Beautiful carrots and dill this week! I particularly love this combination and hope you try the faro and carrot salad with dill. The chard pancakes are a classic dish from the Southwest of France and tend to be crowd pleasers. I’ve included my favorite way to cook short-grain brown rice so you can make a lot and save half for fried rice the next day. Oh and the mustardy roasted veggies are a nice variation on the standard . . . Enjoy!
Farcous (Savory Chard Pancakes)
Fried-Rice with Broccoli, Carrots and Turnips
Baked Brown Rice
Carrot and Dill Notes
Faro with Carrots and Dill
Mustardy Roasted Vegetables
Two Kinds of Turnip Pickles
Farçous (Swiss Chard Pancakes)
–adapted from Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan
These are an absolute cinch to make if you have a food processor. It takes 5 minutes to make the batter and a bit longer to fry them but they are so addictive and so fun. These are made all over Southwest France and I’m sure with variations of herbs and greens, but most typically they are made with chard, parsley and chives. You can certainly skip the chives if you don’t have any on hand.
They also keep and freeze well and make great snacks. You can also experiment with different flours and combinations of flours if you’d like. Half whole wheat flour works well and I imagine spelt flour would too.
This recipe makes a lot of pancakes so you can cut it in half or make the whole thing and just save some for lunch the next day. I don’ think you’ll have any trouble eating them up.
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or half all-purpose and half whole wheat)
3 large eggs
1 small onion, chopped (about ½ cup’s worth)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup of chopped parsley or more or less to taste
2 tablespoons of chives, chopped (optional)
7-10 Swiss chard leaves (depending on size of leaves), washed, shaken dry and center rib and stems removed (can save for other use)
Salt (these need a lot of salt! Start with ¾ teaspoon kosher or sea salt. Taste the first pancake and add more if they’re bland. They really need salt to lift up the flavors of the herbs and greens)
Freshly ground pepper
Vegetable oil or olive oil for pan-frying
For optional topping: yogurt, lemon zest and juice or just plain Greek or whole milk yogurt
Preheat oven to 250 degrees and place a baking sheet in the oven.
Put milk, flour, eggs, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. Mix until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Add the chard leaves to the batter (little by little if you don’t have a lot of space) and blend, but don’t over blend. The mixture does not need to be homogenous and is better with a bit of variation in size of the chard leaf pieces.
You can make these pancakes large, like crepes (and use a crepe pan if you have one) or smaller, like regular pancakes. Pour about 1 tablespoon of oil into your pan (less if it’s a crepe/non-stick pan) and heat over medium-high heat. Add the batter to the pan for whatever size pancakes you’re making and cook until for a few minutes until the edges begin to brown and curl. Flip them over and cook them for a couple more minutes until evenly browned. Place in warm oven while you make the remainder of the pancakes.
These are wonderful with a dollop of yogurt (especially Greek yogurt) to which you can add a bit of lemon zest and little lemon juice and a salad for lovely dinner.
Cook-With-What-You-Have Fried Rice with CSA Veggies
This is the quintessential quick dinner, utilizing whatever bits and pieces you have on hand. Carrots, broccoli, turnip, chard stems (if you made the Swiss Chard pancakes above), all work well in this dish. Quantities are all approximations and you can vary them as you like. You just want to be sure you cut the vegetables finely and fairly uniformly and you don’t want to crowd your skillet or wok. To avoid a soggy dish you need to be brave with the heat level!
Serves 4 (more or less)
3-4 cups cooked, cooled rice (I recommend making short-grain brown rice as described below, if you can and day old rice works much better than fresh—fresh is too moist)
1-2 tablespoons coconut, sunflower or olive oil
1/2 a medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1-2 ounces of bacon, cut into small dice (optional)
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup broccoli, cut into1-inch pieces
½ cup turnips, cut into 1/2-inch dice (optional)
1 cup turnip greens, well washed and chopped
1 Serrano chili, seeded (if you don’t want it very spicy) and finely chopped or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2-3 teaspoons Tamari or soy sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce (or to taste)
3 tablespoons roughly chopped basil, mint or cilantro (or a combination)
Heat the oil in a wok or largest skillet you have, over high heat. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, carrots, broccoli and turnips and Serrano chili, if using, and bacon and cook stirring very frequently for about 5 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the rice and turnip greens and mix everything very well. Cook for about three more minutes to heat the rice through and wilt the greens. Then push the contents of the pan to one side and add the eggs to the empty spot and scramble them until almost set. A few stray rice kernels ore veggies will make their way in which is just fine. You just don’t want to mix the raw egg into the rice right away since you’ll loose track of it as it just coats the kernels instead of scrambling. When the eggs are almost set, mix them gently into the rice, add the soy and fish sauce, stir well and then mix in the herbs. Adjust seasoning–it may need salt or more soy or fish sauce or a squeeze of lime juice–and serve immediately.
Baked Brown Rice
–from Alton Brown
I often make a double batch and freeze the other half. I was a brown rice skeptic for years and never cooked short grain brown rice at that. This technique was a revelation to me. I can’t get enough of it.
