Tag Archives: greens

Day-off Dining

I love those lazy days off from work where I can, at my discretion, knit, nap, read, and most importantly, cook. I always have veggies in the house, but today I noticed that some of them needed to be used as soon as possible – you know how veggies get that sad, dull, almost-but-not-quite-squishy look to them, begging to be eaten or cooked. Yep, I had quite a few of those.

Take cherry tomatoes, for instance. I bought them last week at a local farmer’s market; a tiny, but heaped-up basket full – and down to about 10 or so today, they were looking a little wan. I also had an uncut  green pepper who needed attention as well, so I chopped those guys, along with some elephant garlic, and started a tasty sofrito that will be used in some black beans and rice. Sofrito – the homemade kind -adds a wonderful flavor to Caribbean dishes. Skip over the jarred stuff and make our own – trust me. It smells awesome while it’s cooking.

Last week’s leek greens and kale stems had been saved, along with some mushroom stems and onion bits. I’m of the mindset that you pay (sometimes dearly) for produce; you should get every bit out of it that you can. I save things like stems and inedible parts to make pure vegetable stock.  Kale makes amazing stock. I let my bits boil away for two hours, and the result is a hearty stock that forms the base for many soups, such as this shell pasta/veggie soup I made today as  well. Yum. Good comfort food for a lazy day off!

Kale to the chief

“More kale, General?” the little old grandmother asked of Warren Beatty in “Bulworth.”

Absolutely, why not more kale? A powerhouse green packed with vitamins A and D, kale goes well in soups, stews, and sautes. Rip its rugged leaves for a punchy salad mixed with other like-minded greens, or scrunch it up in a juicer along with tomatoes, apples, celery, beets and carrots to power boost your homemade V8-style juice.

Here, I’ve added kale to a veggie-heavy vegan pastafazool. The bright green fades slowly as it simmers in a rich tomato broth, and its sharp kick mellows after some time. Tear away the leaves from the tough-as-nails stalks before cooking. (Don’t forget to compost the stalks.)