An evening feast Chez April D

Veggie-filled Pasta creation

So many tasty colors!

This past weekend I finally got around to taking some good photos of what I’ve been making with all of our CSA veggies.  This here photo is of the delectable pasta dish I made first.  Bearing in mind that the creation-theory behind it’s development is very much reminiscent of college-life cookery (that is; anything in the fridge can be combined with some pasta sauce and had over pasta); I was still pleasantly satisfied with the results.

One other note of caution as I am about to launch into a daring photographically enhanced tale of recipe creation here: neither Adam nor I knew what Arugula looked like.  We tasted each of the items in the box we received but that one scraggly veggie was a bit bitter so we figured it was something to cook and not eat raw.  So there’s some arugula lettuce in my pasta.  Whatever.  Still tasted good 😉

So, without further ado; the closest thing to a “look how I eat” post you’re likely to ever get from me.

First you start with some CSA Veggies:

First week of CSA veggies

Copious Crispy Deliciousness!

These are the veggies (and fruits) that came in our first batch of weekly goodies.  From left to right, all laid out on my counter, you will see:

  • a bunch of arugula (yeah, didn’t know what this was, only that it was pretty gross to us in it’s raw state)
  • one lovely zucchini
  • a head of tasty lettuce
  • red beets
  • a big bunch of kale (behind the beets)
  • a bag of fresh baby spinach (hiding next to the kitchen aid)
  • a pint of strawberries

The strawberries were the first to go.  Adam D could barely wait for me to wash them up!

Adam D about to lick the strawberries

I'm gonna eat 'cho!

So, next we get all the ingredients ready:

Aside from the veggies we got for the week I wanted to add some onion, garlic and (not pictured here) a can of mushrooms.  So I added those to some kale, arugula, beet greens and that lovely zucchini.

veggies on cutting board

Get ready to go under the knife my pretties!

Next, I clear off the cutting board and chop/dice the garlic cloves and the one onion.  I don’t like huge honkin’ pieces of onion, even when cooked, so I tend to dice things pretty small.

chopped garlic and onions

But I DO like a big honkin' knife...

Prepping the pan:

Next I dropped a drizzle of what has quickly become my most favorite oil ever: Wok oil!  It has a bit of ginger and a bit of garlic-y zing.  Smells wonderful but it also gets hot very quickly so you want to make sure you’re ready to add stuff to the pan pretty soon after adding the oil.

oiled up pan

Lovin' me some Wok Oil

So now you add in those chopped up garlic and onion pieces and get them translucent and delicious smelling.  Add a bit of salt:

chopped onion and garlic in pan

Stir it up!

Add in the mushrooms and a touch/sprinkle more of that crunchy kosher salt.

mushrooms in the pan

Love fresh 'shrooms but canned are always there and cheap.

Now here’s where we start adding some awesomely vibrant color to the pan with that bright green zucchini:

adding zuchinni to the pan

Look at that delicious green shine!

and then the chopped beet greens:

red beets in the pan

Look at the bright red! Like a tasty pan of Christmas!

Next I added the bit which would be optional; the ground hamburger.  Once all those bright veggies have had a minute or two to saute I push them all to the sides of the pan to free up the center for the meat.  Or, if you’re not trying to save on dishes for your poor dish-washing hubby; you could put the veggies into a bowl and do the meat all alone.

now add the beef

Oh! THERE'S the beef...

As you can see I put another liberal sprinkle of kosher salt on there to get the meaty flavor out there.  Once the meat is browned up well I stir it into all the veggies that were resting on the sides (or if they were in a bowl; add those babies back in).  Next we put in the remaining greens.  Some of the leafier bits of the beet greens, the chopped arugula and the chopped up kale:

add the greenery

So there's not much arugula in there at least!

Now if I had had any tomatoes on hand this next step would have me adding four or five of those all diced up.  Instead I had a handy can of four cheese tomato sauce and used that to get a nice red sauce:

adding in the tomato sauce

Getting the "red" in red sauce

Once all of that is well mixed it looks amazing and smells incredible:

sauce all mixed up

I can SMELL the flavor!

The last step is getting that tasty and incredibly meaty (in both actual meat and hearty veggies) sauce onto the pasta of your choice; adding some parm or other cheese if desired (Adam D does NOT desire; so no cheese on his):

plated meal

Plate it up folks!

That night we choose to finish it all off with a few slices of store-bought rosemary & garlic bread and salads made with: the CSA lettuce, beet greens, black olives, croutons and some feta (for me); iceberg lettuce and beet greens (for Adam D):

greens in bowls

A bit of Italian dressing kicked these salads off marvelously!

So there you have it.  One evening’s dinner Chez D.  Home of two folks learning about some very New To Us veggies and enjoying the journey.

We’re still thinking the arugula tasted better in the sauce than it would have in our salads though!

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7 thoughts on “An evening feast Chez April D

  1. I can certainly attest that the meal was wonderful! I didn’t realize I looked so goofy in that picture though!

  2. Nicely done, you guys. It looks amazing! 🙂 FWIW, I don’t particularly care for arugula either. To me it tastes exactly like dirt. (Really!)

  3. In re:cooking arugula: A lot of people don’t realize this, but lettuces can definitely be successfully cooked. In fact, there are dozens of recipes out there for various forms of lettuce soup.

    Arugula is most often eaten raw, like most salad greens, but any of them can be cooked pretty much like spinach, too. So what you did by putting arugula in your sauce is not such an odd thing after all.

    Oh, and another fun thing to try sometime is making a pasta primavera style dish with an aglio e olio (oil and garlic) rather than red sauce. All you have to do is heat up a good gulp of olive oil (about a 1/4 cup should cover a pound of pasta nicely, adjust to your needs). When it gets good and hot, add finely minced garlic to taste (Mr. Twistie and I like it really garlicky, so I’ll often use about five or six good sized cloves), and a dash of salt. Love it.

    • @Twistie: Mmmm I love me some garlic so I’ll definitely be trying that primavera idea next week! And I’m glad to hear that even if it might have been an error on our parts to add the arugula that doing so wasn’t necessarily a mistake outright 😉 Either way we did agree that the taste was delectable when cooked!

  4. Arugula is rather good stir-fry. I don’t like it raw either. We’re vegetarians so we eat lots of veggies. I love trying different veggies.

    I accidentally brought dandelion greens so I added them to soup. They weren’t bad. They are much longer and leaves are thinner than the ones that grow in our yard. I need brought dandelions before because we always have them in our yard and it seemed odd to be eating weeds. So I made weed soup today.

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