounces)
1/2 cup tapioca starch flour (68g/2.5 ounces)
1/3 cup sweet rice flour (45g/2 ounces)
1 smidge of xanthan gum – 1/3 teaspoon??? (can be omitted)
1 – 2 cups hot water (I’m totally guessing on the water, can you tell?)
1 teaspoon (??) salt
1 teaspoon (??) garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon (??) cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons sesame oil
oil for pan frying (olive oil or sesame)

Directions:

  1. Shred radishes (go food processor!), toss with salt generously, and put into a colander over a bowl to catch liquid.  Set aside.
  2. Mix together flour, starches, smidge of xanthan gum (if using), salt, garlic powder, and cracked black pepper.  (I used my food processor to do this because it was easy to rinse out after shredding the radishes.  Heck.  One piece of kitchen gadgetry per recipe is my goal.)
  3. In a separate container (or 2 cup measuring cup), heat 1 cup of water (not boiling – but hot like a cup of tea).  Add sesame oil.  Turn on the food processor and slowly pour the water into the flour mix.   You want the mixture to have the same consistency as pancake batter eventually. So, start with one cup of water.  Don’t add any more just yet.
  4. Go back to your salted, shredded radishes.  Squeeze out as much water as you can from them.  Toss them into your batter.  Whirl the food processor again.
  5. Now check your consistency.  It should be a thick pancake batter (almost like for waffles).  If not, add more hot water slowly until you reach that desired thickness.  It should slowly, thickly slide off a spoon but be thicker than cake batter and not drip off the spoon.
  6. Pan fry the cakes in oil.  Sprinkle the cakes with a bit of salt while frying.
  7. Serve when warm with Soy-Ginger dipping sauce.  (Recipe below)

Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons vinegar
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely minced
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
scallions, optional

  1. Put all together in a small jar and shake well.  Set aside.
  2. Refrigerate any unused portion and use within a few days.

 

Really…this recipe is worth a try.  I’m sorry for the guess with the water.  But …bah… it is what it is.

And one last radish tip:  Shaved radishes + cucumbers make an AWESOME Thai salad. :)  I shaved my remaining radishes, seeded and peeled two English cucumbers and chopped the cukes into small pieces.  Then I mixed together 1/3 cup rice vinegar, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 Tablespoons lemon juice.  OH MAN.  PERFECT summer treat.  (Yes, it makes a lot of liquid, but hey…that’s how I like my Thai Cucumber salad.)

Enjoy!
Kate