Kitchen Garden

Spring Cooking Day

First Harvest of Blue Wind Broccoli

The rush to use ingredients is upon us and the garden isn’t even fully planted.

After watering I made the rounds of six garden plots and harvested radishes, turnips, spring onions, lettuce, broccoli and kale… lots of kale.

I had planned to take a big box of kale to a political event in Cedar Rapids yet forgot it on the folding table in the garage. Upon my return home I bagged it for delivery to library shift workers later today. For now, there is always a home for kale. It looks really good before the bugs and worms start to eat it.

Blue Wind broccoli is an early variety that requires close monitoring to pick it at its peak. Reserving some florets to be added to salads, I steamed it as a side dish for dinner. In fact a lot of kitchen work happened yesterday.

The first thing I did after waking was make pesto with fresh basil. It was the beginning of a day of cookery.

For breakfast I made a casserole using leftover brown rice and fresh spinach. While the casserole was baking I filled the Dutch oven with carrots, celery leaves, onions and turnip greens to make what has become a traditional spring vegetable broth. For dinner I heated a veggie burger and served it with the broccoli and kale.

My go-to kale recipe is simple. I de-stemmed and tore seven or eight kale leaves into 2 x 2 inch pieces in a stainless steel bowl. I heated a wok and added a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. I diced half a large onion and sauteed until translucent. I added five cloves of roughly chopped garlic and a quarter cup of pine nuts, cooking until the vegetables were tender and the aroma of garlic rose from the wok. Handful by handful I added the kale while stirring constantly. Once it was all in the wok I added vegetable broth to help cook the kale down. Once the liquid evaporated, I seasoned with salt and pepper to make two servings.

Perhaps the best meal of the day was lunch for which I toasted a slice of bread and spread pesto on it, serving with a cup of cottage cheese — simple pleasures in a time of abundance. We have to pace ourselves to see that as little as possible goes to waste.

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