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Posts tagged ‘green garlic’

Very Green Risotto

Spinach, pea shoots, green garlic, onion and a little bacon and a little rice

Spinach, green garlic, pea shoots, onion, a little bacon and a little rice

The farmers markets are overflowing with greenery, and new springy greenery like pea shoots, fava tops, spinach, . . . . I love kale and collards and rarely tire of them but these new tender leaves and shoots just taste like spring. We packed home many bunches of these beauties this weekend.

I always make risotto with spinach. It’s a standby but this time I thought I’d invert the ratio of rice to greens. I used 1 pound of spinach (which is a lot of spinach) and one large bunch of pea shoots in addition to three large green garlic stalks and 1 scant cup of rice. Much like this recipe which calls for copious amounts of mustard greens to a small amount of bulgur, the technique melted all those greens into a perfect bowl of creamy goodness. And my son happily ate a big serving after at first having turned his nose up at the un-risotto-like looking risotto!

I can imagine adapting this idea to different greens–fava tops, chard, whole bunches of parsley or cilantro, etc. I’d love to hear reports if you try this or any other versions.

And because I couldn’t help myself and because I didn’t have time to make anything else I topped our bowls of risotto with a fried egg to make a complete meal. As you know, most things are suited to being topped in such a way in my mind.

Spinach and pea shoots

Spinach and pea shoots

Green garlic, onions and bacon beginning to sizzle.

Green garlic, onions and bacon beginning to sizzle.

And as per usual, I used my homemade veggie bouillon instead of chicken or vegetable stock, adding another layer of green.  Speaking of veggie bouillon I have finally started making it to sell, so if you find yourself wishing you always had it on hand but never get around to making it (and you live in Portland) please get in touch.

Very green risotto

Very green risotto

Very Green Risotto

I love the ratio of greens to rice in this dish. It is light, fresh and lovely and you can substitute with other greens (see above). It really doesn’t take that much time and is so worth the bit of effort of stirring and adding broth occasionally for 20 minutes.

If you’re using pea shoots, taste the stems and tendrils raw. They should be tender and delicious raw as well. If you find tough fibrous parts, trim those off. And chop the spinach and pea shoots quite finely, like into 1-2-inch pieces. The greens blend with the rice more easily when the pieces aren’t too big.

1 large bunch spinach (thoroughly washed), chopped
1 bunch pea shoots, well washed and chopped
6-7 cups vegetable or chicken stock or homemade bouillon (see above)
3 or more stalks green garlic, trimmed and finely chopped
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1-2 ounces bacon, diced (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter (or more olive oil but green garlic particularly likes to be sautéed in butter)
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a saucepan bring 7 cups water with about 10 teaspoons of homemade veggie bouillon to a boil and keep at a bare simmer. Be sure to taste the broth to make sure it’s well-seasoned but not too salty. (or use a chicken or vegetable stock of your choice).

In a large sauté pan cook onion, green garlic and bacon in 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil (or just olive oil) over medium heat, stirring, until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in rice, stirring until each grain is coated with oil and cook for 2 minutes. Add wine (if using) and cook, over moderately high heat, stirring, until wine is absorbed. Add about 3/4 cup simmering broth and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until broth is absorbed.

Since we’re using so many greens it’s helpful to add the greens in increments. I think the spinach is good cooked a bit longer but the pea shoots are best added at the end so start with handfuls of spinach about half way through the cooking process (you can judge this by seeing how much broth you have left over). Continue adding broth, about 3/4 cup at a time, cooking, stirring and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until about half of broth has been added. Continue adding broth in the same manner until rice is tender and creamy looking but still al dente, about 18 minutes. A few minutes before the rice is tender stir in the pea shoots and a cup of broth. Cook for a minute until shoots are just wilted. Salt and pepper to taste. Add butter and parmesan, nutmeg and a little more broth is it looks a bit dry, mix well and remove pan from heat. Let rest for 7-10 minutes, covered, before serving.

Spinach risotto is light, fresh and lovely. It’s one of my favorite risottos. It really doesn’t take that much time and is so worth the bit of effort of stirring and adding broth occasionally for 20 minutes.

And with the egg!

And with the egg!

Barley Lentil Soup with Green Garlic & Parsley

Barley Lentil Soup

This is a season-straddling soup. A soup into which I stirred a generous heap of fresh parsley and finely minced green garlic just before serving. And it felt springy and bright despite being a robust soup at heart. I love this time of year when the garden starts producing green sprouts of various kinds that quickly invigorate the more wintry items in my pantry. Green garlic is in all the farmers markets here this time of year and is one of the great delights of early spring. You can use almost the whole plant and it is tender and much sweeter and mellower than the mature clove. I put it in most anything this time of year, especially with eggs or stirred into Greek yogurt for a topping or on a sandwich.

I’ve heard mention of barley a lot recently and was inspired to cook up this combination by the wonderful Camas Country Mill folks who package their own lentils and barley with a spice mix and supply their local food bank with these super nourishing one-dish meal packets.

