This is a picture of a typical seasonal meal in our farmhouse kitchen: Whatever-Is-In-Season-That-We-Happen-To-Have-Near-At-Hand. We usually heat some butter, olive oil, or coconut oil in our much-used cast iron pan, throw in any vegetables (the vegetables that cook the quickest are the last to be thrown in), add some salt and any fresh or dried seasonings we feel like, and enjoy. One-pan wonders. That’s what our breakfast, lunch, or supper usually looks like. We like to say, If you know how to stir-fry, steam, roast, or make salads, you can easily and deliciously use any vegetable we grow.
But it’s always nice to be inspired by what others are making…and that’s the point of recipes (in my opinion at least). So, here’s a collection of recipes that inspire us in July.
Recipe from The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without by Mollie Katzen (author of Moosewood Cookbook)
It seems like an obvious idea to serve beets together with their greens, but somehow I have always approached the opposite ends of the beet as 2 separate vegetables – until now. These days, my favourite thing to do with beets is to first cook the roots and leaves separately (and each according to its individual nature) and then to reunite them in one humble but outstanding dish.
Notes: Beets and their greens don’t always match. Sometimes you can find a bunch with perfect greens and roots, but other times, you need to mix and match. That’s why the ingredient list is written as it is. When separating beets from their greens, give about 1 inch of the stem to the beets, and leave the rest of the stem with the greens. (Taking that “Complete” part literally, keep in mind that beet stems are edible.)
You can cook the beets any way you prefer – by steaming, boiling, or roasting.
1 ½ pounds beets, cooked until tender
2-3 bunches of beet greens, very fresh (about the volume of 2 small heads of leaf lettuce), with stems
2 Tbsp. Extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ tsp. Minced or crushed garlic
Salt, to taste
2 tsp cider vinegar (possibly more, to taste)
- Peel the beets (if they need to be peeled….younger beets have a more tender skin) and cut them first into quarters, then crosswise into slices. (The size and the shape of the pieces is up to you.)
- Trim or discard any wilted or otherwise non-perky parts of the stems, then clean the greens plus the remaining stems in cold water and spin dry. Coarsely chop the leaves and stems, and set aside.
- Place a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. After about a minute, add 1 tsp of the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add ¼ tsp of the garlic, then immediately toss in the beets and stir-fry very quickly (less than a minute), justto get everything coated. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl, sprinkle with a little salt and mix in the vinegar. Set aside.
- Return the pan to the heat and swirl in the remaining olive oil. Add the beet greens and stems, turn up the heat to medium-high, and cook, lifting with tongs and moving the greens around for about a minute, or until they are just wilted but still brightly coloured. Sprinkle with a little salt and add the remaining garlic. Cook and toss for about 3 minutes longer, or until wilted.
- Add the beets back in, mixing thoroughly, then transfer everything back to the bowl. Taste to adjust the salt and see if it might need a few additional drops of vinegar. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
- Yields 4-5 servings.
Beets: Balsamic Roasted Beet Salad
Purslane: How to Cook Verdolagas (aka purslane)
Baby zucchini: Sauteed Baby Zucchini
Broccolini: Broccolini salad with Parmesan
Beans: Tricolore Three-Bean Salad
Sugar Snap Peas: Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Basil: The Basil Smash cocktail
Butterhead lettuce: Butter lettuce with Mustard vinaigrette
Romaine Lettuce: Grilled Romaine Lettuce
Green leaf/Green Oakleaf lettuce: Wilted Leaf Lettuce Salad
Fresh Bulb Onions: Green Beans with Onion