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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Recipes

TIP OF THE DAY: Vegan Wraps For Earth Day

We’re recommending vegan wraps for Earth Day. Animal-free foods are more sustainable, so today’s the day for a vegan lunch.

These two recipes were sent to us from Red Rock Press, from their book, A White House Garden Cookbook by Clara Silverstein.

Both are lettuce wraps, but you can also use tortilla wraps.

The first recipe, Daniel and Annie’s Salad Wraps, originated in the children’s section of the New York Botanical Garden and contains the surprise—and optional—ingredient of an edible wildflower.

You can serve these wraps with a dip, or spread mustard or Nasoya’s Nayonaise (excellent vegan mayonnaise) on the lettuce leaves before filling.

RECIPE: DANIEL & ANNIE’S SALAD WRAPS

Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 6 lettuce leaves, plus 6 more for slicing
  • Spread or dip of choice
  • 1 kohlrabi bulb or 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 5 radishes
  • 6 scallions
  • 6 mint or basil leaves (or more to taste)
  •  

    online-vegetarian-deli.com-230

    Thus wrap is packed with arugula, carrots, cucumber, lettuce and red cabbage. Photo courtesy Online-Vegetarian-Deli.com.

  • Garnish: edible flowers (such as Johnny jump-ups, chive blossoms or nasturtiums—read all about edible flowers)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WASH and dry the lettuce leaves. Peel and slice the kohlrabi. Wash and dice the radishes. Wash the scallions, and cut off and discard the root ends.

    2. LAY out 6 lettuce leaves on the counter top or a large plate. If using a spread, place atop leaves.

    3. CUT cut the remaining 6 leaves into ribbons with scissors. Into each lettuce leaf, lay some kohlrabi and radishes, 1 scallion (cut it in half if it’s too long), and 1 mint or basil leaf. Roll it up and pin closed with a toothpick as needed. Garnish the top with edible flowers.

    4. SERVE with your favorite dressing as a dip.

     

    tofu-hummus-wraps-housefoods-230

    Tofu hummus wraps, a vegan sandwich with
    the added protein of tofu. Photo courtesy
    House Foods.

     

    The second recipe, Lettuce Wrap Treats, is almost a dessert, folding dried fruits and nuts and a dab of vanilla yogurt into the lettuce leaf.

    And, it couldn’t be easier to make!

    If you want to present the ingredients as a “build your own,” each person can choose his or her own mix of ingredients.

    RECIPE: LETTUCE LEAF WRAPS

    Ingredients Per Wrap

  • 1 lettuce leaf*
  • Fillings: 1 tablespoon each of any or all of the following: chopped apples, chopped celery, walnuts or pecans, raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla yogurt (regular or vegan soy yogurt)
  •  
     
    *Pick the largest, most pliable lettuce leaves that you can find. Leaf lettuces work really well for this.
     
    Preparation

    1. RINSE the lettuce in cold water and pat dry between sheets of paper towels.

    2. ADD the fillings to the center of the leaf. Top with a dollop of vanilla yogurt.

    3. FOLD the lettuce lengthwise over the toppings and then fold up the ends, like a burrito or a little package. Use a toothpick to secure as needed. Pick up and eat!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Try A Tian

    Tian is an ancient Chinese term for the cosmos. But head west, and tian is a word from the old Provençal language of the south of France.

    It’s an earthenware vessel used both for cooking and serving, and it’s also the name of the au gratin vegetable dish prepared in it.

    The dish can be oval, rectangular, round or square. A more contemporary name is a gratin dish—a shallower casserole dish (the cassole is an earthenware vessel that originated in the Camargue and Languedoc regions of France).

    In Provençal cuisine, sliced vegetables are layered in straight or circular rows, then topped with a light cloak of grated cheese and baked. The layering of different colored vegetables creates a very pretty dish. In fact, a Pyrex baking dish works even better to show off more of the layering.

     

    tian-fortheloveofcooking.net-230

    A popular tian trio: tomatoes, yellow squash and zucchini. We like to add onions. Photo courtesy ForTheLoveOfCooking.net.

     

    MAKING A TIAN IS EASY

    Like quiche, a tian can be served cold, hot or room temperature. With both plenty of flavor and visual appeal, tians are a nice buffet food and can also encourage your family to eat more veggies on a dull weekday night.

