An Abundance of Chard (and words)

A few notes on food The post was getting too long so now it is just about chard.  And hopping onto the chard bandwagon.  In the past few days I've seen mentions of chard on Finny Knits and Domicile  – and these blogs are in my non-food folder of Bloglines. Last week, looking around for suggestions on what to do with that bunch of rainbow chard in the fridge, I was directed to this Swiss Chard Tart recipe from Mario Batali.  I was looking for a more substantial (and just different) recipe than my usual Sauteed Tender Greens from The New Best Recipe (served with the grain of the day, perhaps with a side of bean protein of some type).  It was between this recipe and quiche with chard, and I just wasn't feeling like making a pie crust (so lazy) but then I weighed my bunch of chard and discovered it was about 3/4 lb.  Oops.  So I used the Mario Batali recipe as a guide and did the following:

1 bunch swiss chard (about 3/4 lb)
olive oil
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic
handful fresh flat leaf parsley
2 eggs
salt
pepper
1/2 cup finely grated fresh parm
1 square "artisan" roll turned into bread crumbs – a couple big handfuls

Preheat the oven to, um, 350F. I gave the swiss chard a nice cool soak in the clean sink, removing any bits of sandy dirt.  Then I lightly shook the water off the leaves (you want a bit of water clinging*) and set them in a colander and started the chopping process.  I removed the stems and set them aside (no way was I throwing away that pretty color) and cut the leaves into short ribbons.  Then I cut the stems into small pieces and set them aside.  I cut my onion into thin slices and crushed my two cloves of garlic.  I minced the fresh parsley.

I grabbed my big 12" saute pan and threw in a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  I added the swiss chard stems and the onions and cooked until nice and soft.  Then I added the garlic and sauteed until it was fragrant.  At this point I threw in all of my chard leave ribbons and covered the pan.  After a minute or so (sorry don't remember precisely) I stirred the chard and covered it again.  When the chard looked nice and wilted yet still a bright green I tossed the parsley in, stirred then dumped the pan contents back in the colander to drain and cool. In between the onion/chard cooking I was making bread crumbs and grating parmesan and oiling my 9" pie pan.

I cracked two eggs in a bowl and beat them, adding some salt and pepper as well as a couple tablespoons of the parmesan.  Then I sprinkled a good handful of breadcrumbs (perhaps up to 1/2 cup) in the oiled pie pan.  I also stirred the veggies to help drain and make sure it was cool.  Once I was satisfied the veggies were cool enough to not cook the eggs I dumped them into the eggs, gave it a good mix  cover the veggies in egg and dumped it all in the pie pan.  I smoothed the top, sprinkled with another handful of bread crumbs and then parmesan.  I popped it in the oven for about 30 minutes (until it looked golden and like the eggs were cooked in the middle).

Wow.  Typing this all out it sounds horribly complicated but I swear it wasn't.  Though it did make a few more dirty dishes than I prefer.  Anyways it was quite yummy and not very eggy at all (when I started I wondered how it was different from quiche, but it turns out the eggs just coated the veggies as opposed to the mostly custard with some veggies of quiche).

*While the recipe above instructs you to boil the chard for like 10 minutes, according to TNBR swiss chard is a green that does not require blanching before the final cooking.  They say that the water clinging to the leaves will provide enough moisture for wilting (along with the oil in the pan).

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

June 2, 2008. Tags: , . Thoughts. Leave a comment.

Dinner

Recently I picked up some tomatillos at the farmer's market.  I had started craving tomatillo salsa and was excited to make some since I haven't been keen on the jarred versions I've bought in the past.  They sat around longer than I'd like to admit once I realized that I wasn't sure what went well with tomatillo salsa other than chicken and we don't cook chicken anymore.  Tonight I finally came up with an idea for a meal to go with the sauce.  Enchiladas made with the salsa, filled with zucchini, mushrooms and onions and topped with queso fresco.  This worked nicely because I already have a large quantity of corn tortillas that I need to use.

