Week 2: The Greens Mile

This year we had a choice of where to pick up our CSA box, so I decided to switch from the wine store a block and a half away to the wine/cheese/olive/bread store a whole four blocks away. Andrew felt that the extra three minute walking time was a huge imposition and an undue burden, but I argued that by changing location we might occasionally come home with a wedge of artisanal cheese or a loaf of bread. He proved me right by grabbing a baguette for lunch when he picked up the box Tuesday afternoon. Victory!

After last week’s successes, we opened the second box feeling pretty confident. The thrill of seeing two entire quarts of strawberries was soon replaced by a daunting awareness of the multitude of leafy greens, most of which looked like they needed to be used up expediently. There were some wild card items such as a Chinese cabbage called, confusingly, Tokyo bekana, and leaf broccoli (what is this?), in addition to the CSA stalwart head lettuce, spinach, and kale. There was also kohlrabi, which we greeted with some alarm given its tendency last year to pile up over the weeks until it had taken over an entire crisper drawer.

And so with slightly more subdued zeal than last week, we made our plan.

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We started with the spinach. There’s something about spinach that seems to say, I may have been picked fresh this morning, but if you don’t use me in the next 45 minutes I’m going to turn into black slime right here on the table. We hastily decided to making pesto.

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Spinach Pesto with Feta and Cherry Tomatoes

We used a recipe from Serious Eats for spinach pesto, which was part of a larger recipe calling somewhat bizarrely for zucchini noodles and sunflower seeds. We figured that if this tasted good over strips of zucchini masquerading as spaghetti, it would probably taste good over, you know, pasta.

You begin by spending about an hour and a half washing dirt from the spinach. Then you toast pine nuts and mix them together with the spinach, lemon juice and zest, 4 cloves of garlic, and a cup of gruyere in the bowl of a food processor. We also added a handful of thyme from the garden. Process until it begins to form a chunky paste and then blend in a cup of olive oil, pouring it in slowly while the machine whirs.

We ate the pesto with pasta, feta, and cherry tomatoes.

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CSA vegetables used: spinach

Other ingredients: garlic, lemon, olive oil, thyme, pine nuts, gruyere, pasta, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes.

Last year, I made a batch of spinach pesto and froze a bunch of it in an ice cube tray. The trick is to blend everything except the cheese, since cheese doesn’t freeze well. You add the cheese back in whenever you get around to defrosting and eating it. This time, in a hunger-induced lapse in judgement, we decided not to freeze any of the pesto. The sheer quantity of spinach involved meant that we ended up with about a quart and a half of pesto, of which 1/3 of a cup ended up in our pasta. The good news is that the spinach, at least, is no longer giving us the side-eye.

Next: When a salad turns out to be a roast chicken.

 

 

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