Photo by Zachary Cross
Ever wondered what to do with those brightly colored stems when you cook chard leaves? Don't throw them out, bake them into an easy comfort food.
There are several recipes on the blog that help use parts of vegetables that you might ordinarily throw out. From Broccoli Fried Rice, to Carrot Top Pesto, to Chard Stem Hummus, or simply sautéing your stems with your greens, there are many ways to use up what others might throw in the compost pile.
The idea is not new; cooks have always used scraps of meat and vegetables for soups and stocks. But now there are cookbooks to help us use our ingredients in innovative ways. I recommend Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal and the post for Carrot Top Pesto came from Root to Stalk Cooking. I’m intrigued by and would like to read Scraps, Wilt & Weeds, which expands the idea into wild foods and meat.
This recipe for chard stems comes from my old faithful cookbook, Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop. This was my first introduction to using the stems instead of throwing them away and is a family favorite. What’s not to like about butter and cheese?
In this recipe Bishop says to parboil the chard stems so that the stems can become tender before the butter and Parmesan brown in the oven. I’ve found that I can bake the stems, covered, with a little water until they are soft, then add melted butter and the cheese. Do what works best for what’s you, and whether you have more oven or stove space free.
I’ve also used more stems and a bigger pan, or baked at a different temperature if something else was in the oven. Just expect the stems to take longer at a lower temperature, and possibly if in a larger pan as well. The stems are very forgiving until you add the cheese and it starts to brown, then needs to be watched more closely.
Any color of chard can be used. The stems’ color will fade so the darkest, ruby-colored stems come out the prettiest. The browned cheese makes up for some of the color loss. A cheese like Parmesan or Romano is the best, but use what you have on hand!
1 bunch chard stems (about 12 large stems)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Similar, printable recipe at Kayln's Kitchen
Photo by Heather Cross
Photo by Zachary Cross
This has been a great year for greens. The cool weather has lasted well into spring and we’ve had plenty of rain. But maybe you’re getting tired of greens? Try something new!
My first recommendation for something different to do with your greens comes from Tant Hill Farm: Ferment them. Go their blog for a recipe for Dua Cai Chua.
Chard in particular is a green that we should see throughout the summer, or at least most of the summer. It doesn’t mind the warmer weather the way most other greens do. I’ve prepared it many ways but found myself with an abundance of it and a desire for something new. After flipping through most of my cookbooks I turned to the internet.
Well, I found something different: Swiss Chard Hazelnut Dessert Tart from the blog Stone Soup. Despite coming from foodandnutrition.org it is not specifically a health food but an old French recipe. I imagine chard's high oxalic acid gives it appeal in a dessert for its tart flavor much the same way rhubarb does.
The tart does have a delightful tang, balanced by the egg and sugar. Since I cannot eat them myself I left off the hazelnuts and tart crust of the original dessert recipe and it was still good and appreciated by everyone. I'm sure it's even better with the nuts and crust. I hope to try it soon with a crust I can eat.
This recipe only uses the chard leaves. The color of the chard isn’t too important, though the darkest red chard will probably tint this dish pink. Use the stems in hummus or for a sauté. I plan to have more chard stem recipes up in the near future.
Recipe by Michele Redmond, MS, RDN
Photo by Heather Cross
Photo by Mad Priest Coffee Roasters
This week Mad Priest Coffee Roasters has a new coffee of the month. Each month or so Michael Rice has been featuring one of his coffees and the country it’s from, along with a recipe from that country. Mad Priest’s mission is to “craft good coffee, educate the curious, and champion the displaced”. The coffee/country/recipe combination is one of the ways they are doing that. This month’s country is Yemen, the coffee is a Mocca Sanani, and the recipe is for Mutafayyah.