    Tians also can be composed of layers one on top of the next, like a layered casserole or a seven-layer salad. It’s just as tasty, but not as attractive. It also allows the flexibility to include a layer of cooked ground meat (we like lamb), diced chicken or ham, hard-cooked eggs or tofu.

    A traditional layered recipe is made with yellow beans, diced zucchini, sautéed onions and green beans. In addition to the cheese, a layer of breadcrumbs can be sprinkled on top.

     

    tian-frenchfarm-230

    Here, a mandoline was used to cut the yellow
    squash and zucchini very thin. Photo
    courtesy The French Farm.

     

    This recipe is courtesy The French Farm, which used the Provençal brand of Moulin de la Brague herbes de Provence and olive oil.

    RECIPE: VEGETABLE TIAN

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups onions, sliced thin (use red onions for extra color)
  • 1 pound zucchini, sliced thin
  • 1 pound eggplant, sliced thin
  • 1-1/4 pounds roma tomatoes (about 8)
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon of herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces grated Gruyere cheese (you can substitute Parmesan)
  • 4 ounces of extra virgin olive oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Brush a baking dish with olive oil.

    2. SLICE all the vegetables into even widths, using a mandolin or knife. Layer them, alternating colors, around the perimeter of the baking dish. Repeat until all of the vegetables have filled up the baking dish.

    3. SPRINKLE the minced shallots, garlic, salt, freshly ground black pepper and herbes de Provence over the top, and drizzle the olive oil.

    4. COVER the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes then uncover and bake for another 20 mintutes. when vegetables are tender, sprinkle the cheese on top, and broil until browned. let sit for 10 minutes before eating.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Ham & Cheddar Polenta Fries

    Here’s something fun to make with leftover Easter ham: potato-free Ham and Cheddar Polenta Fries.

    The recipe is from QVC’s chef, David Venable. David says, “These polenta fries can be eaten as an appetizer or a side, and can be served with anything from honey-mustard to aioli.”

    RECIPE: HAM & CHEDDAR POLENTA FRIES

    Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 4 ounces ham, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups Cheddar, shredded
  • Peanut or canola oil, for frying
  •  

    ham-polenta-fries-qvc-230

    Not potato fries: They’re ham, cheese and polenta! Photo courtesy QVC.

     

    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oil over medium heat in a 5-quart stockpot. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the milk, chicken broth, and butter and bring to a simmer. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal, avoiding any lumps. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    2. REMOVE the pot from the heat and add the ham, herbs, salt, pepper and cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and the ingredients are evenly distributed.

    3. SPREAD the cornmeal mixture with a heat-resistant spatula on the surface of a rimmed 9″ x 13″ cookie sheet. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap, put on oven mitts, then evenly press the mixture down, spreading it out to the edges. Refrigerate the covered cornmeal mixture until completely cooled.

    4. HEAT the oil in a Dutch oven to 375°F (or, preheat a deep fryer). Flip the polenta out of the cookie sheet onto a large cutting board. Cut the polenta into 1/2″ strips and then cut each strip into 3″ pieces. Fry in batches until deep golden brown. (Adding too many pieces at once can cool the oil down.)

    5. DRAIN the fries on paper towels; serve immediately.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Leftover Ham Recipes

    white-bean-ham-soup-qvc-230

    Use leftover ham in a delicious bean soup.
    Photo courtesy QVC.

     

    You can just enjoy so many ham sandwiches and ham scrambles with the leftover Easter ham. Here are two recipes from QVC’s David Venable, that take a different approach.

    RECIPE: WHITE BEAN SOUP WITH HAM

    This recipe uses the ham bone, hock, or shanks.

    David comments, “Though it may officially be spring, there are still plenty of days that call for a recipe that takes out the chill. This broth-based soup is a great way to use leftover ham: It’s light enough for spring, but hearty enough to be filling.”

    Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry Great Northern beans*
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 meaty ham hock or 2-3 lbs of ham shanks
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups ham, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Garnish: fresh parsley
  •  
    *A mild, white, oval bean, similar to the white kidney bean.

