Something old, something new, something green
No vegetable is more versatile than leafy greens. At the start of summer, the leaves are young and tender, the vegetables are incredibly delicious, not to mention full of magnesium, potassium and calcium.
This means by eating your daily greens you are increasing your natural energy supply, strengthening your bones, regulating your blood pressure and helping your entire digestive system operate more smoothly.
So, what do I mean when I say “greens” or “roughage”? This is a broad category referring to any edible leaf of a plant. Some great leaves to try are kale, chard, lettuce, spinach, arugula, beet, collard or endive. For fresh, local greens, check out the Winsted Farmers Market this Friday from 3 to 6 p.m.
When it comes to the leafy stuff, local produce cannot be beat.
When there’s less space between the farm and your dinner table, the vegetables have less time to lose nutrients and are more delicate, since they don’t need to be hardy in order to travel long distances.
Now, let me prove to you just how versatile these leaves can be with a little something old, and something new.
First, a green I’m sure we’re all familiar with: Romaine lettuce. Romaine is delicious, mild and a smarter choice for your salads than iceberg, which lacks the nutrients of more colorful greens. Here are the ingredients you’ll need for a sweet summer salad: 1-1 1⁄2 heads of Romaine lettuce, washed, dried and torn into small pieces; two or three ears fresh corn on the cob; handful mint, torn; 1⁄2 cup (to taste) gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles; olive oil and vinegar to dress. Throw your lettuce and mint into a salad bowl and toss together. The mint adds something special and with the corn is almost sweet, making it great for dinners and to serve to picky kids. Next, without cooking your corn, simply cut the kernels off as close to the cob as you can.
This can get a little messy, but it’s worth it because corn fresh off the cob is sweet and delicious. Put the corn kernels and blue cheese on top of the salad. I tend not to toss after this, since both ingredients are heavy and will fall to the bottom. That’s it! Serve immediately, or keep in the fridge until you’re ready. I dress mine with olive oil and vinegar, but feel free to use any favorite dressing. Enjoy this sweet salad, all with seasonal vegetables you can find at the local Farmers Market!
Now, on to something new. In collaboration with The Shafeek Nader Trust for the Community Interest, we are able to bring you this recipe from “It Happened in the Kitchen: Recipes for Food and Thought” by the late Rose B. Nader. You may or may not have tried swiss chard before, but perhaps you’ve seen it — green, red and sometimes yellow, this leafy green is considered one of the healthiest vegetables a person can eat — full of vitamins and rich in antioxidants. Why not try an easy Swiss chard salad? You will need: one bunch of Swiss chard; 1⁄2 bunch scallions; 1/8 cup or less of olive oil; 1/8 pine nuts (or more, to taste). Wash the swiss chard, cut it into small pieces and drain well. Dice the scallion and add to the swiss chard. Finally, add the pine nuts, olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. This salad makes a crunchy, salty, satisfying side dish to any dinner. Try it; you won’t be sorry you did!
Sage Hahn is an intern at the Community Lawyer’s office. She will be writing Vegetable of the Week columns for The Winsted Journal for the rest of the summer.