Once I got back to Fort Collins from my month-long stint in San Francisco, Philadelphia, and New York City, my CSA share with Grant Family Farms began. Due to a mixup with the first week of delivery, I got to take home more than five times my share from boxes that hadn't been picked up and wound up with an enormous amount of assorted lettuce, kale, dill, spinach, rhubarb, cilantro, and baby beets. Even after doling out the extras to a neighbor and to the three other people I split the CSA share with, I still had a ton in my fridge and had to come up with some creative ways to eat everything before it started going bad.
One of the first things I tried was kale chips, the idea for which I'd seen floating around the interwebs for a while now. With KS's help, I tossed pieces of curly kale with olive oil, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar, and then spread them out on cookie sheets and baked them at 350 degrees for about twenty minutes. (Actually, I think I left them in a little too long, because they were brown and just edging toward bitterness by the time I pulled them out of the oven, so probably fifteen minutes is better.) I added too much salt, because those great, voluminous leaves fool me every time—I always forget how drastically vegetables shrink down when they are cooked. Don't be me!
I made a chicken salad with carrots, celery, cranberries, and a lot of the CSA dill, and then realized that I could use pieces of the CSA buttercrunch lettuce as a wrap to eat the salad with.
Then there was the kale quesadilla: after braising ribbons of raw lacinato kale until soft, I piled the cooked greens between two small flour tortillas along with pepper jack cheese and caramelized onions. The earthiness of the kale went really well with the sweet caramelized onions and spicy cheese. The Feisty Foodie tried a version with simply collards and pepper jack and wasn't impressed, but the kale, pepper jack, and caramelized onion quesadilla is probably my favorite thing to come out of my veggie experimentation. For a week or two I was eating them nearly every other day.
With the ridiculously wee beets we received—five or six attached to their greens, each no bigger than a gumball—I made a wee beet salad. Unlike the last time I messed with raw beets I didn't have any apples on hand, so I just peeled and julienned the beets and added lime juice, olive oil, and a tiny sprinkle of salt. Above is the entire quantity of the beet salad I made, but turns out that it's plenty; the apple version was better.
This sandwich could be a close cousin to my kale quesadilla, since it involves cheese and greens stuffed into a carb. For this one I layered cooked, drained spinach, brie, and whole-grain mustard onto rosemary ciabatta, and then put the whole thing into a panini press until the cheese got gooey. I make sandwiches like this a lot: some kind of cheese, some kind of vegetable, some kind of condiment, some kind of bread. With all the kale, chard, and beet greens currently coming my way from the CSA, I'll probably be eating a lot more of these in the future.