Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Week 2- It's Easy Eatin' Greens!

At the risk of sounding like I'm having trouble 'using up all the greens', this weeks post is my two favorite ways to get the lesser known/loved greens into our family of 6 (varying from a large, hard working farmer to a picky, non-verbal 2.5 year old).

It starts with a recipe from Mark's cousin, Vanessa, who lives simply and beautifully and this recipe reflects just that. 
 A rule of thumb in this house is that bacon generally makes all things better.  So when I'm testing out a new, unsure ingredient or recipe, I can usually rely on bacon to help me cause.  Bacon is an extra special treat around here because GMO-free bacon is nigh impossible to track down.  We raised two of our own pigs last summer and this recipe used up the last three slices of bacon until this year's pigs will be ready (September!).  I've conceded and bought a box of pork from a local farmer whose pigs get to at least happily roam around outside, to get us through the summer, but I can't wait to have some GM free pork again come fall.
Easy Greens User-Upper
lemon juice  (Superstore carries a really good organic one, in the health food section)
greens (I used mizuna and tatsoi, but most anything would work)
parmesan cheese

1. Fry bacon (quantity up to you, but three or four slices of thick cut was enough for us.)  If I have time and resources I also cut up veggies to cook with the bacon for the last couple minutes; red pepper, onion, mushrooms maybe, etc.  Oh!  Add the garlic for the last bit of cooking as well, although if you forget, it's fine just tossed in the hot pasta afterwards. 

2. Cook pasta.  (I used organic veggie spirals (sourced from Speerville Mills) in this picture, but long pasta works even better.  Anything will work. Keep it simple.)

3.  Drain the pasta, add the bacon and garlic (and guests if veggies included), add a splash of lemon juice, pepper and half the parm. cheese.  Toss quickly.

4. Add greens.  I only used half the bag of mizuna and half the bag of tatsoi, but I sort of wished I had used it all.  The mizuna was especially perfect with this recipe.  It looks like a lot for a minute, but...

...once it's tossed in, and left to wilt for a few minutes, it shrinks away pretty quickly. 

5. You can toss in more parm at the end if you want. 
What I love most about this recipe is that it's wide open to interpretation. You can add or take out whatever you want (although I think the garlic and parm is pretty key, along with the lemon juice).  Everyone in this house loves it and it's so quick for those busy meal times when 'you just don't have time to cook'. 

Last year, when working with Jen at the farm and working on expanding my repertoire of vegetable intake I ran up against two veggies that I just couldn't make friends with.  It got to the point where I would try to trade off harvesting them because I hated the smell of them that much (a bit dramatic, but that's sort of my gig I guess).  I don't like licorice, so fennel was out and as much as I wanted to like it, arugula made me gag.  It's in the same pool as cilantro in terms of being a 'love it or hate it' food and I have always fallen into the latter category. 
But not tonight.  Tonight I found a way to love it.  A lot.

Wilted Arugula on Pizza
 Pizza dough:
1 1/2 cup flour (a mixture of white and whole wheat)
2 tbsp. of flax (if I have it on hand and remember to add it)
2 1/4 tsp. yeast (or one package if you buy it that way)
2/3 cup warm water
2 tsp. honey
2 tsp. olive oil

Mix dry ingredients.  Mix wet ingredients.  Combine, knead for a couple minutes, let sit (if you have time- if not, slap it in a pan while you get everything else ready.)

(I've got a great home made sauce recipe, but let's be honest, most of the time I crack open a jar of organic tomato and basil pasta sauce and it works perfectly well.)

My secret to perfect pizza is to very quickly cook my ingredients before putting them on the dough.  So I cut up everything as per usual and just toss it in a hot pan to soften it a bit and bring out a little different flavour.  The key to incorporating a ton of arugula is to slice it up thin before wilting it.  

This pizza also has a lot of fresh basil sliced up, on top of the cheese as well, so it was flavour city!  But needed no bacon and was a huge hit with my crew.  Accompanied with fresh romaine lettuce, home made croutons and my Ultimate Ceasar Dressing from last week's post- life IS good!

I never intended for these posts to be this long, but I'm so inspired by the quality of this food that I can't stop!  The kids and Mark now never touch anything until I've given the ok, just in case I want to take a picture of it.  haha. 

Here's to good food and great farmers!



  1. Sounds yummy - I tend to save time and just put greens in the blender with a banana, an apple and some other fruit -all organic but yours sure sound yummy and worth a try

  2. Ok, so can I hire you to come cook for me??? Maybe in your spare time :) Great post Sally