Many A Little Makes A Mickle
Lately, I've been trying to make a conscious effort to waste very little in the kitchen. I mean, VERY little. Fat gets stored, bones make stock kind of effort. Taking careful inventory of what's in the freezer and trying to really stretch ingredients as far as they can go. I'm completely obsessed with the need to use something to its bitter end and have come to revere the Great Depression approach to the pantry. It's positively addicting.
So. I've been reading this book. Over and over again. It's called The American Frugal Housewife and Ms. Lydia Maria Child, the lady who wrote it is simply not, in no uncertain terms, fucking around. It's the same woman who penned the poem "Over the River and Through the Woods". A handsome and austere woman whose whipping stick jumps out and threatens you through her portrait.
"The true economy of housekeeping is simply the art of gathering up all the fragments, so that nothing be lost."
If something is brought into the house, it is utilized. Until it's a remnant of itself. She brags how she wastes nothing, kind of demands you do the same and pretty much screams at you throughout the book. You'll feel inadequately wasteful after the read (pun totally intended), I promise. Slightly dirty with a layer of indulgent film on your skin that's hard to get off.
"Look frequently to the pails, to see that nothing is thrown to the pigs which should have been in the grease-pot. Look to the grease-pot, and see that nothing is there which might have served to nourish your own family, or a poorer one."
With my newfound OCD (people with actual OCD, sorry), I get kind of excited everytime I use something I would normally (obnoxiously) overlook. A little turned on.. a little. So it was the beet greens from last weeks farmers market booty that did it for me. The beets translated into a very good, yet unimaginative, salad that is a common go to for those who love a sweet beet, but head to familiar arrangements that end up garnished with walnuts or pecans. I was determined not to throw out a morsel of my $35 spent at the market, so set about washing greens, trimming asparagus and freezing strawberries as soon as I got home. This was the new me.
This time around, I couldn't bring myself to toss the beet greens. There were a ton. It seemed too great to let go. So I did a bit of research. Google was feeling lucky and schooled me quickly by rolling "Beet Greens: The World's Healthiest Foods"... well alright, alright, alright.
Beet greens get their superfood status by being a leafy green vegetable with the distinction of providing an outstanding source of both calcium and magnesium. Not 100% sure why this is remarkable, but it sounds really good, doesn't it?
As soon as I read that I could basically use the greens in place of spinach, it was pretty much the wild west. The party was on. I can honestly tell you, I'd read a book by its cover. I'd given beet greens a bad rap and that bitter taste was all in my head. Pure fiction. A classic case of a snap decision based on ignorance.
I basically made a cream of spinach soup with cashew cream in place of dairy. I'm always down with a cream of whatever, so I followed the standard process.
Sauteed some lovely large spring onions I'd picked up at the farmers market in a few knobs of butter then tossed in the washed and trimmed greens. I pretty much only used the leaves. Salt up the veggies and add spices to taste. Since I was all pumped about the essential minerals I was going to score in the beet greens, I took the superfood goodness a step further and spiced it up with cayenne, coriander, and cumin. Wonder spices, just ask Dr. Oz. I know, I know, he'll tell you anything, but honestly, there are some big punches packed in those tiny little seeds. I added chicken stock and let all that simmer for about 10 minutes.
I heard a rumor that garlic benefits you more when raw, so before blending I added a good amount of raw garlic to the sauteed veggies and stock.
Blend until smooth in a blender or with an immersion. Add cashew cream to taste and a splash of lemon juice to balance everything out. Season to taste.
I served mine with a few pumpernickel micro breadcrumbs.