You wouldn’t think that a New Yorker would ever have the problem of too much produce on hand. You go to the corner store, pick up enough zucchini for that recipe you found and cook it. Right?
There has been a recent surge in urban farming, farmers markets and CSAs throughout Brooklyn and the rest of New York. People, despite being surrounded by cement and only seeing trees surrounded by guards, want to know where there food is coming from and get back in touch with their food supply. Community gardens and rooftop farms are cropping up all over the place and the Saturday farmers’ markets here in Brooklyn are always mobbed. Since reading Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, my husband and I have transitioned to buying whatever we can from local farmers. This year, we took an extra step and joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). The way it works is that we buy a share in a farmer’s crop and every week, go to the pick-up spot to collect whatever vegetables our farmer has harvested. We don’t know what’s coming until we show up.
That has led to some interesting weeks of meals. While we were envisioning piles of ripe red tomatoes and baskets of peaches, we weren’t quite prepared for the early summer harvest, which consisted almost entirely of greens. Kale, mustard greens, mizuna, Asian greens, greens, greens and more greens. We hadn’t even heard of mizuna and Asian greens, so we had to turn to the Internet for advice on what to do with them. We came upon some wonderful recipes and I got to get creative in the kitchen. This turned out to be extremely fun, but time-consuming. Luckily, I’m a teacher and therefore have time to spare during the summer, and since I haven’t been writing much, creating fun and delicious meals has been a great creative outlet. We tried kale and apple salad (shown above, photo courtesy of my husband), sauteed kale, kale and Asian greens in a stir-fry, halibut served over a bed of kale and even kale in a smoothie.
In thinking about recipes and writing, I was reminded of a piece I read back in college, studying creative nonfiction. If you can’t find a good recipe for your kale, try making this instead.