Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Secret to Using Up Leftover Garden Greens

After cleaning up the garden a bit this afternoon I was faced with 2 dilemmas: what should I make for dinner tonight, and what in the world can I do with all of these leftover greens I'd just harvested?!?

I don't know about you guys, but in between seasons, I always end up harvesting  a bunch of random greens - not enough of one for an entire meal, but a little bit of everything that can be thrown all together.

This harvest included a couple types of kale, some Swiss chard, mustard greens, red-veined sorrel, and some lettuce.  

Back inside, I started rummaging around in the fridge.
 I needed some inspiration here pretty badly, but these meals tend to be my favorite to create!  
Successful, I pulled out a few carrots and turnips harvested from our garden that desperately needed to be eaten, a random bunch of parsley, and a jar of local Pappy's Creole Sauce.  

 Check them out here Watson's Kitchen - Pappy's Creole Sauce

We love supporting local companies whenever we can, and this sauce is tasty and great in a pinch! 

I plucked about 1/4 cup of the parsley and set it aside.  The stems can be saved for stock, composted, or fed to the chickens.  We'll have to introduce you to our feathery flock soon!

On to the freezer. I found whole okras frozen from last year's harvest - those will go great with the sauce! Since we took the time last year to blanch the okra before freezing, we can use them tonight, as-is.  

A half-empty bag of Trader Joe's frozen seafood medley proved to be the perfect addition.  The meal was starting to come together!

On my way to the counter, I walked past a few gorgeous Virginia Sweet tomatoes I'd harvested from the garden last weekend.  One was teetering on the edge of over-ripeness - perfect for tonight's sauce!

Are these gorgeous or what?

Pantry's up next. I grabbed a tin of anchovies and a bag of rice stick noodles we grabbed at the Asian market a while back.  Honestly, I was really feeling Angel Hair pasta with this dish, but part of the challenge I love is getting creative with what is already on-hand, amiright?

If any of you guys know a great brand of gluten-free Angel Hair pasta, leave a note in the comments.  I'm on the lookout!

And also, don't be afraid of anchovies!  They add a lot of depth to this little dish. We like to buy these on Amazon: Anchovies in Olive Oil
It's amazing how much inspiration there is to be had just by wandering around your own kitchen!

Creole Pasta with Assorted Garden Greens

1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
Fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped small
1-2 small carrots, diced small
2 medium turnips, diced small
1/2 2oz tin anchovies in olive oil, chopped
1 extra large tomato, chopped into large chunks
1 24-oz jar Creole sauce
1 whole, dried chile pepper (optional)
1 1/2 cups, frozen okra, thawed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3-4 cups garden greens, destemmed and chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, plucked
1/2 package rice noodles, or any other pasta you choose.
1/2 bag frozen seafood medley, thawed (or just frozen shrimp also works great)
kosher salt
Tabasco sauce to taste

* Feel free to substitute any greens or veggies you have on hand!

  1. Heat the olive oil on medium in a large stock pot and add onions.  Sweat out the onions in a until translucent.
  2. Add garlic, thyme, and celery and cook for 3 minutes or so.  Stir occasionally.
  3. Add carrots and turnips (or other root vegetables).  Make sure your onions don't dry out or over-caramelize.  Add extra olive oil if needed.
  4. Season with a pinch of kosher salt.
  5. Let the veggies cook down until they're par-cooked.  You don't want them all the way done yet.
  6. Add the tomato to the pot - make sure to sample that baby first - Quality control is essential!
  7. Let the tomato cook until heated through then stir in 1/2 tin of anchovies and oil.
  8. Pour the entire jar of Creole sauce into the pot and stir.  Everything should look nice and rustic now!
  9. Optionally, add the dried chile.  This one was from last season's harvest too!
  10. Stir then simmer the sauce with the lid on for 5 minutes.
  11. While the sauce is simmering, go ahead and start the noodles.  Cook according to package directions.
  12. Add okra and simmer for an additional 3-4 minutes.
  13. Fold in chopped greens and cook down until soft.

  14. I took this opportunity to do some taste-testing quality control for myself.  Adding a few teaspoons of trusty Tabasco sauce (also on Amazon - I'm not kidding when I saw we buy everything online!) kicked things up a notch.  Can't go wrong adding Tabasco to a Southern/Cajun meal like this one - brings me back to my roots!

  15. Cook your sauce on med-low, keeping a constant bubble, until the vegetables are cooked through.
  16. Add seafood blend to the sauce just before you're ready to serve, stirring constantly.  It cooks very quickly, so you'll only need in it there for a few minutes.
  17. If desired, mount the sauce with butter.  Hey, it's the French culinarian in me coming out!
  18. Season with salt if needed.
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1 comment:

  1. I read your post really very nice. I glad to found your blog.Thanks for sharing.

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