Thursday, October 28, 2010

Macaroni and Cheese with Mushrooms, Brie and Baby Greens

I had a bit of a mishap with the last box of veggies, They came with a nice bag of baby greens and another bag of arugula. Not really thinking about it, I tossed them into the refrigerator to use later. When I went to grab some of the baby greens for a salad a few days later, they were frozen! I had put them too close to the vent in the refrigerator. I checked the arugula, and it was in the same state. Frustrated, I tossed both back into the fridge, thinking I might find a use for them later.

I decided to make macaroni and cheese today, a kind of spiffed up version with brie and mushrooms. About halfway through the process, I remembered the frozen greens. I thought that maybe, if I chopped them up and wilted them into the macaroni and cheese, they might make a colorful and tasty addition to the otherwise vegetable free dish. So, in they went and viola! A new dish was born, and no innocent greens were wasted! I really like this version, and I might be hard pressed to not put greens in my next batch of mac 'n cheese. XD

Mac 'n Cheese with Mushrooms, Brie and Baby Greens

1 lbs macaroni

1/4 lbs cheddar

1/4 lbs brie

½ cup butter

1/2 lbs mushrooms

1 onion

2 cloves garlic

1½ tsp salt

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tbsp flour

1 cup milk

2 cups chopped baby greens and/or arugula

Prepare macaroni or other similar sized pasta according to package directions. While the pasta water is coming to a boiling, cut the mushrooms into thick slices and saute in 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium sauce pan over high heat. Stir occasionally and cook until the mushrooms are golden brown.

While the mushrooms are cooking, finely dice the onion and mince the garlic. Shred the cheddar and cut the brie into small chunks. Set the mushrooms aside in a small bowl.

In the same saucepan, melt the remaining butter over high heat, then add the garlic. Once the garlic is just beginning to brown, add the onions, salt and nutmeg. Stir occasionally and when the onions become translucent, turn off the heat. Whisk the flour into the milk, and slowly pour over the onions, stirring constantly. When the onions have been fully incorporated into the milk, turn the heat back on to medium and cook until the mixture thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes, then turn off the heat. Add the onion mixture, cheese and greens to the cooked past and stir until the cheese is melted. Serves 5-7.

* To make the basic version of macaroni and cheese, you can omit the mushrooms, brie and greens. Increase the cheddar to 1/2 pound.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Turnip Greens

I first made these as part of a traditional Sunday dinner, along which hush puppies and fried chicken––quite the yummy combination! I prefer collard greens myself, but was pleasantly surprised at how good turnip greens are too, and they take much less time! Collards have to cook the better part of the day and these only take about fifteen minutes.

Peanut oil
1/2 to 1 onion
1 (or a few) clove of garlic
turnip greens, a few bunches
Seasoning to taste: pepper, salt, red pepper, red pepper flakes etc.
1 tsp or so of bullion (or I used Better Than Bullion)

Heat some peanut oil in a sauce pan, add chopped onion and garlic, sauté, then add greens, and sauté for several more minutes. Add some salt, pepper, red pepper, red pepper flakes, and other flavors to season. Add 3/4 or 1 cup or so of water and the bullion, and continue cooking on medium to medium low for another ten minutes or so. You could use some veggie or meat broth instead of water or bullion.

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world" J. R. R. Tolkien

Sunday, October 17, 2010


no pictures because it got eaten too fast! Onion-free in Heather's honor!

Dried CHICKPEAS (1.5 cups) - boil, soak, cook for 2 hours or so - OR use a can of pre-cooked chickpeas
veggie BROTH - 4 cups? It was guesswork. Enough to cover...
1 large bunch KALE - chopped finely. Add to chickpea/broth and boil 15 minutes or so
5 finely chopped red PEPPERS (the tiny sweet peppers we got in the boxes last week. If you get a grocery-store-sized pepper, one or two will do).
and a chopped TOMATO
Cook about five or ten more minutes, seasoning well with
FRESH BASIL (chopped. maybe 8 leaves)
OR any kind of all-purpose "italian seasoning" you've got. The chickpeas could also be replaced with white beans or even lima. The only crucial ingredient is kale.
Serves a housefull.

hurray for kale!
Now we ate this alongside some homemade garlic-squash ravioli, but THAT is a much more complicated process (but a pleasant afternoon's activity!)... I really should've taken pictures of our masterpieces though.

