Thanks to our longtime shareholder and friend Carol Cook, we are able to supply you with a few quick and simple preparation techniques for some of our trickier early season crops. This will be the first of many posts which will eventually become the online Dutchess Farm Cookbook. Please, if you have any recipes that you frequently use our produce for, let us know about them and you may see them posted here!!
Arugula - one of the many greens that adds a bit of "kick" when simply tossed into a salad. Can also lightly steam or stir-fry (be careful, arugula cooks very quickly), mix in with cooked pasta, or add to a sandwich of chevre (goat cheese) and roasted red peppers.
Asian Greens - Stronger flavored than lettuce and can be eaten fresh added to a salad or lightly steamed (overcooked greens are not as nutritious). Mix uncooked Asian greens into quiche, stir-fries, omelets/scrambled eggs, or tomato dishes. Larger leaves can be simmered in soups and stews.
Beet Greens - These can either be just leaves or have baby beets attached. The leaves can be eaten just like any of the other greens and add beautiful color to salads and sandwiches. Beet greens are delicious and nutritious when lightly sautéed with garlic in olive oil. Steamed they can be dressed with lemon or raspberry vinaigrette, red wine vinegar, or plain butter with freshly ground sea salt and pepper.
Boc Choy (aka Pak Choi) - A variety of Chinese cabbage and most usually used in stir-fries. However, there are many other ways of preparation. Separate the leaves from stems as they cook very differently; one as a green and the other similar to celery. Thinly slice each and steam, particularly delicious with cubed green apples. Raw bok choy stalks work well as dippers or sliced into salads.
Broccoli Raab (Rapini)- This green can be bitter so blanching or steaming first is a good idea. It can also be soaked in cold water to remove some of the strong flavor. Use as you would broccoli. Great in quiche, soups, stir-fries, as a topping for pizza, as a dipper, or plain with butter, freshly ground sea salt and pepper after steaming. A splash of balsamic vinegar adds a pleasant twist.
Chard (Swiss) - Chard can be eaten raw or cooked, the younger leaves are better uncooked. Chard can be used in any recipe calling for spinach or other greens. It holds up well as an ingredient in stir-fries, soups, tomato sauces, and egg dishes. As the plants age and the leaves increase in size, it is best to cut away the leafy parts from the stems as the stems take longer to cook and should be chopped accordingly. Canned cannellini beans combine well with chard, garlic, onions, and red pepper. Add some chicken or vegetable broth, simmer and you have a quick and hearty soup. Precooked sausages are a nice addition here.
Radishes - Radishes are a well-known vegetable but have numerous non-traditional ways of preparation. Young radish leaves can be used just as you would any other of the greens; tossed in a salad, simmered in a soup, or quickly steamed in a stir-fry. Surprisingly, radishes themselves are delicious used whole or sliced in a stir-fry, or cooked in a soup as you would use a turnip. And have you ever tried a radish sandwich on hearty buttered bread with spinach, cheese of your choosing, and freshly ground sea salt and pepper?