Photo by Spring Creek Veggies
From Mad Priest about Yemen:
3.1+ million people displaced (since 2015 http://www.unocha.org/yemen )
/ 186,687 people have fled to neighboring countries (http://data.unhcr.org/yemen/regional.php )
Yemen has long been the poorest country in the Arab world, and now because of ongoing war and famine, the UNHCR estimates that over 82 percent of the population (21.2 million people) require urgent humanitarian assistance. One child dies every ten minutes due to starvation and malnutrition, according to UNICEF. The Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government have been fighting since 2004, but after major advances by the Houthi, a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia launched a military campaign against them in 2015. To make matters more complicated, many other major foreign powers, Al-Queda, and ISIL all have a strong presence in Yemen and contribute to different sides of the fighting. This outrageous situation has now displaced well over 3 million people, and many are making the dangerous crossing to the Horn of Africa despite the wars going on there.
Though Yemen is known as the birthplace of coffee cultivation, the production of coffee has almost come to a complete halt in the midst of the current war, chaos, and famine. But the Yemeni coffee plants have amazingly developed coping mechanisms, like disease and drought resistance. And the farmers that tend them are incredibly resilient and persistent, too...and hopeful about the future of coffee in Yemen when the conflict is over.
Yemeni food is quite different from Middle Eastern food, in a category all its own, with a just little Ottoman and Indian influence. Meat, vegetables, and bread or rice make up most meals, and the biggest meal of the day is lunch. Alright let’s start this delicious dish from the coast of Yemen… “Bismillah.”
What you need:
2 salmon fillets
1/4 tsp of fenugreek seeds
2 tbsp of oil
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 green serrano peppers, slit lengthwise and halved
Red chile sauce to taste
1/2 tsp of ground cumin
1/2 tsp of ground coriandersalt to taste
2 tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 and 1/2 tbsp of tomato pastecilantro for garnish
What to do:
Place a frying pan on medium high heat and add the oil. When it is hot, add the fish and the fenugreek seeds. Let it cook for one minute, then add the garlic, green serrano pepper, red chile sauce, cumin, coriander, salt, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Add 1/4 cup water and shake the frying pan so everything is evenly spread out, or gently mix with a spoon (but be careful to not break the fish. Leave on medium low heat until the sauce thickens. Garnish with cilantro and serve with flat bread or on a bed of rice.
Printable recipe here
Photos by CoLyCo Farm
There’s something unusual at market this week. No, it’s not a super dirty beet or turnip, it’s a black radish!
The blog photographer, Zachary Cross, left this morning for a month or so in Europe and you can follow his journey on his Instagram or Facebook page. I’m sure there’ll be some fabulous photographs! While he’s gone I’m planning to share photographs and recipes from other locals. I’m excited to see what’s in store.
Back to radishes: They are yet another member of the brassica family (I talk about brassicas a lot, and I eat even more!), along with horseradish, broccoli, turnips, and mustards, among others. They are an ancient food, from pre-Roman times in Europe, though probably domesticated earlier in Asia. You are probably familiar with at least small, round, red radishes, and maybe the larger, oblong daikons. There are many other varieties of radish as well. The black radish is a large-ish radish, but can either be oblong or round, depending on the specific variety.
CoLyCo Farm is growing the round black variety and shared the information and recipe for this week’s post. Stephanie Dickert from CoLyCo made a series of short videos on Facebook, starting with this one, about the black radish and how to prepare it. In fact, she’s been making videos on how to prepare various veggies on their Facebook page, check them out!
You can prepare black radishes however you normally prepare radishes - leave the skin intact for some great color - but they are a hotter radish so keep that in mind. A popular way to prepare them, and one that Stephanie shares, is radish chips. There are two schools of thought on how thick or thin to slice them. Certainly the more evenly you slice them the more evenly they will cook and have less of a chance of burned spots. However, thickness is going to be a matter of personal choice. Thin slices will create a crisper chip, but Miriam Kresh, of From the Grapevine recommends a thicker slice, ½”, because, she says, it is sweeter. Try it both ways and see what you prefer!
From Stephanie Dickert, CoLyCo Farm, inspired by The Writing Corner and Karis’ Vegetarian Kitchen
Extra virgin olive oil
Slice clean, unpeeled radishes thinly, preferably with a mandoline slicer. Place on cookie sheet, brush with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. (Alternately, toss ingredients together in a bowl or ziploc bag) Bake at 375° for 12-14 minutes or until brown and crispy.
Variation: slice thicker, about ½”, for a softer texter and milder flavor (according to From the Grapevine)
Printable recipe here