Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mid Week 3 - When Vegetables Attack

Dave's been on vacation this last week, which has involved day trips to Cooperstown, eating out, bringing take out in, and other such things. On Wednesday, we picked up our beautiful share of Swiss Chard, Scallions, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Mesculin, Arugala, Parsley and Eggs, placed it in the cooler and dropped the girls off at my parents house. Nomi and Dina played with Ama and Papa, we went out for a leisurely adult meal.

On Friday, I used up the kale from week 2, lunch on Saturday was a bit of the bok choy and the scallions from week 2 for Scallion Pancakes with Bok Choy Saute, and Saturday evening was another adult meal and our first time out to the movies since Dark Knight was in the theaters. Now, G-d knows, I've used up my eggs with challah and the like. But, here we are, only week 3 of the CSA, and I'm thoroughly behind. I have more vegetables than I know what to do with, all because we were out of the house for meals for several days in the row. I'm trying to resist resorting to the freezer already, but that's where we're headed, unless we eat green food only for the next 3 days. Oy.

Today, it was time to use the Swiss Chard. I used the same 'perk up' method that I used with last week's boy choy, cutting the ends off the stems and placing the chard in water. Then, I tore off the leaves from the stems, into reasonable sized pieces, and chopped the stems into the same.  I have decided this really is the best way to prep greens like chard and kale. I hate the fine prep work of cutting off the stems along their seams, then folding and chopping the stiff leaves. Unless I'm doing a chiffonadde for soup or the like, this will be my go to prep.

This was a thoroughly improvised recipe, and it changed as I went along. I thinly sliced some red onion, and began quinoa in the microwave with the juice of 1/2 a lemon and fresh sprigs of thyme added to the water. I toasted almonds, then blitzed them in the food processor. The onions and swiss chard stems hit a pan over medium heat, with melted Honey Butter and olive oil. I added crushed garlic, the juice of the other 1/2 of the lemon and the torn leaves of the swiss chard.

I added salt, and covered the pan to let the greens steam down. I removed the quinoa, now cooked from the microwave (what a fabulous tool for a hot day), and pulled out the thyme, fluffing the grain. When the greens were cooked, onions caramelized, I added more honey butter to taste. I then combined the grain, almonds and swiss chard mixture. I tasted and seasoned again, adding a bit more of the butter, a bit more salt and pepper, a taste more lemon juice. I was tempted to add a bit of this weeks fresh parsley as well, but I held off. If I serve it cold tomorrow, I think I'll add some. In the meantime, lo and behold, arch vegetarian though it may have been, we had a nutritious lunch with protein, healthy fats and delicious greens.

Look! I'm making a cameo!
When I attempt this concoction again, I will crumble ricotta salata or parmesan reggiano over the top. In the meanwhile, for a From the Pantry meal, it was worth eating with a good flavor. The bitterness of the Swiss Chard was masked and balanced by the honey butter and the lemon. The Swiss Chard stems and the caramelized red onion added beautiful color and flavor. The quinoa added protein, but I just can't get used to the texture. The ground almonds, while adding good flavor, also gave the wrong texture. Next time, maybe wild rice and slivered almonds? I'm also thinking about golden raisins.

Alright. Give a vote. Where should this recipe go? Try it out, concoct your own version, experiment with variations. We'll build a collective community recipe. It will be the ultimate 'share and enjoy.' Whaddaya say?


  1. So I have a confession to make. I thought the swiss chard was rhubarb. I baked into a crisp with strawberries (a lot more strawberries than swiss chard). It was absolutely delicious and I got a ton of compliments on it. I didn't know it wasn't rhubarb until I read your blog this morning. Whoopsay!

    Here's the recipe if you care to make some Swiss Chard and Strawberry Crisp

    8 Tbsp butter, melted
    1 bunch swiss chard (not sure how much...the amount that was in our CSA share last week), leaves removed, cut into 1/2 inch stalks
    A bit more than one quart of strawberries
    1 cup sugar
    1 1/3 cup flour
    a bit more than 1/2 a tsp cinnamon
    about a 1/4 tsp nutmeg
    1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
    1/2 cup rolled oats
    3/4 cup chopped walnuts

    Preheat oven to 375
    Generously grease 3 quart baking dish. Combine swiss chard, strawberries, white sugar, 1/3 cup flour and cinnamon. Put in baking dish. Make sure it covers bottom. If not, add a few more strawberries.
    Combine remaining flour, brown sugar, oats, nuts, and melted butter. Sprinkle over swiss chard-strawberry mixture. Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes, until topping is crisp and brown.

  2. This is pretty much the coolest Swiss Chard recipe EVER. I can't wait to try it out on Dave in a Swiss Chard sneak attack.