Archive for May, 2009

Freezing Summer Squash

Freezing the squash is super simple.  Grate a fresh, washed zucchini or patty pan on a cheese grater, pack into a freezer bag into the serving size you will eventually use, label the bag and stick in the freezer. Voila!

A yummy, simple recipe to use the grated squash contributed by my apprentice Clara, is to sautee onion and garlic in olive oil or butter, add the grated squash and cook until the water evaporates.  You can cook until mushy, or until crispy, your choice.  Serve hot.

I made some Squash and Potato Pancakes the other day that were awesome.  Use equal parts grated potato and squash, and enough egg  just to bind it together.  I added sage and thyme, salt and pepper, and a little cayenne to the mix.  Pour into pancake sized portions in a hot pan and cook until browned on both sides.  Eat with lots of ketchup!

A couple of kid-friendly squash recipes approved by my very selective two-year old Godchild Eliza contributed by her mother Sarah.

Summer Squash Bake
6-7 cups zucchini or yellow squash (shredded or chopped; remove spongy seedy part if using mature squash)
1 small onion (minced)
Combine with enough water to cook or microwave until tender, 3-4 minutes (shredded zucchini may be used without cooking).

1 can condensed cream soup
1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 cup shredded carrot

Mix together in a separate bowl.

2 tablespoons fresh oregano (chopped; 2 teaspoons dried)
1 cup cooked chicken (optional)
1 cup cheese (optional)
Add and mix thoroughly. Stir into squash mixture.

1/4 cup butter or margarine (melted)
2-3 cups herbed croutons or herb stuffing mix
Mix together in a separate bowl.  Put half into the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan or a deep casserole dish.  Add the squash mixture and top with the reserved croutons.  Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

Carolyn Beyer, Leola, Pennsylvania
Lois Loftin, Halstead, Kansas
Myrna Kaufman, Goshen, Indiana

Cheese and Zucchini Sausages
Delicious vegetarian sausages are quick and easy to prepare.  If you have time, you can form the mixture into sausage shape and then set aside in the fridge to firm up before frying.

3 slices bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 1/4 cups grated zucchini
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 egg, separated
A little salt and freshly ground black pepper (I bet minced sage would be good in this too!)
Vegetable oil for frying

Make bread crumbs by tearing the bread into pieces and blitzing it in a food processor.

Heat the butter in a frying pan and fry the onion until soft.  Add the grated zucchini and cook for 3 minutes or until softened.
Mix with the grated cheese, half the bread crumbs, the egg yolk and seasoning.  Shape into 8 sausages about 4 inches long, using floured hands.  Dip into the lightly beaten egg white and then roll in the remaining bread crumbs.
Heat some oil in a wok or frying pan and cook the sausages over medium heat, turning carefully as necessary, until lightly golden.
Annabel Karmel – Superfoods for babies and children

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These recipes are cut and pasted from Mariquita Farms CSA website.  Sorrel is traditionally used with fish and in soups- the sauce for the fish below sounds delightful!

Lore and Legend of Sorrel from The Good Herb by J. Benn Hurley

Some Irish historians say that sorrel, not clover, may have been the original shamrock, and that it may have been the arrow-shaped, three-cornered sorrel leaf that St. Patrick used as a model for the trinity. Early Egyptians and Romans nibbled on fresh sorrel leaves after overeating, both for their soothing effect on the digestive system and for their diuretic properties. In North America, 200 years ago, sorrel was eaten as “lemonade in a leaf.” It’s a good source of vitamin C, and used to be taken to prevent scurvy.

“Sorrel” Musings from Everyone Eats Well in Belgium by Ruth Van Waerebeek

In the United States, sorrel is usually considered an herb, but it is really a leafy green vegetable not unlike spinach. It is much prized in Belgium for its tart, acidic taste, and we grow it in our kitchen gardens right next to the spinach.

from The Oxford Companion to Food by Alan Davidson: An old English accompaniment to meat and fish was greensauce made from sorrel pounded to a paste with vinegar or lemon juice and sugar; and this name was also applied to the plant itself.

