Tuesday, April 17, 2012

EAT YO GREENS! Happy Spingtime Cooking with Dark, Leafy Vegetables


           While a cruise through ones' local  farmers’ market is splendid on the eyes and taste buds, it can be overwhelming for even the experienced chef. The standard American diet and cooking style isn’t known for incorporating these lesser-known vegetables. Kale, a prolific growing vegetable in mountainous regions, is a dark green leafy vegetable that is incredibly healthy. It is one of the first vegetables to show up in the garden and the last to die, often living after snow falls. Swiss chard is another leafy green that loves the cool nights and short growing season of southwest Colorado. Greens, as in garlic greens, garlic scapes, spring onion greens, beet greens, turnip greens, braising mix, chard, kale, spinach and bok choy, are offered abundantly at the farmers’ market the entire growing season. The classic way to prepare garden greens is a simple sauté with garlic, olive oil, and a splash of tamari or soy sauce. Substituting kale or chard for spinach in recipes is a great way to try out the various flavors of garden greens as well.

served with avocado creme and guajillo chile tomatillo sauce

These taquitos are a healthy way to get one’s taco stand fix. They are savory and highly addictive! This recipe is a great way to use Farmer’s Market spring offerings but adjustments can be made for all year round.

3 cups finely chopped Swiss Chard and Spinach 
1 clove garlic minced
1 small spring onion with onion greens (1/4 cup chopped leek or yellow onion can substituted)
1/3c garlic greens chopped (optional- available in spring at Farmers’ markets)
1 cup chopped Seitan*
2-3t Tamari
10 corn tortillas
1T oil
1 recipe Avocado Sauce (recipe follows)
1 recipe Guajillo Tomatillo Salsa or salsa of choice
1 cup shredded green leaf lettuce and/or cabbage
2 diced romas tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded jack cheese 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Saute all greens, garlic, onion together in oil. Season with Tamari to taste. Cook until greens have shrunk and are fully cooked, about 5 minutes. To assemble: first, soften tortillas so that they are pliable to work with. To soften heat gently both sides of a tortilla in a lightly oiled skilled. Repeat with all tortillas. Place 2 T of filling on tortilla. Filling should be placed in a line on bottom 1/3 of tortilla. Then roll up the tortilla tightly around filling. Place taquito seam side down on baking sheet. Continue with until all taquitos are made and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crispy. Place all taquitos on large plate and garnish with shredded lettuce and/or cabbage, shredded cheese, and diced romas.

 *Seitan is a high protein vegetarian food made from wheat gluten. It has a meaty, chewy texture which is why it is a great ingredient to use in place of meat.

 Taquito filling saute, Preparation of tomatillos and tortillas, Rolling of taquitos

Guajillo Tomatillo Salsa and Avocado Creme

Avocado Creme
Fresh juice from ½ a lemon
1-2 T water
1 Avocado
½ sea salt

Puree in food processor or blender till smooth. Add enough water so it has a good dipping consistency.

Guajillo Tomatillo Salsa
Boil 3lbs Tomatillos, husked, for 5 minutes or just until their color changes slightly. Don't overcook. Take them out of water and place into blender.

Meanwhile, place the following ingredients in dry iron skillet over medium high heat:
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup sliced yellow onion or spring onion
4 arbol chiles
3 Guajillo Chiles with seeds and stems removed

Stir frequently until all ingredients are lightly toasted, about 4-6 minutes. Put chile mixture in blender along with prepared tomatillos. Blend on high for 2-3 minutes until mixture resembles a smooth, taco stand salsa.

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