Sunday, June 23, 2013

City Girl

We're now four weeks into our CSA share, and so far I'm totally in love. Not only do I love the box of veggies every week, but it has turned into a fun mommy-and-boys field trip every week. We drive downtown Knoxville to the Market Square farmers' market. There's an interactive fountain in the square, so I take Gav in his swimsuit and let him play for a while before we pick up our box. He tells me every week, "I want to go play in the water!" And yes, he's speaking in complete sentences - that's new since about a week ago.

Another fun effect is that I'm stretching myself to find recipes to accommodate the box and learning to cook new things. I generally consider myself pretty adept in the kitchen and adventurous with new foods. But recently, I made myself look rather silly - and hilarious.

I mentioned that I had never heard of green garlic before, much less how to cook it. (I've since learned that it's just garlic that hasn't been cured, so the skin is still soft instead of papery and you can just chop the whole bulb up rather than separate each clove - for those of you wondering along with me.) Well, I went to pick up my box a couple weeks ago and Isaac, the very polite young man who mans the booth on Wednesdays, indicated that green garlic and bok choi were both in the box that week and generally the only vegetables that most people didn't recognize. Now, I love bok choi (I did marry an Asian-ish kinda guy), so I noted the other unrecognized vegetable as green garlic.

After spending some quality time with Google looking for recipes, I came up with this one for cream of green garlic potato soup. Doesn't that just sound like some good quality comfort food? It calls for three cups of chopped green garlic. So I pulled out my veggies and chopped away, putting them it into the pot to cook. As the soup cooked, I started on this recipe for spinach and kale turnovers using CSA kale. I decided to use a CSA green onion bulb in place of the onion in the recipe, and pulled it out of the box as well. I noticed that it didn't look quite like the green onions had the week before.

When I stopped to examine it more closely, I realized with a sinking feeling that it wasn't a green onion. It was garlic. Wait, if this was green garlic, what had I just put into my soup?! I quickly flipped over to the forum page on the Colvin's Website to check their "in the box" update. And the mystery veggie in my soup?

Turnips.


You can see turnips in the right of this picture and green garlic on the bottom. No, they don't look anything alike. Having never seen, eaten, or cooked with either one, I had no idea. My city girl was showing - big time.

So now what to do? I decided that if both turnips and potatoes are root veggies, surely they can play nicely in soup. I just added a couple cloves of regular garlic and about a teaspoon of garlic powder and made the rest of the soup as instructed. I was glad I had decided to make the soup and the turnovers together, because the turnovers were quite fantastic!

There was redemption, however, because Jonny liked it. He noted that the turnips gave it a decidedly Chinese flavor. "I'm pretty sure I've had this somewhere in mainland before, actually." He's very kind with my kitchen experiments, and he must have meant it because he ate leftover for lunch the rest of the week! If you're feeling adventurous, you can recreate our meal for yourself! Here are the recipes as I made them:

Cream of Turnip and Potato Soup

4 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into equal-sized chunks
3 cups turnips, peeled and chopped (I think I used four small turnips from my box)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced + 1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 oz. bacon, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
1 quart chicken broth or more as needed
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives

Place turnips and potatoes in a bowl of water and set aside. Heat olive oil in a soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Cook bacon until it starts to crisp. Add garlic and stir constantly while seasoning with salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne. Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Remove potatoes and turnips from water and add to soup pot. Cover and simmer until veggies are tender and easily mashed. Add broth as needed. Blend soup in batches or with an immersion blender (love mine!). Stir in cream and heat through. Season with more salt and pepper and garnish with chives.


Spinach and Kale Turnovers

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 cups of chopped kale (about 1 small bunch)
1 (6 oz) package fresh baby spinach
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cups crumbled feta cheese
2 (8 oz) cans refrigerated crescent roll dough
cooking spray
2 1/2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Heat olive oil in large skillet on medium-high. Add onion and saute until tender. Add garlic and saute another two minutes. Add kale and spinach and saute until kale is tender. Stir in pepper, salt, and nutmeg and remove from heat. Stir in feta. Spoon mixture onto crescent roll dough pieces and top with another roll. Pinch around the edges to seal. Place on a cooking sheet coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat with more cooking spray or olive oil and top each turnover with about 1 tsp Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 for about 18 minutes, or until golden. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Have you tried any new recipes lately? Have you ever made a pretty epic kitchen mistake? Even better, have you ever made a kitchen mistake that turned out all right in the end?

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