Monday, December 04, 2006

rainbow veggies

(Warning: seriously boring post about vegetables, for chrissake. I'm thinking we should start a meme based on Oso Raro's post about gay bars. What/where was your first gay bar? I've got a long one in me, that's been brewing ever since I started this blog, but it never seems like the right day to write it.)

Every week I get a box of vegetables from a local organic grocery store. The content is always a seasonal surprise and as I spend the rest of the week trying to figure out how to cook what I've got, I congratulate myself on being in tune with the seasons and ecologically responsible--no bell peppers for me, no matter how much I want them--which is to say, I spend a lot of time talking to myself about vegetables. I wish I was kidding. December's kind of a slow month around here, and I'm feeling pretty lonely these days. But I do enjoy my new ritual of spending Sunday nights washing/soaking/rinsing/chopping up the vegetables so that I can cook with them throughout the week.

Yesterday I got a bunch of rainbow carrots, as well as a bunch of rainbow chard. I'm kind of wasting the carrots by eating them on a salad for lunch today, but I can't resist--they're so sweet and so pretty, and I don't want to ruin them by cooking them. (I hate cooked carrots). The thing is, I don't know what to do with the chard. Normally I saute greens in a little olive or sesame oil, with onions and/or garlic, and serve it with broiled cod. But should I do that with chard? Or is there something more interesting I should do with it? It's seriously lovely. I found myself so taken with it last night--each stem is a different, vibrant color--that I lovingly hand-dried each huge, fan-like leaf. Unfortunately, I threw away the stems, based on a recipe the store sent home with the box this week. Just now I saw an article on chard that says you can do all kinds of things with the stems. So any ideas what I can do with chard LEAVES?


Blogger Hilaire said...

I get an organic box, too! I always just saute chard. But I know I've seen recipes for swiss chard gratin - I wonder if you could look it up on epicurious or something and that might be a way to preserve the colour?? Also delicious...

(My first gay bar: started going to dyke nights - Fridays - at the Boom Boom Room in late winter 1993. People in Toronto still reminisce fondly about that place. It definitely had its own thing going on. It was hot! There was even a scholarly article written about dyke night at the Boom Boom Room...)

1:32 PM  
Anonymous deb said...

1. Soak a handful of raisins in some boiling water to soften them.
2. Saute coasely chopped garlic in some olive oil.
3. Add the rough-chopped chard (stems too, next week when you don't chuck them out) to the saute.
4. Then, about 2 minutes before the chard is done, add some nuts (pine nuts or walnuts are really good) and the now juicy raisins to the saute. Turn the heat up to high.

If you want to make this a main dish, mix in some pasta and a splash of the raisin water and then toss with parm. cheese.

First gay bar:
Amelia's in San Francisco, 1986. I was in high school and snuck into the bar before the bouncer/card-checker showed up in the mid-afternoon and I sat there with my sort-of girlfriend in the smoky emptiness feeling conspicuous until a few other women showed up. That was underwhelming.

The better "first" was my first dyke dance club a few years later: the dancing sweaty bodies were much more what I had been hoping for....

5:24 PM  
Blogger Oso Raro said...

Good grief! Organic produce boxes! Wow, what a memory trip. When I lived in San Francisco in the 90s with a Bear driver for the Odwalla Juice Company (whom I had a HUGE crush on, alas unrequited) and an assortment of third roommates parading through our fabulous rent-controlled railroad flat, we would get one of those boxes weekly, and always wonder what the hell we would do with all the, ahem, leafy vegetables.

While Odwalla Bear was always up for experimenting with cooking them down for hours in complex alchemies of olive oil, citrus juices, dried fruits and nuts, and vinegars to make them more digestible for animals with only one stomach cavity, I would usually throw up my hands and go get a burrito, a paean to which my girlfriend La Connaire would sing, falsetto, as we skipped down 16th Street to the Taqueria, "Burrito, I look for my Heart it's Burrito!"

1:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Make soup. Cut up a sweet squash (like butternut or acorn)in cubes saute (in olive oil) in a hot pan (or bottom of soup pot if there is enough room) with a diced onion, don't worry about cooking squash the whole way through, just brown the sides up a bit. Add some chopped garlic and the chard leaves (you can use the stems too next time) and keep going until the chard wilts a bit. Add some water or stock (don't make it too soupy, go for stew) and cook until the squash is soft. You could add a little can of diced tomatoes, or alternatively a little milk if you want it creamy, or some of a cooked grain like rice or quinoa to make it even more substantial.

10:34 AM  

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