Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Garden Harvested Micro-Greens with Mushrooms on Fresh Linguine

Delicious and nutritious microgreens are the thing. A delectable reward for the garder after a thinning session in the vegetable garden.  A time that passes quickly so don't blink, as green growth is vigorous in the Northwest's spring climate. Now I am in the kitchen with tastey green bits to prepare. This haul includes greens of beet, baby bok choy, chinese mustard, swiss chard, chinese broccoli, as well as strands of red and orange beet roots rubbed clean between my fingers.

Begin by cooking  chopped shallots in butter or olive oil, adding sliced shitake and crimini mushrooms, and when cooked, add about 2 tbsps of cream. Pour the mushrooms and sauce covers the cooked freshly made linguine. While the pasta an sauce are really hot, place the microgreens are placed on top to wilt and covered with shaved parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Fresh Picked Garden Greens and Pancetta

The upside of the miserably cool rainy June we have had here in the Northwest is that our greens and peas are thriving, (while the beans and tomatoes are shivering).  Last night, I harvested a handful of Dwarf Syberian Kale, Orange Swiss Chard, and Chinese Mustard greens.
They all are young enough to braise lightly.  First, I cubed thick slices of pancetta (Italian type of bacon, the best choice but ham or bacon will do) and fried them, taking the bits out when crispy and brown. Saving about 1 T. of bacon grease, I added the washed and loosely chopped greens, stiring to coat with the flavored oil. (Cool down the pan somewhat before adding water or you will get a spitting oil explosion) I added 1/2 cup of water and braised them for about 3 minutes (longer if your greens are tougher). I threw the greens on a platter with the pancetta, squeeze of lemon juice, and black pepper. It was refreshing to have such a simple dish. Usually I add garlic, onions, balsamic vinegar to the greens while braising, but I didn't want to overpower the tender and fresh flavor of the hand picked greens. The Chinese Mustard had a sharp peppery flavor while the Kale and Chard were sweet and mild. For a vegetarian version, substitute olive oil and sea salt with a dash of smoked spanish paprika for the salty pancetta.

I served this with creamy Polenta, faithfully stired over the stove for 30 minutes with a wooden spoon. I added maybe 2 cups of dried polenta to hot broth consisting of a tall carton of vegetarian broth and 1 can of evaporated milk, salt and pepper. I added garden fresh herbs of chopped rosemary and tarragon to the mixture, later adding chopped chives. Just before serving I melted gorgonzola into the mixture and topped with lavendar petals.

RE: Polenta, Poached Egg on Crumpet with Orange Marmalade Cream

Garnished with lavendar and calendula petals.
This brunch piece was created with servings of greens with pancetta and polenta prepared the night before. See recipies above. In addition, it was served on a toasted crumpet with creme fraiche that had orange marmalade stired into it. Served with grapefruit mint iced green tea, a delightful combination of bitter and sweet and yummy.

Grapefruit-Mint iced tea - chill

This is a variation on my summer drink standby. Brew some of your favorite green tea. Add honey and stir. Pour hot tea over a bunch of crumpled mint leaves. Add 40% more fresh grapefruit juice. Add sprigs of mint to look pretty. 3 varieties of mint used here. Chill or serve on ice. Ajdust proportions to taste preferences.