Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Beautiful Leafy Greens

We have the most beautiful mustard greens right now. I just couldn't resist cooking some up right after harvest. Granted, the recipe below degrades their bright colors and different textures but the result is melt in your mouth greens. I am a huge proponent of leafy greens because their nutritional value is staggering....staggering! So, eat your greens! Just in case you are unfamiliar with eating and/or cooking these leafy gems I've thrown in my favorite way to eat kale too.

Spicy Mustard Greens with Cumin
Peter Berly - The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen

This is a true culinary jewel. I am always stunned by the effect that these slow cooked, mouth–watering tender greens have on my guests.

2 Tb extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 red jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped, or ½ tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
2 large bunch mustard greens (about 1.5-2 pounds), chopped into bite-size pieces
Cider vinegar
Coarse sea salt
Freshly milled black pepper

  1. In a large pot over medium heat,warm the oil. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeno, and cumin and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the mustard greens and raise the heat. Stir until the greens wilt. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes, until the greens are meltingly tender.
  2. Season with vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Steamed Kale with Olive Oil Drizzle

1 bunch kale
sea salt
olive oil

1. Set up a steaming basket. Place and inch of water in a pot with a steaming basket on top and crank up the heat.

2. Remove the midribs from the leaf. The fastest way to do this is to place your fore finger and thumb at the base of the leaf gently grasping the midrib (fibrous stem-like thing running down the middle of the leaf). Next drag your fingers up the midrib pulling the leaf off.

3. Stack the leaves and roll them up into a cigar and then cut across the cigar (shortwise) to make inch wide strips.

4. When the water is boiling, place the kale in the pot. Toss around the leaves a bit with tongs and then put the lid on. Steam the kale until desired tenderness. This will not take more than a few minutes.

5. Move the steamed kale into a bowl and toss with salt and drizzle with olive oil. I like the kale to be lightly coated with olive oil but not drowning in it. The flavor of the olive oil really enhances the flavor of the kale - so don't be shy.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Slow food and easy beets

Hi Everyone - I've posted two new recipes. One is quick and tasty featuring beets and a yummy yogurt sauce, and the other is a soup with homemade stock and garbanzo beans. Enjoy.

Roasted Beets with a Citrus Tarragon Yogurt Sauce

This recipe is relatively hands off leaving you gaps of time to pull together the rest of your meal. It is easy and shockingly beautiful when the yogurt meets the hot pink of the beets. Beets are becoming a staple in our house. I hope you enjoy this yummy dish.

2 bunches of beets (~1.5 lbs)
1 cup thick whole fat yogurt
2 tsp orange juice concentrate
1 ½ tsp honey
1 tsp tarragon, minced
2 Pinchs of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400.

Cut the tops (greens) and root tips off. Then cut each beet in half (or quarter) so that they are all close to the same size. Place them cut-side down in a casserole dish. Fill the dish with a ½ inch of water – enough to cover the bottom of the pan and come a tiny bit up the beet. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes. The beets are ready when you can cut through one with a spoon with minimal resistance.

While the beets are roasting mix the remaining ingredients together. Stir well with a spoon or spatula to soften the yogurt and mix the honey in. I am using oj concentrate because oranges are not in season. In the spring time feel free to use orange zest and fresh orange juice instead.

When the beets are done, pull them out and set them aside to cool. Once they are cool to the touch gently pull the loosened skins off the beets to reveal a silky shiny beautiful roasted beet! You can cut them into bite sized pieces at the point. Wash you hands and anything else that’s turned bright pink as soon as possible. Toss the beets with a pinch of salt and serve along side the yogurt sauce.

Herby garbanzo bean soup with roasted vegetable stock

This soup is satisfying and a tasty tribute to slow food. The key is taking the time to make your own roasted vegetable stock. Homemade stock makes any dish taste richer and more flavorful. It is well worth the prep time required and there is no salt added. So, if you are going to be around the house and in and out of the kitchen give it a try.

Roasted Vegetable Stock

(can be made the night before you want the soup)

1 lb carrots

1 lb potatoes

2 onions

1 green pepper

1 ear of corn

2 ½ quarts water

3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

3 thyme sprigs

½ bunch parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the carrots, potatoes, onions into 2 inch pieces. Note: if you are using smaller potatoes or fingerlings leave them whole. Place the carrots, potatoes, onions, green pepper, and shucked corn on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake for 30-40 minutes. The veggies should have some color and the onions should be sweet.

Place the roasted veggies in a large pot and cover with water (2.5 quarts). Add the garlic.and thyme. Bring the stock to a simmer. Try to keep the stock from boiling and do not stir or agitate the contents during the simmering process. Keep the stock at a simmer for 45 minutes – 1 hour. Add the parsley for the last 20 minutes.

Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth


1 cup dried garbanzo beans (soaked for 8 hours with optional 3 inch piece kombu*)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, diced

1 large red pepper, diced

1 Tb thyme leaves, minced

Roasted vegetable stock (recipe above)

1 ½ Tb red wine vinegar

2 Tb olive oil, plus some to coat pan

1 ½ tsp sea salt

1 cup water

1/8 tsp cayenne

1 packed cup kale, remove midrib and chiffonade

Place the soaked beans in a pot and cover them with 2 inches of water. Bring water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 1-1.5 hours. Taste for doneness regularly after 40 minutes. Make sure the beans stay covered with water. Alternatively, cook the soaked beans in a pressure cooker at high pressure for 13-18 minutes.

When the beans are almost done, cover the bottom of a soup pot with olive oil and heat on medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and a pinch of salt and sweat the onions till they are soft and translucent for about 4 minutes. Add the red pepper and the thyme and continue to sweat. When the peppers are soft add the stock, red wine vinegar, cooked garbanzo beans, olive oil, salt, and cayenne. Let all the ingredient simmer together for 10 minutes. Taste and alter salt and cayenne content if needed. Add the kale strips and simmer for 5 more minutes.


Here is a suggested timeline if you don’t want to cram it all in to one night
Night one: make stock
Next morning: soak beans
Night two: cook beans, put soup together

Not so slow version
Use 4 cups prepared vegetable stock – preferably organic and roasted
Use 2 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans from cans

*Cooking beans
Soaking and cooking your beans with a piece of kombu will ease digestion and reduce gas production making your bean experience a happier one