We’ve had numerous people tell us at market that they are ready to start eating healthier – more vegetables – but that they just can’t figure out how to get all these veggies onto their plates. To aid readers in that process, or just to provide the curious a glimpse into our kitchen, here’s a how-to primer of how things work at our home.
We aren’t big on preparing many recipes – especially complicated ones. We are busy and have three young children, so dinners tend to be as simple as possible, saving special recipes and experiments for Sundays. Lunches are last night’s leftover dinner with a salad. (Breakfast is a hodge podge of eggs, french toast, oats, Nutty Nuggets cereal, pancakes, etc.) Our dinners tend to be a combination of the following components:
Raw Green Things – mixed salad greens with seasonal toppings (this week was radish, snap peas, broccoli, carrots, kohlrabi)
Cooked Green (or orange or purple) Things – dark greens (kale, collards, chard, broccoli leaves, turnip greens, etc.), asparagus, broccoli (or rabe – pronounced ‘robb’) or whatever else is in season (coming up: peas, carrots – later = peppers and eggplants)
Protein – (we used to do a ton of beans and tofu here but gut sensitivities currently have us exploring local meat options – mostly from Ault’s Family Farm because we love them): chicken, chicken hearts, sausage, bacon. We recently tried some local grass fed beef. Also: tempeh, whole grains (brown rice, millet, quinoa, wheat bulgur, etc.).
Sauce – Sesame Garlic, Ginger Garlic, Balsamic and Oil, Chicken Broth…these work well with anything and provide a reliable tastiness to whatever vegetables and protein we’re having.
Dressing – we make our own dressings, alternating between favorites: Dijon Vinaigrette, Almond-Garlic-Olive Oil, Tahini-Garlic Dressing, Balsamic Vinaigrette, etc. We also love nuts of any kind poured on top of our salad, along with sometimes some hard cheese.
This past week’s dinners have gone like this (with a HUGE raw salad as the base of everything, and a hearty loaf of bread on the side):
1 – Roasted root veggies (radish, turnip) with onions and balsamic vinegar. Chicken hearts with sauteed asparagus and broccoli rabe and collards.
2 – Sauteed onions and kale. Crock-pot chicken. Rice/millet/quinoa combo.
3 – Sauteed collards with onions. Shish-ka-bob venison with turnips and onions.
4 – Rainbow Chard with onions and kohlrabi. Shish-ka-bob chicken and veggies.
5 – Marinated, sauteed asparagus. Sauteed kale with onions. Marinated, baked fish. (This was dinner at Janet’s parents – her mom bought some fish that isn’t normally part of our routine.)
These sound so much more bland than they tasted! Good thing we’re not cookbook writers. What is not captured by this list is how succulent our greens are. How sweet our broccoli is. How crunchy the carrots and spicy the radish and snappy the peas! The simplicity of the meals really allows the flavors of the fresh food to be enjoyed. Our rule for our children is that they must first enjoy the salad and cooked vegetables before moving on to their protein and bread. (They may say that they don’t prefer something or another but they may not say ‘yuck’ or that they don’t like it. And it still has to be eaten.) Dan likes to start with a huge raw salad and then put the cooked veggies and protein on his plate. Janet likes to pile the salad on and then everything else right on top of that. Joren is going through a little bit of a vegetable protest stage (how is this even possible??) but is coming around. He discovered tonight that he loves kohlrabi sticks with a thick almond-dressing dip. Sylvie is following after mom with the pile it on the salad approach.
But, lest you think all we eat is veggies around here, feast your eyes on this delight:
This is Strawberry Pavlova Cake, made with our eggs, strawberries from the farm down the road, sugar, and that’s about it. (It’s definitely worth looking this recipe up and making it. There are many variations online.)
We love talking food, so please let us know how you like to use our vegetables. We love recipe ideas from customers.