Sweet and Savory Sweet Potato Greens

yam

Yes, you CAN eat the green tops of sweet potatoes that curl and snake above the tubers themselves, tucked safely below the earth. Sweet potato greens — sold in Asian supermarkets as “yam leaf” — in fact come in a variety of color and shape these days, with their growing popularity as ornamental vines. They taste a lot like spinach, are packed with nutrients and farmers are discovering a burgeoning market for these once-tossed-away side harvest to the perennial favorite tuber of fall. Look for the greens in your local farmer’s market — or CSA – starting in June and going through the fall harvest of sweet potatoes. This recipe was demoed by Adrienne in April 2016 as part of our “Top-to-Toe” month.

8 C sweet potato/yam leaves, stems removed, washed
1 T olive oil
½ onion, diced
½ t Dijon mustard
2 t sugar
½ t hot pepper flakes
1 t salt
1-2 T cider vinegar
3/4 C vegetable or chicken stock
2 T dried cranberries
2 T chopped nuts

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook and until softened and translucent, about two min.; add garlic and cook another two minutes until garlic is fragrant. Combine mustard, sugar, salt, hot pepper flakes, one tablespoon vinegar and add to pan, stirring the ingredients together until sugar is dissolved and they are well incorporated. Add stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the sweet potato leaves, cover and turn heat down to a simmer. Stir in the cranberries and continue simmering until the liquid has reduced by about half, and the cranberries have softened, about 10 min. Season to taste with pepper and more vinegar as desired. Sprinkle with nuts before serving.
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Winter Vegetable Panzanella

So you know panzanella — once you figure out how to pronounce it, it’s really fun to say. Panzanellaaaaa. panz 1It’s that delicious bread salad we make in the summer, with garlic, tons of tomatoes and sweet onions and cucumbers, laced with tons more basil, great red wine vinegar and fruity olive oil. It’s a joy of a summer salad for those few of us anymore who aren’t avoiding carbs — and for the rest, we sneak a bite or make it our treat for the week.

Well here is panzanella in the middle of winter: What gives? This one is also delish — crusty bread folded into cubes of roasted red beets, golden butternut and bright green Lacinato kale — the soft kale with an almost creamy texture. Douse this in a wintery maple mustard vinaigrette and top it with smoked mozzarella and you won’t miss the summer version at all — not yet anyway. Danielle demoed this in January 2015 at Brookside and at US Botanic Garden.

panz 22 C of 1-inch cubes crusty sourdough, a day old (2 large, thick slices)
1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lb purple beets, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 C Lacinato kale, ribs stripped, leaves washed and sliced into strips
½ C red onion, diced
1 apple, cored and cut into cubes (Honey Crisp, Braeburn, Fuji, Kiku, or tart if you prefer)
10 ounces smoked mozzarella, cut into small cubes (can substitute crumbled blue cheese)

Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette

4 T balsamic vinegar
2 t maple syrup
2 t grainy Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
½ C olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425. Toss the beet cubes with a small amount of olive oil, spread them on a baking sheet and roast until just tender, 30-40 minutes. Do the same for the butternut cubes, putting them in another roasting pan and cook until tender but not about to fall apart, about 20-25 minutes.

In a large non-stick sauté pan, heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat and add the bread cubes. Sauté, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Slice the kale and chop the onion and set both in a large salad bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, maple syrup and mustard. Drizzle in the olive oil and whisk to emulsify. Add about half the dressing to the kale and onion, mix well. When the beets, butternut and bread cubes have cooled slightly, add them to the kale and onion. Toss again to coat everything, adding a little more dressing as needed. Just before serving, add apples and mozzarella. Serves 4-6.


Warm Fingerling Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

potato salad

The escarole holds up well when tossed with warm potatoes and warm dressing and its slight bitterness is pleasant when paired with robust flavors of pancetta and gouda.  You could substitute spinach for the escarole.  Smoked gouda would also make a nice change. Serve the salad warm or at room temperature. Four good-sized servings. Adapted from Fine Cooking. Demoed at Brookside March 12 and at US Botanic Garden March 13, 2014.
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Burnished Chicken with Parsnips and Sweet Potatoess

burnished

At the end of a full day of work putting the garden to bed — pulling out the spent tomato plants, bringing in the last of the peppers and eggplant, clearing, weeding, pruning, then clearing some more and mulching — this was a great meal to sit down to.   Especially since the parsnips were part of what came in from the garden.  Make-ahead tip: Marinate the chicken in the morning and stick it in the refrigerator; prep your veggies. At dinner time, all you have to do is put them all on a baking sheet and in about 40 minutes it’ll be ready.  Oh, and don’t forget that green salad – what goes well with this is a mix of arugula (still going strong in the jardin) and shredded radicchio with a wine vinegar-olive oil dressing. The chicken dish will make four hearty appetites very happy. Adapted from our buddies at Fine Cooking. Read More