    Preparation

    1. RINSE the beans, sorting out any that are broken or discolored.

    2. BRING a large pot of water to a boil. Add the salt and the beans and remove the pot from the heat. Let the beans sit in the hot water for at least 60 minutes.

    3. RETURN the pot to high heat and place the ham bone, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, mustard and bay leaves in the pot. Stir well, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 60 more minutes.

    4. REMOVE the ham bone and discard. Stir in the chopped ham and simmer for 30 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh parsley (if desired).

     

    RECIPE: SMOKED HAM & CHEDDAR HASH

    David advises, “This hash recipe works just as well with ham that hasn’t been smoked. Try serving it as a breakfast item by throwing some fried eggs on top. Like a little spice in your hash? Add some hot sauce to the pan!”

    Ingredients

  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (preferably smoked)
  • 6 cups smoked ham, diced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 10-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 cup coarse breadcrumbs (such as panko)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  •  

    smoked-ham-cheddar-hash-qvc-230

    Yummy smoked ham and Cheddar hash. Photo courtesy QVC.

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. In a large sauce pot, boil the potatoes until fork tender. Drain the water and set aside.

    2. ADD the butter to a 10″ or larger, deep nonstick skillet and melt over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until slightly colored.

    3. STIR in the paprika and ham. Add the broth, cream of mushroom soup and scallions. Stir well to combine and bring to a simmer.

    4. ADD the parboiled potatoes and stir carefully to evenly incorporate all ingredients. Season the hash, to taste, with salt and pepper.

    5. COMBINE the Cheddar cheese, breadcrumbs and parsley in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top of the hash. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until evenly browned.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Lettuce Cups or Wraps

    tofu-lettuce-cups-230

    Lettuce cups: Fill them with something warm
    for a contrast with the cool, crunchy lettuce.
    Photo courtesy House Foods.

     

    First introduced in Asian cuisines, lettuce wraps are now popping up on the menus of other types of restaurants and on the dinner table at home. We’ve really been enjoying this lettuce cups recipe as a light lunch or dinner.

    Sent to us by House Foods America from an original recipe by Mutsumi Gonzales, it’s a vegan recipe that we tried in celebration of Earth Month.

    But you can substitute the cubed protein of your choice—beef, chicken, pork, seafood—for the tofu.

    RECIPE: TOFU LETTUCE CUPS

    Ingredients

  • Crisp lettuce leaves
  • ½ package (7 ounces) firm tofu, drained well and cubed
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Garnishes: shredded carrots, chopped cilantro
  •  
    For The Sauce

  • 1-½ tablespoon miso (red or awase)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1-½ tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sake
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ teaspoon corn starch mixed with ¼ cup cold water
  • Preparation

    1. HEAT olive oil, garlic and tofu in a frying pan over moderately high heat. Cook until tofu and garlic are well toasted.

    2. ADD all the sauce ingredients and continue cooking for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water and cornstarch mixture, stirring until the mixture thickens. Mix in walnuts.

    3. PLACE the warm mixture on lettuce cups, garnish with shredded carrots and chopped cilantro, and serve.

     

    LETTUCE CUPS & WRAPS

    Lettuce cups and wraps are very easy to make. The cups are just that—a base of lettuce topped with the filling.

    Wraps put the filling inside lettuce leaves and roll them up.

    You can fill them with an almost endless array of ingredient. Start with the ones that you use in burritos, pita, sandwiches, spring rolls or tortillas.

    The contrast of warm, flavorful fillings with the cool crunch of lettuce is a crowd pleaser and a calorie saver.
     
    HOW TO MAKE LETTUCE CUPS

    Use large, pliable lettuce leaves. Iceberg is most often used, but escarole, red leaf lettuce, radicchio, romaine or large spinach leaves are options. Wash and dry lettuce thoroughly.

    Here’s a demonstration.

     

    house-foods-firm-tofu-pkg_230

    House Foods Premium or Organic Tofu Firm.

     

    To keep iceberg lettuce crisp, cut the core out. Fill the core with cold tap water, then drain for 15 minutes. It will stay crisp for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

    For a party, offer a variety of lettuces and fillings.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Pig Biscuits

    pig-buns_pillsbury-230

    Take a bite of Babe! Photo courtesy Pillsbury.

