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Chard isn't hard

Call it my inner Florence Owens-Thompson, but after a year and half of working with school gardens in Athens, I’ve discovered that despite our best efforts, there is still a gaping divide which is often overlooked: even though we are doing a better job of sharing a love for vegetables throughout our communities, we still end up with coolers full of the so-called “weird” veggies at the end of our weekly produce markets. While people are becoming more open to the idea of buying local vegetables that they feel comfortable preparing, we often are unable to help them warm up to the idea of trying out unfamiliar veggies. Providing people with access to these vegetables when they have no idea how to prepare them is like giving someone a paintbrush to dig themselves out of a blizzard; it could theoretically be done, but it’s an unappealingly uphill battle. I’ve done some research to bring to you a few no-fail recipes which use some of the aforementioned less-desirable veggies and veggie parts for the waste-not, want-not consumer!


Lemon Garlic Swiss Chard:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
12 c chopped chard
2 Tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp black pepper
4 tsp shaved parmesan cheese

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; saute 2 min or until garlic begins to brown. Add swiss chard and 2 Tbsp water to pan; cook 3 min or until chard wilts. Stir in lemon juice and pepper. Sprinkle with cheese, and enjoy!


Kohlrabi Slaw:
Kohlrabi, peeled and cut into matchsticks
Apple, cut into matchsticks
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Mix kohlrabi and apple matchsticks with olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Sauteed kohlrabi with onions and cream:
Cubes of peeled kohlrabi
Thinly sliced white onion
Unsalted butter
Finely shredded kohlrabi leaves
Heavy cream
Salt and pepper
Grated nutmeg

Cook kohlrabi and onion in butter over medium-high heat until almost tender. Stir in kohlrabi leaves, and cook until wilted. Add a generous splash of heavy cream, and cook for a few seconds to reduce. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.


Roasted Fennel:
2 fennel bulbs (thick base of stalk), stalks cut off, bulbs halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise in 1-inch thick wedges
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the fennel wedges with olive oil, then sprinkle with balsamic vinegar (just enough to coat). Lina a roasting pan or baking dish with aluminum foil brushed with olive oil. Arrange wedges on the pan and roast for 40 minutes or until cooked through and beginning to caramelize at the edges.


Carrot top pesto:
2 c carrot tops (from 4-5 carrots), roughly chopped
1 garlic clove
3 Tbsp nuts, roughly chopped (walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, etc.)
1/2 c packed fresh basil
1/2 c olive oil
Measure nuts and garlic into a food processor. Pulse until a rough paste forms. Add carrot tops and basil, and pulse until it becomes a rougher, thicker paste. Scrape sides and pulse more if necessary. Add olive oil and continue to pulse until mixture becomes smooth. If it is too thick, add more olive oil, 1 Tbsp at a time. Refrigerate between uses.