In 2020 I planted golden beets for the first time in my garden. I love a fresh beet and goat cheese salad but the big surprise for me was how delicious beet greens are.
My friend, Jan, told me about a Swiss Chard with Tahini recipe, referenced below, which I adapted to use with beet greens, minus the extra sauce. I made it several times last year and will be making it every year that I grow beets or can purchase beets with greens. Out of this world!
BEET GREENS WITH PINE NUTS
2 3/4 lb. beet greens or Swiss Chard
2.5 tbsp. unsalted butter and 2 tbsp. olive oil
scant 5 tbsp. pine nuts
2 small cloves garlic, sliced very thin
1/4 cup dry white wine
sweet paprika, to garnish (optional)
salt and pepper
Clean the beet greens or Swiss Chard. Chop into strips.
Put half of the butter and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the large frying pan and place over medium heat. Once hot, add the pine nuts and toss them in the pan until golden, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove them from the pan.
Throw in the garlic. Cook for about a minutes until it starts to become golden
Carefully pour in the wine. Leave for a minute or less, until it reduces to about one third. Add the chopped beet greens and the rest of the butter and cook for 2-5 minutes, until the beet greens are wilted.
Season with slat and black pepper. Divide the greens among the individual serving bowls, and scatter with pine nuts. Drizzle with additional olive oil and paprika, if you desire.
Ratatouille is a vegetable side dish filled with wonderful flavors. Every time I say the word ‘Ratatouille’ I have to smile and think of the Disney animated film Ratatouille. The young rat, Remy, dreams of becoming a famous French chef. Such a funny film, great to watch with children, grandchildren or in the privacy of your own adult home…no one needs to know you’re watching a cartoon!
Celebrate after watching the film by enjoying the real deal!
LAYERED BAKED RATATOUILLE
2 cups (16 oz.) crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dry) (plus more for sprinkling)
½ tsp. salt (plus more for sprinkling)
¼ tsp. pepper (plus more for sprinkling)
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced*
2 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced*
2 small eggplant, thinly sliced*
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1” squares
Parmesan cheese, to top (optional)
Preheat oven to 375F.
Spread 1 tbsp. olive oil in the bottom of a 9 inch cast iron skillet. In a small bowl, mix the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the base of your skillet.
Layer the sliced vegetables vertically around the skillet, packing them as tight as you can. (We find that it is easier to layer the zucchini, squash, and eggplant in the skillet and then go back in and tuck the red peppers within the layers after the other vegetables have been filled in.)
Season the top of the vegetables with additional salt, pepper, and thyme. Drizzle with more olive oil.
Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly and the vegetables are softened and starting to brown slightly.
Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables. It started with fried Eggplant in my Mother’s kitchen, and through the years I have experienced eggplant in many ways. I have made Ina Garten’s Eggplant Spread dozens of times. This recipe is more like baba ganoush, with that wonderful smoky flavor. The dip would be wonderful served with a fresh Greek Salad.
SMOKY EGGPLANT DIP
Makes about 2 cups
2 medium eggplants (about 1 pound each) 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt, or to taste 6 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste), well-stirred if a new container 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed Juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste, if desired Pinch of cayenne or aleppo pepper Pinch or two of ground cumin 2 tablespoons well-chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided Toasted sesame seeds or za’atar for garnish (optional)
Heat oven to 375°F.
Brush a baking sheet or roasting pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt.
Prick eggplants a few times with a fork or tip of a knife. Over a gas flame, grill or under a broiler, evenly char the skin of your eggplants. I like mine quite smoky and like to leave no purple visible. Transfer to a cutting board, and when cool enough to handle, trim off stem and cut lengthwise. Place cut side down on prepared baking sheet and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until very, very tender when pressed. Let cool to room temperature.
Next Step Option 1: Food Processor: In a blender or food processor: Scrape eggplant flesh from skin and into the work bowl. Add tahini, lemon, cayenne, cumin and 1 tablespoon parsley. Blend in short bursts (pulses) until combined but still coarsely chopped.
Taste and adjust ingredients if needed. You may wish to add more salt and lemon.
To serve: Spoon into a bowl and drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Scatter with second tablespoon of parsley, and some toasted sesame seeds or za’atar, if desired. Serve with pita wedges or naan.
I discovered the Czech Cookbook and author, Kristýna Koutná, a few years ago. I was thrilled when she published her cookbook and I bought it immediately! It is great fun reading her book and trying new recipes of my Father’s heritage in Bohemia, now, the Czech Republic.
Garlic Soup, or Česneková polévka, sounded interesting to me. It’s a very simple recipe and full of flavor. I toasted rye bread for croutons, a delicious addition. Next time, I will be creative with the recipe, adding leftover chicken, pork, beef or adding additional vegetables. It would be a wonderful soup to have when you’re not feeling well. This recipe is definitely a new favorite for the Fork-Lore kitchen.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
7 garlic cloves
7 cups water
1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
3 large potatoes
1 tablespoon chicken or beef base (or bouillon)
2 teaspoons marjoram
Instructions are shown in the attached video from CzechCookbook.
Cold winter nights mean hearty soups in my kitchen. Broccoli Cheddar Soup is always a favorite when dining out but I’ve rarely made it. This is a great recipe that has become a family favorite.