We bought the remaining necessary ingredients while on our afternoon bike ride.  I came home and double checked my Diana Kennedy cookbook, The Cuisines of Mexico, and the tomatillo salsa recipe I pulled from The Homesick Texan.  I didn't have serano chiles, but I had two poblanos that I had to use, so I roasted them under the broiler (flipping ever minute or so) to get a nice charred flavor and remove the skins.  Then I threw the hulled, rinsed, quarter tomatillos in the blender with 1/2 a medium white onion, a couple chopped garlic cloves and the juice from 1/2 a lime.  I blended until mostly smooth, then added a handful of cilantro and the peeled chopped poblanos and blended again, then added a pinch of salt and sugar and dumped it all into a skillet with a bit of oil to simmer for 5 minutes.

For the filling I sauted up slices of 1/2 a medium onion, 1/2 lb of sliced mushrooms, then when they were soft I set them aside and sauted up 1 zucchini cut into large matchstick pieces and 1 yellow squash cut into a small dice.  I mixed the mushroom and onions back in and then mixed in 6 oz of crumbled queso fresco.

At this point I realized that 1) my 9 x 12 casserole dish was in the fridge half-full of macaroni and cheese and 2) we were hungry and wanted to eat now.  I decided to layer the dish similar to lasagne.  Then I decided that I didn't want to wait another 20 to 30 minutes for the casserole to bake so I filled and rolled a couple cooked corn tortillas and top with sauce for us to eat for dinner and use the rest of the filling and sauce for the casserole.  The enchiladas were on the spicy side (I guess I used too many chiles) but okay with sour cream.

I layered corn tortillas, veggie mix, salsa, corn torillas, veggie mix, salsa, corn tortillas, and finally salsa (using maybe 1/2 cup of salsa per layer) topping with 3 oz of crumbled queso fresco.  Then I decided it seemed a little dry, at this point I remembered that Diana Kennedy mentioned tomatillo salsa pairs well with egg dishes, so I beat together two eggs and milk and poured it over the casserole and popped it in the oven set at 350 F for 30 minutes.

We are full from our enchiladas but I hope this egg, veggie and tomatillo salsa casserole is a good dinner tomorrow.

editing to add:  It was a great dinner, and lunch and another dinner.  Sadly I forgot to take pictures and post this in a timely fashion.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

September 24, 2007. Tags: , , , , . Thoughts. Leave a comment.

Dinner Sandwich

I don't know if I've really been cooking more, but I am more inspired to post about food lately.  Tonight I made Veggie Pan Bagnat, the cover dish on the July/August 2006 issue of Vegetarian Times.  I didn't take pictures because 1) we were hungry and couldn't wait and 2) it was dark.  The sandwich looked delicious on the cover, and it used eggplant, which I had sitting on the counter waiting to be used so I got over being weirded out by the hard boiled egg also in the sandwich.  I mean it called for tapenade and I love tapenade.

Sandwich

1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/4" rounds
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed, cooked lightly, rinsed with cool water, drained
1/2 cup roasted peppers, rinsed, drained, cut into 1/2" strips
3 hard boiled eggs, sliced (2 was enough for us)
2 1/2 T tapenade (I used homemade, if you are concerned about veggie look out for tapenades with anchoivies)
1 French baguete, halved lengthwise (we also cut it into individual sandwich size pieces)

Vinaigrette

1/4 c olive oil (I used 2 T)
2 T red wine vinegar
1 T parsley, coarsley chopped
1 1/2 t shallots, coarsely chopped (who measures this precisely?)
1/2 t dijon mustard
1/2 t sugar

Roast the eggplant slices in the oven at 350 on an oiled baking sheet (sprinkled with salt and pepper and a bit of oil brushed on the up-side of the eggplant), 10 minutes each side.  Whirl the vinaigrette ingredients together in a blender.  Pull some of the soft insides out of the baguette.  Layer the sandwich as follows from the bottom up: tapenade spread on the bread, green beans, roasted peppers, egg, eggplant.  Drizzle vinaigrette on the top piece of bread (you are also supposed to brush it on top of the tapenade, oops).  At this point the directions recommend pressing the sandwich together and letting it chill for 1 to 4 hours.  We did no such thing and it was still delicious, if a bit messy with the vinaigrette dripping and such.

