Winter Greens, Potatoes and Chickpeas Stew
This is a nice soup for those desiring a vegetarian meal for a cool day’s lunch or dinner. The ingredients can be varied which I feel always adds interest to your dish. It’s also a complete protein meal so you don’t have to worry about having poultry, meat or fish as well. Bon Appétit.
- 1 Lb. Chard, stems removed (I used the rainbow variety) You could also use spinach or Kale or a combination of the greens.
- 1 ½ Lbs. Baking Potatoes (I used 2 large ones but 3 medium ones would be OK as well)-Sliced in 3/4 inch-slices
- 1-2 Onions, rough chopped or even thinly sliced
- 2-3 Garlic Cloves-minced
- 3 Tblsp. Olive Oil
- 1 Tsp. Paprika
- 1/4 Tsp. Turmeric
- 1/8- 1/4 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper (depending how “hot” you want your stew)
- 1 Tsp. salt (optional)
- 4 C. of Vegetarian Base Bouillon or Chicken Stock, heated
- 2 C. (1-16 oz. can) of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (you can also use another type of white bean)
- 2 Hard Boiled Eggs, Sliced or cut into wedges (optional)
- One Tasty Tomato, Sliced (optional)
- Shaved Parmesan or Jack Cheese for topping (optional)
- Chopped Parsley for garnish (optional)
- Cook your greens any which way you wish; drain thoroughly and set aside.
- In a large stove top Dutch oven or similar kind of pot, heat the oil over medium heat and add the potatoes, onions and garlic cloves. Sauté for 5-10 minutes—watching carefully and stirring quite often—until the potatoes have started to brown. Add to this the paprika, turmeric, salt and cayenne until the mixture smells fragrant (around 1-2 minutes).
- Add the bouillon, greens and chickpeas and bring to a simmer. Simmer with a tipped top for about 15 to 20 minutes—or till the potatoes are tender.
- Serve the stew topped with the hard boiled eggs, tomato slices, cheese and chopped parsley.
Florentine Crusted Quiche
It’s nice to enjoy a really tasty quiche that you know is totally healthy for you as well as light caloric wise. Thinking about this crust, which is made with spinach, chard, or any of that similar green leafy veggie, Catherine de Medici of the early 16th Century comes to mind. She was an amazing woman for her time and age and still today would be. When she became queen of France, she so loved her spinach that she insisted it be served for every one of her meals. Catherine originally haled from Florence, Italy and therefore, her many spinach dishes created and made with spinach by her French chefs were named Florentine. So full circle here—you can see why I’ve named this quiche Florentine Crusted Quiche.
- 2 Tblsp. Olive Oil
- 1/2 Onion sliced very thin
- 1 ½ C. thinly sliced mushrooms
- 1 C. washed and packed chopped spinach, chard or any other green that suits your fancy
- 1/2 Tsp. salt and black pepper
- 2 Tblsp. cornmeal
- 2 Tblsp. water
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 C. milk or half-half or cream—can be fat-free—up to you. Of course, the richer the yummier
- 1/4 Tsp. salt and black pepper
- 1/4 Tsp. nutmeg or another of your favorite spice to accommodate your cheese choice
- 3/4 C. of your favorite shredded cheese
- 3/4 C. diced ham or bacon bits or whatever suits your fancy (optional)
General Initial Directions:
- Pre-heat the oven to 350. Place one rack in the middle position.
- Oil or spray a 9-inch cooking dish that will accommodate a quiche.
- In a large skillet heat the olive oil and then add the onion stirring till nice it is brown and glossy (about 3-4 minutes); then add the mushrooms and stir them until well moistened and browned (about 5 minutes); then add your greens and S&P and cook till the greens are nicely wilted; then add the cornmeal and water and stir till the total mixture is well blended.
- 2. Press the above on the bottom and up the sides of your prepped cooking dish.
- Beat eggs, cream and S&P thoroughly.
- Fold in cheese and diced ham or bacon.
- Pour filling into your prepared dish.
Very Final Directions:
- Place the quiche on the middle rack in the oven for about 1 hour. Test the middle for it being done with a toothpick or fine knife for it to come out clear.
