Photo by Zachary Cross
My photographer is beginning his journey home today. For fabulous photos from his trip you can check out his flickr or Instagram.
This week I have another chard stem recipe for you. There are many chard recipes on the blog for both leaves and stems. One of the things I love about chard is how pretty it is, and this recipe keeps the color of the chard bright, instead of fading from cooking. There are quite a few recipes for chard pickles online but I wanted fermented pickles, not vinegar pickles.
I finally found one I liked the looks of on the blog Affairs of Living. I only made a few changes: I did not add juniper berries or bay leaf and I added the suggested fresh ginger. I wanted to keep the color bright, too, so I used a more refined sugar. I also reviewed Laura Robinson's tips on lacto-fermented foods on Tant Hill's blog that I've found helpful in the past. Affairs of Living has a post on it as well.
Pickled Chard Stems
From Affairs of Living
yield 1 quart
This is a recipe in progress - I think the addition of slightly more palm sugar along with additional spices like cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, or star anise would really make it pop. However, it was really delicious as I made it. Feel free to follow my recipe to the letter, or make changes as you see fit. Enjoy!
stems from 2-3 big bunches of chard (it depends on the size of your stems)
1 1/2-2 cups water
1 1/2 Tbsp unrefined sea salt
2 Tbsp evaporated palm sugar, or other natural sweetener like date sugar, maple sugar, or coconut sugar (or more, for a sweeter pickle)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp coriander seed
5 juniper berries
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
optional: cardamom seed, star anise, stick cinnamon, and/or sliced fresh ginger
1 1-quart glass canning jar
Clean jar well with hot soapy water, or better yet, sterilize with boiling water. Set aside.
Strip leaves from chard stems (wrap up leaves and save for other meals). Wash stems well and pick off any remaining bits of leaf. Trim off the bottom and the skinny little tips, then slice chard stems to 3-4" lengths, or just slightly shorter than the height of your jar. Place spices and bay leaf at the bottom of the jar, then pack in cut stems firmly, leaving about 1" of free space at the top of the jar. Dissolve salt and sugar in 1 1/2 cups of water, and pour over stems, adding additional water as necessary to cover, still leaving about 1" of free space at the top. Cover tightly, place on a dish to catch any drips, and let sit at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 3-4 days.
Open jar after 3-4 days and try a stem. It should tasty salty, sweet, sour, and "pickled". If it isn't sour enough to your liking, place over back on and ferment another day or two. Once pickles are done, place in refrigerator and store there for up to 6 months. Always use a clean, non-metal utensil to retrieve pickles from jar in order to keep it uncontaminated. Flavor will get better with age.
After pickles are gone, leftover brine can be used to make flavorful sauces, salad dressings, and marinades, or added to other batches of cultured vegetables.
Printable recipe here
Photo by Heather Cross
Photo by Zachary Cross
Happy Independence Day! One staple for many folks for summer gatherings is potato salad. Try a different twist on the usual mayonnaise-based recipe.
I’ve been cooking a long time, playing around with recipes since I was a young child, and making fairly elaborate dishes by the time I was a teenager. I loved trying new things and often found inspiration in the recipes in the magazines I subscribed to. For instance, I made manicotti for my future husband thanks to Seventeen magazine. I also subscribed to Victoria, and while my copies of that magazine are long gone, I still have the page of the potato salad recipe we’ve been making for decades.
While potatoes are native to the Americas, potato salad originated in Europe. Like our favorite recipe it was often served warm with a vinaigrette. Americans in the late 1800s were the first to use mayonnaise or other creamy substances, such as sour cream, to dress their salads. A mayonnaise-based potato salad is found here on the blog.
Growing up I was not a fan of mayonnaise or most creamy dressings so Victoria’s recipe was my first potato salad. Over the years we’ve tried variations on the original recipe. I’m not sure when we started roasting the potatoes instead of steaming them but we’ve stuck with roasting ever since. It gives a nicer color to the potatoes and more flavor. We’ve also used other potatoes. Small Yukon Golds are a nice variation, and for a patriotic meal try a combination of red, white, and blue potatoes.
A few notes on the ingredients: while hazelnuts with their crunch and flavor help make the dish, hazelnut oil is a not something we’ve used often. Find it on Amazon, and I would guess Whole Foods has it as well. Peeling the hazelnuts is fairly easy, but quite messy. Try and do the job outside if you’d like to keep the mess down. The herbs add some more nice color, and are a good flavor combination, but feel free to try others. I think I’ve tried garlic chives instead of regular chives as my only substitution but I could see savory or marjoram working well, if you like their flavors. Serve your potato salad warm, room temperature, or cold. Definitely try it all those ways and find the one you like best.