I did not have Camas Country’s lentils and barley but had French green lentils and hulless barley from the bulk aisle at a local grocery store. I was afraid the barley, even though a hulless variety, would take longer to cook than the lentils. So I cooked a big pot of it in a plenty of salty water for about 20 minutes. It was actually almost tender by then and I forgot about it off the heat for a  few hours. It softened further but still withstood the 20 minutes in the pot with the lentils later on and turned out perfectly tender. Now I have plenty on hand for a “risotto” or other soup or salad but suggest you just start the barley 10 minutes before the lentils if you don’t have it on hand pre-cooked or pearled.

Lentil Barley Soup with Green Garlic & Parsley

If you have precooked barley (see above) you can add it at the same time you add the lentils. If you have pearled barley you can add it at the same time as well. If you have hulless barley, add it and the broth after you’ve cooked the aromatics for a while and then bring that to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes and then add the lentils.

1 cup French green lentils or other small lentils that keep their shape
2 cups cooked barley (see above) or 3/4 – 1 cup draw/raw (hulless or pearled)
2-3 carrots, well scrubbed and diced
1 onion, diced
2 slices bacon, diced (optional)
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon (or more to taste) red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon thyme
5-6 cups water or veggie broth or stock (if you’re using precooked barley you’ll need just under 5 cups)
good olive oil for drizzling
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cups of finely chopped parsley
3 thin green garlic stalks, trimmed of just the root end and any ratty greens, finely minced

Heat a good splash of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrot, thyme, red pepper flakes and bay leaves and bacon and sauté, stirring frequently for about 7-8 minutes or until everything has softened and is just beginning to brown. Add the lentils, broth or water and barley (see  headnote) and a 3/4 teaspoon of salt if your broth is not salty. Bring to a bowl and then turn down to a simmer and cook for about 20 -25 minutes. At this point the lentils should be tender but not yet falling apart. Stir in the parsley and green garlic, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and cook for just another minute or two. Serve with a drizzle of good olive oil.

Happy cooking, happy spring, happy Easter!

 

Green Garlic, Butter, and Parmesan

. . . with eggs, or  fresh pasta, or fish or beef or beans, or toast. . .! I can think of few things that would not be enhanced by the combination of these three things. I know I wrote about green garlic here a few weeks go and in fact I do every spring. There’s something about those sweet, fresh, flexible, immature garlic stalks that makes cooking so fun this time of year. It’s the third wet, cold spring in a row for us Oregonians and my robust green garlic crop is one of the few highlights in an otherwise unbearably soggy garden.

In other news, my recent trip to Louisville, Kentucky (beautiful city with excellent food) for the Slow Food National Congress was decidedly not soggy and very inspiring. But I was also relieved to be home again and reminded of how comforting and freeing it is to be able to cook with whatever odds and ends you might find in your kitchen/garden after being away for a week. You can read about that here. And it reminded me why I love to teach cooking classes and in particular my Eat Better Series, which lays the foundation for delicious, healthy eating every day, no matter where you are or what your dietary restrictions may be. So if you sometimes find yourself at a loss for what to make for dinner and no time to run to the store or need, simple, quick recipes to avoid eating processed foods, then this might be your class.

If you live in Portland, Oregon you can buy this fresh spinach pasta at Pastaworks/City Market. It's delicious, beautiful and incredibly inexpensive.

Pasta with Green Garlic, Butter & Parmesan

You use the whole garlic stalk, much like you would a green onion (scallion). The whole plant is tender and delicious so just barely trim it. And if you don’t have pasta you can gently cook fish fillets or shrimp in the garlic mixture, or toss the garlic into scrambled eggs or a frittata or stir it into a bowl of warm pinto beans. You really can add it to most anything.

1 lb fresh pasta (or 2/3 lb dried spaghetti, linguine or other long, skinny pasta)
5-6 stalks green garlic, roots and scraggly tops trimmed, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or other hard cheese
Salt, pepper and touch of olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Have a cup on hand to scoop out some of the cooking water before you drain the pasta.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped green garlic and stir well to coat. Add a few pinches of salt. Cook the garlic, covered, stirring occasionally until it’s soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn it.

If you’re using fresh pasta you’ll just need to cook it for two minutes or so. Check frequently so that you don’t overcook it. When the pasta is al dente, scoop out about 1/2 cup of the cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the garlic (off the heat), then add the grated cheese and some of the cooking water. Stir vigorously to mix. It will take a minute or two for the pasta cooking water to work its magic and combine with the cheese and the garlic to create a sauce that will just coat the pasta. Add more water if it seems dry. Adjust for seasoning and drizzle a bit of good olive oil over the whole thing and add a few grinds of pepper. Enjoy!

I had eaten my whole serving save this bite when I remembered I wanted to take a photo. I'm warning you, this goes down very easily!

