26 October 2011

Purifying Winter Plate

The new rustic and homespun online and now print, vegan magazine, CHICKPEA has printed this recipe : )

Warming and seasonal, this vegan macro plate features a healthy helping of quinoa/wild rice, a chard/nori sautee, accompanied with roasted carrot, celery, chard roots and shrooms with a scoop of smashed white beans for good measure.

The inspiration for this dish was simple; I've long been a Swiss chard lover but have grown tired of how the stems often wilt and become soggy when chopping and pan sauteeing them. Being a salvage-type to avoid kitchen waste, I decided to de-vein the chard and sautee the leaves simply, and save the stems to funk with them.

There were plenty of ways to go here, but I opted for my favorite, an oven-roast along with some of the stem's sister roots of carrot and celery. I threw in some mushrooms for extra heartiness. When the chard stems finished roasting they become both juicy and crisp. The larger stems tasted moist, sweet and flavorful while the tinier stem scraps became wonderfully crispy-salty and onion-like.

And while we're on the topic of conserving, I'll point out an idea I recently came across. Since winter is coming and I suspect you'll be eating lots of soups and stews, you'll needing napkins. I had no idea that making homemade napkins could be so simple. The napkins in this photo are made from an old flannel shirt of mine that I wanted to give away. All you need is a ruler and scissors and you're fair game to make napkins as big or small as you'd like. While a 12 x 12 makes for the best folding, I went smaller to utilize as much of the fabric as possible.

Here's to conserving paper and chard stems.

Purifying Winter Plate

One bunch red Swiss chard (de-veined, leaves torn small, stems conserved)
2 large carrots, whole, peeled
2 celery stalks
5 medium/large cremini or baby bella mushrooms
1 sheet Nori seaweed
2-3 T good olive oil, divided
1/2 c white beans
1/4 c each wild rice and quinoa
1/2 t Tamari
1/2 t balsamic vinegar
1/2 t brown rice vinegar (organic if possible)
1/2 t maple syrup
Sea salt, ground black pepper and cayenne pepper


First rinse your wild rice and your quinoa separately. You'll want to cook them in different pots due to cooking time and liquid differentiation. Fill one small pot with 1/2 cup water and a pinch of salt, bring to a boil, and add quinoa, and fill another pot with 1 cup water and a pinch of salt, bring to a boil and add the 1/4 c wild rice. Let them boil for a few seconds before turning both to a simmer. Allow 25 minutes for the quinoa and 45 for the wild rice. When the quinoa finishes, add a tiny splash of olive oil, stir and let sit covered. When the wild rice is done, drain if necessary and add to the quinoa, stirring well and letting the grains congeal.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425 degrees and chop chard stems, celery, and carrot into long pieces, halve mushrooms, and toss in a bowl with 1 T olive oil, maple syrup, cayenne, black pepper and sea salt. Turn onto baking pan and roast about 25 minutes. Cool at room temperature, turning and tossing.

After washing and drying the chard leaves, let them sit a little in the bowl where you mixed the root veggies--they can absorb some of that oil and spices. Fire up a sautee pan on medium. and meanwhile cut the nori into tiny pieces. Throw the chard into the pan and let cook a very short time, stirring, until just wilted. Remove from heat, and toss in the nori, stirring. Let cool a moment.

Take the white beans and smash them a bit with a fork, then add about 1 T olive oil and blend lightly with a hand-blender or throw into a food processor, or simply smash very well with a fork, and shape into a mound. Plate your 4 dishes into portions on a serving dish, sprinkling rice vinegar onto the chard/nori sautee and balsamic onto the roasted roots. Serve at room temperature or close to it.