Asian Lettuce Wraps

16 lettuce leaves

1 pound lean ground beef

1 tablespoon cooking oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 green garlic, minced

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

2 teaspoons minced pickled ginger

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

Asian chile pepper sauce (optional)

1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

2 teaspoons Asian (dark) sesame oil

Rinse whole lettuce leaves and pat dry, being careful not tear them. Set aside. In a medium skillet over high heat, brown the ground beef in 1 tablespoon of oil, stirring often and reducing the heat to medium, if necessary. Drain, and set aside to cool. Cook the onion in the same pan, stirring frequently. Add the garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, vinegar, and chile pepper sauce to the onions, and stir. Stir in chopped water chestnuts, green onions, sesame oil, and cooked beef; continue cooking until the onions just begin to wilt, about 2 minutes. Arrange lettuce leaves around the outer edge of a large serving platter, and pile meat mixture in the center. To serve, allow each person to spoon a portion of the meat into a lettuce leaf. Wrap the lettuce around the meat like a burrito, and enjoy!

Rosemary Eggplant

2 Lbs eggplant peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes

Coarse salt

3-Tbs. rosemary leaves

4 garlic cloves, peeled

salt and freshly ground pepper

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

20 sprigs parsley leaves

10-12 slices of toasted crusty Italian bread

Place the eggplant cubes on a serving platter, sprinkle about 2 Tbs. of coarse salt over them, then place a second platter over the eggplant cubes as a weight, but do not crush them.  Let rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Meanwhile, finely chop the rosemary and garlic together on a cutting board.  Transfer the garlic mixture to a small bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix well.

Rinse the eggplant cubes many times under cold running water, then pat dry with paper towels.  Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat.  When the oil is moderately hot, about 300 degrees, add the eggplant cubes, preferably in a single layer, and cook, covered for 3 to 4 minutes.  By that time the lower part of the eggplant should have a thin golden crust.  Turn the eggplant cubes over, cover the skillet, and cook for 3-4 minutes more.  Sprinkle the garlic mixture and a little slat and pepper over the eggplant and mix very well with a wooden spoon.  Some cubes may fall apart; this is all right.  Keep cooking until all the cubes are soft.  With a skimmer, transfer the eggplant to a crockery or glass bowl.  Add the parsley leaves to the eggplant and mix again.  Immediately place the eggplant mixture over the slices of bread and serve.  This dish can be served as an appetizer or a vegetable, but should always be warm.  From Bugialli’s Italy.

Roasted Beet and Cucumber Salad with Yogurt Dressing

Ingredients

1 pound beets

1 English cucumber (large, approximately 16 inches)

one small red onion, sliced (about 1/2 cup)

Garlic Yogurt Dressing

1/2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or more to taste)

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Cut off the very top of each beet and clean them thoroughly. Wrap the beets in foil and roast at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes. Unwrap the beets and allow them to cool until warm but cool enough to handle. Remove the skin from the beets with your fingers or a paper towel. Slice the beets and cucumbers into uniform pieces. Slice the red onion and add to a medium-large bowl with the beets and cucumbers.  For the yogurt dressing, combine the minced garlic, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. (You can allow this to marinate for a while if you prefer.) Add the yogurt, dill and mint and stir until well-combined.  Pour the garlic yogurt dressing onto the vegetables and stir gently.  Serve immediately or refrigerate.  Serves 6-8

White Bean and Winter Greens Gratin

1 bunch kale or other greens

2 Tbs. olive oil

2 cloves chopped garlic

1-2 slices pancetta or ham cut to1/2 in. chunks

1 cup canned or frozen tomatoes

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp thyme

1 bay leaf

3 cups canned white beans (canned or cooked)

½ cup chicken or vegetable broth

For Topping

1 cup bread crumbs

¼ cup olive oil

1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350°.  Rinse greens, remove stems and cut crosswise into ribbons.  In a large pan, heat oil and sauté garlic pancetta.  When garlic starts to turn translucent (about 2 minutes) add greens and sauté 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and add the tomatoes, salt, thyme, bay leaf, drained beans and broth.  Mix gently.  Transfer into an oiled 10 inch gratin dish.  Mix topping ingredients, spread over beans and greens mixture and bake 40-50 minutes.

