It was incredibly good timing that I decided to change the format of these CSA posts because last week was so crazy, I barely remembered to cook let alone photograph each meal. Whew! The main event was the CD release party for The Cordials very first release, “Not Like Yesterday”. It was a relatively long road getting there: recording a demo in December 2011, recording the album last June, running a Kickstarter campaign in the fall and then getting all the merch and rewards together in time for last Saturday’s show. Laura did the bulk of the work and is an organizing dynamo (as well as uber talented musician and songwriter) but there was still plenty for the rest of us to do in addition to our regular duties. One of the things that made the release so special also added complications of its own: we held it at the Whistle Stop Depot, a historic old train depot that’s been re-purposed over the years into an event space. But it’s not specifically a music club, so we had to account for all kinds of things like lighting, sound, someone to collect the cover, etc etc. Laura dotted every ‘i’ and crossed every ‘t’ and we ended up with a show that looked kinda like this:
But human cannot subsist on music alone – so yes, there was still a lot of cooking going on to use up my bangin’ CSA haul.
Another beautiful bounty of greens. And I’m relishing them now as much as possible because soon the season will shift and it’ll get so hot in our desert clime that the plants will put use the rest of their energy to hoist a seedstalk in a last effort to reproduce and then give up the ghost. Brutal, but such is Nature.
This week brought another surprise in the form of some charming quelites. What are these cute floppy leaves about? Thanks to Google, I learned that quelites is the Mexican term for what is actually the leaf of an amaranth plant and can also go by the names ‘wild spinach’, ‘lamb’s quarters’ and ‘goose foot’.
You would cook it the way you cook spinach. It has a very mild, almost sweet taste and the leaves wilt quickly when sauteed but they don’t turn slimy.
The leaves are much smaller than other cooking greens – and you definitely want to pick the leaves off because from what I’ve read the stems are a bit woody and not as pleasant when cooked. You also want to wash them thoroughly. There is a slight fuzziness to the leaves – completely adorable, but it attracts dirt and dust like a magnet. Add them to a bowl (or sink) full of fresh cold water, swish them around and let them sit for a few minutes. Then lift them out of the water, into a colander and give them a final rinse.
It does look like a goose’s foot, doesn’t it?
Good sources of calcium and potassium, I immediately put them to nutritional use in an improvised vegetable curry with butternut squash and carrots. I was inspired by this cozy recipe from Parisian foodie, Clotilde Dusoulier’s blog, Chocolate & Zucchini: Winter Vegetable Curry. It’s a very simple recipe made with any winter vegetables you have on hand and coconut milk. I turned it into more of a soup by adding some veggie stock. I also added some turmeric, chili powder and the quelites.
And since I had a heapin’ helping of cilantro, that got tossed on top, too.
Good for what ails you! And I needed all those nutrients to deal with the week ahead. Thanks, food, for your support.
Here were a couple of other recipes I made last week that I just have to share:
- Pioneer Woman’s Butternut Squash and Kale Quesadillas – Oh my stars. The combo of the squash and kale with chili powder was soooo savory. You could use this in other dishes, too. Ree recommends pasta, but it could also be a great warm salad or side dish. The smell of buttered corn tortillas lingered throughout the house in the most delightful way. This stuff really does feel like a reward after a long, long day. Go make this. Now!
- Mimi Thorisson’s Yellow Chicken, Yellow Wine – I have no idea what vin jaune du Jura is. I used the cheapest Sutton Home at Safeway. This was still heaven on a plate. I couldn’t find creme fraiche and used full fat greek yogurt instead for the mushroom cream sauce. Looked a little grainy but our tastebuds were singing! Utter gastronomic luxury.
Enjoy yourselves in the kitchen, friends. Making food for yourself is one of the finest examples of self-care and self-nourishment – even if it’s not uber-healthy sprouted vegan fare. And don’t be a slave to those recipes. Get inspired, use your common sense and what you have on hand. Life is a constant learning experience.
Til next time, adieu!