Gardening With What You Have & Green Garlic and Leek Soup

You’re supposed to make a garden plan–mapping out what’s going to go where so that the season unfolds productively with plants following the right plants and planted in the right combination and with the right exposure. You’re supposed to amend the soil with this and that and double dig. . . .Well, my garden would never materialize if I  did all that. I know folks who do these things who have better yields and prettier gardens and someday I will be more organized. But in the mean time I garden much like a cook–without a whole lot of planning when I have a little time. I’ll pick up a few seed packets here and there and eventually some starts and then go for it.

Green (immature garlic), leeks, radicchio and endive. . . .my harvest to make room for new crops.

We finally had a few dry, sunny days this last weekend and I wanted to plant peas and sow arugula and dinosaur kale. When I examined my little vegetable patch I realized I didn’t have room for anything. So I harvested a bunch of small-ish leeks, some green garlic and various salad greens and transplanted a few lettuces, tucking them in between the strawberry plants, to make room for my  new little project. My rows won’t be straight and my germination rate might be puny but I loved my morning in the garden with the sun on my back.

You can use lots of green garlic as it's much milder and sweeter than mature garlic.

And then I made a lovely soup with my harvest. It’s a loose interpretation of potato leek soup. I didn’t measure anything and kept things simple. Leeks, green garlic–green garlic is one of my favorite parts of spring. I plant garlic in the fall to use exclusively in the spring in its green, immature form. Like scallions you can use the whole thing and finely sliced and stewed in a little butter or olive oil it improves everything it touches. Or use it raw in salad dressings and quick herby sauces. I added a few potatoes to the soup, some thyme and water and that’s about it. Oh a touch of cream at the end rounded things out nicely but you could skip that too.

Spring leek and green garlic soup with fresh goat cheese toast.

Spring Leek and Green Garlic Soup

4-5 leeks (or whatever you have–I used about 6 small ones), sliced
1 bunch green garlic (6-8 whole plants), roots trimmed and finely sliced
1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil
3 medium potatoes (more or less), diced
a few sprigs of thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
5 cups (more or less) water
Salt & pepper
1/4 cup of heavy cream (optional)
Good olive oil to drizzle

Stew the garlic, leeks and thyme in the oil and butter, slowly, over medium heat until the vegetables are very soft. Add the potatoes, water and some salt and simmer until the potatoes are very tender (about 20 minutes).  Adjust seasoning, add pepper and then puree with an immersion blender (or in a blender or food processor) until smooth-ish. Finish with a little cream and serve with a good drizzle of olive oil and if you’d like a piece of toasted bread with fresh goat cheese.

Carrots & Distractions

“Mommy will you fix my truck?! . . . please!. . . .right now!”

“Mommy, come look! Now! Please!”

That’s the typical soundtrack when my four-year-old is home. I love it, most of the time. Sometimes it makes writing a blog post, testing or photographing a dish, or updating my website a wee bit challenging. But I’ve become completely used to this less-than-linear work environment. This morning I was uploading photos for today’s post at the kitchen counter while trying to get Ellis to eat at least a few bites of oatmeal and apple before we headed out the door to pre-school. Did I already crop that photo? Not sure, but it will suffice. . . .

I’ve also been mightily distracted by two cookbooks I just bought. I’ve been staying up too late reading them. . . .been considering teaching new classes entirely inspired be them. . . and I’m going to post a recipe from one of them here today. I’ve seen many references to Breakfast Lunch Tea in the blogosphere lately and the hype seems justified. Rose Carrarini’s book with recipes from her bakery in Paris (Rose Bakery) is full of gorgeous photos and many simple, veggie-and fruit filled recipes.

I’ve been making grated carrot salads for years. I love them especially in the winter and early spring. Dressed with plenty of lemon juice and fresh herbs they are a nice counterpoint to the heavier and sweeter flavors of the season. Carrarini’s version is so simple and so, so good. Her generous addition of salted, toasted sunflower seeds is perfect, if you can keep yourself from eating all of the toasty seeds before they make it onto the salad.

Make extra so you don't skimp on the amount you add to the salad.

I followed her recipe exactly with the exception of not having enough chives but having some green garlic so I finely minced that and added it. I think it would be good with parsley or tarragon or mint too. This recipe makes a lot of salad. I just had some of it for lunch and it was still delicious today. So if you have that many carrots on hand, make the whole batch.

Carrot and Seed Salad

–very slightly adapted from Breakfast Lunch Tea by Rose Carrarini

1 cup sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds)

1 tablespoon sunflower or olive oil

2 generous pinches of kosher salt

8 medium carrots, grated

1 handful chopped chives (or whatever you have on hand)

Dressing:

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus possibly more to taste

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar or 2 teaspoons honey or agave syrup

about 3 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil (I used a good olive oil)

Preheat oven to 350.

Toss the sunflower seeds with the tablespoon of oil and several pinches of salt and roast on a baking sheet for about 15 minutes, turning frequently, until they are crisp and golden. Set aside to cool.

Place the grated carrots in a serving bowl. To make the dressing whisk together the lemon juice, salt, pepper and oil. Pour the dressing over the carrots and mix well. Sprinkle with the chives (or other herbs) and the seeds, mix again, and adjust seasoning and serve.