A special treat! This blog entry from guest blogger Chris. He cooks.
I cook whatever he grows
He arrived uninvited late last Sunday night. In one hand, a bag bursting with freshly picked Swiss chard and in the other hand, two feet of wilted, gasping heirloom tomato. Without a word he handed me the chard and moved through my house to our back deck. In a moment he planted the forlorn fruit in an old bucket. He came into the house, jerked his head toward the chard and whispered, “Cook it, post it”. Then he was gone.
I should explain. Sjones71 (Compostings) is one of my best friends and lives less than a mile from me. But last year I watched his slide into vegetable garden obsession. No, I didn’t just watch, I helped. I bought him books and a grow light. I helped build the fence, and promised to pitch in a lot more than I did… I’m an enabler.
Then the bounty came in and I got addicted to the fresh stuff. So, now I cook what he grows (or gathers- he should post about his adventure in wild grape foraging).
When he asked if I would post about something I cooked from his garden, it seemed like any easy way to support his compulsion, without actually perspiring.
Let me level set. I’m a passionate home cook with NO formal kitchen experience.
So at his request I post my attempts at improving on what nature made perfect. Here is how I perverted this beautiful chard last night.
Ginger Dressed Chard.
Swiss chard cooks fast. You must be faster. So do your prep. Make this delicious pseudo Japanese ginger dressing (or try a good bottled version). Wash the leaves thoroughly, unless they are from your friend’s house, who you trust implicitly. Lots of books suggest using a knife to strip the leaves from the stem like a razor on a strap, but I find it faster to just fold them in half on the stem and pull or cut the stem along the fold. Tear the leaves into smaller pieces. Do not dry the leaves.
Heat a pan over medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. When oil shimmers add 2 tablespoons of dressing. Watch closely as the dressing carmelizes. As soon as it thickens and darkens slightly, add the chard. Stir. The wet leaves will deglaze the pan and pick up all the carbonized goodness.
Keep stirring, keep watching. In my limited experience there is a very small window for perfectly cooked chard. I overcooked it last night, but drizzle a little of the cool ginger dressing in the center and all is forgiven.
Alright, that ought to be enough for farmer Jones to keep the veg flowin.