Sorrel Risotto idea from Susan K:

I used the sorrel last night it was fabulous–I sauted the leaves in olive oil with chopped garlic until it was kind of mushy. Then I stirred it into risotto just before serving.I hope to see some more of it in the next box

Penne with Mushrooms and Fresh Sorrel from The Good Herb by J. Benn Hurley

1 Tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, mashed through a press
1 medium onion, sliced
1 small chile pepper
1 cup chopped tomatoes
6 cups hot cooked penne or other pasta, about 3/4 pound dried
1/3 cup minced sorrel leaves

Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat, then pour in the oil. Add the mushrooms, garlic, onion and hot pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until saucy and fragrant, about 7 minutes more. In a large bowl, toss the penne with the sauce and sorrel. Serve warm.

Leek and Sorrel Pancakes with Smoked Salmon
adapted from Big Oven.com

1/4 c Unsalted butter; (1/2 stick)
Salt; optional
4 c Chopped leeks; (cleaned and chopped)
Vegetable oil
2 c Sorrel or spinach; washed
4 oz Smoked salmon; (4 to 8)
2 Eggs
Sour cream; for garnish
1/4 c All-purpose flour
Chopped chives; for garnish

Heat saute pan over medium-high heat. Add butter when pan is hot. After butter melts, add leeks and saute until tender but not brown. Add sorrel; cook briefly to wilt sorrel. Remove from heat; let cool. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until frothy. Add flour; whisk until smooth. Add cooled leek mixture. Heat griddle over medium-high heat. Film with oil. When oil is hot, drop about 2 tablespoons batter for each pancake on griddle. Cook until brown. Turn and continue to cook until brown on other side. Remove from griddle and top with salmon, sour cream and chives. Serve immediately. Yield: 8 to 10 appetizer servings.

Split Pea Soup with Sorrel Stir chopped fresh sorrel greens into hot pea soup just before serving.

Carrot Sorrel Juice

2# carrots
1-2 stalks of celery
1 apple
1/2-1 whole bunch sorrel

Clean the carrots and remove any green parts. Wash the celery but do not remove the leaves. Cut the granny smith apple into 1/8th segments and remove the bitter seed pod. Rinse the sorrel leaves. Run everything through the juicer starting with the carrots. After one or two carrots have been run through the machine put the celery and sorrel through and then alternate carrots and apples until they are gone. Strain the juice through a couple layers of cheesecloth or a fine strainer to remove the pulp that makes it through the juicer screen if desired (this will produce a clear juice devoid of the grittyness, that some people do like).

Apple Sorbet With Sorrel Recipe
From Victory Garden. via the RecipeZaar

* 2 cups  apples
* 2 cups apple juice
* 2 cups french sorrel, firmly packed

1. The apples should be peeled and diced into cubes.
2. Bring the apples and apple juice to a boil over high heat.
3. When it boils, turn the heat to medium and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
4. Pour the apple mixture into a bowl and refrigerate until it is cold [approximately 1 hour].
5. Process apple mixture and sorrel leaves in a blender at high speed, until smooth.
6. Freeze according to ice cream machine makers directions for Sorbet.
7. You can also place in casserole dish and freeze in freezer for 2 to 3 hours.
8. Serve

Sorrel Soup

Chop the stems and leaves from one bunch of sorrel. Melt some butter and sweat some chopped onion or leek, then add the stems and leaves of the sorrel. Add a few cups of stock(vegetable or chicken) with a bit of salt and pepper to taste. To get fancier: you can add milk or creme fraiche or half and half and pureé this soup… It can be eaten hot or chilled.

Sorrel is classic as a sauce for fish:
Sorrel Sauce for Fish from The Peppermill Rest. in Clearwater, FL

1/2 cup chopped fresh sorrel
2 T dry white wine
3 T minced green onions
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 t fresh lime juice
Ground white pepper

Combine sorrel, wine and shallots in heavy small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sorrel wilts, about 2 minutes. Add cream and lime juice. Boil until reduced to sauce consistency, about 12 minutes. Transfer sauce to blender. Puree until almost smooth. Return sauce to same saucepan. Season with ground white pepper and salt.