Pickled Turnips

As promised, pickled turnips!

(Although I originally thought they were radishes O_o) No matter, into the pickling liquid they went!

You can adjust this depending on how sweet/sour/strong you want it to taste, but here is basically what you do:


3 medium turnips
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar

Thinly slice the turnips and the garlic and put them into a small bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Stir gently until the salt and sugar dissolve. Enjoy!

Those of you who were paying attention, I'm sure you noticed the turnips in the picture were diced and not sliced. I cut the turnips into cubes this last time because I thought it might be an interesting texture, but I liked it much better the last time when I sliced them. You can of course "pickle" other vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, jicama, and even actual radishes this way! I like to eat the vegetables right away, but you can store the vegetables in this liquid for a decent amount of time. Just remember that the flavors will become more intense as the vegetables marinate, and there will be some texture changes, especially with the cucumber, as I'm sure you are all aware from buying pickles at the store.

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Braised Greens

We got another box of veggies today, this one filled to the brim with some big leafy greens: kale, chard and turnips with the tops on. Last time, I tried to keep some similar items in my fridge for a while, but is just took up so much space, so this time, I decided to cook them right away.

Here is the end result of all those beautiful greens, along with the turnips that were leftover. I'll probably end up pickling them and I'll put a recipe for that as well. Now, I am not from "the South" so this is not going to be an authentic recipe. Also, I am allergic to pork and I didn't have all day to pull this off, as most traditional recipes call for. I was hungry, and it was time for lunch!


1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch kale
1 bunch chard
tops from 1 bunch turnips
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp each salt & pepper, plus more to taste

Slice the onion and mince the garlic.

Add the oil to a medium to large pot and put on high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic. Stir continuously until the garlic begins to change color to a golden hue, then add the onions, bay leaf, smoked paprika and 1 tsp each salt and pepper. Combine ingredients well and then turn heat down to medium. Stir occasionally.

Make sure greens are free of dirt and grit. This can involve a lot of washing, but luckily the greens I got from Full Belly Farms were very clean. If you are using kale, you want to remove most of the stems, as these can be tough. I figured out today that if you hold the end of the stem with one hand, and then run the knife along it away from you, this is the easiest way to get it done. Don't worry about getting rid of all of the stem, just most of it it from the bottom and middle. Hold all of the leaves together, or as much as you can comfortably manage, and cut them into strips.

When the onions have become translucent and have browned a little, add the balsamic vinegar and the greens. You will have to do this a little at a time as they take up a lot of room and you will have to cook them down before you can add some more. Kale and turnip greens need a bit of cooking, at least 20 minutes or so, but chard only really needs to be wilted. If you want a more "authentic" consistency, you can certainly put a lid on this, turn the heat down and simmer the daylights out of it, but I think it's pretty darn tasty this way.

Since I was using 3 different kinds of greens that would cook at three different rates, I added them to the pot as I went. You can simplify this by sticking with 1 kind of green, but I like having the variety.

* (I know "bunch" is not a precise term, but since this is not baking, this is more about taste than precision. The bunches of kale and chard seemed to be about twice the size you would normally find in the supermarket. I used the tops of 3 large turnips, but these were huge, altogether about half the amount of greens as from one of the bunches of kale or chard. I used smoked paprika to give it that hint of smokiness, since I can't use bacon or ham because of my pork allergy. If you want to use smoked meats instead of smoked paprika, by all means, do so. Simply dice the meat and add them to the hot pan to cook before you add the garlic. If you are using bacon, omit the olive oil.)

I ended up with this huge pot of tasty goodness that I'll be able to enjoy for the next few days.

Paired with a piece of roasted chicken, a steamed ear of corn (from my last Full Belly veggie box!), and a cool mug of iced tea to beat the heat, and I had delicious and nutritious lunch! Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Turnips! two weeks in a row!

Take the TURNIPS and chop them up small. Cover them with 3 TBSP balsamic vinegar, 1 TBSP honey, 1 TBSP olive oil, and bake... up to 45 minutes depending on how small you chop them. Serve up with goat cheese and other salad ingredients.

Take off the green leafy tops, wash them, and treat them like arugula (a little spicy). Great on sandwiches or salads.


for delicious veggie-idea sharing!