After staying close to home most of the summer, I took a drive out to Northampton today and visited the Tuesday Farmers’ Market. The sky cleared as I drove and by the time the market opened, the sun was out, it was dry and fairly cool.
When the bell tinkled to allow people to start selling at 1:30 p.m., I was ready to pay for my gorgeous vegetables from this one stand: an assortment of beautiful beets, a small eggplant, three shallots, a sturdy english cucumber and three tomatoes. I paid for them and then walked across the courtyard to buy a dozen eggs, an assortment of arucauna pale blue green eggs and other organic beauties.
That’s all I bought, skirting the booth laden with fresh-baked breads and avoiding the temptation of buying them or some tarts for dessert all of which sadly contain gluten and tons of sugar!
Once home, I decided to roast the washed beets, covered with aluminum foil in a layer of spring water along with oven-fried chicken thighs that I had rinsed, dried, sprinkled with flour, dipped in beaten egg and rolled in seasoned Panko crumbs. In a 400 degree oven, I figured the chicken and the beets would both take about an hour to bake/roast with our dinner hour planned for a little before six o’clock. (The chicken came out 15 minutes earlier and the beets stayed in fifteen minutes longer!)
As I cleaned up the kitchen counter, I was about ready to chuck the beet greens into the refuse bag when I decided to wash them well under running cold faucet and cut off the stems. That left the greens which I cut into thirds.
Looked up a couple of beet green recipes online which had the same formula: toast two cloves of garlic in olive oil, add par-boiled greens, sprinkle with red pepper flakes, squeeze a little lemon on top and serve.
Sounded pretty straightforward to me. My variation on that classic recipe was to parboil the greens first and then saute them in garlic and olive oil. Then, I added a sprinkle of Japanese Marukan seasoned gourmet vinegar and an accompanying sprinkle of maple syrup. Mixed the sweet/sour tastes with the greens and served them hot in a bowl. Yum! The dish had very mellow flavors and would be a great way to cook swiss chard too. I think that parboiling the greens first was an essential step. You couldn’t have a huge pan of fresh greens and expect it to cook down enough to add other seasonings. I drained it well and then gave the greens a couple of chops with a knife before I sauteed it with garlic et al. as described above.
Hey, the beet greens that almost got thrown away smelled like the star of the show! Here’s tonight’s dinner!
For the rest of the week, I’m planning to use the a) shallots with some thickly sliced mushrooms to go with swedish meatball stroganoff with noodles tomorrow night and b) a small eggplant parmesan for two with mozzarella, fresh chopped tomatoes and hand-grated parmesan cheese. The organic eggs will be soft-boiled for breakfast or made into an omelet with grated Irish cheddar cheese and sauteed baby spinach & shallots later in the week for a quick supper. The cucumber will come in handy added to romaine/kale salads.
Pretty nice food for less than $12 for the veggies and $6 for the eggs, right?