SORREL VICHYSSOISE from Gourmet 1992

1 cup finely chopped white and pale green part of leek, washed well
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound boiling potatoes
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1/2 pound fresh sorrel, stems discarded and shredded coarse
1/2 cup heavy cream(I used milk successfully)
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives, or to taste

In a large saucepan cook the leek and the onion with salt and pepper to taste in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, add the potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces, the broth, and the water, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are very tender. Stir in the sorrel and simmer the mixture for 1 minute. Purée the mixture in a blender in batches, transferring it as it is puréed to a bowl, and let it cool. Stir in the cream or milk, the chives, and salt and pepper to taste, chill the soup, covered, for at least 4 hours or overnight, and serve it sprinkled with the additional chives.

Sorrel and Goat Cheese Quiche
A Luna Circle Farm original recipe

2-3 cups sorrel, coarsely chopped
a few scallions, chopped
3-4 ounces goat cheese (chevre)
3 eggs
1½ cups milk
¼ teaspoon salt
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread goat cheese (or any strong flavored cheese) in the bottom of a piecrust. Cover with chopped sorrel and scallions. Beat eggs, salt and milk together. Pour over greens. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown.ps.

Cream of Sorrel Soup

Clean, shred from the midrib and chop:
½ cup sorrel leaves
1½ cups leaf lettuce
Sauté them until wilted in:
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
When they are sufficiently wilted, there will be only about 3 tablespoons of leaves.
5 cups poultry or vegetable stock
Simmer about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add a small amount of the soup to: ½ cup cream
3 beaten egg yolks
Combine all ingredients and heat until the soup thickens slightly, but do no boil. Makes 5 to 6 cups.

Source: Joy of Cooking

Sorrel Pesto: great as an interesting pasta coating or a thick sauce for fish.

2 cups coarsely chopped fresh sorrel, ribs removed
1/3 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
In a food processor or blender puree the sorrel, the parsley, the garlic,
the parmesan, the pine nuts and the oil, transfer the pesto to a jar with
a tight fitting lid and chill it, covered. The pesto keeps, covered and
chilled, for 2 weeks. Makes about 1 cup.

To use the pesto: For every pound of dried pasta cooking in a kettle of
boiling water, stir together in a heated serving bowl 3/4 cup of the pesto
and 2/3 cup of the hot cooking water. When the pasta is al dente, drain it
in a colander, add it to the pesto mixture, and toss the mixture until the
pasta is coated well. Vermicelli works very well with this recipe.


If you’ve never used sorrel, try adding small amounts to your salads. In any recipe that calls for spinach you can substitute a small amount of sorrel-try 1/4 sorrel, 3/4 spinach as a start. Place a sprig or two on sandwiches with the lettuce or in place of watercress. Shred sorrel into soups with a tomato or fish base. It is one of the herbs that is best added at the last minute instead of cooking for longer periods of time. Sorrel does not dry well, but you can puree the leaves and store in the freezer to use as seasoning. For salads and when using raw choose leaves that are less than 6 inches, but save the larger ones for cooking.

When adding sorrel cut back on the amount of lemon and vinegar in the recipe. It’s a good herb for those on salt free diets because it adds seasoning without salt.

These are simple sorrel recipes that can be adapted to your tastes. Remember that you can add sorrel to any fresh salad, or combine with spinach in any of your favorite recipes!

Greens and Fish
An old authentic French recipe

1/2 pound chard
1/2 pound spinach
few leaves of sorrel
one garlic clove
2 pounds thin fish fillets
Crusty bread

Place the greens and one peeled, crushed garlic clove in a pot and cook for ten minutes, then chop. Add the fish, and cook for 10-15 minutes until done-NO longer. Place piece of crusty bread on a plate and serve the fish and the chopped greens beside one another with the liquid.