From Victoria magazine, circa 1988
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons hazelnut oil
2 pounds small new red potatoes (about 12 to 18 potatoes)
1 cup hazelnuts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
To make vinaigrette:
To make Potato Salad:
Variation: Roast hazelnuts first. Then roast cut potatoes in your choice of fat. Peel hazelnuts while potatoes roast. Proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Printable recipe here
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
Photo by Tant Hill Farm
Turnips: I like them but sometimes I still find them a challenge to prepare. I like a few slices raw, but not more than that. Cooked they look so pretty and smell so good but my eyes tell my brain to expect potatoes and I can end up disappointed. When I saw a recipe for Korean Lacto-fermented Salad Turnips, I wondered if fermenting is what I need to be doing with turnips.
Turnips, in one form or another, have been grown for human and animal feed for a long time. In pre-fifteenth century India, turnips, a brassica, were grown for their oilseeds, much like modern rapeseeds/canola. Today not all turnips are grown for their roots, either. Some are grown for just their leaves, though the ones grown for their roots have edible leaves, too. The leaves most resemble their cousin mustard, though they have a taste all their own. If your turnip greens are the same color as this paint color, though, throw them out! I’m not sure how that paint color was named.
The root most people in the US associate with turnip is the purple topped variety. They come in at least several other colors, though: plain white, green, golden, and a red variety that I would swear was a beet. I’d have to taste it to be sure!
Back in November I saw a post on Tant Hill Farm’s blog for fermented turnips. They looked so pretty and seemed like they would be yummy. The recipe comes from Laura Robinson, a Market board member who has her own blog as well - Root to Fruit: Simple, Seasonal Preservation.
I first heard of fermented vegetables in The Little House Cookbook. Ma Ingalls was already making vinegar pickles in the late 1800’s, but the cookbook describes fermenting pickles in a large barrel in a cellar. What seemed exotic when I first read it is now a regular part of my diet.
This is the first successful ferment I’ve made. I started some sauerkraut once long ago and unexpectedly had to abandon it, leaving me with quite the mess to come back to later. I’m pretty used to culinary fails and find it an important part of learning, but this was a fail that was hard to shake for a while. While I’ve been getting over it, I have appreciated the variety of ferments available for purchase, from national brands such as Bubbies, to friends making it, to Harvest Roots Ferments.
I was itching to make my own, though. I wanted the satisfaction of successfully making a ferment and the novelty that comes from making something different from what I can buy. Also, using up the bounty of each season appeals to me. Root to Fruit also has various other ways of preserving the harvest: preserving in oil, sauces, and quick pickles, among others. I look forward to trying different ways of preserving that I have not experimented with, either at all or in a long time.
Laura used purple-topped turnips in her ferment, but I love the look of all-white turnips. Note that the end product of an all-white ferment was not the prettiest to photograph, however. I added some additional green onion strips for color. It sure tastes yummy, no matter how it looks (much better in person, actually). The flavors of various turnips do differ with color and size, so use what you prefer to look at and taste. Larger turnips are going to be stronger and hotter, while smaller are more mild.
Laura provides excellent instructions for this recipe and has additional advice for fermenting as well. Her recipe was easy to follow and the end result tasty.
From Laura Robinson via Tant Hill Farm
Makes about 2 cups
Photo by Zachary Cross
This week I’m sharing a recipe from Michael Rice of Mad Priest Coffee Roasters. Each month or so Michael 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 Laos, the coffee is Typica from Nongsamphan, and the recipe is for Beef Larb. Although the recipe contains some exotic ingredients, they are available locally and there are ingredients found at the market as well.
Quite a few ingredients can be found at market, in fact: beef, spring onions, mint, cilantro, cucumbers, and lettuce are available right now, though you might want to plan ahead and ask your farmer about such large quantities of mint and cilantro. Lemongrass may be available and hot chilies will be as the weather continues to warm up.
For the galangal and fish sauces you will want to try an Asian or other specialty store. Galangal is a rhizome, like ginger, but has a different flavor and a woodier texture. Find it at Asian Food and Gifts of Chattanooga, though I’ve heard it’s sometimes at Whole Foods as well. Or substitute fresh ginger. Ginger is always a nice flavor though it won’t be the same as galangal. Padaek is a fermented fish sauce and found at Asian gifts as well. If you love to DIY, recipes abound for this “lifeblood of Lao cuisine.”
And remember flowers for your table! Southerly Flower Farm is back at the market with spring flowers to brighten your table.
