|Kids and my brother with Bandit, Tommy Moe, and Chubby Checkers|
Back in the days when the kids were little, we didn't have any trouble disposing of our extra chard--we fed it to the pet guinea pigs! These days, when the garden really gets cooking, I have to work at coming up with recipes.
By now you know I'm crazy for cheese grits (AKA polenta), so when I saw a recipe starring greens and grits, I couldn't resist tweaking. This is a good meal for the night after you've indulged in an enormous burger, maybe with bacon and cheese on it, and you're feeling a craving for vegetables:) (If you are not in a vegetable mode, stop before the egg is added (see below) and top with Bolognese sauce.)
2 cups chicken broth, 1 cup water
1 cup cornmeal grits (polenta)
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup grated cheese
Heat 2 cups of chicken broth and one cup water to boiling. Pour in one cup of yellow cornmeal grits, stirring so it doesn't get lumpy. Cook this on low heat until it's thick, stirring frequently. Take the grits off the heat, stir in one tablespoon butter (if desired) and half a cup of grated cheese of your choice. (I chose cheddar.) When the grits have cooled, beat in one egg.
Meanwhile, chop one smallish onion and saute until soft. Wash and chop one large bunch of greens (kale, chard, or spinach.) Add them to the frying onions and continue to cook until the greens are soft.
In a well-oiled 8 by 8 inch pan, layer half the grits, then the greens mixture, then the rest of the grits. Top with another half a cup of grated cheddar and grate several tablespoons of Parmesan over all.
Bake at 375 until bubbly and beginning to brown, about 25 min.
I served this with a Japanese-style cucumber salad, which made a small dent in our cuke harvest. This fabulous recipe is courtesy of Joan Emerson, who had tasted something like this at a restaurant.
She did the hard work of teasing out the best flavors.
Thinly slice two large cucumbers
Finely chop three scallions (I used 1/2 onion instead)
For the dressing, mix:
Two tablespoons soy sauce
One tablespoon sesame oil
One tablespoon sugar
Four tablespoons vinegar
Gently toss together with cukes and onion; let stand at least one hour before serving. Make more than you think you'll eat--it goes fast!
Lucy is the author of the Key West food critic mysteries, available wherever books are sold! You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.