     

    Recently we wrote about animal-shaped sourdough loaves from Boudin Bakery in San Francisco and bunny rolls from Artisan Bread In Five Minutes.

    Then, we came across Pillsbury’s instructions for making animal rolls at home.

    The Pillsbury kitchens armed themselves with a container of Pillsbury refrigerated country Italian bread (you can also use crusty French loaf), poppy seeds and a lot of imagination to create this adorable oinker.

    Who knew that one simple can of dough could yield all this cuteness?

    Here’s how you can do it at home.

     

    You can also make bird-shaped buns, complete with tail feathers and beak.

    All you need is a kitchen scissors, a container of Pillsbury refrigerated country Italian bread or crusty French loaf, poppy seeds for the eyes and an almond for the beak.

    Our favorite craft projects are edible crafts!

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Strawberry Iced Tea

    For Easter or Mother’s Day, Strawberry Iced Tea is delish!

    The recipe is from Shangri-La Tea Company.

    RECIPE: Strawberry Iced Tea

  • 2 cups whole frozen strawberries
  • 32 fluid ounces brewed tea
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 box fresh strawberries
  • Mint leaves
  • Ice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BREW tea and cool to room temperature.

    2. BLEND frozen strawberries in a food processor until smooth, then strain

    3. MIX together pureed strawberries, tea, desired amount of sugar and lemon juice

    4. Serve over ice with fresh strawberry garnish.

     

    strawberry-iced-tea-shangri-lateacompany-230

    Toast a special occasion with strawberry iced tea. Photo courtesy Shangri La Tea.

     

      

    Comments

    EASTER: Pink, White & Green Deviled Eggs

    Make these gorgeous pink deviled eggs ahead of time for easy holiday entertaining: They’re perfect for Easter brunch or snacking.

    You can make all of the eggs pink, half pink/half white, or tint some pickle brine light green for a tricolor selection.

    Mix and match your toppings from the list in the recipe or whatever else appeals to you.

    Prep time is 20 minutes.

    RECIPE: PICKLED PINK DEVILED EGGS

    Ingredients For 20 egg halves

  • 12 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill or chives
  •  

    Pickled deviled eggs in Easter colors. Photo and recipe courtesy American Egg Board.

     

    For The Marinade

  • 1 jar (16 ounces) beets
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  •  
    Garnishes

  • Capers & chives
  • Crab meat & fresh dill
  • Diced red bell peppers and flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • Small cooked shrimp & chives
  • Smoked salmon
  • Steamed asparagus tips
  • Sweet pickles, sliced jalapeños or pickled jalapeños
  •  

    aunt-nellies-beets-sliced-jar-230

    You only need the beet liquid, so enjoy the
    beets in a salad, on a sandwich (instead of
    tomato) or as a side. Photo courtesy Aunt
    Nellie’s.

     

    Preparation

    Deviled eggs can be made up to 12 hours ahead. Refrigerate them, covered.

    1. CUT eggs lengthwise in half. Remove yolks to medium bowl. Reserve 20 white halves; finely chop remaining 4 white halves.

    2. MASH yolks with fork. Add finely chopped whites, mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper; mix well. Add dill; mix well. Cover and refrigerate.

    3. DRAIN beets, reserving juice (about 2/3 cup). Set beets aside for another use. Combine beet juice, water and vinegar. Arrange egg whites cut side down in shallow container. Pour beet mixture over eggs. Cover tightly. Refrigerate at least several hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

    If you want two or three colors, divide the eggs among the beet brine, plain pickle brine and tinted pickle brine. If using brine, you don’t need the water and vinegar.

    4. REMOVE purple egg whites from beet mixture, pat dry with paper towels. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of yolk mixture into each reserved egg white half. Garnish as desired.

