Artichoke RecipesThe heart and inner leaves of artichokes are wonderfully tender once you peel away the dark outer leaves. Even the smallest artichokes have an armor of tough outer leaves to protect the nutty, sweet treasure inside. Include the stems if you like; you’ll need to peel them before slicing. The stems can be sweet, like the hearts, but they’re also sometimes bitter. Be sure to use a non-reactive knife to keep the cut surfaces from turning dark.
Artichokes will discolor if prepared ahead of time, unless you cover them with lemon water. To make lemon water, add the juice of 1 lemon to 2 to 3 cups water in a medium-size bowl. You can also add a few cut wedges of the squeezed lemon to the water if you like.
Trim off the tops and stem ends of the artichokes. Peel away the outer leaves, down to the tender light green inner leaves. Cut the artichokes into quarters and trim away the choke. Cut the quarters into 3 or 4 slices (or as directed in the recipe) and immediately place in the lemon water. They’ll even keep overnight in the refrigerator this way, just be sure to cover the bowl. When you’re ready to use the artichokes, drain them, then proceed with the recipe. (taken from Fields of Greens by Annie Somerville)
To Stuff an Artichoke (from The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen)
Cook the artichokes in lots of boiling water until tender enough to pull the leaves out easily. Drain and cool until it’s not too hot to handle them.
Grab hold of the very tip-most leaf cluster and yank it out. Stick a teaspoon into the cavity and scoop out the choke (hairy stuff), being careful not to scoop out the heart (tender, smooth stuff below choke.) Spread outer leaves and fill with pilaf, Spanish rice or “dirty” rice with sausage. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees until heated through, about 20 minutes. (from The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen)
Arugula belongs to the mustard family, but its flavor resembles the mildly spicy watercress more than the stronger, more bitter mustard or turnip greens. It looks like a cross between dandelion greens and oak leaf lettuce. Native to the Mediterranean region, arugula is also called roquette, rugula, rucola, rocket salad, and Mediterranean rocket. It started out as a peasant food in countries such as Italy, where it is picked wild.
Arugula is one of the most nutritious of the salad greens. It tops lettuce, chicory, romaine, and watercress in beta-carotene, vitamin C, and calcium. A cruciferous, cancer-fighting vegetable as well, arugula contains more calcium than kale and collards, two greens noted for their high calcium content.
This nutritious green has versatility beyond the salad bowl and is easy to introduce into your meals. After the tender leaves are washed and separated from the stems, they can be torn or cut and are ready for use. Arugula makes a great substitute for lettuce in sandwiches , adding a nice sharp and nutty dimension. Try it with grilled vegetable, turkey, cheese, or any other sandwich.
Arugula can also be used as a fresh herb (which is sometimes how is it classed.) It can be added to pastas, soups, and vegetable and grain dishes like potato salad, tabouli, coleslaw, and carrot salad. It can also be made into a pesto. This leafy green combines well with citrus fruits, berries, avocado, and mild lettuces like butterhead and Bibb. It is delicious when served with dressings made with balsamic vinegar or citrus.
Storage: Arugula is highly perishable, and is best used immediately. It should be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. You can also wrap a wet paper towel around the roots and place them in a plastic bag not tightly closed. Do not store greens in the same drawer as fruits because fruits release ethylene gas, which triggers deterioration in vegetables.
Beets (and their greens)
Beet greens are easy to prepare and quick cooking, as well as being nutritious. The edible and delicious tops are better sources of vitamins and minerals than the beets themselves, with more vitamin C, calcium, and iron. But despite these attributes, some people still discard them.
Beet greens have a beautiful dark wine-green color and a wonderfully complex flavor that is earthy yet mild with overtones of the sweet beetroot. Generally speaking, if you like fresh, sweet beets you’ll enjoy the edible beet leaves. Even if you don’t like beets but enjoy spinach or chard, you might want to give beet greens a try. All three are mild and non-bitter cooking greens of the goosefoot (Chenopodium) family. Beet greens offer a slightly more robust flavor and a denser leaf than either spinach of chard, but cook down just as tenderly and delicately.
Cooking beet greens is easily and best accomplished by wilting them in a skillet with a little water. In a classic and delicious preparation, the beet greens are sautéed in olive oil (1 tablespoon or less does the trick) with several cloves of minced garlic, then covered and cooked for 8 to 10 minutes. Add a squeeze of lemon juice just before serving. Besides just a little oil, add a few tablespoons of water to prevent sticking. Beet greens can also be steamed and dressed up afterward.
Some flavors that complement the beetroot also highlight the greens: dill, lemon, apples, balsamic vinegar, oranges, and orange juice. Other seasonings to use include cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Different cheeses also balance the deep taste of the greens.
Storage: Separate greens from beets, and store in the refrigerator (together or separate) in a plastic bag not tightly closed. Beet greens are more perishable than fresh beets and keep only for 3 to 4 days.
Collard Greens Recipes
Mustard Greens Recipes
Botanically peas are a fruit since they contain seeds developed from a flower. They are a legume since they bear fruit in a pod that contains seeds that can be dried or eaten fresh (and because they fix nitrogen in the soil through nodes in their root systems). Peas originated thousands of years ago and were initially consumed in the dried state until the 16th century. They came to the US a few hundred years ago.
Peas are often recognized for their high starch/carbohydrate content but they have many nutritional benefits which include significant amounts of vitamins K and A, manganese, fiber, and folate. They are moderate on the glycemic index (the ability for a certain food to increase blood sugar levels) in spite of their high starch content. Peas are also considered a good source of vitamin C, protein and other B vitamins. Peas especially (as well as some other legumes) do contain a specific plant nutrient called coumestrol that has been showing positive results in its protective role against stomach cancer in studies done recently in Mexico. They also have other protective anti-inflammatory benefits and antioxidants that have shown to be preventive against numerous chronic health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.
Sorrel-- from the Old High German sur, or “sour”-- is related to rhubarb and contains the same oxalic acid compounds that give rhubarb its tanginess. It is zesty enough to stand in for lemon in a variety of recipes, and makes it a great foil for rich foods, which is how the ancient Egyptians and Romans used it. Sorrel’s acidity also means it’s not suited for cooking in aluminum or iron cookware because it will interact with the metals.
Sorrel shines alongside eggs, greens and milder herbs, and sorrel puree will enliven bland root vegetables and tame strong-flavored fish. Try shredded sorrel raw in salads-it can even replace the dressing. Raw leaves are nice in sandwiches, used as a garnish, or layered between fillets of fish or chicken before baking. When cooked, sorrel has a variety of uses, from classic soup to sauces for fish and poultry.
It’s a good source of fiber, iron and several vitamins.