This has been a strange winter weather-wise. While my family up north is buried from last night’s historic blizzard, the temperatures here will be in the 70s by mid-afternoon. We have barely seen a frost this season, and spring is coming early. At least it seems that way—Mother Nature can always surprise us though, and we still have a month before our last frost date. But it is time to get ready for spring. This weekend, I will sow seed for Black Krim tomatoes, ground cherry, early lettuce and my favorite white bush scallop squash. The live oaks are shedding their dry winter leaves, and we’ll gather them to mulch the fruit trees and the empty garden beds and restock the compost pile. We will prune and pick up and plan new projects for spring.
The winter garden is winding down. Arugula and broccoli have gone to bloom, a feast for early pollinators. Kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and Swiss chard are at their finest now, sweetened from a bit of frost. After a week of travel, I’m hungry for a simple dinner of roast chicken, sweet potatoes and winter greens from the garden. I’ll cut fresh kale this morning and soak it in cold water until it’s crisp. And it will appear at dinner tonight dressed in a rich cream sauce scented with nutmeg. It’s good to be home.
- 1 stick butter
- 8 tablespoons flour
- ½ medium onion or 3 shallots, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups milk
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- Two pounds fresh kale, stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
- Melt butter in a pot. Sprinkle in flour and whisk together. Cook over medium heat for five minutes or until light golden brown. Add onion and garlic and stir together, cooking for another minute. Pour in milk, whisking constantly, and cook for another five minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the kale in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain the kale. Put the kale back into the pot and add the cream sauce, stirring gently to combine. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Serve immediately.