Adapted from Greens: A Country Garden Cookbook by Sibella Kraus

Collard Greens Gratin

4 oz. very thinly sliced country ham or prosciutto

1 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 cup finely grated Parmesan, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 bunches collard greens (about 1 lb.), center ribs and stems removed

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups whole milk

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Pre-reheat oven to 325°. Place ham on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until crisp, 20–25 minutes; let cool and break into pieces.  Combine breadcrumbs and 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium skillet; toast over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, 10–15 minutes. Remove from heat and add thyme and ¼ cup Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Mix in ham and set aside.  Cook collard greens in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender and bright green, about 4 minutes. Drain, transfer to a bowl of ice water, and let cool. Drain and squeeze dry with paper towels. Coarsely chop greens and place in a large bowl.  Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened and golden, 15–20 minutes. Transfer to bowl with greens; set aside. Reserve saucepan.  Increase oven temperature to 400°. Melt butter in reserved saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth and very pale brown, about 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk, ½-cupful at a time; add nutmeg. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, whisking often, until thickened, 5–8 minutes. Whisk in remaining ¾ cup Parmesan. Add béchamel to collard green mixture and mix to combine; season with salt and pepper.  Transfer collard green mixture to a 10” cast-iron skillet or 9” pie dish and top with breadcrumb mixture; place pie dish on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until gratin is bubbling, 15–20 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

A Simple Recipe for the Hearty Greens You Don’t Know What to Do With

Hearty greens

Toasted sesame oil

Soy sauce

Furikake* or toasted sesame seeds

Tear the leaves from the tough stems (if any) and boil in water until tender (1 to 3 minutes).  Drain the greens in a colander and push on them to remove as much water as possible.  Roughly chop the cooked greens and place them on a serving platter.  Lightly sprinkle with soy sauce and sesame oil and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with furikake or sesame seeds and serve as a side dish.  From The Farm to Table Cookbook by Ivy Manning

*Furikake is a mixture of sesame seeds, seaweed, and sea salt available in most Asian food stores.

Corn and Zucchini Salsa

3 medium zucchini, cleaned, trimmed, and diced

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 ears  yellow corn, husked, silks removed

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 cup fresh lime juice (8 medium limes)

1/2 cup cider vinegar

2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and minced

1/4 cup finely chopped scallions with tops

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Toss the zucchini with the salt and “sweat” for 3 minutes in a nonreactive colander. Rinse and dry. Coat the corn with 2 teaspoons of the oil and roast on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Cool. Cut off the kernels and scrape the cobs. Combine the zucchini, corn, remaining oil, tomatoes, lime juice, vinegar, jalapenos, scallions, garlic, and pepper in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes. Ladle into hot, clean jars. Cap and seal. Process in a boiling-water-bath canner for 15 minutes. From Preserving the Harvest by Carol Costenbader

Carmelized Corn and Red Peppers

2 cups fresh corn kernels

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 red bell peppers, chopped

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 garlic clove, chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn; stir until beginning to dry and brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to small bowl. Add oil to skillet. Heat over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Sauté until peppers are tender, about 8 minutes. Mix in cilantro and chili powder, then corn. Stir until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Cream of Celery Soup

3 tablespoons butter

1 12 lbs celery ribs, sliced

2 large onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

3 tablespoons flour

6 cups chicken broth

1 bay leaf

1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 -4 dashes hot sauce

salt

white pepper

celery leaves

In a large sauce pan, melt butter, add celery, onions, and garlic. Cook over medium low heat until soft. Add flour and cook 1-2 minutes over low heat. Add chicken broth and bay leaf, bring to a boil reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf, puree (in small batches) in a blender or processor. Add cream, lemon juice, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Reheat and simmer 5 minutes. Garnish with celery leaves. Adapted from Geniuskitchen.com

Creamy Porcini and Barley Soup

½ c. pearl barley

4 ½ c. chicken stock

1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms

2 c. boiling water

1 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 cup minced onion or shallot

8 c. sliced white mushrooms

2  small celeriac

1 tsp. dried sage

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

2 Tbsp. flour

1 cup cooking sherry

½ c. lowfat sour cream

chives for garnish

Combine barley and 1 ½ c. broth in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then simmer until tender, 30-35 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine porcinis and boiling water in a medium bowl and let soak until mushrooms are soft, about 20 minutes. Line a sieve with paper towel, set in over a bowl and pour mushrooms and soaking liquid through it.  Reserve soaking liquid. Chop porcinis finely. Heat butter and oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until softened. Add white mushrooms and cook, stirring often, util they have released their juices and started to brown.  Add porcinis, celery or celeriac, sage, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften.  Sprinkle flour over the veggies and cook until flour is incorporated, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, until most of the sherry has evaporated. Add the soaking liquid and the remaining 3 c. of broth, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes.  Add the cooked barley and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in sour cream until incorporated. Garnish with chives. Serves 4. Adapted from Eating Well Jan.-Feb. 2007.