Go on with yo bad, root vegetable self. Makes you just wanna snuggle down in a nice, warm bed of soil and take root ’til you sprout. Betch called you an albino carrot say wha? Ain’t no diva parsnip like you gonna take that ish.
Ok, enough sassy parsnip talk. That’s only the beginning of the fun I had with my first ever CSA box from Johnson’s Backyard Garden! Next came this amazing three cheese, kale, and slow-roasted tomato orecchiette.
Opening the CSA box is like one of those game shows, Tim Gunn in the corner telling me to “Make it work!”. I know kale has been très chic for the past few foodie fads, but I have to admit I was a little intimidated when I opened the box and saw the rubbery green monster staring me back in the face. I didn’t want to just throw it in a blender with a mélange of other fruits and veggies to mask the flavors, that would just be cruel to the locally grown, organic leaf that this kale bunch is.
So into the pantry I dove, and I found this beautiful box of pasta I’d bought on an impulse a few weeks before. Here’s to impulse buys and non-perishables! Spinach goes so well with pasta, so why wouldn’t kale? Plus, when you add three types of cheese to something it’s impossible to hate it.
But a key-stone ingredient was probably the slow roasted tomatoes. Now some might think slow means, oh, 45 minutes. No, these babies need to roast at 300˚F or lower for an hour and a half or longer. The lower and longer the better. It brings out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes and neutralizes their acidity. Oh, and garlic. Lots of garlic. Because garlic makes everything better.
Right! Root vegetables! Look up there at that magnifique casserole. La mère did good for Christmas, and this was the first time I got around to actually using it. The thing holds up like a champ and is a wonder for serving to keep up appearances at the table.
But this root vegetable tian is simple and nourishing. Both parsnips and beets came from the treasure box delivered to my door, and both the russet and sweet potatoes were sitting in the pantry. It’s like the decision was made for me. And of course, anything can be made French with a little olive oil and fresh thyme. Emphasis on the fresh. I’m so thrilled about the color party these veggies and this dish had on my kitchen table. But make sure you do have a good while before any guests arrived, I kept this one in the oven for almost an hour and a half before I felt comfortable taking it out. This one requires patience, but it pays out in flavor.
Safe to say, I’m absolutely thrilled with my JBG subscription. I’m finding that I might not have all the time I’d like to cook everything in it the way I’d want before the next box arrives, but it’s such a privilege to have vegetables this fresh delivered to your doorstep. Here’s lookin’ to next week!
slow-roasted tomato and kale orecchiette
- 1 bunch of kale, thinly sliced
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup of slow roasted cherry tomatoes
- box of orecchiette
- 1 cup of shredded gruyere
- 1 cup of shredded parmesan
- ½ a cup of goat cheese (chèvre)
- 1/3 cup of dry white wine
- salt and cracked pepper to taste
-steam the sliced kale in olive oil and 2 tbsps of water in a large saucepan
-while the kale is steaming, boil a pot of water and cook the orecchiette until al dente, then drain. Leave the pasta in the strainer in the sink
-in the pasta pot, add the white wine and bring to a simmer; add the cheeses and lemon zest and stir until all cheeses are melted into a cheesy sauce; add salt and pepper to taste
-add the pasta back into the sauce and stir until coated
-pour the pasta and sauce into the saucepan with the kale; add the tomatoes and stir until all is incorporated
-top off with a little more salt and pepper and some shredded parmesan as you see fit
root vegetable tian
- beets, sliced
- parsnips, diced into small cubes
- potatoes, sliced, of any kind, I used russet and sweet
- 2 tbsps of olive oil
- fresh thyme, both whole and de-leafed
- salt and pepper to taste, err on the side of lots with the salt
-preheat the oven to 375˚F
-arrange the sliced beets and potatoes vertically in a buttered baking dish
-once arranged, sprinkle or place the diced parsnips on top
-drizzle the olive oil on top; add salt, pepper, and the leaves of the thyme plus a few extra whole sprigs
-cover with parchment paper; cook at 375˚F for an hour and a half, or until vegetables are tender