We know vegetables are “good for you” and that the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s food pyramid suggests we eat five servings each day totallying 2.5 cups of vegetables. Sometimes it’s difficult to get children to eat their vegetables and one way is to “hide” them in their favorite dishes. The Fresh & Green Table: Delicious Ideas for Bringing Vegetables Into Every Meal by Susie Middleton gives an array of recipes, not only to hide the veggies but also to expose them.
For the purpose of the review we are asked to test three recipes. The first recipe I tested was “Individual Swiss Chard Gratins.” I like Swiss chard but putting olive oil and balsamic vinegar on it each time became old. I was interested in trying something different and this sounded like a great recipe to do so. I must say, I wasn’t disappointed. The gratin was the usual mixture of butter, breadcrumbs, Parmigiano-Reggiano, parsley, olive oil, garlic, mild cream, balsamic vinegar, flour, and of course the Swiss chard. The dish was very tasty, with the cheese giving it sharpness on the palette. We used this as a vegetarian main dish starting off with a green side salad. The gratin was filling and a pleasure to eat.
I first saw the picture in the cookbook of “Farro with Balsamic-Rosemary-Roasted Shallots & Grapes over Roasted Portobellos” and then decided to make the dish. At first, it looked complicated to prepare, but after reading the recipe, I saw that it wasn’t as difficult as it looked. It does take time to make this dish but the end result is awesome. The rosemary and garlic added to the flavor, but my best ingredient was the addition of red seedless grapes. They added sweetness to the dish and surprisingly went very well with the roasted portobellos. I served this as a main dish to dinner guests and they all raved about it. It is suggested to serve sautéed spinach with the dish, which I did. The presentation was colorful and delightfully scrumptious.
The third recipe I tested was “Greek Spinach-Salad Pasta.” Being a fan of Greek salad as well as pasta, I thought this would be a delicious dish and I wasn’t let down. The salad itself has a lot of ingredients: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, lemon zest, black olive tapenade, honey, salt, pepper, red onion, artichoke hearts, grape tomatoes, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, oregano, baby spinach leaves, toasted walnuts, and pepperoncini. Toss all that with curly pasta and you’ve got a dish that will be eaten with much gusto. The dish not only looks good, but the taste is delectable and most enjoyable. The flavors married very nicely. Served with a glass of red wine, this dish makes a great summer dinner dish and you get your vegetables as well.
I wholeheartedly recommend The Fresh & Green Table for foodies, especially those who have children reluctant to try “new” veggies or think they don’t like a specific vegetable. Susie Middleton gives you a perfect out by incorporating them into some favorites, e.g., pasta and pizza, and your kids probably won’t even notice.
(Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views)