Now That You Are a Local Family, You’re Busy + CSA Week 6
I know so many of you took the exhortations in April to be a local family to heart, and you all are wrapping up a second month in the locavore life. I bet you find yourself, like this Local Family, busy. So, a big pot of Tomato Mountain spinach cooked up, Tunisian style, with brisket and calves neck (yes!), should be enough to last you the whole week.
Like Mama Meichulim before her, my new best friend Tamar Adler knows that being busy once is a lot easier than being busy all the time. Of course, Ms. Adler, like all the local families these days, busies herself a lot more with vegetables than I’m sure Mama M ever did. Tamar’s great advice for the CSA box or market haul: cook it now.
Tamar strides ahead each week by buying:
whole bunches of the leafiest, stemmiest vegetables I can find. Then, I scrub off their dirt, trim off their leaves, cut off their stems, peel what needs peeling, and cook them all at once.
Tamar’s advice follows two key bits of wisdom she expounds in Everlasting Meal. Firstly, she tells us to eat our vegetables at room temperature. She knows they taste better this way, but she also knows that this frees us up from having to prepare at the moment of each meal. Second, she knows that a vegetable once cooked, can wear many different flavors. Tonight’s platter of roasted vegetables is tomorrow’s vegetable salad with the addition of a little dressing. In other words, there is great value in having your vegetables done ahead.
You don’t have to buy it all each week. You can have it come by subscription. That’s Week 6, or at least a bit of week 6, of our Tomato Mountain CSA*, a very leafy box. Our opportunities for roasted vegetables, followed by a roasted vegetable salad seem limited. We have greens: swiss chard and kale and red rain (a mustard green). Tamar’s shopping “always includes a few bunches of dark, leafy greens,” and she notes that once they are cooked with garlic and a good amount of olive oil, “they lose their moral urgency and become one of the most likable ingredients in your kitchen.”
So, the other day, my wife got her everlasting meal a-goin’. She separated stem from leaf when it came to this week’s kale and chard. She sauteed, from heartiest, to most tender, the kale, chard and red rain in this week’s box. Using another favored Tamar method, she boiled the asparagus. Tamar says add balance with big helpings of rice or polenta, or in this week’s case, some wheatberries taking up room in the fridge. And Tamar says to have your eggs fly, a trick my wife already knows (nobody boils an egg better than her). At the end of this rush of business, there was a big bowl of cooked down greens, asparagus ready to us; lots of grain, and a dozen of the best boiled eggs to use as the week went on. Or, as shown above, all combined for dinner one night.
Yes, it’s busy to be a local family, but with advice from Mama Meichulim and Tamar Adler, it’s all very doable. The pleasures of sharing the table with your local family make all that work not seem that much either.
*My wife works for Tomato Mountain Farm.