This is already week 6 of Grant Family Farms CSA and it is suddenly all about variety and the unfamiliar. Last week we had ordinary kale and baby beets finally hit the single shares. This week we had kale again but this time it was a gorgeous exotic dark purple kale, scratchy curly like regular parsley with intensely purple stems that contrasted with a lime green interior when sliced. I cooked my share tonight, braising it with some white wine and vinegar, adding a bit of sugar for a sweet-sour taste. I sprinkled on some crumbled bacon and ate it with fresh baby mozzarella. It wasn’t spectacular, but I thought it was pretty good (especially the pretty, since I was careful not to cook the color away.) My daughter walked in and made a beeline for the kitchen, nose twitching all the way. She nabbed a bit from the pan. In about two seconds her eyes opened wide and she ran from the room. Next sound–flushing toilet. Kale is a member of the cabbage family, so it does have a rather strong flavor. It’s also a bit chewy, but if you’re prepared for the taste it can be good. I have yet to try the newsletter’s recipe for kale chips. If it shows up again next week maybe that’s what I’ll do.
Now I have seen and even eaten kale before, but as I transferred our share from the bin to my veggie tote I felt as if I had entered some fantasy world as I pulled a few gracefully curved stems with little pointed caps on them. There they are in the photo, sitting on top of the kale. I remembered an unfamiliar term in the newsletter, something to do with garlic. It turns out these other-worldly items are the stems and flowers of the garlic plant and can be used just like garlic. They are supposed to be mild, so I didn’t use them with the kale. I wanted to be able to explore their subtle taste. I did take a tiny bite of one while the kale was cooking, and the bite I had was definitely not mild. It was very good and garlicky, though, so I’m looking forward to using it in a stir-fry along with the beautiful peas that came this week.
My main goal in participating in CSA was to add more vegetables to my diet. I am also finding that it forces me to explore new ingredients, ones like purple kale and garlic scapes that I would never buy and may not even ever see in the grocery store.