Sorrel Omelet

4 eggs
1 tablespoon cream
1 cup sorrel, cleaned and trimmed
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 tsp salt

Shred sorrel. In a heavy pan, heat half the butter and add sorrel and salt. Cook for about ten minutes, while stirring. Combine the eggs and cream in a bowl, beating gently. Add the sorrel mixture and combine. Add the remaining butter to a skillet and heat until butter is slightly browned. Add the egg mixture and stir briskly with the back of a fork or spoon until the eggs are evenly spread on the bottom of the skillet. Keep moving the unset eggs around with the utensil smoothly until there is no liquid left. Do not overcook. Shake the pan gently over the heat a few times. Fold the omelet over in half and serve.

Sorrel Soup

1/2 pound sorrel
2 tablespoons butter
6 cups water
1/2 pound potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1 egg yolk

Clean and shred sorrel, then chop. In a large heavy pan, heat butter. Add sorrel and cook, stirring, for ten minutes until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Add the water, potatoes and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour. Strain and mash or puree the vegetables. Stir the cooking liquid into vegetables and return to pan. Bring to boil. Stir in milk and yolk. Cook until hot, but do not boil. Serve with French Bread.

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My roommates/apprentices/friends and I made the BEST dinner the other night and realized during the meal that it included most everything from this weeks CSA box.   Here was our menu:

Larry’s Roasted Beet Salad (see below) over a Romaine salad with Smoked Yellow Tomato dressing made by another friend in his smoker.

Sauteed Shredded Summer Squash with Spring Onions and Garlic- grate zuccinis or pattypans and sautee with above ingredients and olive oil until water cooks off or crispy- your preference!

Smashed Red New Potatoes with Dill and Burden Creek Dairy’s goats milk to make it nice and creamy.

Sauteed Baby Bok Choy and Grated Carrots with horseradish, tamari and cashews.  Of course this had garlic and onions in it.  What that we cook does not?

We were very satisfied at the end of the meal and feeling healthy and light too!

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Risotto with Beet Greens and Roasted Beets

submitted by CSA member Nikki

This rich-tasting risotto is decidedly pink (maybe it will be the key to getting your picky daughter to eat vegetables!). Use a full-bodied vegetable stock if you are vegetarian; otherwise use a well seasoned chicken or turkey stock.

3/4 pound beets (1 bunch small), roasted

1 bunch beet greens, stemmed and washed

6 to 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock, as needed

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1 1/2 cups Arborio or Carnarolli rice

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

1/2 cup red, rose, or dry white wine


Freshly ground pepper

1 to 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1/4 to 1/2 cup, to taste)

2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan. Season well and turn the heat to low. Stack the stemmed, washed greens and cut crosswise into 1-inch wide strips.

2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large nonstick frying pan or wide, heavy saucepan and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes, and add the rice and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the grains of rice are separate and beginning to crackle, about 3 minutes.

3. Stir in the wine and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. The wine should bubble, but not too quickly. You want some of the flavor to cook into the rice before it evaporates. When the wine has just about evaporated, stir in a ladleful or two of the simmering stock (about 1/2 cup), enough to just cover the rice. The stock should bubble slowly (adjust heat accordingly). Cook, stirring often, until it is just about absorbed. Add another ladleful or two of the stock and continue to cook in this fashion, not too fast and not too slowly, stirring often and adding more stock when the rice is almost dry, for 10 minutes.

4. Stir in the greens and the diced beets, and continue adding more stock, enough to barely cover the rice, and stirring often, for another 10 to 15 minutes. Taste a bit of the rice. Is it cooked through? It should taste chewy but not hard in the middle. Definitely not soft like steamed rice. If it is still hard in the middle, you need to continue adding stock and stirring for another 5 minutes or so. Now is the time to ascertain if there is enough salt. Add if necessary.

5. When the rice is cooked through, add a generous amount of freshly ground pepper, and stir in another half cup of stock, the Parmesan and the parsley. Remove from the heat. The rice should be creamy; if it isn’t, add a little more stock. Stir once, taste and adjust seasonings, and serve.

Variation: I often blanch greens when I get them home from the market so that they won’t wilt or rot in the refrigerator if I don’t get around to cooking them right away. If you do this, and want to use them for this risotto, chop the blanched greens and set aside. Add them to the risotto during the last few minutes of cooking, just to heat them through and amalgamate into the dish.

