Wednesday, June 23, 2010

CSA Week 2: What the hell is mizuna?

This CSA delivery started off more auspiciously than the previous one, because we actually knew what everything was. There was a list this week, so Red was able to jot down what we had. That is how I learned that one of our many bunches of greens was a mysterious form of vegetation called mizuna. “Are you sure you wrote it down right?” I asked him, squinting at his handwriting. He rolled his eyes and proved to me, via the power of the Internet, that mizuna is a Japanese mustard green and not one of Godzilla’s lesser-known adversaries.

Forgive the plastic bags. I put everything away before realizing I hadn’t taken a picture for you people yet.

Perhaps fittingly, our mizuna found its calling in the wok, where it partied with some garlic, ginger, and beet greens. (Veganomicon’s Easy Stir-Fried Leafy Greens, in case you were interested.) Totally easy and delightful. I am not a particular fan of beets, so the beets themselves are still sitting in the Crisper, awaiting Red’s pleasure.

Arugula liked us so much that it decided to return for an encore. This resulted in one of my stranger culinary mash-ups thus far. I hacked a tester recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’ upcoming cookbook; there was no way it could be a valid test, since we didn’t have all the ingredients, but Red and I decided to ghetto it up and see how it fared. We ended up with a pasta salad (always a good start) with arugula, kalamata olives, and black-eyed peas, tossed with a sun-dried tomato-walnut dressing. It was unusual. Totally edible, but perhaps not something I would serve to strangers. Had I been able to make it properly, I’m sure it would have been a rousing success.

Orange bowl of doooooooom!

Continuing with the salad theme, next I made a strawberry salad from Becoming Raw. I think this is where the green-leaf lettuce ended up. (My confusion stems from the fact that we still have red-leaf and romaine lettuce chilling in the fridge—they’re a little tired, but they’re to meet their destinies this evening in a Caesar salad. SO MUCH LETTUCE.) It had an orange-poppy seed dressing that was really, really yummy. I could just drink the dressing, and it was so simple to put together! I dumped everything into a jar and shook it like a Polaroid picture. Now this was a salad fit for company.

Ain’t this some fancy-looking shit?

On Sunday, I moved back to the stove and made some seitan. I try not to order you guys around, because you’re here of your own volition, but you should really learn to make your own seitan. It doesn’t take too terribly long and it’s hella cheap, plus you can flavor it however you want. The seitan at the store is all slimy and expensive. Anyway, my seitan went into the wok with rainbow chard and spinach (minus a few leaves that dedicated themselves to pre-yoga hummus wraps) for Veganomicon’s Sautéed Seitan with Mushrooms and Spinach. It’s not Asian-inspired at all, but French; I just made it in the wok because that’s the biggest pan I have. I’m sure a French chef out there would die after hearing that, but life’s tough for all of us. We spooned it over mini gnocchi, but there was way more seitan and veggies than gnocchi, so now we’re eating the leftovers with rice. (No, I did not make the gnocchi from scratch. What kinda time you think I got?)

It looks like a mess, but it’s quite elegant. Kind of like yours truly.

Finally, it was time for kale. I love you so much, kale. You’re infinitely versatile and uncomplaining. I could take you out back and run you over with a truck, and you’d still be delicious. This lucky bunch of kale went into the wok for that fabulous Vegan with a Vengeance creation, the aptly named Garlicky Kale. You would never think that three ingredients—garlic, kale, and oil—could be so goddamned tasty. I didn’t even bother making the accompanying tahini sauce. Who needs it? I could have eaten that kale all day. Between us, we ate all of it with some BBQ tofu. Homemade BBQ sauce, what what! Alas, the victory was bittersweet, because there was no Twin Oaks tofu to be had at the hippie grocery and we had to slum it with some vastly inferior stuff. Please, Twin Oaks tofu, come back to me!

Natural light makes my photos suck less.

And there you have it. Just in time for tonight’s haul! This has already been a really good exercise in learning what to do with all these greens. Happily, the simplest explanation seems to be the best: stir-fry ‘em lightly, then chow down. I can handle that, though I think I might try a frittata from Vegan Brunch if we’re snowed under with leafy goodness again this week. Stay tuned!


  1. they look like some great meals! If I have a ton of greens I just throw them in whatever I'm making whether or not the recipe calls for it, Mexican, casseroles, curry, pasta dishes, whatever, greens go well in everything!

  2. SO MUCH DELICIOUSNESS! And I have to say again - you are so lucky to have all that fresh and yummy produce. My tastebuds are jealous!

    That salad IS fancy looking! Do you know, I've never had strawberries in my salad. What am I waiting for!?!? I bet it is such a delicious twist, I've got to give it a try.

    And HOORAY for making your own seitan! I haven't been able to find any vital wheat gluten in months and months so no seitan for me. :-( But, I'm on the lookout! I miss my chicken fried seitan!

  3. "I’m sure a French chef out there would die after hearing that, but life’s tough for all of us."

    Oh Shannon, you slay me.

    I totally share your love of kale. Obsessed. In fact, the other day, I saw a shirt that I MUST HAVE. It was a collegiate-looking YALE shirt, but instead of YALE it said KALE in those big block university letters. I really need that shirt but can't find it anywhere on the internet! If I ever do find it, I'll buy you one too and send it to ya!

    Keep up your infinite fabulousness, my friend. Keep it up.