Vignarola is a traditional dish of the cuisine of Lazio, a tribute to spring gardens. The traditional recipe is made with fava beans, peas and artichoke hearts and it’s an explosion of taste as well as a healthy and nutritious dish. What I propose is a version of “B Side” ingredients based on the less noble part of broad beans, artichokes, peas and spring onions. The cost will be less than a euro, the reduction of waste very high. Recipe for 4 people:
The outer leaves and the stems of 4 artichokes
200g of pea pods
300g pods of broad beans
Some outer leaves of lettuce
The green part of spring onions 2
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
½ glass of white wine
4 bread croutons to serve
Wash all the vegetables, use the noble parts as you like and set aside the B Side (leaves, stems, pods) for vignarola. Peel and dice the stems of the artichokes. do a julienne cut with the pods of broad beans and lettuce leaves. Finely chop the green parts of spring onions. Boil all the vegetables except the green parts of spring onions for a few minutes in a boiling water pot. Centrifuge the outer leaves of the artichokes and the pea pods. Put in a pan two tablespoons of olive oil and cook the green part of the onions, then add the stems of the artichokes, fava bean pods and leaves of lettuce. Simmer with white wine until reduced for about 10 minutes, stirring. Then add the juice of peas and artichokes, salt, pepper and cook for 20 minutes at low heat. If the mixture is too dry, add a few tablespoons of the cooking water of vegetables. Use the exceeding water to make a soup or use it for your garden. Serve vignarola with croutons (with garlic if you like).
I love leeks and this season in my kitchen are never missing. Of course I use 100% of leeks including the green parts and roots that represent more than half of the leek. The green parts must be of a bright color and no yellow areas, the roots have to be long and firm. To Buy products in bulk and not deprived of the less noble parts is the only way to be certain of the freshness of the products. This dish is very easy and quick to prepare and try it because it has an irresistible taste. In the version that I propose there is a sprinkling of cheese final but may be replaced by a few flakes of yeast (found in health food stores). Leeks are in season and are a very versatile ingredient as well as healthy because they are rich in vitamin A, iron and magnesium, lowers cholesterol and strengthens the immune system.
4 green part of leeks
1 handful of raisins
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup vegetable broth
Salt and pepper
Christmas is here and it’s time for presents. Have you considered giving healthy, handmade and eco-friendly gifts for a change?
My suggestion is to make these delicious homemade herbal teas and to give them to your friends and relatives as Christmas presents, maybe along with a nice tea filter, a teapot infuser or a mug.
Apple skin and cinnamon herbal tea
Properties: relaxing and digestive
1kg organic apple skins
4 cinnamon sticks
Wash the apples thoroughly and remove the skins. Use the apples as you prefer, then julienne the skins, lay them on a metal plate and dry them (on the radiator, in the oven or in the dehydrator). Mix the dehydrated apple skins and the cinnamon sticks and put your herbal tea into small glass jars. Decorate the jars to taste. To make the infusion, put one teaspoon of mixture for every cup in your teapot and let it rest for about 4 minutes, then filter and enjoy.
Citrus peel infusion
Properties: regenerating and fortifyng
1 kg orange and lemon peels (left from your orange and lemon squash)
Wash the fruits thoroughly before squashing them. Once you’ve drunk the juice, julienne the peels, dry them as you prefer and keep them inside small glass jars. Add one tablespoon of the mixture for each cup to hot water, filter and enjoy.
Spicy Chrismas tea
Properties: a warm treat to face cold winter
500g orange peels (left from orange squash)
400g black tea
4 star anise pods
Julienne the orange peels and dry them with your favourite technique. Break up the anise pods and mix all the ingredients. Put the mixture inside small decorated glass jars. To enjoy a nice Christmas tea, add one teaspoon of the mixture for every cup to hot water, let it rest for about 4 minutes and filter.
And now, all you have to do is finish the present with a Christmas card including ingredients and directions.
