Sunday, August 25, 2013

About that chard

I haven't posted a recipe in a while, so I thought I'd share a couple of recipes for summer bounty.

Friday I bought a big bag of vegetables at a little farm stand run by young adults from a religious commune. They tend 3 big, beautiful community gardens in one of the older neighborhoods in the city. For $5, I got this many vegetables, picked earlier that day in their gardens.

Chard, beets, zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, heirloom tomatoes

Don't you get a hard-on just looking at all that yumminess? I couldn't wait to get cooking .... but then I went out to eat with a friend instead so I stuck them in the fridge....

But today I was ready to do something fun with my veggies. (Not that!)

The beets will keep, so I'll probably just steam them within the next week and eat them with lots of butter. Coraline likes beets too. I should remember to warn Elvira so she can tell Rock Dad. Last time he kind of freaked out about the bright red pigment in her diaper. When it comes to unusual colors of pee, red is probably most people's least favorite.

The eggplant I roasted and used to make baby poop roasted eggplant dip for a party. The recipe is kind of like baba ghanoush. OK, it's exactly like baba ghanoush only in English. I chose this super easy Smokey Eggplant Dip recipe from Thug Kitchen, only I used smoked paprika and added toasted walnuts on top.

I would have taken a photo, but you know what baby poop looks like.

The chard was starting to wilt, so I wanted to do something with it before I disrespected the sacrifice it made to sustain me.

I'd never eaten chard in my life, but I thought I could come up with something. I've become kind of a Food Network competition junkie this summer, so I wanted to test my ability to create a recipe using something I've never eaten. I could just see Alton Brown standing beside the sink, arms crossed, prissy look on his face, timer in his hand ..... No worries. I had this one.

Here's what I came up with. It's fucking amazing. Alton would tell you, but his mouth is stuffed.

Reticula's Chard (with notes)

1 bunch of chard (It doesn't matter how much as long as it fits into your skillet or dutch oven.)
olive oil (I used a garlic/sun-dried tomato/Parmesan blend I bought at a farmer's market, but you can use plain)
garlic (Use as much as you like. Garlic is relative, but I would suggest 1-3 cloves or the equivalent.)
butter (A couple of tablespoons. You don't have to use butter, but why not?)
tomato, diced (I used one, but two or three would have been good too. Sundried tomatoes would be awesome too.)
salt and pepper
grated hard cheese (I used a 3-cheese Kroger blend. Freshly grated would be better.)
toasted walnuts (If you think ahead, you can toast the walnuts in the skillet before you pour in the olive oil.)

Heat some olive oil in a skillet or, if you've got a shit ton of chard, a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the butter if you're using it. When it's hot, start sauteing the garlic. Don't let it get really brown.

The chard has a hard stem running through the leaf, so that has to be cut out and cooked for a while before the leaves. Just fold each leaf over and cut most of the stem away. Then cut the stems into about 2-inch pieces. Throw those into the hot skillet and stir them around frequently for about 5 minutes.

Cut the leaves into strips however you want to. Not too small though. Throw those into the skillet with the tomato and the salt and pepper. It looks like this.

Stir it around and cook it for another 5 minutes or so. Or until it looks wilted and done and hot all the way through. Like this.

Yes, my cast iron skillet wears a wool condom.

Hit it with a big handful of cheese and then the toasted walnuts. That's it. Eat your veggies all up.

Variations: If you're a pasta-eater, you could put this on pasta and get a lot more mileage out of it. I rarely eat pasta, but I'm sure it would be good.

You could throw some chopped bacon in there too. In that case, fry the bacon in the pan and then use the bacon fat instead of the butter. I plan to try that next time I make this. Grilled chicken would be good with it too.

If you decide to pick up some chard and try this recipe, let me know how it turns out. Unless you hate it. If you hate it, just don't say anything.

Disclaimer: I'm not a food blogger. Judge my recipes all you want, but don't judge my photos. It's not worth your time or mine.