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.