My Seton Harvest Lifestyles Challenge Recipes were fun, but exhausting.
How can a regular family cook with this week’s ingredients? Here’s how:
Peas and cucumbers:
I started to cook last night after hosting a CAbi fashion party, so it was a late start. As I started to cook, I turned on the Queen’s Concert for her Diamond Jubilee and decided to make Coronation Chicken, which I blogged about this weekend. The rice salad on which my version of coronation chicken is served includes freshly diced cucumbers and peas. Nothing’s better than fresh peas, so that was a great choice.
Freshly shelled peas, lightly cooked are a treat this side of heaven. I bring a small pan of water to a boil. When the water is briskly boiling, pour the peas into the water and let them cook a maximum of 1 minute. I generally go for 30 seconds, until they have all risen to the top of the boiling water. Then drain them and serve with butter.
Red leaf lettuce, radishes, and baby spinach:
Since this week’s share included lettuce, radishes, and spinach, I thought about creating a salad with all of them. If the salad includes hard-boiled eggs and bacon, then my teen son may eat more than 3 leaves a lettuce and call it a serving. So I would use this layered spinach and lettuce salad recipe as a guideline but modify it by first adding radishes. I would mix it just before serving and cut the layering of mayonnaise on top. Instead, I would give people the choice of which kind of salad dressing to use.
Kale chips are popular in my family but need to be served as soon as they are prepped. There have been times when I’ve had that irresistible urge for potato chips that I’ve substituted kale chips. Not the same, but it quenches the crunchy craving. But they must be eaten immediately. They just don’t taste the same after the fact.
Red rain is a milder relative in the mustard green family. Last week, to cook it, I cut it into about 2-inch pieces and then simmered in broth, with 1 tablespoon of bacon grease and pepper. We discovered last year during our Seton Harvest that our family liked soul-food style cooked greens more than broccoli. So every week this winter, I made a batch of fresh greens.
This week, I’m trying something different with red rain: balsamic glazed chickpeas and mustard greens.
A head of cabbage has many uses. Part of it can be cut off to put into a Chinese stir fry. If I’m in a hurry, I’ve also made a one-dish mock cabbage roll dinner. Instead of taking the time to roll the filling into cabbage leaves, I just chop the cabbage into pieces and cook it with beef, tomatoes, and other ingredients in a traditional cabbage role recipe. Finely diced cabbage will also add a depth of flavor to a vegetable soup that can’t be matched.
Part of it can also be cut into thin slivers to make sweet and sour slaw. Slaw that is made from freshly-cut cabbage has a richer, deeper flavor. In about 6 cups of shredded cabbage, I would shred a peeled carrot. I would also finely chop a red and green sweet bell pepper. After the cabbage and vegetables are well mixed, make the dressing. It’s hard for me to give a recipe for the dressing because I just mix it together. I mix 1 part apple cider vinegar, 1 part sugar, and some water, spiced with just a dash of salt and pepper. The key to good slaw is the vinegar. A cider or flavored vinegar will give you a much better product than plain vinegar.
Squash is a no brainer. It’s my all-time favorite vegetable, and I could happily eat one by myself every single meal every day of the year. One of the healthier ways to make it is to brush it with olive oil, lightly salt and then pepper, and then cook. It can be cooked on a grill, baked in an oven, or sauteed in a pan. You cook it until the edges are brown, and all is well.
Learning to cook with vegetables is a matter of trial and error. Sometimes the cooking has been a trial and the results have been errors. Very bad errors. At least once, I’ve tried something that tasted so awful that I spit it out and threw it away before serving it to my family.
Even so, when Seton begins and the greens increase in our diet, I feel better and know my family’s eating well. As a semi-southern girl who grew up with more gravy than biscuits, who used to have my grandparents’ cast iron frying pan that had cooked bacon in it every morning for 50 years (burned up in a house fire 10 years ago but that’s another story), our healthier eating adventures are a step up in the nutrition food chain.