Oct 28

Val’s Kale & Chanterelle Pasta

in Main Course, Recipes by Type, Rice & Noodles

My wonderful exchange with Jim Davey about Cornish pasties got me thinking about some other wonderful people I know.  I gain so much inspiration from so many people in my life and since the food community is all about sharing in the collective experience, I thought it would be fun to start a new series of posts here on LFM spotlighting some people who come from different backgrounds, perspectives, and places about their perspectives on food and cooking.  I am very excited about this series and can't wait for you to "meet" everyone I've got lined up!

Today I'd like to introduce you to Val.  Val writes a blog called Collecting the Moments… one by one… and is someone that inspires me.  Val majored in Developmental Psychology and minored in Nutrition in college (it was almost a double major, but in the end she decided to forego 2 extra quarters because she was getting married).  Val is the mom of three gorgeous children who she homeschools.  Somehow she finds time to craft, can, cook up a storm, and work running a farmer's market stall with a partner at the Ballard Farmer's Market in Seattle.  How she does it, I have no clue, but I think that the tagline of her blog says it all: "These are the recorded files of the hobbies of a domestic goddess. Why yes… I do wear a super hero costume under my jeans and apron."  Not only is this domestic goddess Super Women incognito, but she's a smart cookie as well.


Val and I had a phone interview a couple of weeks ago and one of the first things I asked her was what led her to her current job of working the farmer's market stall.  She explained that her market partner, Hannah, has been a friend for a long time and that they had worked other jobs together.  Their paths crossed again when they both became interested in joining a CSA.  Val's house became a drop site for the CSA she had joined the same year that Hannah started working for the farm, and then the next year they decided to take on the market.

Now a typical market day starts with Val being picked up by Hannah at a carpool location at 6:30 am.  They are in Seattle by about 7:45 am and then set up their tent.  They have 2 stalls, because the farm they work for is such a large farm.  Then they move about 10 to 11,000 pounds of vegetables out of the truck in big crates.  Hannah delivers a load of produce to a downtown restaurant and comes back right as Val is finishing setting up the tables, right at about 10 am.

At 2:30 pm they start to pull signs down because the market closes at 3 pm.  After 3 pm they load everything back into the truck that is left over.  She's says there's normally about 2,000 pounds left, which they then deliver to a food bank called Teen Feed, which feeds homeless teens.  Val gets usually gets home about 6:30 or 7 pm.


So why does Val do this?  Val said, "Food is so fundamental.  You do it every day.  It is the basis for every cell in your body . . . . Having my son was a very pivotal point in my life where, although I was always passionate about food, I started thinking even more about food and every cell in his body coming from these things that I was feeding him, or things I was feeding me, and it became even more of a passion to get good food into him so that he would know what good food tastes like.  So finding ways to get organic food, or lots of fruit and vegetables, that was how I cam to look for things like the CSA drop spot."

Val went on to explain, "There's this cartoon I saw that has a woman looking at all these apples.  The first frame has a sign that says, '$0.49 a pound, grown with chemical pesticides and petroleum residue and shipped from Argentina 25 days ago.' The next sign says 'Grown with chemical pesticides using slave labor and shipped from Chile.' Etc. There's no choice there that seems to make sense.  That's what I kept coming to.  I seriously consider it health insurance.  Very quickly it came to how about I choose none of those.  How about I choose apples from my neighbor?"  Val explains, "That personal interaction is so important.  They count on your contribution to get what they need for their family.  They're much more interested in your opinion than the slave industry in Chile.  If you know the farmer you can ask questions.  You can't have the same conversation with Fred Meyer.  With local food it's much easier to slide into that market and get in contact with people."  Val also said, "The environmental aspect is huge for me.  The actual reason behind the organic movement was to help the environment and get the best food."

Talking to Val was inspiring.  She is one of those people that could probably convince you that you could climb Mt. Everest.  I came away from our conversation invigorated and with more enthusiasm about looking carefully at where the food comes from that I feed my family.  Val shared a recipe with me for Kale and Chanterelle Pasta that I made last week for dinner.  Val and I both agree that just because something is healthy doesn't mean you should force yourself to eat it.  Food should taste good too.  This dish definitely fits the bill.  It was a hit with all of the Fujis, including Bug, despite the fact that it is full of kale–a vegetable that sometimes doesn't go over so well with kids.  In keeping with what Val and I talked about, I made the pasta without the chanterelle mushrooms because I don't have a local source.  Whether or not you have any chanterelle mushrooms, you have got to try this pasta–it is delicious!!

