Showing posts with label Swiss Chard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Swiss Chard. Show all posts

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Big Popover

I confess that unusual recipes, those that claim to be magic or are made in some unlikely way, always attract me. In fact, they stop me cold. I scratch my head and wonder if they really work. Maybe it's because I like learning new techniques? Yeah, I'll go with that.

So when I saw a recipe that involved a big popover, I was surprised. Would it really come out like a giant popover? I thought popovers had to be made in special popover pans with tall, narrow cups so they would rise. Hmm.

Apparently this recipe began with Cooking Light. I found a variation by Grab a Plate and put my own twists on it.

Guess what? It worked. Not only that, we loved it. And this popover crust solves one of my biggest kitchen dilemmas - a crust in a hurry. Honestly, with the mozzarella, it tasted so much like a pizza that I was astonished. But the crust was made in less than half an hour. No rising necessary. Of course, there's no yeast in it, so it's not like a bread crust but it's totally satisfying and kind of fun. I can see using this in a lot of recipes.

The popover curls in strange artful ways. It was very cute, though – like it took on a life of its own.

Our garden is having a surprisingly good year. Please forgive me for using red Swiss chard in yet another recipe but we have so much of it! It will look like a huge amount of chard but don't worry, like spinach, it shrinks as it cooks. If Swiss chard isn't your cuppa, I think you could easily substitute spinach. I used white mushrooms but crimini would also be lovely. If you want it to taste more like pizza, substitute 1 teaspoon of oregano for the herbs and be sure you use mozzarella cheese.

I recommend cutting off the chard stems for this recipe, though it's not really necessary. If you do cut them off, freeze them, along with the "discarded" liquid to make soup. The chard, mushroom, and herb flavors in the liquid are delicious! In fact, it occurred to me that this might be a great base for a vegetarian broth.

This dish is surprisingly filling. Super for meatless Mondays or vegetarian family members. It will easily serve 3-4. And no guilt! The veggie to crust ratio is so good you'll feel entitled to dessert.

The Big Popover
with Swiss Chard and Mushrooms

1 8x8 inch pan

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 red onion
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon thyme
8-ounce package fresh white mushrooms
1 clove garlic
1 bunch Swiss Chard
1 tablespoon butter + extra for greasing the pan
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup skim milk (whole probably works, too)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded mozzarella (I used part skim)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the olive oil. Slice the onion and the mushrooms, and mince the garlic. Cut the stems off the Swiss chard and reserve for soup. Cut the chard and wash. Add the onion to the pan, when it begins to cook, add the herbs. When they are fragrant, add the mushrooms and garlic. Top with the Swiss chard and turn occasionally as it wilts. When wilted, turn the heat down and keep warm.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425. Grease the pan with butter and place 1 tablespoon of butter in the bottom of the pan.

Lightly whisk the two eggs. Stir in the flour, milk and salt until smooth. Set aside. When the oven is ready, place the pan in the oven for 2-3 minutes until the butter melts. Do not let it burn!

Pour the egg mixture into the hot pan and slide it into the oven. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until puffed up and slightly browned. Sprinkle the bottom with 1/2 of the mozzarella.

Pour the excess liquid off the Swiss chard mixture. Spoon the chard mixture into the baked popover. Sprinkle the top with the remaining mozzarella and then with the Parmesan.

Bake 10-12 minutes.

Melt butter in baking pan. 

Combine eggs with flour and milk.

Who'd have thought it?

Before second baking.

Ready to serve!

Surprisingly satisfying.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Linguine with Swiss Chard and Bacon

Sometimes I forget just how great bacon is. There's a reason that southern cooks add bacon to their cooked greens. The combination of rich, crunchy bacon and the slight bitterness of greens borders on something magical.

Our garden just keeps producing this summer. Can you believe that I skipped grocery shopping for a week? Okay, I did pick up milk but thanks to the garden, we're eating our veggies.

Yesterday morning, after a hard rain, I brought in what looked like a lot of Swiss chard. Of course, it cooks down, like spinach, so don't be thrown off by the uncooked volume. I snipped off the stems to freeze for winter soups and sliced the leaves for this recipe. Use your salad spinner to wash and semi-dry it.

