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W – for Jun. 4, 2009

With most gardens now planted and spring inching along, we’re all looking forward to the first appearance, and then that first feast of anything homegrown and green. Asparagus is in full seasonal swing right now. It won’t be long before we’re enjoying platefuls of young lettuces and other dishes made with spring greens too. This week we’ve received a really neat idea for using canola greens from FBC staff writer Gord Gilmour of Winnipeg. Gord tells us he’s used it in any recipe that calls for a bitter green, and also used it as a substitute for a recipe calling for spinach, beet greens or even rapini, a popular vegetable in Italian and Chinese cuisine, that closely resembles the canola crop at an early stage of growth. Maybe this will encourage us to see that young canola crop in a new way! Thanks, Gord!

GORD’S CANOLA GREENS

Gather a double handful of canola greens from the field after they’ve bolted but before they’ve flowered. Make sure they haven’t been sprayed recently and wash them carefully. Heat up a frying pan, add oil (olive is best, but canola will work), four slices of diced bacon or a similar amount of diced ham (really any type of cured pork) and two or three cloves of crushed garlic, or a heaping teaspoon of the crushed garlic. Once the bacon is cooked down, add the canola greens and stir them around until they wilt down and turn a darker green. That’s it. This makes a great tasty side dish for any meal. The sweetness of the cured pork offsets the bitterness of the greens.

You seldom think of sautéing spinach or Swiss chard, but this makes a nice side dish as well.

3 c. spinach

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. canola oil

SPINACH

Remove the stalks and chop the leaves into 1-inch chunks. Sauté garlic in the oil. Add spinach and coat with garlic and oil. Add a little water if it starts to look dry and cook about three minutes until wilted. Add lemon juice, salt and crushed pepper. Serve immediately.

Swiss chard is also great for making a colourful dish of cabbage rolls. Use your favourite cabbage roll recipe and just substitute cabbage leaves with Swiss chard.

Pinch of dried crushed

red peppers

Salt

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With lots of asparagus now available, here’s a great Asparagus Frittata recipe to try courtesy of Peak of the Market.

2 tbsp. butter

1 small onion, chopped

2 c. asparagus, blanched and sliced

2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 c. green onions, chopped

ASPARAGUS FRITTATA

6 eggs

1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs

1/2 tsp. salt

Dash hot pepper sauce

Melt butter in small fry pan; sauté onion over medium heat for about five minutes. Arrange asparagus, cheddar cheese and onion in lightly greased 9-inch pie plate.

In medium bowl; beat eggs; stir in bread crumbs, salt and hot pepper sauce; pour over asparagus mixture. Bake in 350F (180C) oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until set in centre. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 8.

RECIPE REQUEST

Do you have a favourite tart recipe? Lemon tarts? Jam tarts? Coconut tarts? A tiny tart with any kind of filling is the perfect light dessert for spring and summer. Sukhwinder Malhi is looking for butter tart recipes. Here’s my all-time favourite.

GRAM’S BUTTER TARTS

1 dozen unbaked tart shells

1 tbsp. creamed butter

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. brown sugar

1 beaten egg

1 tbsp. vinegar

1 c. raisins

Mix together butter, vanilla, brown sugar and beaten egg, then add one tbsp. of vinegar and spread it over the top. Add to mixture raisins which have been left to stand in warm water to puff up. Fill tart shells 3/4 full and bake 15 minutes at 375F.

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