June 28, 2010
Chard. Work. In progress.
Today I received a new cook book in the mail. I didn't even order it! As a new CSA shareholder, I have been gifted a seasonal recipe collection. Thank you, Farmer John. And thank you, generous employer! I hope that you meant to send me this book, because I don't think I'll give it back. Beyond having inventive recipes for all sorts of early season greens, I now possess a bound paper repository of veritable, vegetable facts.
My new cookbook taught me that one should only heat Goosefoot greens in stainless steel, as they will discolor in aluminum or iron. Also, you should really cut out the stems of larger leaves, slice them in 1/4" thick, and begin cooking before you add the greens, which, incidentally, you should slice to 1" wide on the diagonal. I am now more aware of spices that work well with Chard: marjoram, parsley, lovage, nutmeg, allspice, or paprika. I can only vouch for nutmeg and parsley, having a general dirth of lovage in my household. Ahem.
I must reiterate the connection between beets and chard. They are two varieties of Beta Vulgaris, and members of the Goosefoot family, who did not, to my knowledge, appear in any sitcoms in the nineteen eighties. Actually, Beets and Swiss Chard are so similar that we could not tell a beet that had been allowed to flower from chard in a brief walk around the AOLC garden today. Other Goosefoots: Spinach (no surprise there), Tetragonia, and Quinoa. Well, who doesn't have a very distant South American staple cousin?
Also, I made a little painting. It isn't quite done, so maybe I should have kept it to myself. But I'm having a good time, so why shouldn't you? Along with chard, this piece shows off the shoelaces from my old (and favorite) sneakers: the turquoise converse size 5 purchased at a Greek town thrift-store at the near beginning of my endless summer of post-college life. As you can see, they have been lovingly knotted, broken, and re-knotted. Another funny detail: I found it the wooden base at my former employer's warehouse sale, before I ever worked for them, or even thought I would. Walk circumspectly, as some say. What a long, strange trip it's been.
I will supposedly be receiving baby chard in my box tomorrow. Will we ever make it to the next vegetable, I wonder?