When a CSA basket arrives with some recognizable ingredients like broccoli and sugar snap peas, I breathe a sigh of relief. Finally, something my kids will eat without a fuss, though it doesn’t exactly accomplish the goal of this experiment. When I arrive home at the end of a long work week, to my kids’ daily tribal chant, “Hungry – feed me – hungry feed – me” I toss them the bag of peas to munch on, then get started on dinner. I create a one-dish meal I’ve dubbed Pizza-roni: Italian sausage, elbow macaroni, tomatoes and lots of cheese. To that I add some chopped spinach from the CSA basket and we’re good to go. I set aside some of the spinach leaves, which are quite large, and set them on the dinner table to use as wraps. I introduce the concept of stuffing the leaves with the Pizza-roni as a filling hoping the kids will think this is “fun” and thus consume some more green goodness. But alas, they do not go for it. I do not press the issue. They’ve gotten a good dose of green already.
My next endeavor is a cannellini bean soup. Chicken broth, cannellini beans, elbow macaroni, onions, tomatoes and a bunch of leafy greens thrown in at the end – chard, kale, black kale (a.k.a. Tuscan kale) and some spinach. It’s an easy way to get some greens into the family’s tummies since they like beans (although the boys did try, unsuccessfully to get spoonfuls of soup with no greens). My only misstep was not realizing how tender cannelini beans are and how little cook time they require! They are a bit on the soft side, but luckily no one complains!
With each CSA basket comes a nice big bag of mixed salad greens, a welcome change from green salads made strictly with Romaine lettuce. The kids are afraid of the purple leaves and feathery sprigs whose names I don’t even know. But they soldier on. I also use this opportunity to try to get two of my Ranch-dressing addicted kiddos to appreciate a simple dressing of blood orange olive oil, sea salt and coriander. Jacob is not having it! He is a Ranch man all the way! But little Joe is working is way towards a sophisticated palate and enjoys it.
With the most recent basket I decide to tackle another first for me: cole slaw. I am not at all a fan of traditional slaw as one eats alongside fried chicken, with it’s sopping mayonnaise and harsh vinegar bite. But Bob schools me on how to make a slaw from the basket ingredients – garlic shoots, sweet onions, green cabbage, carrots and black kale. I try my hand at doing a “chiffonade” which I realize I don’t have a clue how do to do. So I wing it then throw in a spoonful of mayo, a splash of honey vinegar and a sprinkle of salt. I really like it. But not one other person at the dinner table does. I’m starting to think my family is a hopeless cause!
Well, next on the menu are turkey burgers (will lightning strike twice?) and potato hash. And maybe I’ll get brave again and try out some more bok choy, radishes and turnips. I keep giving them to Bob and Lenore after the first unsuccessful go around, but really, we’ve got to give them another chance!
Till next time, Shanda