This was a bit more time consuming, which is why I think of it as a dinner sandwich.  Of course if I hadn't made the tapenade at the same time it would have been a little easier.  Plus you could do stuff like boil the eggs in advance (though I did them while the eggplant cooked). Oh yes, this is supposed to serve 4.

As I said, the inclusion of eggs weirded me out.  But I think they really added something to the dish.  And now I am envisioning an herbed egg salad sandwich with chunks of lightly cooked green beans in it.

And finally the tapenade:  In a food processor I pureed about 1 cup of kalamata olives, a smooshed garlic clove, a bit of fresh parsley, a tablespoon of capers, a couple tablespoons of lemon juice and olive oil.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

September 12, 2007. Tags: , . Thoughts. 2 comments.

You gotta make this

Well, maybe you might want to make sure you like arugula first but…

Last fall I finally got the chance to make the arugula pesto from Emira's blog, domicile, and enjoyed it so much I felt compelled to email her and thank her.  Tonight I had the chance to make this again, but I used more lemon since Girly Mae's spaghetti with meyer lemon-pistachio pasta recipe with similar flavors (in different proportions) intrigued me.  I just love this stuff (I, um, licked the bowl we tossed the pasta in).  It was a simple meal tonight, made too late to get pictures, just a decently crusty mini bagette, some olive oil & balsamic for dipping and the arugula pesto topped with parmasean and toasted silvered almonds.  I think the arugula pesto would also make a great sandwich spread for a veggie sandwich with a softer cheese (perhaps a brie).

For dinner tonight I did the following:
Start water to boil.  Set out small plate with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for bread.  Heat a small skillet to medium and dump in walnuts, tossing occassionally.  Dump pasta in boiling water.  Blend together:
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
few handfuls of arugula
1/4 cup of toasted walnuts (often I used toasted almonds but today we had walnuts)
1 clove garlic
the zest & juice of one meyer lemon

In a bowl (or the pasta pot) toss pesto with whole wheat spaghetti, top with toasted nuts and freshly grated parmasean.  Slicing the bread is optional.  I also recommend saving a bit of the pasta water to thin the pesto if needed.

Enjoy 🙂

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

May 21, 2007. Tags: , . Thoughts. 1 comment.

Pad Thai

We made pad thai for dinner tonight.  We started trying to make pad thai at home after moving and our favorite thai place didn't make pad thai the way our previous thai place made it.  At first I tried a Thai Kitchen kit, blech.  Then I found A Taste of Thai pad thai sauce packet–this made pad thai at home so easy.  I figured that the key ingredient was the tamarind.  Beware, I've seen a number of products with tomato sauce and no tamarind.

Eventually our stand-by supermarket stopped carrying the pad thai packet and I had to search out a recipe on my own.  Here two resources that I've found most helpful:
pad thai recipe from Kasma Loha-unchit, I also recommend checking out this site more, there is good information on ingredients and brands
egullet forum thread on pad thai

A trip to my favorite international market and I had the necessary odd ingredients: tamarind concentrate (so much easier than the chunk of tamarind I had to buy tonight), fish sauce and palm sugar (now I just use regular sugar, haven't noticed a big difference myself).  We don't use shrimp (or preserved radish, though I'd like to try it if I find it).  The first time we made this it took a long time.  Since then we've pared down prep to fit inside the noodle soaking time (we like wide noodles that take 30 minutes of soaking) and it just takes a few minutes more after that.  I almost have the sauce recipe memorized.  Almost.  Now I just need to find a new international market (darn move).

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

September 26, 2006. Tags: , . Cooking, former Vox Blog. Leave a comment.