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Chard


zoramargolis
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I know and love the chard stalks recipe from Marcella Hazan that you were hoping to do. In order to have the big stalks you are looking for, you need mature chard. Whole Foods sells only young chard with underdeveloped stalks. That's because most people only want the leaves anyway, and discard the stalks. Marcella's recipe emerged from a culture that derived ingenious ways to use every bit of food possible, and avoid throwing anything edible away. If you allow vegetables to grow to maturity, there is more food available to feed large families. Eating small, immature young veg, tender and tastier though they may be, didn't make sense in a poverty-influenced culture.

If you want big chard stalks, you can find mature chard at Shopper's Food Warehouse, and sometimes at Giant or Safeway.

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Does anyone remember seeing chard at the farmer's market last week? I wasn't on the lookout, so I don't know if there was any around, Pat, but there should be some at this time of year.

The refurbished Giant near me tends to get its supplies for the weekend on Friday nights. I seem to recall the bunches with mixed colors (Bright Lights) were just as youthful/hacked as the ones at WFM, but not the ones with dark leaves and white stalks.

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Does anyone remember seeing chard at the farmer's market last week?

Sunnyside Organics had it, as did Eli from WVA, where you used to work. Sunnyside from WVA had kale, but I can't remember if they had chard last week, since I had already bought some from Gustavo at Sunnyside Organics. If Heinz comes--he's not there every week--he has it, too.

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Anyone have any killer recipes for swiss chard they like? Mine's going on the side of my steak.
Heather's first one is classic. Good cooked that way, too, but just with generous amount of garlic slices and red chile pepper flakes thrown in at end, doused with lemon juice.

I also like chard braised. Separate leaves from stems. Slice former into ribbons; dice latter. Finely dice onion. Mash garlic clove with t salt.

Cook everything together in heavy, lidded pot, adding 1/4 c water for 1-2 bunches chard. Slow on low for 45 minutes. Deborah Madison's original recipe calls for 1 t paprika and 1/2 c chopped cilantro to flavor (add at beginning). "Silky" is her adj. and it's a good one--sort of like the traditional creamed spinach, if lighter.

I like changing the flavors, such as adding a few halved cherry tomatoes instead of cilantro and paprika. Basil and/or parsley.

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When cooking most greens, I used to start with sauteeing pancetta with the onions, but had to give that up when my daughter became a vegetarian.

With chard, like most other tender greens, I try to keep it simple, just sautee onion and/or garlic, add the greens, salt, a few red pepper flakes and a little bit of water, cover and cook until done. But one thing I almost always do with chard, which I have not seen in any of the posts above, is drizzle it with balsamic vinegar before serving. I have some "fig balsamic" which I think works particularly well for this purpose. This chard is especially good alongside beef or lamb. I might do something "lighter" if I were serving chard with fish. The basic principle, however, is that cooked greens almost always benefit from some form of acidity: vinegar-based hot sauce, lemon juice, or vinegar of some sort--not added to the cooking water, which would do unappetizing things to the color, but drizzled or squirted on just before or after serving.

When it comes to southern-style greens: collards, turnip, mustard greens or kale, that are traditionally cooked with "seasoning meat" like ham hocks, smoked neckbones or salt pork, I have a different "trick" since if I cook with pork, my kid won't eat it: I add a litle bit of Liquid Smoke to the cooking water, and then use smoked salt as a finishing salt when I serve the greens. It doesn't quite have the unctuous texture that pork fat provides, but it is a bit of trompe l'bouche. The first time I did this, Veggie-teen tasted it suspiciously and said:"Does this have meat in it?" IMO Southern-style greens should be eaten with a vinegar-based hot sauce like Tabasco, Frank's, or Texas Pete's sprinkled on at the table.

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Here's a recipe I used with our CSA collards earlier this summer. Fantastic...it's creamy without the use of cream.

It looks like I took this off of eatingwell.com (due to the inclusion of nutrition facts) or it was probably epicurious.com. I typically pan saute my greens in a skillet with onions etc. This just adds a little something extra. I actually left out the nuts as I didn't have any. Enjoy!

Steamed Greens with Lemony Tahini and Cashews

Load up greens like Swiss chard with tahini and cashews for an extra healthy meal. Leafy collard greens, kale, and Swiss chard–high in both calcium and B vitamins–are terrific bone builders. Cashews provide healthy fats and protein. Serve this dish with a side of steamed whole wheat couscous, which takes about 5 minutes to prepare–and boom–you've got a quick and easy healing meal. Serves 4

½ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)

2 large lemons

1 large clove garlic, pressed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 pounds collards, kale, or Swiss chard

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups finely chopped onions

½ cup unsalted roasted cashews, roughly chopped

1. Stir the contents of the tahini to incorporate the oil that often floats on top. Put the tahini in the bowl of a food processor. Grate the rind of the lemons and add to processor. Cut lemons in half and squeeze to get 1/4 cup juice. Add to processor. Add pressed garlic and begin to process. Add 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup cold water and process until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside until ready to use.

2. Wash greens well. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces and discard tough stems. Heat oil in a very large nonstick skillet. Add onions and cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add greens (with some water clinging to them) and cook over high heat for 5 minutes. Add a large pinch of salt. Cover pan and cook 5 minutes longer, until tender but still bright green. Stir the tahini in with the greens and top with cashews.

Nutrition Facts

Per serving: 452 calories, 35 g fat (5 g saturated), 30 g carbohydrates, 12 g protein, 8 g fiber, 262 mg sodium (11% Daily Value).

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I cooked up some kale last week and used some pork stock (one of those small 1/2 cup packs) I still had in my pantry from Easter. Added a nice hint of meatyness, and both my wife and daughter thought it was good which makes it a success in my book. Zoramargolis' idea of pancetta sounds good and I'll try that with the chard I have in the fridge. Also, why not try just using reserved bacon fat as the cooking oil if you have any.

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This incredible weather justifies making a light, puréed soup meant to be eaten warm.

Therefore, tried and recommend one begun by stewing one large onion, chopped in 2 T butter along with 3 small waxy potatoes, sliced thin. Add salt and let vegetables soften and onion begin to color.

1/2 cup water and leaves from a bunch of chard, reserving stems for another purpose. Wilt chard, around 5 minutes. Add more water, around 5 cups and a bit more salt (1 1/2 t total including amount above; then test later). Bring to boil, then simmer 10 minutes.

Add one bunch of sorrel (or to taste)* and cook 5 more minutes. Purée. Adjust seasoning. Deborah Madison recommends adding cooked rice or croutons. Fine without.

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