1 1/2 cups brown rice, medium or short grain
2 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place the rice into an 8-inch square glass baking dish.
Bring the water, butter, and salt just to a boil in a kettle or covered saucepan. Once the water boils, pour it over the rice, stir to combine, and cover the dish tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour.
After 1 hour, remove cover and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve immediately.
Carrot and Dill Notes
Carrots and dill are a lovely combination as you can see in the below faro salad. You can also make a simple salad of grated, raw carrots, lots of chopped dill, a thinly sliced green onion or two and a dressing made with lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper. Toss in some toasted sunflower seeds for extra heft and crunch.
Faro with Dill and Carrots
This is a lovely combination. You could add feta if you like or use barley or rice instead of faro though I think faro is particularly good.
1 cup faro, hulled or pearled (pearled cooks more quickly but I prefer just hulled—more of a whole grain)
2 cups carrots, cut on the bias into ¼-inch slices
3 tablespoons dill, chopped
1 medium clove garlic, minced
2 greens onions, thinly sliced (optional)
3-4 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted (optional but very good)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or more to taste or red wine vinegar)
2 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Put the faro in a sauce pan with 3 cups water and ¾ teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer and cook, covered, until the faro is tender—some kernels will break open which is just fine. This will take about 45 minutes if it’s hulled faro and a bit less for pearled. Test occasionally for doneness. When tender, drain well and put in a bowl and let cool a bit.
Meanwhile, sauté the carrots in ½ tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat with a few pinches of salt until tender and caramelizing a bit—about 10 minutes.
Add the carrots to the faro and all the remaining ingredients. Stir well and adjust seasoning.
Mustardy Roasted Vegetables
This is a nice variation to plain roasted vegetables. One of my favorite things to do with these, once roasted and a bit cooled is to toss them with lots of parsley and/or arugula or just lettuce and maybe dill in this case. Then add a bit more lemon juice and olive oil and make a big salad out of it. Quantities are approximations. Use however many vegetables you want in whatever ratio you want.
You could also serve these on top of a bed of sautéed chard.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced in ½-inch thick half-rounds
5 turnips, scrubbed but not peeled and cut into wedges
6-7 carrots, scrubbed and cut into ½ – ¾-inch slices on the bias
2 cups broccoli florets and stems, cut into more-or-less same-sized pieces
2-3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Put all the vegetables in a big bowl. Mix the other ingredients in a small bowl and then toss the mustard mixture with the vegetables mixing very well. I use my hands to get it thoroughly mixed—messy but fun and effective.
Spread the vegetables on a baking sheet with sides—try not to crowd and use two sheets if you have too much for one. Roast for 20 minutes then stir and keep roasting until all vegetables are tender and beginning to brown around the edges.
As noted above, these are delicious tossed with greens for an unusual salad or just eaten as is, hot or at room temp.
Quick Turnip Pickles
–from Andrew Cohen
Here is a variation on a theme of a salad called sunomono that you get in Japanese restaurants.
1 bunch turnips, trimmed and scrubbed but not peeled
2 medium carrots (optional), well scrubbed but not peeled
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup rice vinegar
1 cup water
½ cup sugar
Use a mandolin, if possible, to slice the turnips as thinly as you can and keep them whole. If you do not have a mandolin, I recommend slicing the top and bottom flat so you have a firm base and the turnip does not roll. If using the carrot, slice the carrot as thinly as the turnips. Use the same shape or shred into thin shreds.
Sprinkle the vegetables with the salt, toss to coat evenly and “massage” the vegetables a little.
While the vegetables wilt, combine the water, vinegar, and sugar in a jar and shake until the sugar goes into suspension (disappears from sight).
When the vegetables have begun to wilt and have lost their “raw”-ness, rinse in plenty of cold water. Taste a slice to be sure the salt is mostly gone.
Add the vegetables to the dressing and allow to marinate at least an hour. Chill the pickles, then use when cold.
–adapted from A Platter of Figs by David Tanis via culminate.com
These pickles are a lovely complement to cold meats and cheeses and as a fresh, acidic counterpoint to other rich dishes. I’ve reduced the turmeric (by half) from original since it was a bit too strong for my taste but by all means increase it if you’d like.
The basic version takes a week to make, but there’s a quick method here too, for overnight pickles.
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 thyme sprig
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric (see headnote)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
scant 2 tablespoons salt
2 cups water
½ cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb turnips, scrubbed but not peeled, cut into small wedges
Combine the garlic, herbs and spices, salt, water, vinegar, and olive oil in a bowl. Stir to dissolve salt. Pack the turnip wedges into a clean quart jar and pour in the brine mixture. Screw on the lid. Put the jar on a shelf in the kitchen and turn it over every day for a week. After a week, refrigerate the pickles. Use within a month.
For a faster pickle, simmer the turnips in the brine for about 8 minutes, or until cooked but still firm. Cool the pickles in the brine, then refrigerate overnight before serving.