Advance preparation: The roasted beets will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator. You can get ahead on the risotto, cooking it just through Step 3, then spreading the rice out in the pan or on a baking sheet. Reheat and proceed with Step 4 shortly before serving.

Yield: Serves 4 to 5 generously as a main dish

Approximate Nutritional Information: 585 calories per serving; 114 calories from fat; total fat: 12.6g; saturated fat 3.3g; cholesterol 134mg; sodium 282mg; total carbohydrates 53.6g; dietary fiber: 2.4g; sugars 6.2g; protein 56.2g (Data provided by calorie-count.com.)

Larry’s Beet Salad

When I was working in New York on Mountain Dell Farm, our neighbor Larry would collect our mouse-bitten beets and return the next day with this wonderful salad.  So simple and so good.  Let it marinate for a day for the best flavor. 

5-10 Beets, roasted in the oven for 50 minutes, until you can just slide a fork through them.

2 tbsp olive oil

2tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp dried or 2 tbsp fresh oregano (you will get some in your box soon!)

2 thinly sliced Spring Onions

salt and pepper.

Roast beets, peel skins while beets are still very warm- using a paper towel helps with gripping the skins and from preventing burns.  Slice into 1″ by 1/4″ pieces, add above ingredients and let marinate for a little while, or just eat right then.

Enjoy~ Rita

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This musky, heat loving herb is delightful to simply bury your nose in.  The following recipe from Vegan Planet is so easy and was voted “the best meal ever” by a farm helper (until a week later when we had carrot dogs!).

Tuscan White Beans with Garlic and Sage

“The people of Tuscany have a prolific bean preparation repertoire.  Among their classic recips is a simple sautee of white beans, garlic and sage.  This is delicious as a topping for bruscetta or pasta.  You may add chopped greens such as escarole or broccoli rabe, if you like.

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzing if desired

2 garlic cloves, minced

10 fresh sage leaves, minced

3 cups cooked, or 2 15-oz. cans cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the sage and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds more.

2. Add the beans, stirring to coat.  Simmer over low heat until hot, about 10 minutes.  Season with S & P to taste and drizzle with a little olive oil, if desired.  Serve hot.”

So simple!  So good, healthy and inexpensive too.

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Mustard Greens

Another Green that just grows and grows and grows!  These recipes were gleaned from another CSA website Noble Foods Farm in the Midwest and the internet and selected for tastiness and ease, so please let us know how they are.

Mustard Greens

Early spring is a time for greens! In spring my body is craving something fresh and robust from the garden after a long winter without salads. Mustard greens are one of the first spring greens ready for harvest early in May (or October through June in Charleston!!). They can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in soups, added to stir-fries, or pasta dishes. Mustard greens can also be mixed into omelets, quiches, lasagna, and casseroles.

The following greens can all be used interchangeably in recipes calling for any cooking green: arugula, collards, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, beet greens, Swiss chard, dandelion greens, spinach, and radish tops. Experimentation is the key to finding a flavor combination you love.

If you can’t eat all your spring greens at once, they also freeze well. Blanch washed greens for 2-3 minutes. Rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process, drain, and pack into airtight containers such as zip-lock freezer bags. For fresh eating, wash leaves in a large sink of cold water. Spin or pat dry with a towel. Remove stem and ribs of mustard greens before using. Roughly chopped, mustard greens can be used in the following recipe:
Oven Polenta with Glazed Baby Onions, Mustard Greens, and Blue Cheese
Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition

20-24 small “boiling onions” (about 1 lb) or the 4 small regular onions, quartered
1 cup yellow cornmeal (medium grain)
4 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock, divided
Salt & pepper
2 Tbs butter
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp cider vinegar
2 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
¼ tsp crushed red chile flakes
1 pound mustard greens, thick stems discarded and leaves chopped (or substitute turnip or other
spicy-flavored greens)
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

