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Monday, June 20, 2011

Treats, Garden Updates, and Sweet & Savory Rainbow Chard

Hola!
It's Monday and that means I've got a meatless recipe for you to enjoy.  I've had a busy day at work but the asparagus garlic scape pizza is in the oven, and that means I have a few minutes to type up this post and share an easy and healthy vegetarian (vegan!) recipe that will help you live life eating less meat.
First, I have to share some of the treats I've been eating since we talked last.  There's an old wives tale that pregnant women crave sweets if they're having a girl.  This is one that has borne true for me, as I was never a huge fan of dessert before but seem to need it often these days.
Speaking of pregnancy, check out the view from here these days:

DSC02383
Kinda ridiculous.  
Being the super sweet person that she is, a friend of mine from elementary school and recent blushing bride, Mallory, sent me a huge gift basket from the Seattle company she works for, Dilettante.  It was stuffed full of good coffee, chocolate, and other goodies.  
DSC02332She burned me some excellent music and wrote me a sweet card congratulating us on the baby.
DSC02337Isn't it adorable?  It's from Ilee Papergoods, also based in Seattle.  Mal loves local as much as I do :)  THANK YOU!
DSC02343We did another week of farmer's market, and I don't have a single photo of my setup to show you because we were just too darn busy.  I will say, people say some pretty interesting things to you when you're running one of these booths.  Things like "are these cookies free?" and "oh, does the cookie come with the recipe?" that made me scratch my head a bit.
BUT the coolest part of market was bartering with other vendors after the day wrapped up.  Allie, from Burrowing Owl Bakery, took home a bag of my Peanut Butter Coconut  granola and I skipped off with a pair of her delicious tarts.
DSC02351The zucchini tart was savory and so rich.  Tim kept asking if I was sure it didn't have any meat in it.
DSC02360And the lemon was the perfect mix of tart and sweet.  I only needed a couple small bites of this one to be satisfied, but truth be told the zucchini disappeared quickly.
DSC02363Apparently I was seriously craving sweets last weekend, because I took a moment to stop by the grocery store attached to the Mexican restaurant,  La Rena.  This restaurant is famous for its authentic food, but there's also a grocery store with Mexican produce, products, and a little bakery with fresh baked goods every day.  The doughnut was the standout for sure, and all three totaled $1.40.
DSC02370There are good things happening in the garden, in spite of the near constant rain we've been having.  One of the most fun things about starting a garden for a second or third year is watching the volunteer plants pop up.  This volunteer bean came up and before we knew it was attached to the tomato cage.  I'm just going to let it be.
DSC02405The rain has blessed us with our share of blight, but it's no big deal yet.  If you see this stuff, rip any leaves off.
DSC02407We harvested some radishes.
DSC02410Which we're eating raw with bread, butter, and salt.
DSC02424The garlic has grown scapes, and once they curl around themselves another time I'll cut them off and eat 'em.
DSC02418Here's Timmy working hard to make room around a volunteer tomato that took root outside of the border of the north bed.
DSC02428We found lots of lambs quarters, which we've been eating raw in salads or sauteed up with garlic.
DSC02430The green beans are getting bigger and starting to wrap nicely around their cage.  (I took this photo on Sunday morning.  We had a big rain last night/this morning and I swear this afternoon the tips are half a foot higher.)
DSC02434The cucumbers are also starting to sprout up and sprawl. I'll be really excited if I can make some pickles from my own cucumbers this year!  Bonus points for you if you can spot the volunteer tomato to the bottom right.
DSC02438The jalapeno plant out front has many buds and a couple small fruits that I'm working really hard not to eat.
DSC02445Finally, I'm going to share with you a recipe for rainbow chard that is quick, easy, delicious, and different from what you may be used to.  My general approach to hearty greens is to chop them up and heat them in a pan with a little olive oil, thinly sliced garlic, and then drizzle them with a splash of vinegar at the end.  This recipe is not all that much more complicated than that, and gives a satisfying twist on the usual.  I got the idea from a thread on Chowhound, but the amounts are mine, as are some modifications.
If you've never tried chard, do me a favor and pick up a batch and give this recipe a whirl.  Aside from being tasty, chard is so good for you.  According to nutritionfacts.self.com, one cup of chard has four grams of fiber and three grams of protein.  It also has 22% of your daily iron, 53% of your daily vitamin c, and 214% of your vitamin a.
This recipe would work equally well with swiss chard, kale, or any other bitter green.

Sweet & Savory Rainbow Chard
1 batch rainbow chard, thoroughly washed
2 small or 1 medium white or yellow onion
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. golden raisins
1/4 c. nuts of your choice (we prefer pecans)
salt and pepper
DSC02449Begin by thinly slicing your onions and cooking them in a little oil in your pan over medium heat.  
DSC02452Salt them well and keep them moving.  Your goal is to soften them without getting too much browning.
DSC02459While the onions cook down, take your thoroughly washed chard and remove the stems using your knife or ripping the leaves off with your hands.  The stems are much thicker than the leaves and will take longer to cook.  Aren't they gorgeous?  Healthy seasonal cooking is so pleasing to the eyes.
DSC02465Chop them small.  So pretty.  Chop the leaves into big pieces and set them aside.
DSC02475Once the onions are soft and translucent, throw the stems in the pan and season well with salt and pepper.  Stir and cook them until they're soft.  
DSC02484Then add the leaves that you've chopped, the balsamic vinegar, and the raisins.  Cook everything just until the leaves wilt and the raisins become warm, plump, and soft.  Season well with salt and pepper, taste to see if it needs more vinegar, and serve warm or at room temperature.
If you've got them, pan toast the nuts and chop them.  We didn't have any on this day, and while the salad is still good without them, it's was certainly missing that extra flavor.
DSC02491
The sweetness somehow plays up the savory taste of the chard, the vinegar echos their bitterness, and the raisins complement its chew.  The nuts add crunch and that delicious smell, not to mention some really good fat.
DSC02495So give chard a try, won't you?

1 comment:

Evi said...

Alicia- our mutual friend Carrie recommended this site also (I have my own food blog- http://fifthfloorkitchen.wordpress.com Just wanted to say hi- and everything looks delicious.

And the cute little jalapeno pepper is ADORABLE! =)

Evi

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