Two Easy Swiss Chard Recipes


Fun Guy and event organizer Chris Gardner over my left shoulder. Third place, winners' circle. Age group: 50-54, Women Who Refuse To Act Their Age.

Fun Guy and event organizer Chris Gardner over my left shoulder. Third place, winners’ circle, Haleiwa Triathlon earlier this year. Age group: 50-54, Women Who Refuse To Act Their Age. I’m thinner now.

I have a friend who calls me Kale Gal because I grow kale in my gardens, pluck leaves for my husband’s smoothies, make kale chips, and find any excuse to incorporate them into meals. I love red boar curly kale raw in salads and sandwiches. I like dinosaur or Tuscan kale as chips or in soups and other savory dishes. Kale chips taste great when made with either coconut oil or olive oil, with a little sea salt.

Fresh from the garden, a rainbow of Swiss chard.

Fresh from the garden, a rainbow of Swiss chard.

But Kale Gal also raises Swiss chard in red, yellow, and rainbow hues. These have become the overachievers in my garden as of late. The leaves are massive and tender, and the stems can be chopped, sauteed and incorporated into recipes.

Here are a few Swiss Chard recipes that I created to make use of the garden bounty. Let me know if you give it a try and tell me what you think!

Smells delicious!

Smells delicious!

Stuffed Swiss Chard

1 pound ground turkey
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup uncooked rice
4 Swiss Chard leaves, split in half, stems removed and reserved
1 half head of cabbage, cut into small chunks
2 14.5-oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
1 sweet onion, diced
Dash of Italian herbs (oregano, basil, parsley, marjoram, fennel seed).
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp minced garlic
4 tbsp Italian herbs (oregano, basil, parsley, marjoram, fennel seed)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup or more of shredded mozzarella

Raw ball ready to roll.

Raw ball ready to roll.

Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Dump into a big bowl the turkey, ricotta, half of the diced onion, rice, 2 tbsp Italian herbs, salt and pepper, and mix by hand. Set aside.

Sauce:
Saute half the onion and garlic in olive oil, add canned tomatoes and cook off juices, add tomato sauce and remaining 2 tbsp Italian herbs, simmer on low.

Cabbage:
Drizzle some olive oil onto the bottom of a roasting pan. Spread the coarsely chopped raw cabbage into the pan, with big chunks intact. Set aside.

Rolled.

Rolled.

Set up a broad skillet with about an inch of water to parboil the chard. Have ready an ice bath and a colander.

One at a time, dip each half of chard leaf into the boiling water for about 20-30 seconds to soften. With tongs, take each leaf and dip in the ice bath. Drain in a colander.

Take each parboil chard leaf and spread it out on a cutting board or other work surface bottom side up. Shape the ground meat-rice mix with hands or an ice cream scoop into balls about 2.5 ounces each. This should yield eight balls. Place the mixture onto the leaf and roll gently, tucking the ends in so it looks like a neat little purse. Arrange the purses on top of the chopped cabbage in the roasting pan.

Pour the tomato sauce all over the purses and cabbage in the roasting pan. Top with shredded mozzarella. Cover and bake in oven for an hour.

Alternatively, the cabbage can be placed in a slow cooker, purses on top, sauce poured all over, and left to cook for 4-5 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. About 45 minutes before serving, add mozzarella cheese on top, cover and turn off and let cheese melt.

This will be very juicy. I like to serve it over pasta and crusty bread.

Golden and bubbly quiche.

Golden and bubbly quiche.

I made this quiche late one night, refrigerated it, and microwaved slices the next morning for a quick brunch after a 25-mile bike ride.


Easy Swiss Chard and Manchego Quiche

8 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
6-10 Swiss chard leaves, separated from their stems
Swiss chard stems, diced
1/2 diced onion
2 cups shredded Manchego cheese
1/2 stale baguette or other bread, sliced thin
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Paprika

Thinly sliced stale baguette.

Thinly sliced stale baguette.

Sautéed stems and onions.

Sautéed stems and onions.

Rolled and sliced chard.

Rolled and sliced chard.

Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Drizzle a pie plate with olive oil and place the bread slices on the bottom to serve as a sort of crust.

Sauté diced stems and onions in olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Let them reduce until the liquid dissipates. Spread on top of bread slices in pie plate.

Roll chard leaves into a big cigar and slice thinly. Oil skillet and add chard to sauté. Turn down the heat and let the liquid from the chard dissipate. Spread on top of the sautéed onions and stems.

Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups Manchego.

Beat milk with eggs until a mellow yellow.

Beat milk with eggs until a mellow yellow.

Mix eggs and milk in a big bowl with a rotary beater until smooth and so that no yolks or whites can be discerned. Whip in some air while you’re at it. Give it two or three minutes of beating.

Pour into the pie pan. Sprinkle remaining Manchego on top. Sprinkle paprika all over. Place in oven for 30-40 minutes until golden and bubbly, and the center is set.

The pour.

The pour.

Quiche perfection.

Quiche perfection.

Take out of the oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing. Serves 6.

Put a Child On a Plane


There’s this chasm growing between my 13-year-old daughter and me. It’s OK. I still remember being 13. My mother was much closer to me in age, so I am counting on this age difference between my first born and me to result in a smoother relationship.

Kid1 is better at this life game than I was when I was her age. She plays her cards close. I wear my heart on my sleeve, I allow people to use me, I trust until I am fooled. It’s kind of embarrassing, and I realize I must bury the bones of my past.

She’s in Rome with her high school orchestra and band classmates, her viola was part of her carry-on luggage, she’s got a less-than-iPhone in case she loses it, we tracked her flight from Hawaii to Dulles to Rome with the very cool FlightAware app. I hope I hear from her: a text, an Instagram, an email. I might not. So far I haven’t. She’s been in touch with her Dad and Kid2, and I’m relieved when they let me know she’s reached out. I sent her a text with little emoji hearts, an Italian flag, a violin, a jet plane, musical notes. Just me, trying to be playful and fun and loving.

Our first night without her was quite calm. No shower wars between the sisters about who has to go first, no bickering, no slights. Kid2 read a book after dinner and talked with me a lot. We will enjoy this time together, but we all miss Kid1.

When we were driving to the airport, it reminded me of the ride to the hospital to give birth. I cried because I was happy, but I cried because there was no going back and that the changes that would occur when this new person comes into our lives would be irreversible. Dynamics shift. Our personalities make room for another. Our hearts expand immeasurably.

The experience will be amazing for her. We’re curious, we wish we could watch as she enjoys a true Italian cappuccino, plays her viola with her orchestra, takes in the wonders of the Vatican and the ruins of Rome. Will she share all this, or will she keep these memories locked?

I fumble about for the right key.

 

Distant Journaling on a Bad Storm.

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