Sunday, May 12, 2013

Whole Hog - Spring Swoon!

Whole Hog Farm Produce Bin - May 3, 2013

Leaf lettuce, asparagus, pepper, zucchini, rhubarb, butternut, mango, tomatoes, braising greens, pear.
Yes, I know the picture is blurry. I trembling with excitement over that asparagus!

OK, I admit I can be a local-food geek, so you shouldn't be surprised to learn that I practically swooned when I saw the contents of this bin. Asparagus and rhubarb and greens! Oh my! Meal planning was a breeze. 

Keep in mind I no longer look at rhubarb and immediately think "dessert". I got over that a few years ago when many, many friends presented me with rhubarb from their gardens. Eating and preparing rhubarb muffins and rhubarb sauce wore thin quickly that year, and we all know that my pie skills are lacking. Still, I hated to see the rhubarb go to waste. Thus began my quest for savoury rhubarb recipes. There are more out there than you'd think!

Not only did we use all the rhubarb in this bin without reaching for the dessert recipes, we also had to raid the garden to have enough for the meals I planned. Rhubarb chili is so amazing that I made a huge batch and froze some.

We prepared the following meals. Items in bold are from the bin.
  • Grilled New Zealand steaks, steamed asparagus, salad with leaf-lettuce, pear, Natural Pastures Aged Farmhouse cheese and home-made vinaigrette. Lettuce, pear and asparagus.
  • Broccoli soup, toast and raw veggies. Broccoli (from previous bin) green pepper and tomatoes.
  • Savoury black-pepper rhubarb with poached eggs. Steamed greens. Rhubarb and braising greens.
  • Rhubarb Chili Cubano, raw veggies. Rhubarb, pepper and tomatoes.
  • Pasta with Zucchini and Lemon. Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home. Stir fried greens with tomatoes. Zucchini, tomatoes and braising greens.
We ate the mango for breakfast, and I baked the butternut squash and used it in pesto.  The recipe for that will follow soon!  Sadly, I can no longer find the link to the original recipe for the rhubarb and egg dish, and the rhubarb chili was clipped from a magazine, so it's not really mine to share. 

Each meal made enough for dinner for two with leftovers for lunch the next day. If you want to get two meals for two people out of one pear, I highly recommend salad. Particularly if you can get your hands on cheese like the Aged Farmhouse from Natural Pastures. 

Leaf Lettuce, Pear and Aged Farmhouse Cheese Salad

If you don't have access to Natural Pastures cheeses, their Aged Farmhouse is described as "firm", "slightly granular" and "leaving you a lingering sweetness on the tongue". Hopefully with that description you can find something similar. And hopefully you'll let me know what you find, because I want to try it too!


2 tbsp sherry vinegar
6 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey (OK, a generous tablespoon)
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper
  • Combine the dressing ingredients and blend.

3/4 head of leaf lettuce - washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 large ripe pear - washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
Aged Farmhouse, or similar firm cheese,  crumbled (I didn't measure. Just keep going until it looks good to you.)
  • Toss your salad ingredients. Add dressing to individual servings at the table.

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