Home Cooking: Play with your veggies (column)
This summer I’m inspired to find new ways to use the vegetables in the CSA share I receive each week. You’ll see that in action in this week’s recipes.
When I picked up my CSA share last week, Kyla said I had a choice between a bag of mixed greens or a bunch of rainbow chard. I told Kyla, I was no fan of chard of any color, it’s bland and un-interesting, in my book. She responded by mentioning a beef and chard recipe she’d seen somewhere and said I should try mixing the beet greens in as well. Intrigued, I took a bunch of chard home with me and began searching the internet.
The recipe that became the spring board for my beef and chard tacos began as an African dish called Sukuma Wiki, which is made with collard greens and ground beef. As I was cooking my chard and beef mixture, very pleased with how the spices were bringing the dish together, I considered how would this dish be served?
It would certainly be delicious over a bed of polenta, but that felt like comfort food for a cool autumn evening, not the monsoon season we are in the midst of. Then I remembered the soft flour tortillas I had in my pantry. I heated a skillet, added a scant teaspoon of canola oil and gave each tortilla a nice char. I used the tortillas as the vessel for the meat and greens mixture. It was perfect because the spices used in the recipe share the elements of a southwestern dish with cumin and coriander, yet are different with a tiny bit of cinnamon and freshly grated ginger, both of which I felt added depth to the flavor profile of the finished dish.
The second example of trying new ideas came from the rhubarb I received in my basket a week ago. At first, I considered going the standard route of a strawberry rhubarb tart. Then I thought a savory dish would be even more interesting. What I settled on was using the tart rhubarb in the same way you would use lemon with a roast chicken to elevate the non-descript meat.
Yes, I do have an affinity for roast chicken, specifically, spatchcocked (butterflied) chicken. Because chicken meat is a neutral-tasting meat, it lends itself to being the perfect palate for trying new flavor combinations.
Finally, I’ve included two incredibly easy side salads which can be thrown together in minutes and involve no cooking at all. Don’t be thrown off by their vibrant colors, they are absolutely approachable and delicious.
Sweet Corn Salad
Four ears of corn with kernels removed
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
4 radishes grated
1.4 cup cilantro
1 Tablespoon mint minced
3 scallions diced
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 EV 00 Pinch
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon pickled jalapeños
Holding each ear of corn upright, use a knife blade to scrape the kernels off the cob. Then, simply add the remaining ingredients, toss together, taste and adjust the seasonings.
Beet and Carrot Slaw
1/2 cup raisins
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 pound of raw beets
½ pound raw carrots
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
Juice of one half lime
1/3 cup roasted shelled pistachios (plus extra whole to sprinkle over the salad)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ -1/2 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Let raisins soak in apple cider vinegar for 30 minutes. Meanwhile grate beets and carrots together into a bowl. In a food processor, mix together the ingredients of the dressing. Pour the vinaigrette over the beet and carrot slaw, garnish with cilantro, raisins, and extra pistachios
Ground Beef and Greens Tacos
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 – 2 teaspoons of pickled jalapeños
1 teaspoon of cumin
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes to taste
1 lb ground beef
1 bunch of chard
1 bunch beet greens
6 soft flour tortillas
1 teaspoon canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Begin by sautéing the onion and garlic in a Tablespoon of olive oil until the onions are translucent, then add the ground beef, the spices, the pickled jalapeño, and cook until the beef is cooked through. Add the chopped greens, cover, and allow the greens to wilt. Meanwhile, char the tortillas in a hot pan with a scant teaspoon of oil. Fill the tortillas with the meat and greens mixture and top with your favorite cheese or sour cream.
Rhubarb Roast Chicken
2 tablespoons of olive oil into a sauté pan with a cup and a
1 bunch (1 ½ cup chopped) rhubarb
1 large shallot
Juice of 1/2 lemon
½ stick butter (4 Tablespoons)
1 roasting chicken
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375F
Chop the rhubarb and sauté in a pan with the olive oil, chopped shallot, and juice of 1/2 lemon. Sauté until softened. While the rhubarb is sautéing, prepare the chicken, if you choose to spatchcock the chicken, cut the backbone out and use the base of your palm to flatten the chicken. Take the rhubarb mixture, place in a bowl or food processor, allow to come to room temperature, add cold butter and mix together. Using your fingers, gently separate the skin from the breast, and then slip the rhubarb mixture into the pocket created and smear the excess over the skin of the chicken. Roast for 1 hour in the oven, if you want to brown the skin, increase the temp to 400F for the last 15 minutes. Baste 2-3 times during the roasting process.
Suzanne Anderson lives in Breckenridge.
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