Posts Tagged ‘chard’

The Most Ambitious Project Yet

Garden 2010

After much deliberation (and a healthy dose of procrastination), I’ve finally selected and plotted my intentions for the 2010 garden.

It might seem awfully early to some, but seeds must be ordered, delivered and started before a springtime sowing in late May can be accomplished.

This year will be interesting for a number of reasons.

Primarily because I’m going to be trying to grow a couple crowns of asparagus for the first time, but I’m also attempting rare French strawberries from seed, as well as leeks, garlic and chard.

As you can see from my crude 10,000 foot drawing, there are lots of different veggies being installed, as well as a small bee garden that I hope will attract a healthy amount of polinators to our rooftop sanctuary.  We had a bit of a problem with the lack of bees last year, though I’m not sure if it was due to colony collapse or the overall shitty weather, but it can’t hurt to encourage them with a pretty flower garden.

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The Joys Of Buttermilk; AKA How To Get The Everyman To Eat His Chard

Oven Fried Chicken

The Everyman’s not a huge fan of the tougher, leafier greens that have become a staple of our CSA share during the past few months.  Some weeks that means they get turned into oven “chips” for me (FYI – I finally made the kale ones and they do taste like potato chips, oddly enough) while others they are relegated to the bottom of the compost bin.

It pains me to throw good food away, but there are only so many dried “chips” I can eat. This past week I drew a line in the sand, said enough was enough, and determined to make a chard dish he would love.

The immediate concept was to make a fried chicken-type dish, and then side it with some stewed greens, using chard in place of collards.  Being that I don’t care to fry things, I opted for oven “frying” instead of oil, because it would be quicker, easier and healthier.  On the rare occasions I make battered chicken, (I blame my teenage years working for KFC for my impartiality regarding fried chicken; some things once they are seen, can never be unseen, unfortunately). I also like to up the health quotient by crusting it with something more substantial than AP flour (not that we even keep AP in the house, anyway).  Usually it ends up being a crust of whole wheat flour, wheat bran and flax meal, but this time I had something slightly different in mind.

The Everyman’s mother has a gluten allergy, so I have a vast array of “alternative” flours in my basement freezer ready and at hand for any baking emergency or requirement.  The latest acquisition in my floury arsenal was a tub of spelt flour, which sounded like a good choice, so I poured some into a bag, added the requisite wheat bran and flax meal, some pimenton, salt and pepper, and shook it all around, after soaking the chicken legs in buttermilk for a few hours.  On it’s own it didn’t look overly appetizing, what with spelt flour having an almost grayish cast.  Once coated onto chicken legs it started to perk up a little, and by the time it was out of the oven, it looked sensational, as seen above.  In case you’re wondering, it tasted fantastic, too.

To side the “fried” chicken, I rough chopped my chard into medium-sized pieces, tossed it in a pan with some olive oil, salt, pepper and chili flakes, and let it sauté until the chard was limp and collard-like.  I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the Everyman eat any vegetable that fast before.  Our chard dilemma solved, it’s clear that I will definitely be making this again. (more…)

How Green Is Your Valley?

Spiced Chard

As I’ve mentioned in the past, one of the more challenging (and oftentimes frustrating) things about belonging to a CSA is trying to find new ways to use up the bounty before it goes bad.  While not much of a problem once summer is in full swing and the options are plentiful, after a long cool spring this year we’ve been getting a barrage of various greens for the past few boxes and not much else.  In the box we received on the weekend ($35) we had;

  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 4 baby bok choi
  • 1 bundle chard
  • 1 bundle kale
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 1 head romaine
  • 1 lb beans
  • 1 tangle garlic scapes
  • 1 bag mixed baby greens
  • 1 bundle baby chards

Truth be told, neither of us is all that big on greens other than salad, though I do enjoy the odd experiment every now and then.  That means that more often than not I have to find a captivating way to use the produce, or assume the guilt tantamount to my wastefulness, when a week later I have to throw it out, limp and lifeless from the back of the fridge.

I’m determined not to do that so much this year, so with that in mind, I started combing my brain for ways to use the chards and kale (our least favourite items aside from the radishes, which I will probably have to give away).  As a worst case scenario I knew I could always use the kale to make my awesome bread soup with the parm rind and beans (a riff on ribollita) but being that it’s summer I didn’t want to resort to that because it’s hot and rather filling; more of a winter dish really.  If I really wanted to I could just make it and freeze it for later, or lunches, but I wanted to try and find something new.

And then I remembered this.

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