Thursday, June 21, 2007

Braised Spring Vegetables with Cornmeal-Herb Dumplings

Thursday, June 21, 2007
Yesterday I opened the food section of the NYTimes and found this recipe. What luck! This year, I, along with my friends Sara and Bridget, are getting weekly boxes of organic vegetables raised on a very high-minded farm in Wisconsin. Opening the boxes every week is a little bit like Christmas (if you're a rabbit), because you never know for sure what you're getting, and you're not sure that you will know what to do with it once you have it.
Melissa Clark's recipe for braised vegetables is based on her trip to the Union Square Greenmarket, where she picked up a bunch of vegetables that tickled her fancy, and turned them into a nice braise with dumplings. I figured that my spring vegetables wouldn't be all that different from hers, so I decided I'd just make this dish with whatever I got in my box today, which turned out to be summer squash, Swiss chard, dill, green onions, garlic scapes, peas, and romaine. (I also got Chinese cabbage and red leaf lettuce, but I saved them for another day). I added a red onion and some garlic I already had, and otherwise followed the recipe, which was just a matter of carmelizing the red onion, then adding the garlic, onions, squash and chard stems, putting in a few glugs of white wine, adding the peas and garlic scapes, and simmering it, along with some chicken broth, for a few minutes. The chard, romaine, and dill went in at the end and cooked for another few minutes; finally, I stirred in some grated Parmesan.
In the meantime, I'd made the dumplings--the reason this is on a bread blog--and cooked them in boiling water. (Oh, how my Viking cooktop loves to boil water!) I love dumplings--they're so homey! And how could you be anything else with a name like dumpling? (Although Charlotte Rampling isn't especially homey, and her name is almost like dumpling).
The dumplings were made with flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and pepper, buttermilk (or regular milk with lemon juice squeezed into it if you've already decided you're going to make dinner without going to the grocery store for anything you might not have), eggs, chopped mint and chives.
Even though it was meatless, Jim still liked the dinner quite a lot, and so did I. And we felt so virtuous! Not only were we eating our vegetables, but we were also eating organic vegetables picked that very morning.


Melinda said...

Dear Virtuous Marie, I have wanted to start getting the organic veg boxes that are delivered from a local farm here. The 'tuit' part hasn't arrived yet, but you may have reminded me to get on the case. I love the element of surprise and being creative with whatever pops out!
You are absolutely right about the buttermilk. It's always the ingredient I don't seem to have!

jini said...

you have me thinking that i need to get some neighbors to join me in signing up for the organic goody boxes next summer. there are several of us with two person households and sharing makes good sense.
you can claim to be as high-minded as that wisconsin farmer. :)

breadbasketcase said...

Jim made a stir-fry with the Chinese cabbage tonight. If I make a big salad tomorrow, I will have finished all the vegetables from last week, and can just wait to see what I got this Thursday.

Yes--I don't think Jim and I, enthusiastic eaters that we are, could possibly go through an entire box of organic vegetables in one week. Sharing is definitely the way to go.