The recipe is easy peasy. Cooking the veggies in the bacon grease adds to the flavor so that no other sauce is necessary. Instead of draining the pasta, I used a pasta spoon to add the linguini to the veggies, which added just a bit of the pasta water to the dish. If you prefer less bacon grease, then pour off about half before cooking the onions.

By the way, did you know that uncooked bacon freezes well? You can keep a little stash in your freezer to pull out for dishes like this.

I thought this would serve at least three. Ahem. It served two.

Linguini with Swiss Chard and Bacon

1 large, deep frying pan with a lid

1/2 package (6 slices) bacon
1/2 red onion
2 good-sized garlic cloves
1-2 large bunches Swiss chard
8 ounces linguini

Cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces and fry until crispy. Meanwhile, heat the water for the pasta, dice the onions, cut the Swiss chard into 1 1/2-inch strips, and mince the garlic.

Cook the linguini according to the package instructions.

When the bacon is crisp, scoop out, place in a bowl and set aside. (Pour off some of the grease if you like.) Add the onions to the pan and cook, lowering the heat. When the onions are soft, add the garlic, stirring for a minute or two so it won't burn. Promptly add the Swiss chard. Cover the pan and let the Swiss chard wilt. When it has cooked down a little bit, stir to combine. Cover and cook again until the Swiss chard has wilted and is soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked linguini and bacon (reserve a few pieces for garnish) to the pan and combine. Serve and sprinkle with a few pieces of bacon for garnish.

Pack the pan with Swiss chard.

It cooks down to this!


Coming December 2nd

Monday, March 10, 2014

When Sidekicks Take Over

As mystery writers, most of us make sure our sleuths have trusty sidekicks. In my Domestic Diva Mysteries, Sophie has a huge group of friends, but there's no question that her best friend and across the street neighbor, Nina Reid Norwood is Sophie's partner in crime. When Sophie needs a hand sleuthing, Nina is willing and able.

In the Paws and Claws Mysteries, poor Holly has two sidekicks! Trixie, the rascally Jack Russell Terrier, and Twinkletoes, the nosy calico kitten, are always sniffing out trouble.

Most of the time sidekicks know their places. But once in a while, a sidekick simply shoves her way to the fore, grabbing the attention. And that's what happened to this dish.

For decades, pasta has been a star. It's the backbone, the diva, really, of countless dishes. Pesto, carbonara, and Alfredo play second fiddle to rigatoni, spaghetti and linguine. But Victoria Abbott's posts have been reminding me that the carbs we love so much ought to be scaled back, and so it was that greens came to the fore in this dish.

We know greens are good for us. Great, in fact! Loaded with vitamins, full of fiber, and yet, they're always the sidekick. The third wheel, even. Reluctantly included out of some sense of duty. I don't think there has been a single Mystery Lovers' Kitchen blogger who hasn't at one time or another said she was trying to work more veggies and greens into her diet. So today I offer a dish in which Swiss Chard (trumpets blowing here) is the king, and pasta has been relegated to the lowly position of sidekick.

I used rainbow Swiss Chard, which is a fancy way of saying they combined red and yellow chard at the chard factory. I switched up the measurements, so that Swiss Chard is the dominant ingredient, instead of the pasta. Four ounces of pasta is still a lot of pasta! But in this dish, by reducing the quantity of pasta, the greens dominate and the pasta takes a back seat.

Swiss Chard Rules!

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup peppers
1 bunch (about 6-8 good-sized leaves) Swiss Chard
3/4 cup chicken broth
4 ounces Farfalle or other pasta
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the olive oil over medium high and saute the chopped onion. Meanwhile, mince the garlic and cut the peppers. Thinly slice the colorful stems of the Swiss Chard and add to the onions. Cut the remaining Swiss Chard by folding in half and slicing out the tougher middle part. Slice those backbones and add to the pan. Cut the rest of the chard leaves and set aside. When the onions and chard stems have softened, add the garlic and the peppers. Stir and cook about one minute. Add the Swiss chard leaves and the chicken broth. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until the chard leaves have wilted and the liquid is reduced by about half.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta.

Add the cooked pasta to the Swiss Chard mixture. Stir in the cream and the Parmesan cheese and serve.

Cook the tough stems with the onions.
Where did all that Swiss Chard go?

