Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wilted Beet Greens with Bacon and Garlic

I love beets. My husband and I often buy them. Both my local green grocer and farmers market sell beets with the tops on. I imagine that many people just lop off the stems and throw them away. The fact is that beets are a member of the chard family and their greens can be used almost interchangeably in both Swiss Chard and Spinach recipes.  I sometimes chop them up and add them to lentil or white bean soups.

While rummaging around in the refrigerator for something to eat for lunch, I came across a bunch in the bottom of my crisper drawer that I had intended to use for soup but got waylaid by chili instead.  I also found an open packet of bacon, some garlic, and "voila," a recipe was born!

I was tempted to throw some goat cheese crumbles on the top (which I still think would be good) but instead enjoyed the dish plain. The wilted greens were tender but retained a slight chewy crunch.  Couple that with bacon-y, smokey goodness and a hint of garlic - mmm...

This hearty, vitamin-rich side dish would be good with almost any roasted meat. Though, on its own, it made perfect winter's day lunch.

Wilted Beet Greens with Bacon and Garlic
Serves 2 to 4

2 bunches of beet greens (approximately 6 to 8 beets worth)
4 strips bacon
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp chicken stock or water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Strip the beet greens from the stems and discard. Tear the greens into bite-sized pieces. Wash in cold water and spin or pat dry.

Meanwhile, place bacon in a cold frying pan. Cook over medium heat until the bacon is crisp and the fat  has been rendered. Remove bacon from the pan and drain on a paper towel.

Add crushed garlic to the bacon fat. Lightly brown the clove on each side, approximately 1 minute total. 

Stir in the beet greens and chicken stock.  Toss gently for 3 to 5 minutes until the greens have wilted and the chicken stock has evaporated. Season with a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper.  Transfer to a serving dish and crumble the bacon over the top. Serve.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Mahalo Honomu Jams and Jellies

I don't usually do product endorsements but while vacationing in Hawaii I stumbled upon a yummy find - Honomu Jams and Jellies.  Honomu Jams is produced by Akana Falls Farms, a family-owned company on the Big Island. Their orchard and organic garden is located in the historical agricultural community of Honomu, on an old sugar plantation bordered by the Akaka Falls State Park. They grow a variety of fruits including heritage citrus varieties of oranges, tangerines, limes, and tropicals including mangos, papayas, passion fruit, star fruit, guavas, lychees, rambutans, and bananas.

Boasting "quality control from seed and tree to jar." They produce a number of exotic jams, jellies, and fruit butters. Everything is handmade in small batches with all natural and organically grown fruit, using no preservatives. I sampled at least a dozen products and my favorites include the Hot Passion Fruit Hawaiian Pepper Jelly, Tahitian Lime Ginger Jelly and Calamondin Jam.

The Passion Fruit Hawaiian Pepper Jelly is a tantalizing blend of sweet tang and spicy heat. Balanced and lively.  It wakes up the senses the way Thai and Indian foods do with layers of nectarious fruit and piquant sharpness. I used the Passion Fruit Hawaiian Pepper Jelly as a glaze for barbecued pork tenderloin while on the island but think it will be equally as good on chicken and chicken wings.  I also enjoy it with salty cheeses like sharp cheddar and manchego, as well as cream cheese.

The Tahitian Lime Ginger Jelly is outstanding on firm white fish like halibut, ono, and swordfish.  The delicate acidity of the lime paired with sweet, pungency of the ginger is perfect for fish, shrimp and chicken. I think it would be a great topper for citrus cheesecake too!

Calamondin is a type of orange common in the Philippines. The flavor is often described as a cross between a Mandarin orange and a kumquat, so it's more sour than sweet. The Calamondin Jam reminds me of a good orange marmalade - not too cloying and a nice citrus aroma.  Perfect on a buttery English muffin.

Here's the best part - they ship!  So, if you are looking for some delicious and unusual jams, jellies, and syrups check out Honomu Jams and Jellies! and let them know that Chef Erin sent you.  Mahalo!