Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pak What?!

Pak choi... Boc choy.... Pac choy.... Bak choi....

Maybe you've heard of one of these. What's the difference?

Trick question - they're all the same!

Pac choi or boc choy is from the same plant family as broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts (the Brassicas). According to the BBC's Good Food Glossary, this green can also be found under even more aliases - horse's ear, Chinese celery cabbage and white mustard cabbage. Location-wise, in addition to becoming increasingly popular in the US, pac choi is grown throughout Asia, particularly in the Philippines, China, and Vietnam.

This green is more tender the smaller it is in size. With a flavor profile similar to a mild cabbage or chard, pac choi makes a great addition to a stir fry, omelette, or as a side dish. Like chard, the leaves and stalk are edible, but be sure to chop the stalk into smaller pieces than the leafy parts (so they all cook pretty evenly).

Looking for a place to buy some pac choi?  COME TO CITY GREENS MARKET!

Image courtesy of agrisabbatini.com

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


City Greeners, the wait is over!

We have the usual dairy, eggs, and meats, plus the dry goods. Our fresh veggies are limited due to the hard freezes our farmers have been enduring this winter, but we do have fresh mushrooms and sprouts, plus some butternut squash (limited quantities). We'll have more in tomorrow, too. Be sure to check back as the weather warms up and our farmers bounty grows!

Folks have been asking about the parking situation. Here's a photo to help:

If you're headed east on Manchester (from Kingshighway), Sweetie Pie's is at the corner of Tower Grove and Manchester (there's a set of lights at this intersection, too). Our store is located just two storefronts down from there. Just diagonal (northeast) from us is a large parking lot. Continue about a quarter of a block east and you'll find another small parking lot open to City Greens shoppers on the same side of the street as us.  

See you at the market!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Trivia Time!

City Greeners, it's TRIVIA TIME!

We just wanted to remind you that this weekend (March 1) is the 10th annual "I KNEW THAT" Trivia Fundraiser for City Greens' parent organization, Catholic Charities Midtown Center.

Followers of What's Happening at City Greens know all about this event because of our post February 10th. We just wanted to give a quick reminder about what this event is about and why you should register to attend!
 Midtown supports a whole plethora of programs in St. Louis city. Some of the different programs include:

  • Family PRIDE - Prenatal Resources, Infant Development and Environment 
  • PEOPLE 1st - People Eliminating Obstacles through the Pursuit of Learning and Employment  
  • Family Aid and Assistance
  • Youth Programs (Tutoring, Club, Supper Club, Summer Academy Daycamp)
  • Group Programs (Men's Club, Midtown Mamas, Women in Leadership, Housing NOW, Helping Hands Bank)
  • City Greens Community Garden
  • City Greens Market (of course!)
...to name a few!

We stay pretty busy at Midtown, and to help support all these awesome programs, every year we host a trivia night fundraiser. This event will be held Saturday, March 1st at College Church Ballroom (at Grand and Lindell). The cost is $200 for a table of 8 (or $25 per person) and registration is required! There are only 40 tables available but we still have a few left!!

What's in it for you, you may ask. Well, signing up for our Trivia Night includes beer and soda, snacks, attendance prizes, and cash prizes (for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place). There are prizes for Best Food, Best Themed Table, and Best Team Name. We'll also have desserts for sale - made by our beloved Midtown Mamas, plus raffles and fun games. 

The doors open at 6 and trivia begins at 7. 

Be sure to sign up before Friday! All you have to do is contact Catholic Charities Midtown Center. You can email us or call (314) 534-1180 to reserve your spot. 

See you at Trivia Night!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Whole Wheat Penne with Roasted Cauliflower and Parsley Pesto

City Greeners, in our last post, we shared a recipe for Parsley Pesto we saw in USA Weekend's February 14-16 issue - Part One of a two-part recipe series.

Well City Greeners, it's time for Part Two. This recipe takes the pesto and pairs it with penne pasta and some dynamite veggies. Just like with the pesto recipe, feel free to make this recipe your own! Try a different shape of pasta or swap out the olives for cherry tomatoes. Happy cooking!

Whole Wheat Penne with Roasted Cauliflower and Parsley Pesto


  • 2 pounds cauliflower, sliced into 2-inch-by-2-inch pieces
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • Kosher sea salt, as needed
  • Ground black pepper, as needed
  • 8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2/3 cup Parsley Pesto (see recipe here)
  • 3/4 cup oil-cured black olives (such as nicoise, kalamata, or Cerignola), pitted and cut in half lengthwise 
  • 1 cup canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • Crushed red pepper, as needed (optional)
  • 3/4 cup Asiago or Parmesan cheese, thinly shaved
  • Fresh mint sprigs for garnish, as needed (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees-F.
  2. Brush both sides of the cauliflower with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Put in the oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, or until the cauliflower is nicely browned and tender.
  3. In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, cook the pasta until just al dente, about 9 minutes (about 3 if using fresh pasta from Midwest Pasta Co.). Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. 
  4. In a large warm bowl, add 1/2 cup of the pesto and some of the reserved hot water, stirring to create a sauce. Add the hot pasta along with the cauliflower, olives, beans, and crushed red pepper (if using); toss to coat with the pesto sauce. If the mixture seems dry, adjust by adding a small amount of the reserved hot water and the remaining pesto. 
  5. Top with cheese and mint. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Per serving: 451 calories, 15g protein, 45g carbohydrates, 9g fiber, 24g total fat (6g sat fat), 721mg sodium, 22g cholesterol

