by Karin LaRonde
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a food booth at the Charlottetown Farmer's Market and my heart
beats just a bit faster in the spring when the new veggies start
showing up. After this long winter it will be exciting to see
some shades of green. You can help support local farms while cooking
delicious and nutritious foods by learning how to identify, cook
and preserve the produce you buy at the Market.
are some spring vegetables and a few recipes...
is a mild green like spinach but with a colored stem. Minerals
found in both greens are more readily absorbed from chard which
doesn't contain the inhibitor oxalic acid. Chard is available
from spring through fall and, like most greens, can be refrigerated
for 2-4 days if kept moist. Wash leaves separately and store in
the hydrator. Chard can be steamed, sautéed, stir fried
or added to soups. Stems require longer cooking times. You can
use chard in recipes calling for any greens, even spinach, such
as quiche and lasagna.
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons oil
1 bunch Swiss chard
1 cup shredded cheese
1 teaspoon salt
2 pie crusts
oven to 400 degrees. Brown onion and garlic in oil. Trim and chop
chard, add to pan and cook until wilted. Beat eggs in a bowl;
add cheese, salt and chard and mix. Pour into pie shells and bake
Makes 2 pies.
are said to be a good decongestant, system cleanser, and diuretic
as well as being rich in Vitamin A. These greens can be found
in the wild or cultivated. The most tender greens are found in
the spring before flowering. Choose brightly colored leaves with
no wilting. Try to avoid greens with brown spots. Usually, the
paler the leaf, the more tender the taste. Use small, pale leaves
for salads. Large, darker leaves can be used for cooking. Wrapped
tightly in plastic, dandelions with roots will keep longest. Like
lettuce and other leafy greens, dandelions need thorough cleaning
to remove dirt and soil. Submerge greens in water and rinse. Repeat
until water runs clear of residue.
Croutes with Dandelion
Greens and Red Currents
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
4 1/2-inch-thick slices from a baguette
1 1/2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 of an 8-ounce wheel Camembert cheese
5 cups baby dandelion greens or other baby greens such as arugula
1/2 cup fresh red currants if desired
oven to 450° F. Butter baguette slices on 1 side and on a
baking sheet toast in middle of oven 5 minutes, or until pale
golden. Toasts may be made 1 day ahead, cooled completely, and
kept in a sealable plastic bag at room temperature.
broiler. In a large bowl whisk together shallot, vinegar, and
mustard and add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.
Cut Camembert into 4 wedges. Top each toast with a wedge of Camembert
and on baking sheet broil about 4 inches from heat 5 minutes,
or until cheese begins to melt. Add greens and currants to vinaigrette,
tossing to coat. Serve salad topped with Camembert croûtes.
Makes 4 servings
the most popular leafy green, can be eaten raw or cooked, and
is interchangeble with other greens such as Swiss chard and beet
greens in recipes. It thrives in cool weather, so it's available
at the Market during early summer and then before the first frost.
has a naturally occurring toxin called oxalic acid. Also, cooking
spinach depletes its reserves of vitamins A and C, so be careful
not to overcook. Rinse spinach under cool water to remove dirt
which tends to cling to the undersides of leaves. One pound of
spinach needs 5 minutes to steam, and 2-3 pounds of spinach reduces
to 2 cups after cooking. Spinach can be sautéed and pureed,
but don't add until the final minutes of cooking. Store spinach
in a plastic bag with a damp towel in the refrigerator for up
to one week. Spinach also can be blanched for 1-2 minutes and
with Spinach, Walnuts and Gorgonzola
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound fresh spinach, shredded
1/4 pound walnut pieces
6 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
freshly ground pepper
four servings hot cooked pasta
oil in skillet over medium heat and sauté garlic until
brown. Add spinach, toss until wilted. Stir in walnuts and cheese;
toss until well mixed. Season with pepper to taste. Serve over
Makes 4 servings.
peas that are bright green and shiny with no dry spots. The pods
should be firm and smooth-looking. The English pea, or common
garden pea, should be rinsed and shelled before eaten. It is not
necessary to clean the individual peas. Snow peas and sugar snap
peas (a hybrid of the English pea and snow pea) do not require
shelling and are best eaten raw or slightly cooked.
Pea and Sesame Rice Pilaf
1 tablespoon Oriental sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
3 scallions, sliced thin
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh
1 ½ cup long grain brown rice
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup snow peas, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted lightly
over medium heat the oil, the butter, the onion, the scallions,
and the ginger root for 2 minutes, or until the onion is softened.
Stir in the rice, stirring until it is coated with the oil mixture,
add the stock and cook covered for 40 to 45 minutes, or until
all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Stir in the
snow peas and let the pilaf stand, covered for 5 minutes and stir
in the toasted sesame seeds.
LaRonde at 675-3197 operates "Eat Well" and can be found
at the Charlottetown Market on Saturdays.
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