Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What Mama's Cooking: Amaranth at the Market

Here’s what I got at the farmer’s market this week.

Starting with the red leaves and moving clockwise I have amaranth, the greens cut from salad turnips, lamb's quarters, spring onions, garlic scapes, shallots (from the grocers not the market), and then the salad turnips themselves.

By the way, amaranth seeds are high in protein and particularly high in the amino acid lysine which is on the low-side in other grains. After researching their nutritional value I am resolved to start using these seeds more frequently and alternate them with quinoa, another great seed pseudo-grain. 

For those of you history buffs, they were the major component of the Aztec and Inca diets, so when the Spaniards overtook the Americas they outlawed growing amaranth to help make their defeat complete. In my part of New York State, Native American orchards and corn fields were burned by Europeans to accomplish the same. Apparently, in various parts of Asia and some parts of Africa amaranth leaves are eaten in stir-fry type dishes. So, that's  what I decided to do using all of my purchases.

Lamb's quarter's are also called wild spinach and are frequently found growing in my yard and everywhere else, as a weed. I found this interesting blog entry 
about wild food foraging in NYC which includes mention of the multiple nutritional benefits of this common weed.

As for the garlic scapes, or garlic flower stalks, do you remember I used garlic scape pesto with wild ramps to make a pizza for brunch
? Here's a recipe for White Beans and Garlic Scapes Dip I intend to try if they are still at the market next week.

For the stir-fry:
Melt a tablespoon of olive oil plus a tablespoon of "butter" in a sauté pan. Then add the garlic scapes cut into one inch pieces and cook for a minute. Add sliced shallots, then the chopped green onions with the green part, too, cooked for a minute. Finally, add the the cut turnips. After the turnips are crisp tender remove all of the vegetables from the pan and put the amaranth, lamb's quarter's and turnips greens in, and cook until they are wilted.

I bought wild mushrooms - Morels - at the grocery store and the black-gilled Wine Cap mushrooms at the market.

Wash, wash, wash the morels then slice them in half lengthwise, cut the others into strips. Sauté all the mushrooms with a clove or two of minced garlic in a tablespoon each of olive oil and "butter." Meanwhile boil the pasta, but when it is al dente add a cup of peas (they are in season now, too) then drain. Add to the pan with the mushrooms and toss. Yumm.

xx Mama and Molly

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