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Roots, stalks and peelings: Mouth-watering recipes from scraps you might throw away

Chef Andie Bulman is pictured in her kitchen in St. John's. (Submitted by Andie Bulman - image credit)

I used to waste food.

Nothing too wild; I wasn't hurling oranges off a bridge or anything purposely wasteful.

Instead, I was guilty of letting salad greens get mouldy or ordering takeout on Friday when the fridge was full of leftovers.

This might not seem like a huge deal, but the UN report on national food consumption suggests Canadians waste about $2,000 a year on groceries.

This statistic looks especially sinister when considering that 13.4 per cent of households in Newfoundland are food-insecure.

Plus, food costs look like they're only going up.

The 2022 edition of Canada's Food Price Reports seems to be expecting a record seven per cent increase in food price inflation for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Sadly, there is no single solution for the consumer. Food costs are rising for reasons that are complicated and lengthy to explain. Not to speak in generalizations, but extreme weather events have wreaked havoc on our food systems, the pandemic continues to cause supply chain disruptions, and higher energy prices affect the cost of transporting food.

I've been trying to make small changes.

I don't wander the grocery store aimlessly anymore. I'm armed with a plan instead. My garden expands each year, and I freeze and bottle as much as possible. Finally, I've been trying to use the entire vegetable.

Roots, stalks, peelings and leaves used to find their way into my garbage or compost, but those parts of the vegetable are often the most nutritious. I know that using the whole vegetable barely scratches the surface of the problem, but it's a start.

Here are some easy recipes that use the entire vegetable.

Andie Bulman/CBCAndie Bulman/CBC

Turnip, radish or carrot green quiche

Turnip and radish greens have an almost mustard bite, and can add a little kick to plenty of dishes.

They both have thick cellular walls that I break down by using lemon and salt. I treat these greens how I might treat kale.

I treat carrot greens differently, chopping them up and sautéing them with butter, lemon juice and salt.

I use all the greens mentioned above in salads, but quiche is another excellent way to use them. In the spring you can toss in garden invaders like dandelions or goutweed too.

Making good quiche is simple. I blind-bake my crust, prep my greens, combine the eggs and milk, then toss the greens into the egg/milk mixture and bake the whole thing for 45 minutes to an hour.

Quiche crust ingredients:

2 ½ cups AP flour

1 tsp salt

1 cup cold salted butter

½ ice water

Instructions:

Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. I usually whisk some air into the entire thing. Now grate your butter. That butter should be freezing! I stick it in the freezer about 2 hours before using. OK, now slowly add in your ½ cup of ice-cold water. Mix it all together and move to a floured countertop. Form the entire thing into a ball. Divide the dough in half and flatten it out into a 1-inch thick disc. Freeze these discs for 2 hours.

Now roll out a single disc and place it in your pie pan. Save the other one to be used at another time. Freeze the extra dough and stick your rolled-out quiche crust for an hour — this prevents shrinkage. Then take it out of the freezer and blind-bake it for 20 minutes at 350 F. Use pie weights so it doesn't shrink up! Now fill with your quiche filling and bake for 50 minutes.

Quiche filling ingredients:

4 large eggs

½ cup whipping cream

½ cup homogenized milk

1 cup goat cheese (or any cheese, cheddar works too)

3/4 cup dried chorizo, cubed

1 cup sautéed radish or turnip greens or carrot tops (or goutweed and dandelion in

spring), chopped

2 cloves of garlic

1 small onion, diced

Salt

Pepper

Instructions:

Prep your greens. I squeeze a little lemon over my greens and massage them for a minute before cooking. Next, I heat my pan and add some olive oil. We want the pan to be on a medium heat. Add in the diced onion; after they get nice and translucent, add the greens. I let them cook for about 4 minutes, and then finally toss in the garlic and let it cook for a minute. Remove from the heat, crumble with goat cheese and mix with the chopped chorizo. Your add-ins are ready.

OK. Mix together the eggs and liquids. Using a whisk, mix for about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and toss in your add-ins. Add this filling to your blind-baked quiche crust and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. I serve this with some parsley or sprouts on top.

Andie Bulman/CBCAndie Bulman/CBC

Pickled kale stems with habanero

You can pickle all kinds of things, but I love the bite of pickled kale stems.

Ingredients:

12 kale stems

½ cup white vinegar

½ cup water

½ tbsp salt

1 tsp caraway seeds

1 tsp dill seeds

1 clove of garlic

1 habanero, sliced into rounds

Instructions:

Bring vinegar, water, and salt to a boil. Now chop your kale and slice your habanero. Place in a mason jar. Once the water boils, turn off the heat and pour overtop your kale stems. These will last for a month in the fridge. I stick these on a cheese plate, but mostly I love them in a grilled cheese.

Andie Bulman/CBCAndie Bulman/CBC

Carrot peel pesto

Ingredients:

1.5 cups loosely packed carrot peels

¼ cup toasted cashews

½ cup parmesan

1 clove garlic

½ tsp salt

¼ cup olive oil

Instructions:

Toss your peels, cashews, garlic, and salt in the food processor and stop once you've achieved a paste-like consistency. Scrape down your sides. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in your olive oil. You're done! Serve with crostini or cucumber, or use as a sandwich spread!

Other tips for making your vegetables last longer

  • Certain foods release ethylene, which causes other foods to go bad quicker. Onions, avocados and bananas are particular culprits. So make sure to keep these stored far away from items like spinach, potatoes or sweet potatoes.

  • You should always wash your veggies before using them, but dirt on carrots and parsnips actually helps them last longer in the fridge. Wash them just before using instead.

  • Tomatoes do best at room temperature. They lose flavour pretty quickly in the fridge. They'll also last longer if stored stem-side down.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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