BROCCOLI CHEDDAR SOUP
1 tablespoon + 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 small/medium sweet yellow onion, diced small
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced finely
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
2 cups fat-free half-and-half (I used regular half-and-half)
3 cups broccoli florets, diced into bite-size pieces
2 large carrots, trimmed, peeled, and finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika or regular paprika, optional and to taste
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder, optional and to taste
pinch cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
8 ounces grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese, with a small amount reserved for garnishing bowls
In a small saucepan, add 1 tablespoon butter, the diced onion, and sauté over medium heat until the onion is translucent and barely browned, about 4 minutes. Stir intermittently.
Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. Remove from heat and set pan aside.
In a large heavy-bottom pot, add 4 tablespoons butter, flour, and cook over medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until flour is thickened. You are making a roux and it’s very important the mixture is thick or soup will never thicken properly later.
Slowly add the vegetable stock, whisking constantly.
Slowly add the half-and-half, whisking constantly.
Allow mixture to simmer over low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened some. Whisk intermittently to re-incorporate the ‘skin’ that inevitably forms, this is normal.
While mixture is simmering, chop the broccoli and carrots. After simmering 15 to 20 minutes, add the broccoli, carrots, and the onion and garlic you previously set aside.
Add the salt, pepper, optional paprika, optional dry mustard powder, and optional cayenne. Stir to combine.
Allow soup to simmer over low heat for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened some. Whisk intermittently to re-incorporate the ‘skin’ that inevitably forms, this is normal.
Optional: I used a Braun hand blender to blend the vegetables into a creamier consistency.
While soup simmers, grate the cheese. After simmering about 20 to 25 minutes, add most of the cheese, reserving a small amount for garnishing bowls. Stir in the cheese until melted and incorporated fully, less than 1 minute.
Transfer soup to bowls, garnish with reserved cheese, and serve immediately. Soup will keep airtight for 5 to 7 days in the fridge. Reheat gently in the microwave.
My garden continues to produce plenty of tomatillos and when paired with fresh sweet corn, cilantro and seasonings, it makes a wonderful salsa. I’ve also used it to top my favorite Papusas from the Farmer’s Market. It wold also be wonderful paired with chicken or fish. A new favorite!
CORN AND TOMATILLO SALSA
4 ears fresh corn kernels
2 seeded and finely chopped jalapeno peppers
4 cups husked, chopped tomatillos
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro
In a large skillet, combine the corn kernels and jalapeño peppers. Cook and stir for 10 minutes, until the jalapeños are soft.
Add the tomatillos, green pepper, onions, lime juice, water and coriander to the corn and jalapeño mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat. Cool. Stir in cilantro.
Cool salsa in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
This is the first year that I have participated in Grant Farms Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). My older daughter, Megan, and I decided to try it this year and we’ve enjoyed the fruit and vegetable surprises each week.
Kohlrabi was not a new vegetable to me but I haven’t had it since I lived at home on the farm. My Mother would slice it and eat it raw with salt. It reminds me of a very crisp, slightly sweet, potato. However, I wanted to try something different and decided to roast it with a few red and gold beets, also in my CSA delivery.
The leftovers were equally good served chilled. Is this my favorite vegetable recipe? No, but I’m always up for a new adventure and I enjoyed it.
ROASTED KOHLRABI AND BEETS
3 medium to large Kohlrabi, peeled and chopped
5-6 medium beets, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Kosher or Sea Salt
black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
Line large baking sheet with parchment paper or generously grease with olive oil.
Place chopped vegetables on baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, add salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and stir vegetables. Bake another 45 minutes under tender.
I was craving green beans and our book club was meeting to discuss ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn. Our hostess served Tom Yum Koong Soup, favored by one of the characters in the book when fighting off a cold. Others brought bar food and I brought green beans…never mentioned in the book but satisfied my craving.
This is a simple and absolutely delicious recipe. I’ll be making it again, and again, and again.
GARLIC ROASTED GREEN BEANS WITH SHALLOTS & ALMONDS
2 lb. fresh green beans
5-6 shallots, peeled, and cut into thin slivers
5 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut into thin slices
3 T olive oil
1 tsp. salt (or more to taste)
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, very finely chopped
1/2 cup almonds, sliced or chopped
1 tsp. lemon zest
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Trim ends from green beans. Peel and cut shallots and garlic, then place with beans in plastic bowl. Add olive oil, salt & pepper, parsley, almonds and lemon zest. Toss until ingredients are well coated with oil.
Spray roasting pan with nonstick spray or mist with olive oil, then arrange the vegetables in a single layer. (I used parchment paper for roasting vegetables and the results are great). Roast 12-15 minutes for thin beans, or slightly longer for regular beans, until beans are slightly shriveled, and shallots and garlic are lightly browned.
My daughter, Megan, told me this was a great recipe. As mentioned in my Roasted Fennel post of last Friday, we garnished the soup with bits of the fennel and loved it. From now on, it will be a traditional side served with the soup, and a slice of hearty Italian bread.
The original recipe called for heavy cream, but we liked the soup without the cream and without the extra fat. Next time I would add chopped carrots and celery.
ZUPPA TOSCANA…COPYCAT OF OLIVE GARDEN RECIPE
1 lb. Italian sausage
2 large russet baking potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup bacon, chopped (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups kale or 2 cups swiss chard, chopped
2 (8 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 quart water
1 cup heavy whipping cream (I omitted)
Chop or slice uncooked sausage into small pieces.
Brown sausage in your soup pot.
Add chicken broth and water to pot and stir.
Place onions, potatoes, and garlic in the pot.
Cook on medium heat until potatoes are done.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer for another 10 minutes.
Turn to low heat.
Add cream (optional) and heat.
Tear pieces of kale into bowl and pour steaming soup over the top.