‘Tis the season for the harvest bounty at Windy City Harvest! Our staff and program participants are busy harvesting our final summer crops: peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant; and early fall crops: kale, carrots, and cabbage.
This harvest season, we unveiled our cookbook, Cooking in Season with Windy City Harvest. This cookbook is a collection of our favorite seasonal recipes and features the fresh produce grown and harvested at our farms transformed into healthy dishes by our program participants, staff, and local chefs.
Our program has been lucky to develop wonderful partnerships with local chefs and restaurants. Many of these chefs, including Cleetus Friedman, executive chef and creative chef for Caffé Baci; and John des Rosiers, chef/proprietor of Inovasi, Wisma, and The Otherdoor, have generously shared seasonal recipes that feature Windy City Harvest produce.
Just like planting seeds and harvesting the bounty, cooking is an essential component of the Windy City Harvest program. Program participants learn how to cook with produce grown on the farms, sometimes using fruits and vegetables that may be unfamiliar to them. The participants then share their newfound culinary skills with their communities, whether trading recipes with market customers, providing cooking demonstrations at local WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) clinics, preparing multicourse lunches for their peers, or showcasing their dishes at our annual Open House celebrations.
One of our favorite fall recipes is a grilled kale salad.
Grilled Kale Salad
Preparation: 15 to 30 minutes. Serves: 6 to 8
- 3 pounds (about 4 bunches) toscano kale, washed and dried
- ½ cup vegetable oil, divided
- ½ teaspoon salt, plus more for bread
- 2 garlic cloves, cut in half
- ½ loaf of sourdough bread (cut into ¾-inch thick slices)
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
Preheat the grill to high. Stack the kale and cut off the thick end of the stems about 3 inches from the end of the leaf. Compost the stems. In a large bowl or large plastic bag, toss the kale with ⅓ cup of the vegetable oil and salt, until the leaves are evenly coated with oil.
Rub each slice of bread with a garlic clove half. Drizzle the remaining oil on the bread. Grill the bread slices until golden brown with nice grill marks on each side. Set aside. Grill the kale leaves until crispy and cooked—about 30 seconds to 1 minute per side. Dice the grilled bread into croutons, and julienne the kale into bite-size pieces. Place the mixture in a large bowl.
To make the dressing, combine the minced garlic with the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt in a Mason jar. Tighten the lid and shake the jar vigorously to combine the ingredients. Pour the dressing over the kale and bread, and toss the mixture to coat. Add the feta and toss again. Transfer the salad to a serving platter or bowl.
If you would like to see more seasonal recipes and learn about the Windy City Harvest program, pick up a cookbook in the Garden Shop. Bon appetit!
©2016 Chicago Botanic Garden and my.chicagobotanic.org