Monday, May 17, 2010

Chard and other leafy greens

I L-O-V-E greens. I say this as I sit next to my almost-licked-clean breakfast plate of sauteed beet greens with a soft cooked egg oozing over the top, piece of toast underneath to gather up all the juices. I also say this because until the market opens in t-minus 3 weeks and 6 days, I think I would be able to subsist on the crazy amounts of chard that is growing in my garden at the moment. Leaves bigger than the span of my hands. Perfect and unblemished without a single insect nibble to mar the glossy leaves. Deeply crenellated leaves that are begging to hold something in its pockets. It is inspiring me to make some sort of grain-stuffed, rolled dish, something similar to a stuffed grape leaf.

Lately I've been attached at the hip to my Mark Bittman "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" cookbook. Each recipe, delicious in its own right, is followed by a dozen or more variations on the recipes. So I find it an excellent resource for figuring out how to make do with what I have in the kitchen at the given moment and being a bit more improvisational. For example very few people have preserved meyer lemons on hand, but guess what, it might be equally tasty in a version with sauteed onions, celery and carrots and some fresh herbs instead. With this kind of guidance, I'm looking at page 309 "Rolled Kale with Feta and Onions" and thinking that the option with "Quinoa with Caramelized Onions" would be perfect. Some protein from the quinoa, lots of vitamins from the chard, including all you need for the day of vitamin K (good for bone and blood health) and vitamin A (good for eyesight), the tasty sweetness of the onions. Everything on hand so I don't have to make a trip to the grocery store. Sold. I'll report back and let you know how it goes.

I've got a lot of chard to work through, so send me your recipe suggestions!

The update on the chard rolls....they turned out really well, if not entirely photogenic. A perfect size for a bite or two before it fell apart in my hands. The sweet onions complemented the slightly bitter taste of the chard. Good hot, cold or room temperature. I'll definitely try some of the other flavor combinations that Bittman suggests.

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