Friday, August 29, 2008
Another Dover Farm Meal-Sauteed Greens and Chickpeas
As I wrote about in an earlier post, since the late spring, we have been members of the new CSA at the Dover Farm. Essentially, we own a share of the farm which means that we pay in advance, take on the risk of a farmer, but reap the wonderful benefits as the vegetables come in. Each week I have taken my sons on Tuesday afternoons to gather our week's produce. As our infant watches from his car seat, R. (my toddler) and I read the signs that tell us all the treats that are available. I pick R. up, and let him choose the cucumbers, weigh the tomatoes and place the kale gently in our bags.
It has been a unique, wonderful and fascinating experience on so many levels. I have loved watching my son grow accustomed to picking up organic produce directly at the farm. I have found it interesting to wonder how this year's corn crop will do and how the rain affected the tomatoes. One week we were welcome to pick organic raspberries and another week we were given a chance to chose from beautiful flowers.
This week I was also struck by an oxymoron-when I shop at the grocery store, I am greedy. I choose the best tomato with no regard for those who will follow. But at the CSA pick-ups, I want to be mindful of people who are coming after us. So, instead I choose the tomato that isn't quite ripe and leave the big cucumbers and zucchinis for others.
Finally, as a cook, I usually decide what I am going to make and then scout out the vegetables. I also tend to play it safe, buying broccoli and cauliflower, carrots and peas. But I have loved the challenge of being faced with a decent quantity of veggies that I didn't anticipate and don't use regularly in my cooking. Thus, leeks, rainbow swiss chard kale, Italian flat beans, many multi-hued beets, Thai basil and scallions have made their way into our repertoire (and into my toddler's growing vocabulary!)This week we collected more than I ever remember. We could choose from 6 different herbs, multiple types of summer squash and eggplant, scallions, leeks, kale, chard, tomatoes, beans, corn, carrots and big beautiful sunflowers.
At night, I prepared a new dish that we are all loving: I simply sauteed shallots and garlic in olive oil until they were softened. I added chopped swiss chard and kale (you could use any well-washed leafy green) and some chicken broth and let them simmer for a bit. Once it had cooked down (about 20 minutes), I added a drained can of chick peas, a chopped and cored tomato and some salt and pepper. (Red pepper flakes also make a great addition, but then neither my son or husband will eat them!) Last week we ate this over rotini. Tonight, I added some olive oil at the end and ate it warm with some fresh Italian bread. My toddler preferred me to pick the chickpeas out but he did try (and actually enjoy!) the kale. It was quick and easy and, when R. asked, "Where we get the kale, Mommy?", I could say, "At the farm!"