Sage Advice: more fresh food, less effort

As a cooking coach, I focus on efficiency, versatility and making use of seasonal foods. The most recent sessions feature black-eyed peas & Swiss chard prepared SIX ways, five of which can be frozen.

Beans and Dark Leafy Greens such as chard are a wonderful combination that happens to be easy, versatile and extremely nutritious (and low-fat).  I could use kale or turnip greens in the following recipes just as easily as chard, and I do.

Dark Leafy Greens! from top: dinosaur kale (Lacinato), red onion, collards, turnip green, red radish.

Sadly I find many people do not know what to do with Chard or Kale, they mistakenly overcook Collards, they keep beets but throw OUT Beet Greens (gasp!) and, they’ve never even heard of Turnip Greens. Aiyeee!

Just like spinach, these greens are LOVELY when simply sauteed with garlic, lemon & salt. Unlike spinach, all these greens are bountiful from now til Nov.

Black-eyed peas (BEP) is a stand-in for any creamy mild bean. I like it because it’s fast-cooking and under-used.

6 dishes you can easily make from these 2 main ingredients, even in ONE afternoon. All basically vegan.

#1 Marinated BEP Salad with diced chard stems and leaves, any crunchy veg on hand, tossed w/ herb vinaigrette.

#2 BEP & Leafy Green Saute Base. A simple saute of chopped chard leaves & stems, garlic & onion and cooked BEP in a generous amount of olive oil. Zucchini is also nice in this base. It should be wet enough to clump together but not overly goopy. This mixture is divided into 3+ quarts to be seasoned separately; a quart or more of plain is frozen too.

#3 A la Provencal. Add fresh herbs like sage, lemon juice, and, if you like, green olives and/or capers.

Sage & Smashed Black-eyed Peas & Chard Bruschetta

Smashed Black-eyed Peas & Chard Bruschetta with Fresh Sage

#4 Provencal Bruschetta, sandwich or omelette filling: #3 smashed, drizzled with EVOO and topped with minced fresh sage & garlic. And diced fresh tomatoes if got ’em.

#5 Provencal Stew and Soup. Broth & wine added to #3 along with more veg (any kind), more herbs or pesto, then simmered til soft. Throw some pesto or grated cheese on top before serving.

#6 Curry Stew. #2 base simmered with more veg, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, broth and Indian spices such as garam masala or curry powder (and many more which I won’t list now), cayenne if you like it spicy. Yogurt and raisins is nice as garnish.

#7 Spaghetti Sauce. #2 simmered with with tomato sauce and paste, basil, oregano.

If you have 3 large pots, you can do this is in one session. All but the salad can be frozen. Easy, versatile, yummy!

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