- Let the quiche sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Rick’s Slow Cooked Pork
Two of my guests at my bed and breakfast inn decided that they wanted to move from Tahoe to Paso. So, they resided in my cottage for well over a month. They were a lovely young couple and I loved their company. Christy eventually became the manager at an exclusive winery; Rick though always loved to cook and he ended up working at an exclusive restaurant. This is one of his recipes and I love the ease and simplicity of it. It is sort of a pulled pork recipe so if you look at comparable recipes, you can also add vinegar, etc. but honestly, I think that Rick’s way is the best. So here it is:
- One 3-4 lbs. Shoulder/butt (NOT LOIN) I used a 3.44 Lb. Fresh Boston Butt Pork Shoulder Roast that was priced very nicely.
- Olive oil—I used at least 1/2 C.
- Fresh thyme
- Preheat oven to 275.
- LIBERALLY, and I mean that, spread olive oil over the whole roast. I sprayed with olive oil a large Pyrex dish first and placed the roast in it.
- Salt and pepper the roast to your taste.
- Spread fresh thyme, as much you would like, over it all.
- Cook the roast, uncovered, for 6 hours.
- That’s it and believe me, moist and delicious is what you get.
- Now, I had some freshly washed spinach waiting to be cooked and I thought, well, why not about 1/2 hour before the pork is done to pile it on top of the pork, sprinkle some red pepper flakes and Parmesan on top of the greens, place a top (or aluminum foil) on top and put it back in the oven. But even before that since I also had a left over cooked baked potato, I had cut that up in small bits and had added that around the roast before I did the spinach bit.
- When I took the roast out, I arranged the spinach and potatoes nicely around the roast and it looked gorgeous.
- Of course, this kind of pork also goes very well with potato salad and/or beans.
- Rick also said that you can cook very thick pork chops like this as well. He said to cook them for 1 ½ to 2 hours the slow way.
Spinach Stuffed Eggs and the Dr. Seuss Effect
(I think for hors d’oeuvres/appetisers, most people might eat two halves so this recipe might serve 4)
This is a very delicious filling for left over hard boiled eggs (Easter) or for St. Pat’s (think green) or really anytime. For fun I sometimes combine this recipe with some ham filled eggs so as to duplicate the Green Eggs and Ham from that famed Dr. Seuss tale so many of us read to our wee ones.
- 4 Hardboiled eggs
- 2 Tblsp. cooked well drained spinach (I use fresh)
- 2 Ounces whipped crème cheese
- 2 Tblsp. grated Parmesan
- A dash of freshly grated nutmeg
- S&P to taste
- A dash of cream
- Sliced black olives and some slivered pimentos for topping
- Cut the eggs length wise.
- Scoop out the yolk and put into a food processor or blender along with the cream cheese, spinach, parmesan cheese, S&P and nutmeg. I actually mashed everything with a fork so that it came out not quite so smooth and I thought more tasty and interesting looking. It’s up to you and if your filling is not as smooth as you wish, add a bit of whole milk or cream.
- Fill egg whites with the spinach filling and top with a sliced black olive and a sliver of pimiento.
Ham and gherkins egg filling for the Dr. Seuss effect:
- Mash 6 hardboiled egg yolks with 4 Tblsp. finely chopped cold cooked ham, 1 Tblsp. finely chopped gherkins and enough mayonnaise or whipped cream cheese to make a firm paste.
- Fill the eggs with the ham mixture and garnish tops with more chopped ham and paprika.
The Magic of Beets
Beets weren’t one of my most favorite veggies, however, when I started encountering the golden and other colored milder tasting beets, I became very fond of them. So, when I saw these three gold beets at the market, I couldn’t resist. Beets are truly multi faceted because not only can you use the root but the greens as well. So for dinner last night, I devoured both and it was truly divine.
The history of beets is very interesting. It has had a long history of cultivation stretching back to the second millennium BC. Aristotle and Theophrastus mention them. This little root has been used for food, sugar, fodder, food color, medicine and health, as an aphrodisiac, juice, and wine. It can be consumed deliciously cold or hot. Various countries of our world have made this root into a specialty dish and it’s even used as an integral part of a Jewish prayer for Rosh Hashanah. And that is just the root—because the tops are delectable as well. So here are two of my favorite recipes for this miraculous vegetable.
Beets Baked in Foil (oh so easy and delicious—try to buy beets which are uniform in size so that they’ll cook evenly. Additionally, you can store just the uncooked roots in a plastic bag in the frig and they’ll last for weeks.)
- Preheat the oven to 400.
- Wash/scrub the beets well and leave an inch or so of the green top on to minimize bleeding.
- Wrap them individually in foil and place them on a baking sheet.