Cold winter is here and it’s the perfect time for polenta, to be served along with stewed leeks and spinachs and a tasty cheese fondue. For the vegetable stew, keep the usualy discarded parts of leeks and spinachs (green parts, stalks); as for the fondue, this might a good occasion for using those old morsels of cheese that have been lying in your refrigerator for far too long.
Ingredients (serves 4)
the green parts of 3 leeks
the stalks of 1kg spinachs
4 tbsp butter
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
half glass hot stock or 1 glass water plus 1 tsp stock powder
For the polenta
1,5 liters water
1 tbsp kitchen salt
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
Bring 1,5 liters of water (with oil and salt) to the boil. Gradually add the cornflour, stirring all the time (you might use some help, here…) until all of the flour is blended in the water. Let the polenta cook for about 40 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so (or have someone do it for you, so that you can concentrate on the vegetable stew).
Wash the leek and spinach leftovers thoroughly and julienne them. Melt 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp oil in a pan, add the vegetables and wither them on low heat, then add the white wine and let it vaporize over a fast heat. Once the wine has evaporated, add the stock and let the vegetables stew for about 15 minutes.
Dice the cheese and put it in a small pan along with the leftover butter, let it melt on low heat. For a creamier fondue, add some milk and a teaspoon of flour. Once the polenta is ready, lay it on a chopping board and serve it hot along with the vegetable stew and the fondue.
Dumplings (jiaozi) are an all-time favourite at the Chinese restaurant, yet they are quite easy to make and can become the perfect eco-dish, provided that you choose the right kind of stuffing.
Classic Chinese dumplings are usually filled with a mix of ground pork meat, fish and vegetables, and seasoned with ginger, herbs and spices; they are then cooked inside a bamboo steamer lined with cabbage leaves.
For these dumplings, you can use the discarded parts of cabbage – cauliflower core and leaves, broccoli stalk and leaves, the external leaves of Brussel sprouts…
Ingredients (serves 4):
300g cabbage discarded parts
the external part of 3 carrots
1 external cabbage leaf
250 g refined flour (plus a couple of tablespoons to roll out the dough)
150 ml hot water
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
a piece of fresh ginger
For the sauce:
1 green onion (the green part ony)
4 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp rice vinegar
a piece of fresh ginger
Boil the water, put the flour on the pastry board and slowly pour the water, mixing with a spatula. Knead the dough until it feels smooth and elastic, then cover it with a dish towel an let it rest for at least 15 minutes.
Wash the cabbage leftovers thoroughly and julienne them. Blanch them in boiling water, strain them and put them in a bowl with your previously minced scallion and ginger, add soy sauce and rice vinegar.
Cut the dough into slices, tear off small pieces from each slice and press them, then roll them out to form thin and round discs.
Put a spoonful of stuffing at the center of each disc and seal your dumplings by crimping – this is the hardest part, but you can always seal them by pressing the edges together.
Lay the dumplings on a cabbage leaf inside the steamer, so that they will not stick to the wood. Cook them for ten minutes.
In the meantime, mince the green onion and a piece of ginger, put them into four small bowls and add soy sauce and rice vinegar. Serve your dumplings hot inside the bamboo steamer, with sauce on the side.
There are a lot of things you can do with leftover rice. Even cooking water should not be wasted. The best thing you can do is cooking rice with just the right amount of water, so that the rice will soak it up completely. In case you need to cook rice for a rice salad, though, you will need to boil the rice in abundant water to keep the grains firm. In this case, my suggestion is to wash the rice before boiling it, a technique which is very common in the Far East and allows you to remove the excess starch. Just like the cooking water, the washing water can be used to thicken a soup or a sauce or to irrigate your plants. This recipe will turn your leftover rice into light, tasty and crisp biscuits.
150 g boiled rice
2 tbsp cold rice cooking water
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp paprika powder
1 tsp dill powder
dried tomato skins
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper