Cue Andy Williams -- it's the most wonderful time of the year

greens in the greenhouse
Y’all, it’s CSA time.  That means a whole mess of greens — fresh and crunchy and crisp and oh so tender-sweet.

There’s a variety, and depending on your farm, you could have heads of lettuce and cut arugula ready for salads, mustard greens, beet greens, kale, and radishes, with their peppery greens (the radish greens might be better than the radish itself – check it).

Wondering what to do with the various shades of green about to be filling your crisper drawers?  Fear not! Here’s some ideas and a touch of inspiration for your kitchen. I’ll cover bok choy, spinach, mustard greens, arugula and radishes this week. More to come next week (and the rest of the 18 weeks) to keep your dishes interesting.

TO BEGIN, BOK CHOY
Bok Choy, also known as Chinese cabbage, is a juicy crisp veggie known for its great abilities in the stir fry department. But there’s so much more you can do! I love this rundown on what to do with your bok by The Kitchn’s Faith Durand (The Kitchn is such a great resource for so many domestic questions — book mark it, and you’re welcome).

SPINACH
You probably have your own running list of things to use spinach for. You are likely to have an abundance of it in the coming weeks, so let’s talk everyday use. Try cooking it (as opposed to raw) — it is actually better for you than the uncooked version, PLUS it reduces to like an eighth of what it was raw.  I love throwing it in a sauté pan on medium heat with smashed garlic and LOTS of Lifeline butter (both extremely good for you and local!) until it wilts. This is a similar version, from an 1840’s farm cookbook (originally handwritten, y’all).

Cooked spinach makes a great bed to serve meat or fish on, rather than pasta or rice.

And don’t forget veggies for breakfast! Throw it in with eggs and cheddar cheese — it cooks so fast, you can put it in at the same time as the eggs, add the cheese and scramble away. Here’s a similar recipe to try — quick and easy.

Spinach is also one of the more undetectable smoothie veggies. Check out this green smoothie formula offering ratios to match fruit with almost any green (mustard greens still might not be the greatest idea).

MUSTARDS
Mustard greens took me awhile to embrace. They have a more complex flavor, and I didn’t know what to do with them at first.  But there’s a lot.  I love this pesto — great way to use up large amounts.  Mustards are already high in antioxidants and vitamin B – when you concentrate the mustards in the pesto, you get even more of them so it packs a nutrient powerful punch.

This recipe is delightful.  It has a bonus: BACON! Thanks, Epicurious (great collection of well written recipes from places like Gourmet and Bon Appetite).

ARUGULA and RADISHES

watermelon and radishes

I just tried grilling watermelon over the Memorial Day weekend.  I mixed it with some arugula and slivered radishes and toasted pumpkin seeds.  For dressing, I reduced about a half a cup of balsamic vinegar to half,  added a touch of honey (read: tablespoon) and olive oil. Holy moley, what a salad.  Pair it with a grilled steak and you’ve got a seriously delicious meal.

We’ll be covering even more in the coming weeks, I hope you’ll subscribe to keep the recipes and tips coming. And feel free to share your own ideas, creations, and questions in the comments!

For now, there may not be mistletoe-ing but our hearts (and bellies!) will be glowing. Merry Green-mas to you — enjoy the freshest season!