Lettuce Speak of Other Things

OK, I usually try to talk about writing here, but I’m getting to my wits’ end. I’ve signed up to a farmer’s CSA and am receiving, as a consequence, a LOT of lettuce and other greens. Spinach, boy choy, kale, etc. Now, I like greens just fine. But salads every day… not going to work for me. So, I’m asking for help here: what the heck do I do with it all?

Here’s what I’ve tried so far, or am planning to try:

  • lettuce wraps — I cooked some ground pork with a quarter head of shredded lettuce and a couple chopped stalks of boy choy, plus hoisin sauce, and used a lettuce leaf to wrap the mixture up with some pea sprouts and mango slices
  • spinach, strawberry and pecan salad
  • spinach-artichoke dip (possibly subbing in some lettuce for spinach??) I’m looking for a decent low-fat version of this. I’ve seen a few that just straight-up substitute low-fat versions of cream cheese, sour cream, etc. but that seems an unsubtle approach that’s likely to load it up with various gums and stabilizers.
  • kale chips — maybe? People keep saying these are great, but when I tried my hand at them they just crumbled to dust.
What would Spenser have done in this situation? He’d have shot some dude, picked up a nice bottle of wine, said something funny, gotten into a fist fight, then come home and made… what?

7 thoughts on “Lettuce Speak of Other Things

  1. Kale chips are awesome. (They’re supposed to be brittle, albeit not dusty.)

    Spenser’s would have involved lavash. Or sauteing something, and possibly adding wine. Or his girlfriend using eight pans, five pairs of tongs, and an escargot fork to make an amuse-bouche while he was out shooting someone.

    1. I think I was just doing it wrong, I don’t know. Maybe baking them too long?

      I actually had lavash earlier; there was only one piece left, so I made a quesadilla with it.

      The trouble with the eight pans and five tongs thing is that we’re still doing our dishes in the upstairs tub.

  2. Okay, aside from Spencer and his lettuce-gun (Here’s your iron and vitamin A, mo****-******s!!!!!), you can grill the sturdier greens (escarole, frise, romaine). Let them get a good char on them, then serve them with a vinaigrette or with blue cheese and bacon crumbled on top. You can also cook baby lettuces in butter, salt and pepper, adding a small amount of milk or cream at the end. We also do a lot of sauteed spinach with garlic, pine nuts and golden raisins. Good luck. And wait until late summer when the zucchini starts coming out your ears!


    1. Grilled! Now that’s a thought. I was toying with the idea of doing the Julia Child thing (pan-fry it in a ton of butter) but grilling sounds a bit more reasonable.

      The sauteed spinach sounds like a good idea too, especially as described. (I was in fact just watching Julia Child on the subject of spinach)


      (… lettuce-gun??)
      (ETA: Oh! I completely forgot I’d talked about Parker’s Spenser, and thought you were talking about the Spencer we know. I totally believed that he had some kind of lettuce gun, too)

  3. I ended up with a glut of chard one summer when the vegetable garden went crazy. We were having chard with every meal and still not getting through it all. I decided that I really needed to store it up instead of trying to eat it all at once.

    I took my biggest pot and fried lots of garlic in olive oil. I threw in the chard, some salt and a little bit of liquid and then let it steam/fry. Once it cooled, I strained it, chopped it up fine and put the result into an ice tray and froze. The ice cubes were then moved to a ziploc bag where I could easily grab one whenever I needed.

    These “chard cubes” were great because I could add them to anything (soup! pasta sauce! lentils! even stir fry!) and the pressure was off to have it at every meal. This works with spinach and kale too.

      1. I tried both but I think separately is better. That way you can do the stems in big chunky pieces for stew and the leaves more finely minced.

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