Greenery

Yesterday’s flurry of tidying and cleaning included cleaning the fridge—not just cleaning out things that had become science projects, but actually taking everything out and cleaning the actual fridge. Because I get the veggies from the CSA, and because they last better if you don’t wash them before storing them, I get actual dirt in my fridge; not just the sludge and unknown sticky spots that occur in (I assume) everyone’s fridge, but actual dirt. (The dirt clinging to the veggies has another benefit: If I wash the veggies in a bowl and then use that water for my plants, the plants get what seems to be a magic potion.)

Thus, today’s task was to cook the things I found during that cleaning expedition. My downstairs neighbor and I trade (she gets a CSA share as well); she takes my lettuce and bell peppers, I take her greens (kale, chard, collards). This works out nicely, but it does mean I end up with a lot of greens. The first batch of stuff today included onions, a shallot (I thought it was a red onion until I cut it open, but threw it in anyway), garlic, ginger, a bunch of spices, a hot pepper of some kind, a fennel bulb, the tomatoes that weren’t going to last on the counter for another day, and, finally, the chard. After I cooked it up, it had a lot of liquid in it, so I scooped out the solid stuff and cooked the liquid down quite a bit. The flavor was still a bit off—it was kind of bitter, and I couldn’t figure out why—so I added honey, which then made it too sweet, so I threw in a splash of apple cider vinegar. I still wasn’t overwhelmed with happiness about it, but I put it in a bowl and let it cool, and when I went back to it, it actually tasted much better. It has a bit of a kick (glad I only put in one pepper), and I think some garbanzos would be a nice addition. I portioned it out without those, though, and, with some rice, will make some nice lunches.

I made another watermelon salad (and I still have one melon left in the fridge); this one had watermelon, jicama, herbs (mint, basil, and cilantro), lime juice, lemon juice, orange juice, and salt. It was a pretty big melon, so there is a ton of this salad, but it’s refreshing and light, so I’ll bring it for meals this week.

Finally, on to the kale (two kinds, lacinato and red russian). I started out the same as the chard—onions, garlic, the other fennel bulb, ginger, many of the same spices—but once the spices were all mixed in with the onions and other stuff, I added some turkey broth, light coconut milk, and red lentils (thereby getting THEM out of the cabinet), and cooked the lentils while I chopped the kales. This dish made me very happy, and I’m looking forward to those lunches.

I didn’t get to the collards. I thought about throwing them in with either the chard or the kale, but I decided against that. I made collards with a little Italian sausage, white beans, and the usual suspects a couple of weeks ago, and I”ll probably do the same with these. Besides, collards tend to last a little longer in the fridge. I didn’t get to the broccoli, either, but perhaps I’ll get inspired one night this week and just clean it and steam it in the microwave and then freeze it.

It’s very exciting to see the fridge in a more orderly and less grubby state, and also to have a bunch of lunches ready to go in the freezer. The two things taking up space in there now are some sourdough starter that will become pizza later this week and the other watermelon, so it’s all good.

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