Spring has sprung, and that means some pretty incredible produce at the local farmers markets. I’ve never really met a vegetable I didn’t like, so walking through and gawking at all of the gorgeous asparagus, avocados, fava beans and kale is akin to a teenage boy sifting through an issue Playboy magazine. Yes, my friends, springtime farmers markets offer the very best in food porn, but because it’s all good for you and stuff, you never end up feeling guilty. It’s a total win-win!
Speaking of veggie food porn (we were, weren’t we?!) one of my favorite food blogs on earth is 101 Cookbooks, because it features so many clever ways to feed a body good. The food Heidi prepares is so incredibly gorgeous you don’t even realize it’s all meant to give your body all the nutrients it needs and deserves. She’s really inspired me to think differently about vegetarian cuisine- instead of serving up pasta with marinara, why not toss some swiss chard ravioli with cranberry beans, arugula and a generous shower of pecorino cheese? I get some many ideas from reading both her blog and her cookbooks.
Last week I noticed a particularly inspired dish on 101 Cookbooks: Turnip Green Tart. The emerald green hue first caught my attention; the fact that it was encased in a corn meal crust pretty much closed the deal. I headed to my local farmers market in search of some turnip greens, but only one vendor was selling turnips, so I decided to switch gears and ask all of the farmers selling beets for their discarded beet greens and carrot tops. They were more than happy to give them to me, and I think I went a little bonkers on my newfound high of getting good, useable veggies for FREEEEEE and came home with a GIANT bag of both.
In addition to switching out the greens in the recipe, I put in a few more tweaks of my own- I sautéed the greens (80% beet and 20% carrot tops) with 2 cloves of garlic, a pinch of thyme and 1 chopped onion in some olive oil until they were soft, then I blitzed them in the Cuisinart with the liquid ingredients. I noticed there was way more liquid than greens so I decided to toss in some raw beet greens and carrot tops and blitzed it again until I was happier with the consistency. I also decided to add about ½ cup of grated gruyere to the actual mixture before pouring it into two tart shells (I doubled the mixture recipe, and the crust recipe is already for two) and garnished both the extra cheese halfway through baking.
See the red from the beet greens that bled out into the gooey cheese:)?
I was a little curious about how such a loose mixture (Heidi often uses veggie broth to cut heavier liquids often called for in these types of dishes, like cream) would firm up, but I was happy to see that it set beautifully. After letting it cool slightly, we sliced it up and dug in. IT WAS AMAZING. Kind of a revelation, actually. It was so flavorful and not at all “green-tasting” in a bad way…the greens actually made it so rich in texture that you’d never guess the main ingredient was something many people simply discard. I thought it was better than any quiche I’d ever eaten, because although it was satisfyingly hearty, it lacked the dense fattiness of most quiches. This one is a keeper, and I can’t wait to try it with different kinds of greens.
With the tarts we had an array of side dishes that showcased the vegetables I snagged at the market:
Cumin roasted multicolored carrots:
Corn and fava bean succotash with a basil vinaigrette:
Butter lettuce, avocado and grapefruit salad with a grapefruit vinaigrette:
Strawberry, pistachio and spelt flour crumble (we ate warm spoonfuls piled high with vanilla soy ice cream!). The tart crust calls for spelt flour so I had some left over and decided to combine it with some oats, oat bran, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon to make the topping.
Next up: Beet greens and carrot top soup- sounds weird, but it was deeeelish!
Have a great weekend!