Photos by Zachary Cross
From Mad Priest’s website about Laos:
Laos has seen an incredible amount of upheaval and destruction since its independence from the French in 1954. The Laotian Civil War (the Communist Pathet Lao versus the Royal Lao Government) raged alongside the Vietnam War for many years, and by the end in 1975, around 25 percent of the population of Laos was displaced from their homes. Then the victorious Communist party cracked down on all dissention, and over the next two decades 360,000 Laotians (about 10% of the population) were forced to flee across the treacherous Mekong River to Thailand, from there resettling mostly in the US and France.
In the 1920s, the French first introduced coffee to the fertile Bolaven Plateau in Southern Laos, but the decades of continual violence obviously took a toll. Most notably, American B-52s relentlessly bombed sections of the Ho Chi Minh Trail that snuck into the Laotian jungle, killed an untold number of civilians and contaminated many coffee fields with craters and unexploded ordinances. But since 1992, when the Communist regime began to soften its stance, there has been a quiet rebirth of coffee as farmers have returned and the region's wounded fields are once again producing world-class beans.
About the featured coffee:
Laos, primarily known for their Robusta coffee, has had a rough past with frosts and rust diseases. But a resurgence of Arabica beans and a push to infiltrate the specialty market has allowed crops like this one to make their mark!
100% washed Typica from Nongsamphan. Grown at 1100-1250 masl (meters above sea level), you'll taste a strong rhubarb overtone with a dry green tea finish. An interesting brightness and a full earthy body makes this coffee worth trying!
About Beef Larb:
"Larb" means "Good Fortune" in Lao, and this spicy, tangy, salty Laotian beef salad is sure to bring you some! It is a party in your mouth and a culinary journey into the essence of Laos. While Laotians eat more sticky rice than any other people in the world, they also love meat (sometimes raw) and fresh vegetables. Galangal (a rhizome similar to ginger), lemongrass, and padaek (fermented fish sauce) are prominent flavors in Lao Cuisine.
What you need:
What to do:
Place the beef in a bowl with all marinade ingredients, combine well, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Heat a wok or frying pan until smoking hot. Add the vegetable oil and wait until it smokes. Add the beef and toss for just a few minutes (Beef Larb is generally medium-rare). Place the beef in a large bowl and toss with the fresh and dried chillies, ground toasted sticky rice, spring onion, mint, coriander and lemongrass. Serve with cucumbers, lettuce, watercress, and extra fresh herbs. If you like it spicy, you can experiment with more chilies, lime, and fish sauce.
*To toast the sticky rice, place in a dry wok and stir over medium heat until dark golden, then pound to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle or spice mill.
Printable recipe here
Flowering stinging nettles - photos by Zachary Cross
Eat stinging nettles? Who would want to do that? As it turns out, they can be eaten safely and they have both culinary and medicinal benefits.
Nettles are a springtime dish, best only until June in our climate. They’re a distant relative of mint and could be confused at first sight. Unlike mint, they are covered with hollow stinging hairs which can inject skin with chemicals if they are touched. These chemicals cause a stinging sensation. Interestingly, nettles are also a remedy for allergies as well as other autoimmune disorders. Whether eaten or drunk as an tea, the components that cause the sting can also help the body’s histamine and other inflammatory reactions to calm down.
Dead nettle is more closely related to mint than stinging nettles. It gets its name from its resemblance to stinging nettles but without the sting it is “dead.” Like stinging nettles it has medicinal and culinary value and is found at the market in season.
Stinging nettles are also full of nutrients, including a high level of protein for a green. They can be added to a mix of greens in a sauté, in a soup, in very green baked goods, or as pesto. Cooking takes away the sting and makes it safe to eat. However, folks come from all over the world to enter the Nettle Eating Championship in Dorset England and see if they can eat the most amount of the raw, still stinging plant.
Watch out for those stingers!
If you’re not interested in the sting you’ll want to handle your nettles carefully. Your farmer may have already washed them for you - ask! If not, wash them like any other green, but use tongs or a pasta server to transfer them from the water. I’ve read that soaking them in water takes away the sting, but I’ve always parboiled. Three to five minutes is plenty of time to neutralize the stingers. Save the cooking water and drink it as a spring tonic, alone or mixed with another herb tea like mint. If you are not accustomed to nettles, start small! Drink just a little per day at first and work your way up. Nettles can be somewhat laxative, and the dose varies from person to person.
Once your leaves are not a hazard, you can add them to any meal you’d use spinach in. The flavor is equally mild but I find the texture to be lacking. I typically mix it with other spring greens if I’m using it in a sauté. I was excited to try nettle pesto as I figured that would eliminate any issues with the texture. This recipe is from Suzanna Alexander of Alexzanna Farms and is very flexible. Use nuts and cheese you have on hand. I substituted green garlic, too, for the regular garlic. A great thing about nettle pesto is its color. Unlike basil pesto it stayed a bright green, even after a few days in the refrigerator.
