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Broccoli and chickpeas on ricotta toast

Almost a third of the world’s food supply is wasted each year. In the United States alone, it’s estimated that we each throw out more than 20 pounds of food every month.

As awareness of this issue becomes more widespread, we’re all seeking ways to waste less. By preserving your bumper crop of tomatoes or purchasing perishables in smaller amounts, you can help minimize the environmental strain caused by food waste.

You may also start to rethink what you consider waste; some of the things we often throw away can actually make lovely dishes.

Lindsay-Jean Hard believes it’s more important than ever to be conscious of our consumption, and we can start in our own kitchens. That’s what inspired her book, Cooking With Scraps: Turn Your Peels, Cores, Rinds, and Stems Into Delicious Meals.

We’re sharing these recipes from her book in hopes they will help you view food scraps in a new light — and create some exciting, tasty new delights.

Fromage Fort

Makes 1 pint
Prep time: 10 minutes

fromage fort

1 lb. leftover cheese bits and rinds, keeping rinds to no more than two-thirds of the total amount
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 to 2 tbs. unsalted butter, room temperature

Chop any large pieces of cheese into smaller, bite-size pieces and grate any hard cheeses. Very hard rinds are best grated in a food processor with the grating disk.

Insert the chopping blade into a food processor. Add the cheese and garlic; blend.

Add the wine and 1 tablespoon of butter and process again until it comes together as a thick spread. If it doesn’t seem like it’s quite coming together, add the additional tablespoon of butter and process further. Serve with seed crackers or spread on whole-grain toast.

Fromage fort can be frozen in an airtight container or zip-top bag for up to three months and will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days. Keep in mind that the flavors will intensify the longer it stays in the refrigerator.

If you use a large percentage of rinds, you’ll find that the mixture will become crumblier when refrigerated. Simply allow it to come to room temperature before serving; if it still doesn’t fully come back together, add a little more butter.|

Lemony Olive Oil–Poached Broccoli Stems and Chickpeas on Ricotta Toast

Makes four servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

poached broccoli stems and chickpeas

Stems and leaves from 2 heads broccoli
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 to 4 tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp. sea salt
4 thick slices crusty sourdough or bread of choice
1 cup ricotta cheese
Red-pepper flakes, for garnish (optional)

Peel and discard the tough outermost layer of the broccoli stems, reserving any leaves. Dice peeled broccoli stems.

Heat 1/3 cup olive oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the broccoli stems. Add the remaining olive oil if the pieces aren’t fully covered. Cook until nearly tender, about five minutes.

Add the chickpeas, 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice, and the salt. Cook until the broccoli is tender, another minute or two, and remove from heat. Add the broccoli leaves and stir so that they wilt. Taste and adjust seasonings; add the additional tablespoon of lemon juice or more salt if necessary.

Toast bread slices in a toaster or on a sheet pan under the broiler.

Spread a thick layer of ricotta cheese on each piece of toast, then top each with some of the broccoli and chickpea mixture. Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of red-pepper flakes, if desired.|

Ginger-Garlic Miso Soup With Turnip Greens

Makes four servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

ginger garlic miso

2 tbs. untoasted sesame oil (or another mild-flavored oil)
2 tbs. finely minced or grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
6 green onions, white and green parts separated, finely chopped
1 small bunch turnip greens, stems and central ribs removed and finely chopped, leaves shredded or left whole if small
5 cups water or low-sodium vegetable broth
4 tbs. white miso paste
8 oz. firm tofu, cubed

Place a medium-size pot over medium heat and add sesame oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the ginger, garlic, white parts of the green onions, and the chopped turnip stems and ribs. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the white parts of the green onions are nearly translucent and the pieces of stems and ribs are tender, about five to seven minutes.

Add the water or broth and raise the heat to medium-high. Once the mixture is hot, but not boiling, place the miso in a small bowl and whisk in about 1 cup of the hot liquid to make a slurry. Add the slurry to the pot and stir. Turn off the heat, leave the pot on the burner, and add the green parts of the green onions, shredded turnip leaves, and tofu. Let it stand for a moment to heat everything through and wilt the greens, then serve immediately.|

Roasted Swiss-Chard Stems With Creamy Sesame Dressing

Makes two servings
Prep time: five minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

swiss chard with sesame dressing

2 tbs. sesame seeds, toasted
2 tsp. rice vinegar
1/2 tsp. mirin (or ½ tsp. white wine with a pinch of sugar)
1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1½ tsp. tamari or soy sauce
2 tbs. mayonnaise
1½ tsp. full-fat, plain Greek yogurt
Stems from 1 large bunch Swiss chard, leaves reserved for another use
1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Crush the toasted sesame seeds with a spice grinder or a
mortar and pestle.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, rice vinegar, mirin, sesame oil, tamari or soy sauce, mayonnaise, and yogurt. Set aside.

Cut the chard stems into 5- to 6-inch lengths. Place them on a baking sheet and drizzle them with olive oil. Gently toss to coat, spread them into a single layer, and lightly sprinkle with pepper.

Roast the stems until the centers are tender when pierced with a knife, the edges are starting to char, and any lingering leaf pieces crisp up, about seven to 10 minutes.

Divide the roasted stems among plates and drizzle with the sesame dressing. Store any extra stems and dressing separately in the refrigerator for up to five days.|

Carrot-Top Pesto

Makes 1 cup
Prep time: 20 minutes

carrot top pesto

Greens from 1 medium-size bunch carrots (about 1 cup after blanching and chopping)
1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds, toasted
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp. fine-grain sea salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Fill a medium-size pot with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Prepare an ice bath: Fill a medium-size bowl with ice and water.

Once the water is boiling, add the carrot greens to the pot, pushing down with tongs to make sure they all get submerged. Blanch for one minute.

Drain the pot into a colander and transfer the greens to the ice bath with the tongs to stop the cooking process. Let the greens cool completely and drain them. Squeeze any remaining water from the greens and roughly chop them.

In a food processor, pulse the greens, sunflower seeds, garlic, lemon juice, and salt, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the olive oil and process again until smooth.

Excerpted from Cooking With Scraps: Turn Your Peels, Cores, Rinds, and Stems Into Delicious Meals. Copyright October 2018 by Lindsay-Jean Hard. Published October 30, 2018, by Workman Publishing Company. Reprinted with permission.

This originally appeared as “Root-to-Stem Cooking” in the November 2019 issue of Experience Life.

Photography by: Penny De Los Santos

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