Friday, May 25, 2012

Ways with Chard

The chard I planted earlier in the spring is already producing, so I've made a couple of dishes that benefit from chard's wonderful green, slightly bitter taste. Both use a variety of other veggies, too.

The soup has an Asian flair to it with the use of green onions, soy sauce, ginger and toasted sesame oil. I bought ready-made soba noodles and a slice of already roasted turkey to speed up the preparations. This soup is so colorful and perfect for spring when the evenings are still sometimes chilly.

The quiche is a variation of a crust less one I did about a year ago. It's not much to look at but Sweetie, my meat and potatoes guy, took two helpings.The first little summer squash of the season went into the soup but by the time I was making the veggie pie I had both dark green and yellow zucchini, so they both went into the mix along with the chard, red pepper, garlic, yellow onion, white corn, and mushrooms. Seasonings here included thyme, nutmeg (because it goes so well with mushrooms), dried orange peel to brighten the flavors a bit, and paprika. With and egg-rich custard batter and Parmesan cheese on top it's hard to beat this quiche for a meat-less meal. Guess I'll need to keep going to Cool Fitness to work off some of the calories. I've just reached my one year anniversary of going there and am really glad that I finally have an exercise plan I can live with and, mostly, enjoy.

The garden continues to delight me. I have three colors of California poppies blooming, yellow and white marguerites, blue love-in-a-mist (nigella) in three shades, some sweet wild flowers that I don't know the name of, roses and more roses, johnny-jump-ups, lavendar and geraniums. The veggie plants and herbs are thriving, too. Gardens take some time, but I think it's well worth the trouble and work. When I have fresh from the garden tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, squash and more later in the year I'll have forgotten all the work it took to make it happen. For now, more chard is coming.

Asian Soup with Soba Noodles and Chard
1 tablespoon olive or grapeseed oil
1 green onion, thinly sliced, both white and green parts
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup diced red pepper
1/3 cup chopped mushrooms
1 small zucchini, sliced or julienned
1 speak asparagus, washed and cut on diagonal
1 cup fresh chard, washed and sliced in strips about 1/2 inch wide
1 can chicken broth (1 3/4 cups) or same amount of fresh chicken stock
(to make this vegetarian or vegan, use veggie stock and leave out the turkey)
1/2 cup water
6 oz. soba noodles
3 oz. roasted turkey, thinly sliced into julienne
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped cilantro

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and sautee' the green onions for 3 minutes, then add the garlic, red pepper and mushrooms and sautee', stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook another 2 minutes, add the asparagus and chard and stir to combine it with the other veggies and to wilt it, about 2 minutes.

Add the chicken broth, water, noodles, turkey, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil to the pot, stir and heat through. Ladle into bowls to serve and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve at once. Serves 2-3.

Chard Veggie Quiche

1 recipe pie crust for one crust - I use Pillsbury ReadyCrust
1 tablespoon olive or grapeseed oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (a mix of colors if possible)
1 bunch fresh chard, washed and tough stems removed, then sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme OR 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
1 cup cooked AND COOLED brown rice (you can use cooked white but you lose that wonderful nutty flavor) - I used brown basmati rice
1 3/4 cups milk
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup sour cream or yogurt
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Line a 10 inch pie plate with the pie pastry, rolled so that there is some overlapping the sides of the pan. Fold under the edges and crimp. Set aside.

In a skillet, over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil, then add the chopped onions and bell peppers and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, to lightly brown the vegetables. Turn down the heat if they start to blacken. To the browned onions and peppers, add the chard and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the mixture is heated through. Stir in the corn, nutmeg and thyme. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix together the cooled rice and the cooled veggie mixture. Spread in the prepared pie plate. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the milk, eggs, sour cream or yogurt, salt and pepper to taste. Pour this milk mixture over the veggie-rice mixture in the pie plate. Sprinkle paprika and Parmesan cheese over the top.

When oven is at 350 degrees F, bake the pie for about 35 - 45 minutes, or until top is lightly browned and the middle is almost set. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes on a cooling rack. Serve warm or cooled. Serves 8-10.

2 comments :

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I don't think I've ever seen a better photo of a soup! That looks wonderfully fantastic.
I'd be more than happy with both your soup and the quiche!
I'm equally impressed with your flowers!

Elle said...

Tanna, thank you! Usually my soup photos have too much steam coming off of the bowl. Both these recipes are yummy food and the flowers are my joy.