Note again that nettles can have a laxative effect. This is not usually a problem with the small amount of pesto used in a pound of pasta. It’s so yummy, though, beware the temptation to eat a whole bowl of it as a dip!
From Suzanna Alexander, Alexzanna Farms
4 cups fresh nettle tops - roughly chopped
⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup nuts of your choice (I used ½ almonds, ½ pecans in my last batch...yum!)
2-6 cloves of garlic according to taste
¼ cup Romano or Parmesan cheese (optional)
(Remember: Parboil nettles for 3-5 minutes, drain.)
Put all ingredients into food processor and process until creamy, making sure all the nettles are incorporated. That’s it! What an incredible taste!
Not only is it good on the traditional pasta, but the pesto makes a wonderful spread on toast or crackers. Also good as a dip. (Note from Heather: watch your portions till you know your tolerance level!) It freezes well.
Printable recipe here
Photos by Zachary Cross
Often on the blog I post other people’s recipes that I’ve found online or in cookbooks or elsewhere. Sometimes they’re tweaked and sometimes as they are written. I do come up with my own recipes once in a while, whether on purpose on by accident.
This recipe was definitely a happy accident. One evening I had market ingredients I wanted to use, looked at a cookbook or two, and just threw a few things together. At supper Jeffrey asked, “is this the blog recipe this week?” I said no and he said it should be. All right, then! I made sure to write down what I did right away so I could remember it.
The ingredients I especially wanted to use that night were shiitakes and pea shoots. In the past I’ve had pea shoots that were trimmings off of regular pea vines, but these were very young plants grown in soil. Pea sprouts grown in water are also available. They all taste like peas. I’ve found that pea trimmings from the vines get woody very quickly, so use those within a day or two of market. The shoots grown in soil, otherwise known as microgreens, were tender and tasty after quite some time in the fridge. Although, like most vegetables, their nutritional value is highest right after cutting, you can be certain they will be usable for longer.
Microgreens are fairly new on the food scene. I see recipes online going back as far as 2009 but presenting them as something new. They are grown both for their taste, much like the mature plant in a compact and tender form, and for their nutritional value, up to 40 times greater than mature plants. The definition of microgreen is a pretty loose one. They’re older than a sprout and have at least their first set of true leaves. They’re usually going to be smaller, though, than the greens sold as baby greens. A more complete description can be found here.
Because the shoots have a pea flavor, I looked in my cookbooks at pea recipes - I don’t think any of my cookbooks have pea shoot recipes. In Vegetables Every Day I came across a recipe for a side dish called Peas with Onion and Mushrooms. That gave me the basic idea to saute an onion and the shiitakes and add a fresh herb garnish at the end. From there I decided to make it more of a main dish, adding tempeh, and making the flavors more Asian with fresh ginger and cilantro.
Although the flavor combination in this recipe is excellent, it’s still a flexible recipe. For instance, tempeh is not currently a product available locally (The Farm was growing soybeans and making tempeh back in the 70s and 80s, at least, so it is possible!) Chicken breast is a logical substitute, and would be prepared similarly, though I have not tried this variation yet. I did try substituting Pacific cod from Wild Alaskan Seafood. I cut it into small chunks and added it at the very end instead of the beginning. It only needs to be cooked briefly, until it begins to get opaque. I’ve also substituted green garlic and leeks for the onion. Any available green can be substituted for the chard. A quick-cooking green such as any baby green or any spinach will cook the same as chard. A tougher green should be parboiled so it can be ready quickly in the sauté.
The basic flavor should be pretty consistent whichever variation you choose. Sometimes I like to use soy sauce or one of San-J’s gluten-free sauces in a sauté or stir fry but for this recipe I chose to leave them out. I like the way the flavors of the ingredients shine through: alliums, ginger, and the nuttiness of the oils, plus the mushrooms and pea flavors.
Serve your veggies with rice, bread, squash, or sweet potato. The herb garnish at the end adds even more green color, crunchy texture, and complementary flavors. Use these to taste, but I enjoyed a lot of them: two kinds of chives and parsley as well as the cilantro.
1-2 packages of tempeh (8 oz each)
1 medium onion, cut in half then sliced thin
8 oz shiitakes, stemmed and sliced (about 6 oz after stemming)
1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Leaves from 1 bunch of chard, cut in ribbons, then chopped
~2 cups of pea shoots
Palm and sesame oils, or other fat for cooking
Chives, parsley, and cilantro, chopped, to taste
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