Sunday, March 04, 2007

long time, no post!

I've been doing a fair bit of gardening since the beginning of 2007, but have been too busy to post about it much. I also love to include pictures in my postings, and find the Blogger interface too unwieldy to quickly and easily post. Tends to turn into an hour session when I add photos! Also, I get SO much "help" in the garden. Doesn't she look helpful? "Look, mommy, I found the hose for you!"

We've had lovely rain here, such that when I thinned some golden & chiogga beet seedlings last week I was able to pull seedlings from the soil almost intact, and successfully transplant them in a neighboring empty space. Huzzah! If two were growing just too close together to risk that, I merely pinched off the stem at ground level and enjoyed a little ultra-fresh bite of beet greens.

I have been long-absent from the Weekend Herb Blogging ranks, but would like readers to know I am still there in spirit! This will be my first post in ages.

I have discovered yet a new way to cook chard, mostly just like the old way but even more marvelous. I snip it fresh from the garden into a hot frying pan, stir it about and let it wilt a little, toss in a quarter cup of water and generous dashes of the Magic Ingredient, then cover and steam until the ribs are still a little crunchy. Can turn the heat off part-way, in face. The "Magic Ingredient" in this case is this heavenly balsamic chardonnay vinegar with lime oil & lime juice. We picked it up on impulse at the San Jose annual Harvest Crafts Fair in the convention center over Thanksgiving weekend. The lighter taste of a white-wine based balsamic plus the zing of the lime really makes the earthy flavor of the chard stand out. What a winner!

For a perfect light lunch, I fry up cubes of tempeh in a couple of tablespoons of grapeseed oil, turn them over, and then drizzle them liberally with the Trader Joe's concentrated pomegranete juice (no added sugar). Keep them moving over medium heat so they don't scorch, flip them over a bit, and pair them with the chard, in a bowl or in a wrap. Who knew that eating healthy could be SO delicious!

At a seed swap recently, someone asked me if chard was better in the first year or the second. Having overwintered some chard this year (my faithful Bright Lights), albeit more by accident than by intent, I can say that it seems better this year. That may be from growing during the colder part of the season, though, as last year I planted mine in late spring. The colors seem more vivid, the leaves are more wrinkly, and they squeak a little when they rub together.


Blogger Kalyn said...

Very jealous to see your garden looking like this when mine is still completely buried in snow. (I know, I'm living in the wrong place!) The chard with balsamic and lime sounds wonderful. I've been using chard and collards in soup this winter. Yum.

Welcome back.

11:58 AM PST  
Blogger Gotta Garden said...

The 'magic ingredient' sounds wonderful! Love your kitty!

4:19 PM PST  
Blogger PALocalvore said...

I wish I had read this before dinner instead of after- we were going to have chard as our green (since we found some in the freezer we had forgotten about!) but none of the recipes sounded good. ButI didn't have the magic ingredient, and I have never mastered the Bewitched nose wiggle to cause it to appear out of nowhere, our chard would still have been just plain old non magic chard. I'll keep my eyes open.


8:46 PM PST  
Blogger Helene said...

I love chard and use it with calamaris. You have a lovely garden. :)

4:22 AM PST  
Blogger Floribunda said...

Just planted yellow stemmed chard in my veggie garden, and can't wait for it to get big enough to use! I'll have to try your recipe, which sounds delicious.

I'm a new Bay area gardening blogger, and invite you over to take a look at my site: I've linked your blog to mine... so you'll see more traffic from my way perhaps.

Your garden is a lot farther along than mine... I just planted the first tomato seedlings and a couple of herbs along with that chard and baby lettuces. Think I missed out on sugar snap peas this year by waiting too long, but put a packet of dried peas into the ground this week just in case I get a few to nibble on. The strawberries winter over well where we are, as does the rhubarb, which is one of the first veggie garden perennials to resurface in spring.

10:58 AM PDT  
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10:54 AM PDT  
Blogger Angela said...

I'm growing 'Rainbow' chard. Stir-frying it in non- or low-fat chicken stock is delicious (got the recipe from Trader Joe's pre-chopped Rainbow chard), but I'd like to find more soup, stew and baked recipes that use chard.

10:14 PM PDT  
Blogger Strata said...

Hi Angela,

There are some great recipes (including a bunch in the comments) at and googling for "baked chard" will give you lots more.

People like to bake it with eggs and/or polenta in a big flat pan and make squares, which are also good cold.

1:12 PM PDT  
Blogger Angela said...

Yum... Thanks!

2:50 PM PDT  

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