From the Farm: Recipes

Warm Chicory Salad with Pears and Hazelnuts

FOUND IN: on March 20, 2013

Traditional medicine practitioners have always advocated a spring tonic of bitter greens as a way to detoxify the body and banish the winter doldrums. Here is a delicious way to get your spring greens on the plate and maybe just earn some accolades in the process. This salad balances the bitterness of the greens with sweetness and texture from the pears and the nutty flavor and crunch of hazelnuts.

Yield: 4 portions

Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar, or to taste
  • 2/3 cup + 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • salt/fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs fresh chervil, dill and/or parsley, minced
Salad:
  • 1 large head leafy chicory, like Castel Franco
  • 1 large, firm but ripe pear (should give a little at the stem, but not be soft)
  • 1/4 cup toasted, blanched hazelnuts (instructions below)
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

Make the dressing and set it aside. I like a mixture of herbs, but you can choose just one. Fresh chervil is my favorite winter/spring finishing herb for the way its light freshness perks everything up.

Put the blanched hazelnuts onto a baking sheet or the tray of your toaster oven. Toast at 325° until they are lightly browned and smell very fragrant. This can take as little as 4 - 5 minutes. Roll them around on the sheet to brown them evenly.
Cut the chicory head into 4 quarters, but keep them intact. Wash each quarter carefully and shake off excess water. Heat a heavy sauté pan or cast iron skillet to medium heat.  Add a tiny coating of olive oil to prevent sticking. While the pan is heating, cut the pear into thin slices and place them flat in the hot pan. Let them brown slightly on each side. This will bring out their sweetness and soften them gently. Lift the pears out and set them aside. Add the thinly sliced red onions and wilt them gently with a tiny bit more oil. (You do not want them oily). Remove the onions.
Add a tiny bit more olive oil to the pan. Lay each of the chicory quarters on one of its cut sides and let it sear slightly. Then turn it over and lightly toast the other side.
Dress the plate with a small amount of the dressing. Lay the chicory quarter on the plate. Surround with pear slices and garnish with the onions. Drizzle a small amount of dressing over the chicory. Top all with the hazelnuts. Serve warm.
This salad also works well with apples and almonds. You can vary the dressing by using all rice vinegar in place of the orange juice. The dressing needs to be a little sweet to balance the bold chicory flavor.

 

Pan-roasted Broccoli with Pine Nuts

FOUND IN: on February 23, 2013

Broccoli is one of those vegetables that is so quick and easy to prepare. It makes a great addition to any week-night dinner. I love it with a simple pasta, alongside chicken or in an omelet.

Yield: 4 servings             Prep time: 5 minutes               Cook time: 5 minutes

  • 1 bunch broccoli
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt/pepper to taste

Cut the thick part of the stems from the broccoli. If they are tough, discard them. Cut the large tender parts of the stems into pieces about 1 1/2 inches long and then into quarters, lengthwise. Cut the rest of the broccoli into florets about 1 1/2 inches long. Keep the florets separate from the stem pieces.

Heat a saute pan to medium heat. Add the pine nuts to the dry pan. Toss them gently and let them brown lightly on all sides. Turn them out onto a paper towel to cool.

Add olive oil to the hot pan. Add the garlic and cook until lightly toasted. Add the broccoli stems and saute them, briefly. Add the water, cover the pan and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the broccoli florets and let cook uncovered for a minute to evaporate the liquid. Add the salt, pepper and lemon juice. Toss to coat well. Sprinkle with the pine nuts. Serve immediately.

Beets and Greens

FOUND IN: on February 23, 2013

Yield: 4 servings                                                  Oven: preheat to 375°

Prep time: 15 min                                                     Cook time: 1 hour or less

A simple dish of roasted beets served with their greens makes a beautiful accompaniment to roast pork, grilled pork tenderloin, or even a grocery store rotisserie chicken. The flavors of the greens and the beet roots are so harmonious and the colors so gorgeous, you will find you need nothing else to make the meal complete.

  • 1 bunch beets, with their greens
  • olive oil, as needed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup water or chicken stock, optional
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt/pepper to taste

Separate beets and greens. Scrub the beets well and trim the tops and bottoms as needed. Lay the beets on a piece of foil large enough to completely wrap them. Drizzle the beets with olive oil. Close the foil around them to make a package. Place them on a cookie sheet and slide them in the preheated oven. The temperature here is not critical. The beets can roast along with anything else that is in the oven. Check them after about 25 minutes for smaller beets or 35 minutes for larger ones. Squeeze the beets gently in the foil. They are done when they feel tender. Large beets may take up to an hour.