Swiss Chard Rules!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Chard Challenge

We are always looking for ways to sneak more vegetables into our meals. Everyone around here likes veggies, but we just get tired of same old same old.  At the same time, new vegetables can look very intimidating as they stare accusingly from the fridge. Yes, we are talking about you, Mr. Swiss Chard. We’ve had and enjoyed Swiss chard at my mother-in-law’s table, but try getting a recipe out of her sometime.  Sample answer: “Easy, you just cook it in a pan!”
 Easy for her to say.

As we were coming down the home stretch with the second book collector mystery, we were spending a lot of time together and eating more lunches at MJ’s house. This  lunch or brunch was fun to make and actually much quicker than the directions might lead you to think. We liked it enough to add it to our favorites. 

Swiss Chard and Potato Hash with Eggs

1 ½ pounds baby potatoes or new potatoes, quartered
2 tsp. olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp butter
1 pepper, sliced and seeded
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (use more or less depending on how much you like garlic)
3 cups Swiss chard, coarsely chopped (give or take)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or your favorite cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
Pinch of paprika
4 – 8 eggs


Cook potatoes in boiling, salted water until tender (15 minutes) 
Heat oil in a frying pan and cook onion over medium-low heat, until carmelized – at least 10 minutes. 

Remove from pan and set aside.
Add potatoes to the same pan and cook until lightly browned.  Season with salt and pepper. 

Add the red pepper and garlic and cook for a few minutes. 


Toss in the chard and the onion and cook until wilted.  This doesn’t take long! 

Stir in the cheese and cook until it melts.   


Remove to a heated plate and keep warm.  


Wipe the pan clean. Add the remaining oil and cook eggs over medium heat. Cover until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny. Of course, you could also poach the eggs or cook them over easy. Whatever suits.  

Serve the potato mixture topped with the eggs.  1 or 2 per person to suit your brunch companions.  Season to taste and dust with a little sweet paprika.  Enjoy!

Season to taste and dust with a little sweet paprika.  

If you have a favorite way with Swiss chard, please let us know. We're hooked now.

Victoria Abbott is a collaboration between Victoria Maffini and her mother,  Mary Jane Maffini. The Christie Curse, their first book collector mystery, launched in March 2013 and  The Sayers Swindle, the second in the serie,s will be out in December. They've just seen the cover. Please let them know how you like it! 

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Weeknight Swiss Chard

Like Julie, I've been trying to eat more veggies. Swiss Chard is one that I walked by a million times in the grocery store, because I didn't know what to do with it. I do know that the southern method of cooking greens with bacon will make even bitter collard greens taste good, but this time I'm cooking without bacon. I'm calling this Weeknight Swiss Chard, because it's quick, easy, and not a bit fancy. In fact, it might even be healthy! If you're currently planning a garden, consider planting this lovely vegetable. It grows very nicely.

If you've never tasted chard, I'd say it's
more like spinach in flavor than anything else. It acts sort of like spinach, too, in that you start with a huge amount of greens, thinking you'll never eat it all, but by the time it's cooked, that huge portion is just a little handful.

Chard comes with different colored stems, as you can see in the photo. They're all good, but the ones with yellow and red stems contain more antioxidants, so opt for those if you have a chance. The colorful stems are tougher than the leaves, but very tasty. You just have to cook them a little bit longer.

I use a lot of garlic in this recipe. If you don't already know, the easiest way to peel garlic is to smack it. Yes, you get to take out your frustrations on that poor, innocent garlic. Lay the blade of your knife flat over the garlic and bang it with the heel of your hand. The peel bursts and can be easily removed.

Weeknight Swiss Chard

1 bunch Swiss Chard, washed and shaken (I don't dry it. The moisture helps it cook.)
1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
salt to taste

1 pan with deep sides and a cover

Place the olive oil and the garlic in the pan over a low temperature. Garlic burns easily. At this point you're really just using the garlic to flavor the oil a bit.

Meanwhile, lay each chard leaf flat and slice out the stem. Cut the stem into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl. Slice the leafy part in large chunks and set aside.

When you've cut up all the chard, add the stem portion to the pan, cover and turn the heat to medium. Cook 8 - 10 minutes, or until the stems pieces are soft. Stir occasionally. Add the leafy portion, cover, and cook about 5 more minutes, until wilted and tender. Salt to taste.


Riley's April Contest


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