Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Operation Red Chard

Hello! Farmer-for-a-day guest blogging here!

There’s nothing better than getting fresh produce from Brooklyn Farm. It’s a combination of all my favorite things – food, free stuff, and usually a trip to see Farmers 1 & 2. Once upon a time, I had a green thumb, but my choice of borough and the airshaft that casts a permanent night (and pigeon habitat) on my windows has left me without a garden.

Farmer No. 2 met me at an undisclosed Manhattan location to deliver to me fourteen tomatoes, two jalapeños, and a beautiful bunch of red chard.

I have never eaten chard. In fact, until this incident, it scared me. Sometimes vegetable names scare me, like scapes. (I have heard that scapes are like garlic, but frankly, I do not eat scapes because it sounds like scabies or scabs or scabbies.) However, as a guest blogger I had a duty to cook and eat the chard.

Today could not be another ice-cream-cake-for-lunch-Tuesday.

Meanwhile, I found a recipe in the New York Times. I roughly followed the directions and boiled the chard for about a minute in heavily salted water, immersed it into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

As it cooled, I heated olive oil in my pretty blue pot, roasted pine nuts and sautéed minced garlic. The recipe said to sauté the stalks for 3-5 minutes before adding the leaves, but given that the Brooklyn Farm produces tender baby chard-lets, and not the tough stalks on grocery store chard, I didn’t feel bad about disregarding this step.

The pièce de résistance of the dish was the golden raisins and cranberries that I soaked in hot water for about 10 minutes. I added these reconstituted fruits and the ½ cup of soaking water into the pot with the chard, pine nuts, garlic. I added a little salt and pepper and was ready to eat!

It looked like Christmas in a blue pot! Red, green, and Christmas light-shaped pine nuts. Would it taste like Christmas, too?

First bite analysis: It tasted like stir-fried lettuce boiled in beet juice. But as the flavors melded together, it got much, much better. I added more salt and pepper and experimented with a sprinkle of nutmeg. The bites with the golden raisins were divine, and the moment I got some of the browner, crispy pine nuts in the bite, I was a chard convert.

Recommendations for next chard preparation: more pine nuts, fried longer until golden, and more golden raisins. I’d also add bacon at the beginning.

Everything’s better with bacon.


becky said...

farmer for the day: we're placing bets as to who this is...i'm almost positive i know. great post. gotta love roasted pine nuts!

Anonymous said...

My bacon loving friend! Hope to hear more guest posts and thanks for introducing me to tasty vanilla rolls yesterday.