Now, on to something yummier: Swiss Chard! Now, I was never a big fan of leafy green things. Or any green things, truth be told. But since I have been eating more produce I have developed a taste for healthier things. When I go to the store, I find happiness just searching through the produce section for something healthy and delicious, much the same way I used to hunt through the cookie aisle for something new and tasty. Since the Farmer's Market is closed for the season, I was dreading having to buy my stuff from the produce section of the local grocery store instead. After all, who knows when it was picked? Or if it was grown in this state, or even this country? Did it get here after days of sitting in a dirty old yucky truck driving down the highway? Did it sit in the produce section for a week, being handled by greasy old men and sneezed on by sick toddlers? ::shudder::
So imagine my surprise when I found this lovely gem just sitting waiting for me by the bland, boring iceberg lettuce balls wrapped in cellophane:
This is Swiss Chard, in the most beautiful shade of red you can imagine. The picture does not do it justice. The red was just brilliant, and the green so vibrant and fresh-looking that it just called out for me to eat it! Chard is related to beets, and oddly enough, the red stems do taste a bit like beets. There is no bitterness to this vegetable, but lots of nutrition, and very little calories. This entire (huge) bunch cost $1.79 and looked like it had just been picked from the neighbor's garden.
I took the chard home and placed it in a sink full of cold water. I let it soak a bit, shaking and stirring every so often. Then I lifted them out of the water and rinsed them with the sprayer. I laid them on a towel to drain. This is how I cooked them:
Cut the last inch of stem off and discard. Remove stems by folding each leaf in half like a book and then slicing out the stem/center stalk. I just cut out the thickest part. Then slice the stalks into 1" pieces and place in a saute pan with a bit of water. Simmer 10 minutes. Add a tsp or 2 of olive oil and a large clove of minced garlic and saute for a minute. Meanwhile, roll up the chard leaves like cigars (lengthwise) and slice them into 1" strips. Throw the strips into the pan with the stems and stir around, cooking until the leaves wilt and are coated with oil and garlic. Cover and steam for 5 minutes (add a bit of water of needed). Salt and pepper to taste.
These are excellent alone, or with a bit of Parmesan on top, or a little lowfat mozzarella. Also great in scrambled eggs or omelets. Or you can make an egg white quiche with it, like you would use spinach. I hear it is good with pasta also, with a bit of fat free half-and-half and a sprinkle of parmesan.
It's really good, give it a try!!