Tis the season to bring home food I would never purposely buy, and figure out what to do with it. Our farm share with Misty Meadows Farm (http://www.mistymeadowsfarm.vpweb.com/) has started up again. This means that instead of planning menus and then grocery shopping in search of ingredients every week, my husband and I plan recipes around what we receive in our share that week.
There are of course many benefits to our CSA to feel good about, such as supporting local farmers, not destroying the environment with food miles and industrial food production, etc etc. But I do it also to mix up my diet a little bit. It's so easy to fall into a rut shopping at the grocery every week. When I have a different basket every Thursday though, I have to be a little more creative, and get a lot more variety in my diet.
So this week we have candy onions, Siberian kale, green onions, two baby lettuces, cucumber, zucchini, arrowhead cabbage and lemon thyme. Honestly, kale is not on my top 100 foods list so I'd never buy it. But when I knew the people that grew it, I'm going to eat it.
A great reference for summer farm share cooking is Jack Bishop's Vegetables Every Day
, along with his Pasta e Verdura
. They're organized by the type of vegetable, so I can just turn to the kale section for inspiration. And lucky me, Vegetables Every Day provides a recipe for caramelized onions and kale with balsamic vinegar. We cooked that up with the incredibly sweet Candy onions and tossed it in some spaghetti with olive oil, parmesan and toasted walnuts. Now in hindsight, it wasn't a great idea to fire up four burners on my gas stovetop on a 90-degree day. But dinner was delicious.
If you've got kale and onions in your CSA or from the farmer's market this week, have at it:
Parmesan Spaghetti with Kale and Caramelized Onions
Adapted from Vegetables Every Day
by Jack Bishop
Serves two for dinner plus lunch leftovers for one
8-10 oz spaghetti
1 1/2 pounds kale
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium or 4 small sweet onions, halved and sliced thin
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup shelled walnut pieces
freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring 4 quarts of water and 1 tsp salt to a boil in a large pot
2. Wash the kale in several changes of cold water, stripping off all the leafy green portion from both sides of the central vein. Discard the veins and tear the leafy portion into small pieces. Add to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender, about 8 minutes. Drain well.
3. (Again) Bring 4 quarts of water and 1 tsp salt to a boil in another large pot
4. Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the sugar and continue cooking until the onions are a rich brown color, about 10 minutes more. Lower the heat if at any time the onions start to burn.
5. Toast the walnuts over low heat in a small pan
6. Boil the spaghetti until ad-dente (8-10 minutes) drain and rinse in cool water
7. Stir olive oil into spaghetti, then mix in parmesan, stirring well to avoid clumps
8. Add the kale to the onions, tossing well, until heated through and evenly flavored with the onions, 1 to 2 minutes. Add vinegar and pepper.
9. Mix kale and onions into the spaghetti. Adjust the seasonings and serve immediately.