Val's Kale & Chanterelle Pasta

Makes 6 servings
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 head of garlic, minced
½ pound of chanterelle mushrooms, chopped
½ bunch of kale (or 2 cups of baby kale), chopped with the ribs removed (they're very woody)
1 pound linguine pasta
Salt (for the pasta water and to taste)
½ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1. Cook the pasta to your liking.  Drain the pasta, but save a bit of the pasta water. 
2. Melt the butter and olive oil in a pan and then sauté the minced garlic in it until it starts to go slightly clear.  Add in the kale and sauté until slightly limp.  If the kale needs additional water, add in the reserved pasta water from step 1.

3. Add the chanterelle mushrooms, and agitate until the mushrooms and kale are both limp and tender.  Salt to taste.  Toss with the pasta, and serve topped with the parmesan cheese.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

mumay October 28, 2009 at 5:27 pm

very inspiring !!!!


Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite October 28, 2009 at 7:20 pm

Wonderful idea Rachel! Looking forward to seeing who else you write about. I also really love the recipe – saved as a PDF and added to my bursting at the seams file of recipes to try!


Liz - Meal Makeover Mom October 28, 2009 at 8:24 pm

What an interesting post. I cruised right over to Val's site, and I plan to try her Sweet Potato Stew (after I try this pasta dish).
The linguine dish calls for an entire head of garlic, which sounds like a lot for my troops. I think I'll try it with about 5-6 cloves instead!


Online Printing Company October 28, 2009 at 8:56 pm

That was very interesting. You never fail to share posts that will be really helpful to your readers. Thanks for another great one.


Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog October 28, 2009 at 10:16 pm

I heart Val! She is one of my favorite bloggers, and truly an inspiration to us all. What a fabulous interview! Can't wait to try out the pasta recipe… it sounds delicious and very good for you!


S. October 28, 2009 at 11:20 pm

Sounds delicious! I love kale, it's so good for you. I've made something similar before, but with courgettes and broccoli instead of the mushrooms. Will definitely be trying it with the chanterelles though, it sounds absolutely wonderful!


Emily October 29, 2009 at 12:01 am

I heart kale! Seriously. Total crush. Even my kids like it. I called it dinosaur leaves the first time I made it and they've been hooked ever since. I am sooo making this, with the mushrooms. I send my husband out to get me lots of chantrelles every fall and we dry them to use all year. I love living in Washington.


sunita October 29, 2009 at 3:24 am

What a lovely post; my admirations for Val.

The pasta looks lovely; I know what to make with the kale lying around now-thanks :-)


Federica October 29, 2009 at 8:09 am

bellissimo e buonissimo questo piatto!


Mary October 29, 2009 at 8:40 am

What an interesting post about a fascinating young woman. I love her recipe and will try it soon.


Nessa October 29, 2009 at 11:29 am

Hi! I've been enjoying Val's blog for sometime now, she truly is an inspiration to me. Thanks for the lovely interview. I'm excited to now find your lovely blog! Hope you don't mind me following.



Shirley October 30, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Hmmm, have to see if the farmer's market is still open!


Nutmeg Nanny October 30, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Wow look at all those vegetables! Your pasta looks great :)


Diana Bauman November 2, 2009 at 9:13 am

I love this Rachael! What a blessing to have met such a great person in your life! I to have people that encourage and influence me when it comes to food. Can't wait to meet you in less than a week!!


LollyChops November 3, 2009 at 4:06 pm

I loved reading this and the pics were stunning! I am off to check out her blog!

HUGS little Fuji!


Tasty Eats At Home November 5, 2009 at 10:01 am

OH MY, I want to eat this. Now. Looks so tasty!


Margot November 9, 2009 at 8:55 am

Thanks for the inspiration. I tried this recipe this week using olives and onion in place of the mushrooms. It was great!


Melissa July 2, 2010 at 4:15 pm

I made this pasta recipe tonight. Very easy and very good. I added some chopped tomatoes at the end because they were too beautiful and fresh to be ignored. Delicious! Thanks for the recipe!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: