Cooking, Recipes

CSA WTF: Saag!

This post is the first in what may or may not become a series about what I do with my CSA veggies each week.

CSA season is upon us! With it comes a variety of vegetables (mostly kale) that I must figure out what to do with before they go bad. On our inaugural pickup the following vegetables were bestowed upon me:

  • 1 head lettuce
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 bunch mustard greens
  • 1 bunch green onions (aka scallions)
  • 1 head bok choy
  • ~3 oz ¬†misc salad greens

Oh hey it’s salad week! Too bad I never remember to make salad ever. Instead I decided to head the vegetables off at the pass and make something resembling saag. The general recipe I use for saag is thusly:

  • half pound of¬†bitter greens (kale, mustard greens, etc)
  • half pound of mild greens (spinach, bok choy, lettucs)
  • half a stick of butter (1/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 green chili pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ground tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp salt

In a big skillet or wok, melt butter. Add cumin, chili pepper, garlic, and tumeric. Cook for 2 minutes. Add greens a handful at a time, stirring and allowing the greens to wilt a bit between each handful. Add coriander and salt. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

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The first time I made this I mixed in some hard boiled egg at the end for protein. The second time I browned some chicken and threw that in there. Both were delicious.

Having made this recipe twice I’m now down to just the green onions left from this week’s CSA share. Tomorrow they will join the green peppers languishing in the crisper to become stuffed peppers.

Cooking

Veggies and fried tofu

We’ve signed up for a local CSA (community supported agriculture) and now get a giant pile of vegetables every week. It’s great because not only does it support the local community but it forces us to eat more vegetables. That said, we’ve had to get creative figuring out how find time to use all these awesome veggies while tending to a newborn.

This recipe, which started life as saag paneer but is now pretty much completely unlike it, meets my criteria for dinner: it’s dairy free (Bitmap may have an allergy to cow’s milk), it reheats well, and it has a wide margin of error.

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Ingredients List

  • ~1.5 lbs leafy green veggies, chopped
  • 1 lb tofu, cubed
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ~1 tsp ginger
  • turmeric, cumin, and any other spices you enjoy
  • salt
  • pepper

I leave the rice to soak while I chop all the ingredients. I usually wear Bitmap in a Moby sling while I’m doing the prep work, it’s easier than trying to convince her to nap.

Once the veggies are ready to go I throw the rice in the rice cooker. If you don’t have a rice cooker you’re on your own – I have absolutely no idea how to successfully cook rice without one.

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Next I place a paper towel on a plate and sprinkle it with salt. The tofu cubes are spread out and sprinkled with more salt, then left to their own devices for about 15 minutes. This helps to dry out the tofu so it will crisp up in the skillet.

Now the actual cooking! I start by boiling a giant pot of water, large enough to hold all the greens. Then I hand the baby off to RD.

I heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet. When it’s nice and hot, I add the tofu cubes. While the tofu is getting crispy I throw the greens into the boiling water. Depending on what I’ve got I’ll cook it for 2 to 10 minutes (longer times for tougher greens). Meanwhile I flip the tofu periodically so all sides get fried.

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When the tofu is done I remove it from the skillet and place it to the side. The veggies are drained and I leave them in the colander while I fry the onions, ginger, and garlic with whatever spices look good at the moment.

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When the onions are starting to look translucent I add the coconut milk to the pan. After a minute or two the sauce will thicken and I add greens, followed by the tofu. Mix well and serve with rice.

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Leftovers can be frozen, and make an easy lunch. It’s surprisingly tasty, and you can change the flavor up quite a bit by varying what greens and spices you use.