- Cook, undisturbed, for 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours—until a think-bladed knife pierces the beet with little resistance. (They may cook at different rates—so watch for that.)
- You can peel them right away and serve them sliced or whole with butter or olive oil, any vinaigrette, or freshly squeezed lemon juice. I like them with just butter or olive oil.
- You can also remove, cool and refrigerate them in their foil until ready to peel and use. They’ll last for several days. Then you could serve them cold with a good dressing; or sliced mixed with olive oil, balsamic, ground pepper and salt served over some Greek yogurt. A bit of fresh chervil to top this last suggestion will make this a perfect dish.
Beet Greens: They actually were “the in- green” eons ago—that is until spinach came along.
- Wash the beet leaves, cut and then chop the stems. Separately chop the leaves.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil; salt it. Cook the stems until they are almost tender (about 5 minutes) and then add the leaves. Cook a couple minutes more or until it’s tender. Add butter or olive oil at the very end as well as S&P to your taste. Additionally you can also add the ingredients in the optional #4 paragraph below.
- Optional: add sunflower seeds (or other seeds of your desire) and raisins at the very end. If you wish you can pre- soak the raisins in warm water for 10 minutes. Also, you can pre- roast the seeds in a pan.
Creamy Multiple Greens Soup with a Caribbean Flair
I used 4 cups of greens—a mixture of organic leeks and collards- adding some peas as well. Using this simple recipe made a very delicious soup that was just perfect for a cold wintery day. You don’t have to use all of the ingredients listed below; you can vary them and for instance, not use the peas, or not use as much dairy product, or increase the amount of broth and not use dairy, or not use the marinade. You even don’t have to blenderize it, but doing so will make it extra creamy. You could instead of using the marinade introduce some cheese such as parmesan. The necessary basic ingredients to use are the greens of course, some oil or butter, and broth. For the rest, use your imagination. Lastly, I have found that the organic greens don’t cost that much more than the non-organic variety and are so much better.
- 2 Tblsp. butter (but you could use olive oil)
- 4 C. mixed or not mixed greens- coarsely chopped, well washed and trimmed of thick stems
- 1 C. frozen peas
- 2 C. hot vegetable broth (or you could use chicken or even beef)
- 2 C. half-and-half or milk
- 2-4 Tsp. Caribbean Marinade
- S&P to taste
- In a large deep sauce pan place the butter and turn the heat to medium. When the butter is melted, add your greens and cook, stirring until they wilt (about 5 minutes).
- Add the stock; bring almost to a boil; lower the heat and cook briefly, until the greens are tender. The time here will depend on the greens that you have used. Spinach of course cooks very fast.
- Put through a sieve or food mill, or carefully puree in a blender.
- Return to the heat and add the half-and-half—DO NOT BOIL—and serve.
Spinach Simmered in Yogurt or Spinach Raita
Serves 4 however I can eat almost all of it at one sitting
I loved traveling through India. It’s such an awesome country in every way and I do love their cuisine. It is, I find, a very healthy one. So, here is one of my favorite dishes. It’s so easy to make and delicious to eat. In fact, you can eat a lot and lot of it and not be worried about gaining any weight. It’s nutritious and perfect for after the holiday extravaganzas. I hope you’ll enjoy it as I do.
- 1 lb. spinach well rinsed (6 C. of raw spinach = 1 lb.) and coarsely chopped
- 2 Tblsp. vegetable oil or olive oil
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 2 small dried red chilies(if I don’t have that, I use chili flakes)
- 1 Tsp. ground coriander
- 1 Tsp. turmeric
- 1 C. plain whole milk yogurt (but I have used non-fat) whisked till smooth
- Salt to taste
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the spinach. Cook over moderate high heat, stirring, until wilted.
- Place the spinach in a colander and press the liquid out of it.
- In the same skillet, heat the oil of your choice and add the garlic and chilies. Cook over moderate heat about 2 minutes. Add the coriander and turmeric. Cook stirring until it hits your nose—about 1- 2 minutes.
- Add the spinach and yogurt. Cook over low heat, stirring until the yogurt just begins to separate-about 3 minutes.
- Season with salt and serve. You can serve this over rice or with Nan of course.
- I have made this with a variety of other greens—so don’t be shy about substituting. Other greens usually take longer to cook though—so make sure to taste. As well, you can add or substitute various ingredients such as adding grated fresh ginger or some green chopped chilies.
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Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.