Bring a pot of water to boil. Cut a tiny “X” in root end of onions, drop them in the boiling water, and cook 1-2 minutes. Drain, cool, and slice off ends, leaving a little root end intact so onions won’t fall apart when cooked further. Remove skins. Heat oven to 350°F. Oil a large ovenproof skillet (preferably nonstick) Add cornmeal, 4 cups stock, and 1 tsp salt; stir well (it won’t get smooth until it’s cooked). Bake uncovered, without stirring, until liquid is absorbed, 40-50 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter over medium heat in skillet. Add onions, sprinkle with salt, and cook until nearly tender, 8-10 minutes, shaking pan frequently to prevent sticking. Add sugar and continue to cook, shaking pan, 2-3 minutes. Add remaining ¼ cup stock and vinegar. Raise heat; cook until liquid becomes a glaze, again shaking pan. Remove onions to a bowl. Wipe out skillet; add olive oil. Add garlic, chile flakes and greens; cook stirring often until tender, 4-5 minutes. Stir in onions; add salt and pepper to taste. When polenta is done, serve it in a wide shallow bowl topped with greens and blue cheese. Makes 4-6 servings.

Glazed Onions & Mustard Greens Over Couscous

Submitted by CSA Member Barbara Olic-Hamilton

  • 1 large onion or 4 small onions
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 2 tsp wine cider with raspberry or other flavoring
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp red chile flakes or seafood seasoning
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 pound mustard greens or any greens such as kale, mizuna, chard (thick stems discarded and leaves chopped)
  • 1 package Near East whole wheat couscous (Garlic and Basil couscous is good.)

Bring pot of water to boil. Cut a tiny “x” in root end of un-peeled onions, drop them in boiling water, and cook 2-3 minutes. Drain, cool, slice off ends leaving a little root end intact so onions won’t fall apart when cooked further. Remove skins.

Melt butter over medium heat in nonstick skillet. Add onions, sprinkle with salt, and cook until nearly tender—8-10 minutes. Shake pan frequently to avoid sticking. Add sugar and continue to cook, shaking pan for 2-3 minutes. Add chicken stock and vinegar. Raise heat. Cook until liquid becomes a glaze, again shaking pan. Remove onions to a bowl.

Meanwhile, follow package directions and cook couscous.

Wipe out skillet. Add olive oil. Add garlic, greens and sprinkle with red pepper flakes or seafood seasoning. Cook, stirring often until tender—4-5 minutes. Stir in onions. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve couscous in a wide, shallow bowl topped with greens and onion mixture. Serves 4-6.

Curried Mustard Greens with Kidney Beans

From Taste of Home Recipe Finder, Submitted by CSA Member Beth Landis ~~ Beth says, “This is fairly quick and simple. I substituted light sour cream and fat free yogurt for the half and half”.

  • 1 bunch mustard greens
  • 1 Tbs ghee (clarified butter)
  • 2 medium shallots, chopped
  • 1 Tbs minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 cup half and half

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place greens in the pot, cover, and cook 7 minutes, or just until tender. Drain, and rinse under cold water.

Heat the ghee in a skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the shallots until lightly brown. Stir in ginger, and season with red pepper. Mix in greens, kidney beans, tomato sauce, and curry powder. Stir in the half and half, and continue cooking until heated through.

Hot Wilted Greens

1 thick slice smoky bacon
½ T olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 medium sweet red onion
3 T chicken stock
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 quart mixed piquant leafy greens (such as arugula, endive or mustard greens)
¼ cup toasted pecans

  • In a large, deep skillet or wok over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Crumble and reserve. Add olive oil to bacon drippings in skillet, heat and add garlic and onions.
  • Sauté for 3-4 minutes, until onions and garlic are softened. Stir in chicken stock and vinegar.
  • Add greens and mix. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until leaves are coated. Cover and cook several minutes more, until leaves are wilted and cooked tender-crisp.
  • Top with bacon and chopped pecans. Serve hot. Serves 4.

