Yesterday afternoon we had our second annual(!) inaugural Friday Summer Salad Lunchie which comprised mainly of salad, obviously, but also these great leftover meatball-salad rolls that I made from the surprisingly tasty grilled meatballs I had made on the night we picked up our veggies. I absolutely love the salads we make during the summer. They’re hearty, but not heavy, and really filling. The addition of those salad rolls seemed to make our lunch a bit more special because it also included my very first garden-harvested cucumber!
…I just realized that I haven’t posted anything about my brand new garden! O_O;;
This summer, The Hubbs gifted me with a custom-designed & custom-built, raised-bed garden! I’d been wanting a raised-bed garden for quite awhile and I found a company, The Dirt Boys, at the Hillhurst-Sunnyside Farmer’s Market during the Winter market! They did an amazing job of making the bed substantially higher than normal for a raised bed since I have mobility issues, designed it with stability rails around the perimeter so I would have something to be able to lean against so as to garden more comfortably, and not only that, took a chance on trying a new type of garden entirely: they made me a hugelkultur bed! The extra bonus was having the framework for a cold frame on the top so we can protect the garden from things like hail and frost, as well as potentially extend the growing season by a bit.
I am super, super chuffed about the work they did and I’ve been really enjoying planting all sorts of fun stuff in the garden – all of it an experiment.
Currently, what I have going on in the garden is (from left to right, front to back): rosemary (1), tomato (1), basil (2), cucumber (1), and alpine strawberries (2).
Since the dirt is actually somewhat raised in the middle, I have these “gutters” around the perimeter of the bed and thought that I should make good use of that design “feature” by planting a bunch of seeds. There is 4 feet (front to back) worth of Parisian market carrots on the left side of the rosemary in the photo above, followed by 4 feet of Chinese watermelon radishes. The back of the garden has 6 sweet pea plants which have finally made their appearance, and on the right side of the garden towards the back are 4 corn(!!) transplants I had purchased from Country Thyme Farm when we picked up our bi-weekly eggs & CSA flour from the Farmer’s Market on July 10th!
Wow… I can’t believe how much I’ve failed to post, here on the blog over the last few months… o_O;;;
You know those days where you just don’t know what to eat, and time keeps on ticking by as you get more and more frustrated trying to make a decision?
Yea, I had one of those days last night.
I was exhausted after my fabulous Friday lunch with my Goddaughter Bug & her Mama, Miss R and I just couldn’t stay awake by the time The Hubbs got home from work. So we did what we always seem to do on Fridays: have something light before I go down for a nap, then a few hours later, when I wake up ravenous, I make something more substantial and nutritious to eat. Well… the ‘nutritious’ part could be argued some days, but I think I did a really great job last night!
We picked up week #2 of our Summer CSA veggies from Noble Gardens on Wednesday and brought home a lovely bunch of yellow rainbow chard, some Russian kale, a couple spring onions, a clamshell of multi-coloured cherry tomatoes and a head of red leaf romaine lettuce.
I know I am far, far, behind on the massaged kale bandwagon, but I tried it for the first time with our first CSA delivery and I guess my only excuse for never having tried the massaged kale salad is because I’ve been perfectly content to eat it as I had always been making it – braised until tender, then stir fried lightly with lots of garlic and olive oil. It’s pretty hard to dislike any veggie when you have the addition of a ton of garlic & olive oil. A few squirts of lemon juice just before serving is also a great addition.
So anyhow, I’ve come to the realization that when we get CSA veggies, the smartest thing for me to do is wash and clean all the veggies and then store them in the fridge so they are ready, willing and able to contribute to whatever I feel like making. I’ve also discovered that having a pre-made massaged kale salad in the fridge is a great, long lasting vegetable component that practically won’t deteriorate into anything nasty – unlike, let’s say, dressed salads made of lettuce.
Of course when making a massaged kale salad, or any kale dish for that matter, you always end up with the stripped & unloved stems. What most people seem to do with them, I’ve noticed, is just discard them, which seems to be such a shame & a waste of perfectly edible kale parts. I admit, I’m guilty of throwing away the stems, too, because I just can’t be bothered with coming up with a tasty enough reason to eat them… until now.
I finally found a great recipe that uses only the kale stems, and has become a really quick meal that also only needs a few pantry ingredients that most people should have on hand. I present to you: the kale stem & bacon crostini, topped with a fried egg!
I honestly didn’t have very high hopes for it and now I am supremely blown away by the combination – a toasted piece of sourdough bread with a light spreading of cream cheese, fried bacon & onions to flavour the kale stems really nicely, and topped with a fried egg, drizzled with my intervention-warranting addiction of Blue Door garlic-infused olive oil just to push the whole thing right over the top. Having just a few cherry & cocktail tomatoes on the side was great addition for cutting through the richness of that crazy egg yolk which acted as an amazingly great sauce when you flipped the egg over, puncturing the yolk so it would ooze all over the greenery.
It’s really, really, tasty and I can’t say it enough!
I would highly recommend giving this recipe a try, especially if you’re tired of throwing away and wasting those unloved kale stems. After you’ve made your massaged kale salad, make the topping and once you’ve eaten your fill, stash the rest of the mixture in the fridge for a future late night, super quick, and relatively healthy meal… though I can attest that it also makes for a pretty darned fantastic breakfast, too ^_^
The recipe below makes enough for 4 servings, or four slices of bread, depending on how you define a serving. I found that one slice of bread, with the bacon & kale topping, plus an egg was really filling and was essentially a meal in itself. Serving it with a salad on the side would probably make it a more well-rounded meal, but do as you so choose!
Kale Stem & Bacon Crostini
1 bunch kale stems, chopped into 2cm pieces
½ onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 slices bacon, chopped into matchsticks
Salt & pepper, to taste
To serve, per person:
Thick-cut slice of your favourite bread
Cream cheese (or goat cheese, would be awesome), softened
Cherry or Cocktail tomatoes
In a medium sized skillet, over medium heat, begin cooking the bacon until some of the fat starts rendering.
Add the onion, garlic and kale pieces.
Cook everything together, stirring constantly, , so that all the veggies are happily dressed with the bacon fat.
Season generously with pepper, but keep a light hand with the salt and mix well.
You only want to cook everything for a couple of minutes – nothing should be even remotely cooked.
Add 1/3 to ½ cup of water to the veggies, cover the pan and let cook until everything is pleasingly tender.
How do you know? Taste it!
The stems were cut quite small, so taste test after 5 minutes, if everything is to your liking, cover the pan back up and turn off the heat.
At this point, toast your bread and fry your egg.
I would recommend that when you cook your egg, make sure the yolk remains runny!
When your toast is done: spread with cream or goat cheese, cover with a spoonful of the still warm bacon & kale, then place your perfectly cooked egg on top!
Drizzle with some garlic-infused olive oil and season with salt & pepper.
If you happen to have some black truffle salt on hand, go ahead and gild the lily with a generous sprinkling.
Plate your fantastic crostini with some cherry or cocktail tomatoes on the side and enjoy while it’s still warm!