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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thursday Recipe, April 2, 2009

Before I share this week's recipe, I must give a HUGE plug for you to join your local CSA farm. "CSA?" you may ask?

"Chickens Savoring Aphids?" "Corn Saturated Alcohol?" "Casual Salty Accents?"

Nay nay... "Community Supported Agriculture" farms. In late 2007, I had been shopping at the Farmers' Markets for awhile, and really enjoying it... Then I read two books that persuaded me to go further: Plenty: One Man, One Woman and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle both argue ably for eating and participating locally in the food you eat.

Two of their many reasons stuck most with me:
1. When you eat weekly from a CSA, you interact with the people who grow & harvest your food. It's very communal, and takes us back to a way of life that we have set aside. I've really enjoyed slowly getting to know the staff at Fairview, and have loved asking questions and learning about the various produce. (Yes, I am aware that you are interacting with the farmers sometimes when you go to Farmers' Markets... but by buying at the CSA you are going to the actual place where your food is grown. Muy cool.)

2. You are 'forced' to eat what you receive - not always food that you would initially choose. C'mon, admit it, you only buy stuff you LIKE at Farmers' Market! But this seasonal eating has developed so many things in me. I've been introduced to a bunch of foods I'd never eaten: fennel, kohlrabi, and all manner of greens (my new best friends): kale, mustard greens, collard... And as I've mentioned here before, I've learned better how to WAIT and anticipate the various seasons and what foods they bring. Perhaps it goes without saying, but this result has had great spiritual implications as well for me.

So, with little effort, I discovered an easy option nearby... I've mentioned it before: Fairview Gardens. My housemate and I joined in January 08. While many of my friends probably regret asking me about it (because I am nearly evangelistic in my enthusiasm), I continue to encourage others to try out just one season at a local CSA to see how it goes. I believe you will be hooked!

So you've heard it here: I think belonging to a CSA is better than shopping at Farmers' Market.

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But I digress: in the spirit of full disclosure, I must tell you that I have not gotten to try out this recipe yet. But I am four for four with the recipes I have tried so far from the February 09 issue of Vegetarian Times, so I'm boldly stepping out and guessing this will be great. I'm making it tomorrow night.

serve 6 | 30 minutes or fewer | vegan

The pesto for this dish is made without parmesan, which means you can indulge by sprinkling it with a little bit of it if you like.

3/4 c fresh parsley leaves
1/4 c walnuts
5 cloves garlic, divided
1 tb fresh thyme leaves, plus 2 large sprigs, divided
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus 2 large springs, divided
4 tb olive oil, divided
8 oz black kale (1 bunch), stemmed and coarsely chopped
12 oz dried tagliatelle or fettucine
1 1/4 lb oyster or other large mushrooms, halved
1 lg onion, coarsely chopped (2 cups)
1 c low-sodium vegetable broth
1/3 c grated Parmesan cheese

1. Blend parsley, walnuts, 3 garlic cloves, thyme leaves and chopped rosemary in food processor till finely chopped. Add 3 tb oil, blend till smooth. Set aside.

2. Cook kale in large pot of boiling water 5 minutes or till tender. Remove kale with large sieve and drain. Add pasta, remaining garlic cloves, thyme, and rosemary sprigs to boiling water, and cook according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta.

3. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tb oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onion, sauté 12 minutes, or till tender and golden. Add pesto, and sauté 2 minutes, or till sauce begins to stick to bottom of pan and turns golden brown. Add vegetable broth, simmer 2 minutes, or till liquid is reduced by half, scraping sauce from bottom of pan.

4. Add kale and pasta to mushroom mixture, toss to coat. Stir in reserved pasta cooking water to moisten, if desired.

Per 2-cup serving: 391 calories; 13 g protein; 13 g total fat (2 g sat fat); 59 g carb; 0 mg chol; 62 mg sod; 6 g fiber; 6 g sugars


  1. be sure to let us know how the pesto turns out cause my dairy free pesto is made with pistachios and is yummy!

  2. Wow - pistachios! Sounds great. This one was very, very good. The kale and the mushrooms were especially good additions.

  3. Three cheers for the CSA! Good stuff... all around.