A different tradition of quick-cooked spring greens has been passed down through the generations in the family of a black South Carolinian novelist, farmer and farm stand operator named Dori Sanders. She traces many of her family’s culinary traditions to her Aunt Vestula, who died when Dori was a young girl.

Aunt Vestula, a link to a bygone era of southern history, worked around the turn of the century in the kitchen of a plantation near Charleston. Part of her pay was bringing home leftovers. In Dori Sanders’ Country Cooking (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, N.C., 1995), Sanders describes a springtime tradition of foraging in the fields for wild greens, many of which are available in cultivated form in Southern California farmers markets. She mentions what Carolinians call creasie greens (field cress that is a wild relative of water cress), pokeweed and dandelion greens.

Pokeweed tastes like beet leaves but with a stronger flavor, she writes. As with all bitter greens, boiling them before further preparation takes off some of the edge.

Mess o’ Greens Salad
With Warm Pecan Dressing

6 cups fresh mustard, turnip, and/or collard greens (about 1 pound)
6 cups fresh mustard, turnip, and/or collard greens (about 1 pound)
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. honey
1 T Dijon mustard
2 tsp. vegetable oil
½ cup pecans, roughly chopped or broken

  • Wash greens well, dry thoroughly, then remove and discard the long stems. Tear the greens into salad-size pieces and place in a large bowl.
  • In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, honey and mustard. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a small skillet until hot but not smoking. Add the vinegar mixture and pecans and cook, stirring regularly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour over the greens and serve at once.

People in Mediterranean cultures, who have been big fans of bitter greens, such as dandelion and chicory, for centuries, boil them as a matter of course. Authorities on Italian cuisine recommend cutting the greens crosswise into 1-inch pieces before plunging them into the salted, boiling water. Then wring out the excess water, chop them up, and proceed with the desired recipe.

Cookbook author Diane Seed, in The Top One Hundred Italian Dishes (Ten Speed Press), suggests tossing dandelion greens or rapini with a chunky-shaped pasta, like penne, orechiette or ziti.

Seed, who teaches cooking classes in south Italy, suggests cooking the pasta in the same water used to boil the greens, which not only adds flavor to the pasta, but saves time, to boot.

She favors turnip greens in the following recipe, but broccoli raab (rapini), mustard or dandelion greens work just as well.

For the best flavor, use a strong, fruity extra-virgin olive oil. Serve with a loaf of thick-crusted, whole-grain bread.

Pasta with Dark Greens

2 pounds broccoli raab, turnip,
mustard or dandelion greens
Kosher salt
1 pound orechiette, penne or other pasta
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 anchovy filets in oil, drained and finely chopped
Pinch dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper and salt

  • In a large pot, bring 2 to 3 quarts of water to a boil.
  • While the water heats, trim the greens and wash them well. Cut the greens crosswise into 1-inch pieces or strips.
  • When the water comes to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt. Toss the greens into the boiling water; cook until they are almost tender but still bright green, 8 to 10 minutes. (The time will vary somewhat depending on what kind of greens you use. Testing them is the best way to know when they are done.) With a slotted spoon, remove greens from the pot and toss into a large bowl of cold water.
  • Add the pasta to the pot of water in which the greens were cooked. While the pasta cooks, squeeze the greens to remove as much water as possible. Fluff the greens to separate them, then set aside.
  • In a large, heavy skillet or a wok, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, just until the garlic begins to color. (Take care not to let it burn or the dish will taste bitter.) Add the anchovies, pressing them so they “melt” into the oil. Add the pepper flakes. When the pasta is almost done, 10 to 12 minutes, add the drained greens to the pan and cook together for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove pan from the heat.
  • Drain the pasta, leaving a bit of water clinging to it. Add the pasta to the cooked greens; toss well. Season to taste with pepper and salt. Serve immediately with a loaf of the thick-crusted, whole-grain bread. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Note: If you prefer, the greens can be cooked ahead and held up to 8 hours. (Refrigerate them if it will be more than two hours, then bring them back to room temperature before using.) You won’t get to reuse the cooking water from the pasta, but you will be able to put the finished dish on the table in just minutes.

—-above three recipes from theseasonalchef.com

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