Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What to do with Swiss Chard? (hint: add bacon!)

Well, even though the vegies were delivered 4 days ago, we still haven't made a dent in using them all up. I have two square baskets of brussel sprouts, so we will be having them a couple time in the next 10 days. I have a large bunch of cilantro which will probably become a green sauce. Then there is that bok choy, which I want to cook with a pork roast I just bought. But tonight, I think I will cook up the Swiss Chard.

Swiss chard was a favorite garden item of my late father's. He grew a vegetable garden every year and Swiss chard always flourished. I think my Mom just steamed it in the pan and added butter. Of course, that was good, but I want to take it a bit further.On to the recipe search...

I found a recipe on the Eating Well website, usually a good bet if you want something made with fresh vegetables. I used bacon instead of pancetta, onions instead of shallots, but I did have walnuts--plenty of walnuts leftover from Christmas baking!


What else to serve with Swiss chard? Hmmm...how about quinoa? More protein that brown rice or potatoes, more "primal" so my husband will be pleased. I was also thinking chicken breasts, but a quick check of the freezer came up blank. I did have some hamburger, so Greek Meatballs it is!

I put the hamburger in the microwave to defrost, and rinsed the Swiss chard in a colander. The meatballs called for Greek seasoning and I have a Spice Hunter's blend on hand in my spice rack, so that was simple, I added some fresh chopped spinach that came in the SLO Veg box, and diced up some red onion. I added some basil leaves from the plants growing in my kitchen window. A raw egg, a splash of Balsamic vinegar, and a couple of dinner rolls turned bread crumbs in my chopper, and the meatballs were ready to go in the oven. I loosely followed Alton Brown's meatball recipe, except I used all beef and feta cheese, but I love his tip about putting the meatballs into a mini muffin tin. They cooked perfectly!


While the meatballs were baking, I pulled out my rice cooker for the quinoa. So simple, just put in a cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water and a teaspoon full of chicken boullion and set it and forgot it! Then I turned my attention to the Swiss chard. I trimmed off the stems, then minced a couple of cloves of garlic and chopped up about a quarter of an onion. I also coarsely chopped a handful of walnuts and set them aside. I chopped two slices of my thick bacon into small pieces about 1/4 inche wide and sauteed them in the skillet. When the bacon was crisp, I removed it to a plate and put the onion and garlic in to cook. I added a teaspoon of dried thyme and stirred it all together for a minute. Then I put the Swiss chard into the skillet, added some fresh squeezed lemon juice and about a cup of water. The lid goes on the skillet and I let it steam for about 10 minutes. I drained off the juices just before serving it up, and tossed in the bacon bits and walnuts.

I was taking the meatballs out of the oven as my husband was walking in the door. He washed up and we sat down in front of the TV to watch the DVR'd first episode of Rachel vs. Guy Celebrity Cookoff! Lee paired his meal with an Firestone 805 while I finished off the bottle of Cabernet from last night. Can't drink it all in one sitting now, can I?

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