Recipe and photo courtesy of USAToday.com

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Parsley (or your other favorite herb!) Pesto is the Best-o

City Greeners, it's time to start planning your herb garden at home! Once your herbs are in full bloom you can put your culinary skills to use. Not sure how? Well here's the first of a two-part recipe series.

This recipe is for Parsley Pesto, which you can easily customize to make your own signature dish. For example, instead of parsley, try cilantro (or the classic basil). Experiment with the nuts - don't feel obligated to toast them as the recipe instructs. Or, roast some of them and make two batches of pesto (and do a blind taste test to see which you and your family like better!). Cashews and peanuts add different flavors as well - find your favorite!

So here it is, as published in the Feb. 14-16 issue of USA Weekend.

Parsley Pesto

  • 3 cups packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons roasted garlic, chopped (see below on roasting garlic)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pistachios, almonds or pine nuts, toasted (see below for toasting nuts)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese (freshly grated preferred!)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • Kosher or sea salt, as needed
  • Ground black pepper, as needed

  1. In a food processor or blender, combine the parsley, garlic, pistachios, cheese, lemon zest, and olive oil, and process until smooth.
  2. Season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
      To roast garlic: Cut off the top 1/3 of a head of garlic. Place the garlic on a square of aluminum foil large enough to enclose it. Drizzle with a little olive oil, wrap the garlic in the foil, and seal closed to make a pouch. Roast in a 400-degree F oven until tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. 

     To roast nuts: Arrange the nuts in a single layer on a sheet tray and place in a 350-degree F oven and roast for 5 to 7 minutes, until golden brown, checking frequently to prevent burning. 

Image courtesy of MyRecipes.com

Monday, February 10, 2014

Trivia, anyone?!

Calling all trivia buffs!

City Greeners, as you know we are a program of Catholic Charities Midtown Center. Midtown has a whole host of programs which serve our neighbors. Our programs include: Family PRIDE (working with pregnant moms and moms with newborns), PEOPLE 1st job readiness, Direct Aid, Youth (featuring after school clubs and tutoring - plus our Summer Academy Day Camp), Midtown Mamas (mother's club - supporting our microfinancing bank, women's empowerment organization, housing advocacy, and others!), Community GardenMen's Club, and of course, City Greens!

Wow. That's a lot.

Every March, Midtown hosts a trivia night to raise funds to support all our programming. Again, we have a lot of programs! This year we're celebrating our 10th Annual "I KNEW THAT! TRIVIA NIGHT." Our super-fun event will be held Saturday, March 1st at College Church Ballroom (at Grand and Lindell in St. Louis City). The cost is $200 for a table of 8 (or $25 per person) and registration is required. There are only 40 tables available, so get your group together and register soon!

Interested yet?!

Signing up for our Trivia Night includes beer and soda, snacks, attendance prizes, and cash prizes (for 1st,
2nd, and 3rd place). Plus there are prizes for Best Food, Best Themed Table, and Best Team Name. We'll also have desserts for sale (made and sold by the Midtown Mamas), raffles, and fun games.

Come join us. The doors open at 6, and trivia begins at 7. Again, registration is required in order to take part. We also have round- and table-sponsorships available!

So now you're sold.

To sign up, contact Catholic Charities Midtown Center. You can email us or call (314) 534-1180 to reserve your spot!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Stay Warm with Some Gratin

City Greeners, with this chilly weather and snow upon us, it's nice to warm up with a nice wintery meal. This recipe features some really cozy ingredients, and offers a great blend of warm spices. Happy cooking!

Kale and Sweet Potato Gratin

  • 5 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 3 large sweet potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled and sliced about 1/8" thick
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Fresh nutmeg
  • 1 cup grated white cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Rub the inside of an 8"x 8" baking dish with 1 Tablespoon of butter. Smash garlic with the side of a knife and sprinkle generously with salt. Chop and scrape the garlic into a mushy paste. 
  2. Combine garlic paste, kale, potatoes, half-and-half, cinnamon, and remaining 4 Tablespoons butter (cut into 1/2" pieces) in a pot; stir. Season with salt and pepper and taste the creamy liquid - it should be seasoned generously. Grate a hint of nutmeg. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat while stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon. After 8-10 minutes the potatoes will be a little tender, and their starch will have thickened the liquid considerably.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish; smooth the top as much as possible. Cover the gratin with cheddar and bake until deeply golden brown, about 20-30 minutes. Let gratin cool and set a little before serving. 
Recipe and photo courtesy of Saveur.com