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Savoring the winter garden: Brrr ... but good things are still growing

 

Palmer Home for Children Greenhouse and Garden Manager Mary Tuggle, right, talks about some of the winter harvest coming from a lettuce table at Palmer Home Monday with Joshua, one of her young assistants.

Palmer Home for Children Greenhouse and Garden Manager Mary Tuggle, right, talks about some of the winter harvest coming from a lettuce table at Palmer Home Monday with Joshua, one of her young assistants. Photo by: Jan Swoope/Dispatch Staff

 

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Panko bread crumbs give delicious texture to garlic Parmesan roasted carrots.

Panko bread crumbs give delicious texture to garlic Parmesan roasted carrots.
Photo by: cafedelites.com

 

Fresh beets, oranges and toasted hazelnuts marry with a special dressing for this winter beet salad.

Fresh beets, oranges and toasted hazelnuts marry with a special dressing for this winter beet salad.
Photo by: tasteofhome.com

 

 

Jan Swoope

 

 

We may not associate cold, wet January with gardens, yet good things are growing. Some of our favorite winter vegetables are surprisingly hardy and cope well with wintry weather with a little care. The cold-weather garden can put a beautiful sweet and savory beet salad on the table, or roasted carrots, or a hot serving of turnip greens, to name only a few dishes.  

 

On a biting, bright Monday afternoon, Palmer Home for Children Greenhouse and Garden Manager Mary Tuggle and a few of her young helpers tended a "lettuce table" outdoors. It's a perfect example of a cold-season buffet. Lettuce tables are sometimes called salad tables, or salad benches. Built on legs, this one is easily accessible without stooping, and it is brimming with healthy eats. 

 

"We have carrots and beets and lettuce," Tuggle said, beginning the list of "crops." This winter, they're also growing Swiss chard, turnip greens, broccoli, kale, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower and more.  

 

Holding up a radish he'd just pulled from the soil, Joshua, one of Tuggle's young assistants, asked, "Can I take a bite?" Sure, Tuggle answered, expanding a little on the taste Joshua might expect. All Palmer Home children are exposed to the horticulture program at different levels, depending on age. Throughout the year, they learn to nurture foods from seed to table. They learn to work together as a team, and they learn to taste new things.  

 

"I love broccoli," said B.J., another of Tuggle's helpers. A kid loving broccoli? It might surprise some, but projects like the lettuce table encourage the children to give everything a try. Those who help out during the coldest months learn that feeding ourselves is a year-round effort. 

 

One of Tuggle's personal winter garden favorites is Swiss chard.  

 

"Wilted chard is so good as a side dish with sweet and sour pork over rice," she said. She shares the recipe below. Check out, too, a few more ways to showcase other cold-weather veggies. Garlic Parmesan roasted carrots, anyone? 

 

 

 

WILTED CHARD 

 

 

 

1 (10-12 ounce) bunch rainbow chard, stems and leaves divided. (I fold the leaf in half and strip the stem out with a small knife.) 

 

1 tablespoon olive oil 

 

1 small red onion, cut into 3/4-inch wedges, 

 

1/4 teaspoon black pepper 

 

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt 

 

3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts ( walnuts are a good substitute) 

 

1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar 

 

 

 

  • Thinly slice chard stems (like cut celery stalks). Coarsely chop chard leaves. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high. Add chard stems and red onion to pan: Cook until just tender (about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally.  

     

  • Add chard leaves, pepper and salt; cook about 4 minutes, stirring frequently (chard needs to look wilted, not mushy). Remove from heat. Sprinkle nuts and vinegar over chard; toss to combine. Serve as a side dish with sweet and sour pork over rice. 

     

    (Source: Mary Tuggle, Columbus) 

     

     

     

    WINTER BEET SALAD 

     

    Prep time: 20 minutes 

     

     

     

    2 medium fresh beets 

     

    1 package (5 ounces) mixed salad greens 

     

    2 medium navel oranges, peeled and sliced 

     

    1 small fennel bulb, halved and thinly sliced 

     

    1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted 

     

     

     

    For the dressing: 

     

    3 tablespoons olive oil 

     

    2 tablespoons orange juice 

     

    1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 

     

    2 teaspoons grated orange zest 

     

    1/4 teaspoon onion powder 

     

     

     

  • Preheat oven to 425 F. Cut slits in beets; place on a baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 1 hour.  

     

  • When cool enough to handle, peel beets and cut into wedges. Divide greens among salad plates; top with beets, oranges, fennel and hazelnuts. Combine dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid; shake well. Drizzle over salads. 

     

    Note: To toast nuts, bake in a shallow pan in a 350 F oven for 5-10 minutes or cook in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. 

     

    Nutrition: 1 serving: 213 calories, 15g fat (2g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 80mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate (12g sugars, 6g fiber), 4g protein. Diabetic exchanges: 3 fat, 2 vegetable, 1/2 starch. 

     

    (Source: tasteofhome.com) 

     

     

     

    GARLIC PARMESAN ROASTED CARROTS 

     

    Prep time: 5 minutes 

     

    Cook time: 25 minutes 

     

     

     

    2 pounds carrots, washed and halved 

     

    1/4 cup olive oil 

     

    4 large cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon minced garlic) 

     

    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

     

    2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs (or normal breadcrumbs) 

     

    Salt and pepper, to taste 

     

    Fresh chopped parsley, optional 

     

     

     

  • Preheat oven to 400 F and spray a baking sheet with cooking oil spray. 

     

  • Arrange carrots on sheet. Pour over the olive oil, then add the garlic, parmesan, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Toss all ingredients together to completely coat the carrots. n Spread out and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until tender. Toss with a spatula half way through. 

     

  • Remove from oven and serve immediately. Top with fresh parsley if desired. 

     

    (Source: Karina/cafedelites.com) 

     

     

     

    SPICY SKILLET TURNIP GREENS 

     

    Prep time: 5 minutes 

     

    Cook time: 20 minutes 

     

    Serves 6 

     

     

     

    1 tablespoon olive oil 

     

    1 medium onion cut into wedges 

     

    1 pound turnip greens cleaned and chopped 

     

    1/4 cup water 

     

    pinch brown sugar 

     

    1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes adjust to preference 

     

     

     

  • Drizzle olive oil into skillet over medium heat. 

     

  • Add onion and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Then add 1/2 of turnip greens. Allow to cook down and add the remainder of the greens. 

     

  • Add water, brown sugar and red pepper flakes. Adjust the amount of red pepper to your personal taste. 

     

    (Source: addapinch.com) 

     

     

     

    SAUTEED SWISS CHARD WITH PARMESAN CHEESE 

     

     

     

    2 tablespoons butter 

     

    2 tablespoons olive oil 

     

    1 tablespoon minced garlic 

     

    1/2 small red onion, diced 

     

    1 bunch Swiss chard, stems and center ribs cut out and chopped together, leaves coarsely chopped separately 

     

    1/2 cup dry white wine 

     

    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste 

     

    2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

     

    Salt, to taste 

     

     

     

  • Melt butter and olive oil together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic and onion and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. 

     

  • Add the chard stems and white wine. Simmer until stems begin to soften, bout 5 minutes. 

     

  • Stir in chard leaves and cook until wilted. Finally, stir in lemon juice and Parmesan cheese; season to taste with salt, if needed. 

     

    (Source: all recipes.com)

     

  • Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

     

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