Thursday, November 4, 2010

Greens, Endless Greens

We're deep into stick season here--you know, the weeks after the maples and the sumac and the Virginia creeper drop their leaves (sic transit gloria mundi) and all you see is gray sticks under gray skies.


In the vegetable garden, the beans, tomatoes and other fair-weather friends are long gone.  The raised bed frames have been installed, though, alas, not yet filled with dirt and compost.  All the raised bed frames, that is, except for the three that are supposed to go on the beds where stuff is still growing.

And what stuff is still growing so lushly and relentlessly that you'd think it's midsummer instead of stick season?  The two immortals, of course:  chard and kale.

Every week since June I have given the local food bank between five and eleven pounds of c and k.  I have shared the bounty with my friends and my dogs (the latter love to gnaw on raw kale).  I have blanched and frozen quarts of the stuff.  And still it keeps coming.

And because I know that any night now the winds will howl and it will get really cold--like, into the teens--and there will be no more fresh home-grown vegetables until next April, I feel compelled to keep harvesting while I may.

So it's chard or kale, kale or chard, every night.  I blend the green du jour into soups, fold it into omelettes, mix it with cheese in quiches.  Slather it with bechamel and hide it in casseroles.  Boil it with rice and feed it to the dogs.
  
Out of recipes as well as patience, I echo the exasperated cry of Henry II, who'd had it up to here with Thomas a Becket: "Will no one rid me of these turbulent greens?"

Any volunteers out there?

6 comments :

  1. Sometimes I bake kale until it gets crispy. I sprinkle it with parmesan and bake it.

    I boil it with spaghetti and then pour sauce over it.

    But really? southern-style greens in either olive oil-garlic or bacon grease is how I do it mostly with kale/turnip/beet/collard/mustard greens.

    chard is easier--but we never have as much--I use it as a celery substitute for the most part, even with peanut butter. Not the leaves, the stems. The leaves are mild enough sometimes I chop and save them for the next chicken stock opportunity. Or I throw it in with southern greens.

    I could trade some dehydrated garlic for kale, but it probably wouldn't travel well (plus my neighbor has plenty!!).

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  2. Face it, Bridgett, you just need to move to Vermont and we'll do some major bartering. Baked kale with parmesan? I'll give it a try.

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  3. I wish I wasn't out of town for, like, all of November.

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  4. I'm glad Bridgett reminded me of baked crisp kale. It really is good. Raw kale, however, was responsible for my son being born a month early. (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)

    I love the Bean Cheesy Chard recipe from one of the Small Planet bookbooks, only I make it without the cheese. Boy, you must be feeling wonderfully healthy with all those greens! The only thing still producing around here is my hanging basket of petunias.

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  5. Wish I'd known about raw kale when my daughter was ten days overdue! You still have petunias? Outdoors??

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