Top Ten Ways to Solve 'The Locavore's Dilemma'
We're entering prime time for locavores, as more Maryland crops come to market. For people who buy shares in Community Supported Agriculture ventures, it won't be long before the weekly produce pick-ups begin.
And as anyone who's ever belonged to a CSA knows, it's not all strawberries and sweet corn.
There are lots and lots of greens.
Slate had a good name for the situation, described in a funny first-person account of a CSA sufferer last year: "The Locavore's Dilemma."
Which brings me to this week's list:
Top Ten Ways to Solve the Locavore's Dilemma
1. Swiss chard juice
The topic of Swiss chard overabundance somehow came up the other day when I was chatting with Michael Evitts, spokesman for Baltimore's Downtown Partnership. His answer: Swiss chard juice. He combines a bunch of chard with some carrots, apple, lemon zest and a little fresh ginger. "Tastes like someone’s just mowed a lawn, only sweeter, which is actually nice," Evitts assured me. "To me, it tastes like summer."
I tried to give it a go, but we were out of carrots and lemon. The chard-Gala-ginger combo I was left with had surprisingly cinnamon-y flavor to me. I drank it watered down with seltzer. My husband's take was more like Evitts', though not in a good way. He said it was like "licking a lawn mower."
2. Crispy roasted kale
3. Chard with Parmesan and butter
OK, maybe the cheese and butter negate some of the health benefits of the greens, but everything in moderation, right? In "The Art of Simple Food," Alice Waters suggests washing and blanching a bunch of chard in salted water, draining and chopping it, then tossing it back into a heavy pan with 3 tablespoons of butter and a handful of freshly grated Parm. So good, you'll forget it's a vegetable.
4. Chard with pancetta, Parmesan and butter
Add pancetta to the dish above. It will still be good for you. I think.
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6. The redemption dish
Skip the Parm, butter and pancetta. Saute greens in only the tiniest bit of olive oil. Eat a whole bowl and feel virtuous. Then treat yourself to a bowl of ice cream.
7. The next hemp
Another Evitts suggestion: fibrous chard stems could be used to make a chic eco-fabric.
8. Spinach substitute
Chard doesn't bolt like spinach when the weather turns warmer, one reason it keeps coming in those CSA boxes. When the spinach quits, the chard leaves can be used like spinach in quiche or lasagna.
Throwing the stuff away? Unthinkable! Tuck it in the "crisper," let it rot, and then add it to the compost pile in good conscience.
Photo by math-hubby