Little Green Lessons

It comes the time of year when the verdant veggies are most abundant and we quickly pass from gratitude for the fresh leafy greens to a feeling of: Ho-hum what to do next with those endless bags of antioxidants?

So the following are some creative ways to use them and add a decidedly creative pinch of flavor.

Lavender Mint Green Jasmine Ice Tea

Makes 1 gallon

Design0001A food professional will often use 8 tea bags to make 1 gallon of ice tea. Keep that as your general rule and then add herbs as desired. If you want a bit of intrigue to your iced tea, you can add 2 cups of fresh pureed watermelon juice or even 2 cups of apricot, cranberry or other berry juice.

8 slices fresh ginger root pounded in a mortar and pestle to release juices
8 jasmine green tea bags
6 sprigs fresh lavender
3 sprigs fresh mint (spearmint or peppermint)
8 cups water
honey to taste

In a medium saucepan bring the ginger and water to a boil. Turn off heat, add tea bags and herbs, and cover and let steep for 1 hour. Add honey to taste.

Ice can now be added to equal 1 gallon if using immediately. Or refrigerate and add cold water when serving.

Free Form Swiss Chard Tart
Serves 6
This layered combination of vegetables and ricotta is blanketed with a pie crust dough in a quick wrap to enclose the scrumptious filling. Rustically elegant, it says fresh and homemade without being fussy. As a brunch entree it’s outstanding. For dinner it complements grilled beef, pork or lamb nicely.

1 10-inch pastry dough round
1 1/2 cups cooked sweet potatoes diced and tossed with olive oil
1 sautéed sweet onion
1 cup ricotta cheese mixed with garlic chives, garlic scapes or 1 clove minced garlic
1 cup coarsely chopped olives
2 cups thinly sliced Swiss chard or Pac Choi tossed with olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Bake 375 about 30 minutes or until the dough is golden.

Gorgonzola and Dried Cherry Summer Salad with Edible Flowers
Serves 6

"The mixture of ingredients is a taste explosion." This simple combination of leafy green lettuce, sweet red onion, sliced apple, roasted pecans and dried cherries tossed in a raspberry vinaigrette can serve as a main lunch entrée or on the side in a more extravagant meal. Add the flowers as the “Knock Their Socks Off” garnish!

To talk a bit about Arugula flowers, you actually have to taste them. They impart a delicate version of the arugula leaf which can often be very spicy. (Of course the very spicy is extremely nutritious).

6 cups baby greens and spicy greens
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup roasted pecans
1/4 cup dried cherries
raspberry vinaigrette*
1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
Arugula flowers and nasturtium flowers

Toss the lettuce, onion, apple, pecans and cherries in a large salad bowl. Pour on enough dressing to coat and toss the salad. Garnish with gorgonzola cheese before serving. Add the flowers as the “Knock Their Socks Off” garnish!

*You may use a bottled all natural raspberry vinaigrette or make a quick and easy homemade version by whisking together:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
1 clove minced garlic
sea salt, to taste
ground pepper, to taste

Recipes from “Cook For Life Balance” by Rita Calvert