Thanks to a grant from the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, we are sending kids from North Portland home with bundles of farm fresh veggies and custom cookbooks. On the farm, we spend a lot of time cooking with kids. They love scooping, tearing and (supervised) chopping of veggies they’ve just harvested. Below are a few of the recipes that kids can make with seasonal veggies. So head to the farmers market, then hit the kitchen.
Pasta with Kale (Serves 4-6)
This dish is a lot like pasta with pesto, but WAY more healthy because it is made with kale, a super food that has more iron per ounce than beef but none of the animal fat. Plus it packs in more nutrition than practically any other whole food. A cup and change comes with 14% of your daily calcium, 659% of daily vitamin A and more than 900% of your daily vitamin K!
1 bunch kale, washed
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 lb pasta (penne, bowties or similar shape)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or other hard cheese
1/3 cup hot, starchy cooking water reserved when you drain the pasta
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper
Wash the kale and do not dry, remove any tough stems and chop the greens fairly finely. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot and add the greens and stir well. Add a pinch or two of salt and the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cover and cook over medium to medium-high heat for about 8 – 10 minutes. Add a little water if the greens are sticking to the pan.
Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water until just tender. Drain but reserve 1/3 cup of the cooking water. Toss the hot pasta with the kale and add the cheese and a bit of cooking water–starting with 1/4 of a cup, as well as a bit more olive oil. Toss everything well. You should have a thin, silky sauce coating the pasta and greens. Add some black pepper, taste and adjust seasoning and serve hot.
Winter Squash Soup (serves 4)
Winter squash is a vitamin and mineral powerhouse, offering loads of vitamin A which helps your body fight infections and keeps eyes and skin healthy.
1 medium winter squash such as butternut squash
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, diced
2 gloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons grated, fresh ginger (optional)
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water
2 teaspoons cider vinegar or whatever vinegar you have
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Cut the squash in half with a large knife. Scape out the seeds and put the squash, cut-side down, on a baking sheet.
Roast for about 35-45 minutes or until the squash is tender. When cool enough to handle, scoop the squash out of the skin and chop it roughly.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. When the onion is soft add the garlic and ginger, if using, and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the squash and the stock or water and several pinches of salt. Bring it to a boil, turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until the squash is very soft.
Using a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon, break up the squash as best you can and simmer for a few more minutes. If you have a blender or immersion blender you can use that as well. Add the vinegar and butter and taste for seasoning. Add salt or more vinegar if the soup is bland.
Serve just as is, or over rice.