Editor’s Note: For ages I’ve been trying to get my wife–once known as the Condiment Queen, then the Cook Book Addict, until another Cook Book Addict came to the Beet, and mostly of late, as * as in *my wife works for Tomato Mountain Farm; the asterisk coming every time I blog about our CSA or other thing TM related–to write for the Beet. She’s never found time for it. Now, however, she’s found time to write recipes for Tomato Mountain’s newsletter, and Tomato Mountain has agreed to let us share them on the Beet. Enjoy the first batch of She’s Cookin’.
Reading my new favorite cooking book (not necessarily cookbook) by Tamar Adler [An Everlasting Meal], last week, I learned that in Provence chard stems are prized and valued but leaves are used as chicken feed or, occasionally, thrown into soup. She was emphasizing the beauty of using the whole vegetable and, while I’ve always used stems, it made me think that maybe I’ve not been allowing them to shine as well as they might in a dish all their own. This crazy simple dish proved the stems of the CSA chard and kale extraordinary and has changed the way I will eat them in the future. The stems surely shine and it shows how vegetables can taste best in the most basic preparations.
Cut the stems of chard and kale into 1-2” pieces. Sauté onion on a low-medium heat in oil until translucent. I had fresh green garlic which I sautéed along with the onion but any alum(s) will do, use whatever you have. Add damp stems, salt and pepper. Start tasting it 5-10 minutes later and stop when it’s wilting and tasty. I prefer room temperature but my kids loved it as a cold salad. Make enough that it lasts you several incarnations. I had chickpeas going on a back burner so I added them but I’d be great with pasta, as a filling with eggs, potatoes, any grain. The choices are infinite.
Spicy Mustard Vinaigrette
Twice over the weekend, my husband, Rob, made brilliant, assertive vinaigrettes that really brought out the best of the beautiful, strong mesclun mix we get in our CSA box. He started out whisking a half part mustard into one part vinegar, then slowly added three parts olive oil, a few of dashes of hot sauce, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. As always, play with it until it’s the right balance for you. Don’t make our mistake, Rob had to start again the next day — be sure to make plenty to keep in the frig ready to dress anything hearty.