Microgreen Meatless Monday

I haven’t been blogging much about my microgreens. I’m new to the world of these tiny vitamin powerhouses, and I’m definitely on a learning curve. (I’ve been finding some interesting articles, though it has taken some creative keyword selection. Most of the information you find when searching “microgreens” relates to growing, rather than cooking.) To add to the learning time, it’s midterm season around here, so my student load is… well… insane. This means that I’ve mostly been using my microgreens as garnish on top of sandwiches or soup, which is not bad or inappropriate in the slightest; it’s just not really noteworthy.

Tonight was different. I got a real burst of inspiration, and I’m so thrilled with how it came out. I had lots of odds and ends to use up in my fridge, and I ran with the Meatless Monday theme. The result ended up being a tempeh, soba noodle, and vegetable salad, and it was sooooooo good.

First, I cubed some tempeh this afternoon and let it marinate. The marinade was a mixture of soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, ginger, and maple syrup.

The rest of the work came closer to dinner time, as nothing took a particularly large amount of effort or time. I stir-fried the tempeh and big vegetables (broccoli, bell pepper, sugar snap peas) over high heat – I was going for a bit of a sear. I added the sugar snap peas last, because I did not want them to cook much.

Meanwhile, I cooked and drained the soba noodles – I only used one bundle, since that’s what I had left in my pantry – and rinsed them in cold water. After the vegetables had their quick pass in theĀ  pan, I dumped them in a big salad bowl and stuck them in the fridge for a little while to cool.

Meanwhile, I made the dressing – some EVOO, garlic vinegar, basil-flower-and-orange vinegar (that I began steeping in September), honey, and brown mustard. This made WAY too much dressing, but I’m refrigerating the extra and will use it on salads.

Then, I began to assemble the salad. In went the soba noodles…

… and the greens.

The greens, by the way, were a mixture. I used the remaining garnet mustard from last week, as well as a hefty amount of the signature mix (which is brassica-heavy) and a bit of the alfalfa sprouts. I also threw in some basil leaves from the plant that’s hanging out on my windowsill currently.

A quick toss with some dressing…

Gorgeous.

Happy Meatless Monday, everyone!

Easy, healthy dinner from the freezer

Remember how I talked about making vegetable soup base a while back? Two nights ago, I used one of these babies to make a comforting dinner on the fly.

While I defrosted the pre-made soup starter, I sauteed a package of chicken and apple sausages (frozen from my summer poultry share from Griggstown Farm). I deglazed the pan with a little white wine and then added some zucchini I’d blanched and frozen in the summer.

After making sure the sausage had cooked through, I added the vegetable soup base and a package of edamame from Trader Joe’s. I brought the soup up to boiling for a few minutes and then cut the heat. Ta-da! Dinner was done.

We actually topped the soup with the remainder of the pea shoots from last week’s microgreen delivery, but I was hungry/disorganized enough that I did not think to take a picture of my bowl. Next time!

Sunday Night

Oh, you know, no big deal. Just chilling here listening to early music (Bach & earlier) on WQXR, watching the Eagles destroy the Vikings, and making further headway on my recipe organization project…

I’m working on making a directory that’s arranged by ingredient. It’s been a great excuse to paw through all of my cookbooks and magazines over the past couple of months. My aim is to make it easier on pickup day to make decisions about what to do with the various elements of the share. Relying on “I know there was a good summer squash recipe in that Simple and Delicious with the yellow cover….” is inefficient and often ends in me picking the same recipes over and over.

There will be updates as the final product emerges, of course.

Off-season Cooking

I’ve been rather quiet so far this off-season. Frankly, my “day job” has been taking up a lot of my time. It’s midterm season, so it feels like my house has an endless stream of teenagers in and out of it. (I’m a private tutor.)

I’ve been working on an organization project in preparation for next season, but that will get a blog post entirely of its own sometime.

The magic still continues in the kitchen, despite the dormancy of winter, though. I’m always most grateful for the efforts of “July Me” in January or February. I certainly felt that gratitude while prepping dinner two nights ago.

I’ve been sick all week, so I needed low-effort meals that were comforting and nourishing. We had jambalaya (my mom’s recipe, done in the crock pot) on Monday, but what I want to talk about was the delicious Pork, White Bean, and Kale Soup we had on Tuesday. I got the recipe from my Healthy Slow Cooker Revolution cookbook, but thankfully, they made the recipe available online, as well.

I had the pork in my freezer – a previous purchase from Wrong Direction Farm. I also had this beautiful bag of greenery from July:

THANK YOU, JULY ME.

This is what the finished product looked like. Yum.

It was exactly the comfort food I needed on a sick January weeknight.

 

Winter CSA

“I…. did a thing….” I sheepishly said to my husband a couple of weeks ago.

He looked at me. “Yes?”

“… I joined another CSA.”

“That is completely unsurprising.”

Via facebook (oh, algorithms, you’re on to me), I saw some ads for a local CSA that was just starting. They were offering a share for microgreens that would run for 8 weeks in the winter. There would be to-your-door delivery. I couldn’t help myself. “YES, SIGN ME UP FOR THE WAITING LIST,” I thought in all-caps as I threw myself at the computer screen.

Long story short, come New Year’s, I got the green light to sign up, and join I did.

The CSA is from Coeur et Sol Farm in East Orange, NJ. As I mentioned, my first delivery was yesterday, and so far I am really pleased and excited to see what the rest of the season brings.

First, let’s talk about the amazing customer service and presentation involved here. The owner and farmer, Chelsa, hand-delivered my share to my door. The sprouts are in beautiful individual flats, so they stay planted right up to the moment that you’re ready to eat them.

The flats came in a paper bag with tags outlining the nutritional value involved in this week’s share (pea shoots and amaranth, in this case), and an envelope containing a recipe and a note from the farmer inside.

Now let’s talk about the greens themselves. I had some of the amaranth right away, on the salad I was eating when the share was delivered. Today, after discovering that the peas grew enough overnight to pop their lid, I looked for an idea to consume them as soon as possible. The recipe card had a suggestion for pasta with garlic, chickpeas, olive oil, etc. I’ve got a bit of a cold and am dragging, so instead, I made some pasta salad, in a riff off of that idea. I used the quick-cook 3 minute macaroni, olive oil, garlic vinegar, pea shoots, and salt and pepper. It was very tasty. If I were feeling better, I would have made it more intricate, but it was definitely satisfying.

I also made a can of tuna and scooped some of it onto saltines. I then topped each tuna cracker with pea shoots and amaranth. The result was really beautiful and quite tasty.

Thus begins my foray into the world of microgreens, and my expansion of my CSA experience beyond my beloved regular-season share.