     
    RECIPE TIPS

  • Don’t use the freshest eggs. Very fresh eggs can be difficult to peel. To ensure easily peeled eggs, buy and refrigerate them a week to 10 days in advance of cooking. This brief “breather” allows the eggs time to take in air, which helps separate the membranes from the shell.
  • Easier peeling technique. Hard-boiled eggs are easiest to peel right after cooling. Cooling causes the egg to contract slightly in the shell. To peel a hard-boiled egg, gently tap it on the countertop until shell is finely crackled all over. Roll the egg between your hands to loosen the shell. Starting peeling at the large end, holding the egg under cold running water to help ease the shell off.
  • Easy mixing and filling method. Combine the filling ingredients in a 1-quart plastic food-storage bag. Press out the air and seal the bag. Press and roll the bag with your hands until the mixture is well blended. Push the filling toward bottom corner of bag. Snip off about a 1/2-inch of corner. Squeeze the filling from bag into the egg whites.
  • Picnic or tailgate tip. Prepare the filling in a plastic bag, as above. Transport the whites and yolk mixture separately in a cooler. Fill the eggs on the spot, pressing filling out of snipped corner of bag.

      

  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Wilted Greens

    If you’re looking for more ways to enjoy green vegetables, have you tried wilting?

    Wilted vegetables are served at some of the finest restaurants in the country, often with a filet of fish or a boned chicken breast on top.
     
    Wilting is a quick cooking technique that involves placing the greens in a hot butter or oil, until they’re barely cooked (i.e., wilted). We actually use a low-calorie technique, blanching the vegetables in simmering broth or stock.

    The Wilting List: Simply add delicate, leafy vegetables—arugula, beet greens, bok choy, chard, collards, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens or turnip greens—to a pan of simmering liquid (broth or water) and they wilt in a minute. barely cook or just “wilt.” As you can see, wilting is also a great way to discover the joys of greens you never eat.

    You can also wilt a medley of three different greens, such as chard, mustard greens and spinach. See the recipe below.

     

    crispy-salmon-wilted-greens-2-SLT-230

    Crispy salmon atop wilted greens. Photo courtesy Sur La Table.

     
    Dark leafy greens are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, and wilting preserves nutrients and flavor. So why isn’t everybody wilting greens?

    To begin your journey here’s a recipe developed in the Sur La Table test kitchen; more wilting techniques follow.

    RECIPE: CRISPY SALMON ON LEMON-CAPER WILTED GREENS

    You can substitute another vegetable for the spinach and halibut or other firm-fleshed filet for the salmon.

    Ingredients For 4 Sservings

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 (5-ounce) salmon fillets with skin
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • ½ pound spinach, washed and patted dry
  • 2 teaspoons capers, drained
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • Kosher salt or sea salt, plus and freshly ground black pepper
  •  

    mustard-tendergreens-beauty-goodeggs-230

    Wilt me! Have you had these greens before? They’re mustard greens. Photo courtesy GoodEggs.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 400°F and position the oven rack in the middle.

    2. PLACE a large oven-proof skillet on the stove over a medium-high heat, and add olive oil. When the oil is just starting to shimmer, add the salmon, presentation side first. Sear to a light-golden brown color, about 2 minutes. Turn the salmon over to the skin-side and transfer to the oven. Bake until the salmon is flaky and slightly pink inside, about 5 minutes. Transfer the salmon to a plate; reserving the skillet and set aside.

    3. PLACE the skillet back on the stove over a medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter begins to foam, add the shallot and garlic and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the zucchini, spinach, capers, lemon zest, parsley and cream. Cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

    4. SERVE: Spoon the wilted greens mixture onto warmed dinner plates, and place the salmon on top. Serve immediately.

     
     
    BASIC WILTED GREENS

    Don’t worry if it seems like you have too many greens. Big bunches of leafy greens wilt down to flatness.

    Ingredients

  • 2 large bunches chard, kale, mustard greens or others (see list at top), rinsed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt or sea salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. TEAR the greens into pieces; discard stems. (Note: We actually enjoy the stems, and keep them on. We also like to keep the leaves whole—we don’t mind cutting them on our plate with a knife and fork. Try it to see which you prefer.)

    2. HEAT the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 7 minutes. Add the greens and toss to coat. Cover and cook, stirring once, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the salt and serve.

    3. SEASON as you like with balsamic vinegar, chiles, honey, garlic, nutmeg or other favorites. As an option, garnish with toasted pecans or walnuts.
     
    Variations
     
    For breakfast, brunch or lunch, top with poached eggs.

    You can also add ham or bacon, Southern-style, as in this recipe.
     
    STOVE TOP WILTING

    This recipe uses a medley of greens, although you can use only one type or a different combination.

    Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 large bunch chard, stems removed*, leaves torn
  • 1 large bunch mustard greens, stems trimmed, leaves torn
  • 1 10-ounce bag spinach leaves
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MELT butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add all greens and stock.

    2. COVER and cook until greens wilt, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Uncover; cook until juices thicken slightly, about 4 minutes.

    3. SEASON with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you like (balsamic vinegar, chiles, garlic, nutmeg, etc.).
     

    SIMPLE MICROWAVE WILTING

    1. WASH the greens in cool water and place in a microwave-safe bowl.

    2. COVER with plastic wrap and punch several holes in the wrap to vent. Microwave on High until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.

    3. SQUEEZE out any excess moisture from the greens before seasoning and serving, or adding to a recipe.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Vegetable Medley With Color

    asparagus-carrots-lecreuset-SLT-230

    Asparagus and carrots in a Le Creuset dutch
    oven. Photo courtesy Sur La Table.

     

    The English word “asparagus” derives from the Latin sparagus, derived from the Greek asparagos, which itself derived from the Persian asparag, meaning sprout or shoot. The stalks shoot up from the crown of the plant and, if not harvested, the precious tips grow into fern-like leaves.

    That little tidbit is an introduction to asparagus season. If you’re an asparagus lover, it’s a great time: prices are lower and the flavor is better, since domestic asparagus get to market faster (Peruvian imports, for example, travel weeks by ship).

    Whether you’re looking for different ways to serve asparagus, or a way to cut down on the cost per portion, serve a medley—asparagus with one or two other vegetables.

    We were especially attracted to this handsome combination of asparagus and carrots from Sur La Table, with the carrots cut in lengths to match the shape of asparagus.

    But a memorable spring medley is the “big four” of spring: asparagus, garlic scapes, morel mushrooms and ramps (wild leeks).

    Otherwise, take a look at our list of vegetables by color, and pick your own medley.

    WHAT’S A MEDLEY?

    A medley is a mixture of different things: music, sports, vegetables, whatever. The word comes from the French medler to mix, which entered Middle English.

    A vegetable medley provides the opportunity to create more interest through blending flavors, colors and textures.

    You can grill, roast, sauté or steam your veggies—or enjoy them raw, as crudités with a dip.

    Most people believe that the finest texture and the taste come from the asparagus tips. They are called points d’amour (“love tips”) in French.

    But we enjoy the whole asparagus, including the texture of the stems. Just trim the white stem ends, which are tough.
     
    Asparagus Recipes

  • Asparagus Crostini With Pancetta & A Parmesan Crisp (recipe)
  • Asparagus & Grapefruit Salad (recipe)
  • Asparagus With Linguine & Parma Ham (recipe)
  • 12 More Easy Asparagus Recipes—including frittata, grilled, risotto, sautéed, scramble, sides and spring rolls
  •  

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF ASPARAGUS

    Asparagus has been enjoyed as a vegetable since ancient times. The earliest image is as an offering on an Egyptian frieze dating to 3000 B.C.E. It was also enjoyed in ancient Greece, Rome, Spain and Syria.

    Greeks and Romans ate asparagus fresh in season and dried in winter. The Romans would even freeze it high in the Alps: Emperor Augustus created the “Asparagus Fleet” for transporting the vegetable, and coined the expression “faster than cooking asparagus” to indicate a quick action. [Source: Wikipedia]

    There’s a recipe for cooking asparagus is in the world’s oldest surviving cookbook, Apicius’s “De Re Coquinaria” (“On Cookery”), Book III. It is attributed to a first-century Roman epicurian named Marcus Gavius Apicius, but compiled sometime between the third and fifth centuries.

     

    3-colors-dark-bkgd-australianasparagusgrowners-230b

    The three colors of asparagus. Photo courtesy Australian Asparagus Growers.

     

    And it’s still in print—in the original Latin! There’s an English translation for $10.95, and a translated Kindle edition is free!

    After the fall of the Roman Empire, asparagus seems to have fallen out of favor, reappearing in France in the 15th century and in England and in Germany in the 16th century. It arrived in the U.S. around 1850, and has resumed its position as a sought-after vegetable.

    So don’t let the season escape you: Pick up asparagus on your next trip to the market. It has just three calories per spear, so you don’t need to worry about portion control.

      

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