While the beets are roasting, wash and slice the beet greens.

Let the beets cool until they can be handled. At this point the skins will slip right off of them using your fingers.  Peel them and slice them into wedges or rounds. Set aside.

Heat a sauté pan to medium heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the garlic and let it toast. Then immediately add the beet greens. Let the greens wilt, adding water or stock as needed to keep them moist but not soupy. Season the greens with salt and pepper. Just before serving add balsamic vinegar to taste. Top with the wedges of beets. The color of the greens with the bright colored beets makes a beautiful plate presentation.

 

Green Gumbo

FOUND IN: on February 23, 2013

This soup is hearty enough to be a complete dinner and delicious enough to be served to company. It is also a great way to use up lots of different kinds of greens in one dish. In fact, the more variety in the greens, the more depth of flavor the soup has. A big bowl of this on a winter's evening will leave you feeling truly nourished. You can use chicken sausage varieties to cut down on the fat content, but even with regular pork sausage, the amount of fat is minimal if you skim the soup well before serving.

Yield: serves 6 - 8

  • 3 or 4 bunches of greens (kale, collards, mustard, chicory, turnip or beet greens, etc.) cleaned and sliced
  • 2 Tbs olive oil (optional)
  • 1/2 lb andouille sausage
  • 1/2 lb spicy chorizo
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 qts chicken stock, or more, as needed
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
  • salt/black pepper to taste
  • tabasco or other pepper sauce, to taste

 

Clean the greens well, slice them and set them aside.

If using chicken sausage, put the olive oil in the bottom of a dutch oven or other stewing pot and heat gently to medium heat. Pork sausage will render enough fat of its own so that you may not need the olive oil. Add the whole sausages and brown gently on all sides. Remove sausages and drain on paper towels. Remove all but 2 tbsp of fat from the pan.

Add garlic to the pan and gently saute for a minute, then add the onions and celery. Cook until the onions are translucent and beginning to caramelize slightly.

Add the greens a handful at a time and allow them to wilt gently. You may need to add some of the chicken stock if the greens seem dry. Once all of the greens have been wilted, add the rest of the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the fresh thyme.

Slice the sausages into 1 inch pieces and add to the simmering greens. Cook the entire mixture for 30 minutes to combine flavors well. Skim excess fat that rises to the top of the soup while cooking. Add additional chicken stock as needed, or if you want a more brothy soup. Correct the seasoning. Add tabasco or your favorite pepper sauce, to taste.

Serve in large shallow bowls with plenty of crusty bread. A crunchy winter salad of beets and apples goes well with this supper.

 

Red Mustard, Kielbasa and Apples

FOUND IN: on February 04, 2013

This is a hearty main dish that balances the pungency of the greens, the tart sweetness of apples and onions, and smokey sausage. I was lucky enough to have some of Jason Houser's Meathouse Kielbasa in the freezer, which is flavorful and fairly lean.  You could substitute turkey or chicken kielbasa to reduce the fat content even more, if you like.

Yield: 4 portions

  • 1 lb kielbasa (or other smoked sausage), cut into 3" pieces
  • 1 - 2 Tbs  olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut lengthwise into julienne strips
  • 1 Tbs finely minced garlic
  • 1 cup apple cider, or 1/2 apple cider-1/2 chicken stock, as needed
  • 1 - 2 crisp apples (I used Cripp's pink), thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch red mustard greens, washed and sliced julienne

Cut the kielbasa, heat an iron skillet or large saute pan and put 1 Tbs of the olive oil in the pan, turning to coat the  bottom. Place the sausage pieces in the heated pan and let them brown evenly on all sides. Remove the sausage and set aside. Add the onions and let them saute and color a bit. Add the garlic and let it cook with the onions. When they are softened, deglaze the pan with apple cider. Add the apples and let them cook until the pan is nearly dry and the apples have colored a bit. You may need more oil at this point. Put the mustard greens into the pan and let them wilt. Add a little apple cider or chicken stock if needed, but don't make the dish too soupy. Season the greens with salt and pepper and let them wilt thoroughly. Add the sausage pieces back to the dish to reheat and then serve immediately.

Note: to slice the apples, wash them well, but leave the skins on. Stand the apple on end and slice off each of the 4 sides of the apple, leaving a square core. Lay each apple piece on its flat side and slice thinly from top to bottom, making uniform half moon slices. These will cook evenly and each will have a small halo of red skin, which looks nice with the red mustard leaves.

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