Friday, May 27, 2011

Sauteed Swiss Chard w/Parmesan Cheese

Kid Rating: 2 out of 3 liked it ... initially (see "Family Review" below)
Do Again?: Yes (I really liked it, with exposure they'll like it, too)

Adapted from, click HERE.

2 T butter
2 T olive oil
1 T minced garlic (I used two cloves)
1/2 small red onion, diced (I used 4 scallions)
1 bunch Swiss chard (I cut out the thicker red stems and left them out completely) - layer leaves together, roll, and cut 1/2 inch strips (can see technique HERE from my collard green post).
1/2 c dry white wine (I like Holland House's cooking wine)
Squeeze of lemon juice
2 T freshly grated Parmesan cheese (at least 2 T - YUM)
Salt to taste (cooking wine has salt added to it - FYI)

1. Melt butter and olive oil together in large skillet over med-hi heat.
2. Stir in garlic and onion, cook about 30 seconds until fragrant.
3. If you choose to keep the chopped stem pieces, add them and the white wine now, simmer to soften stems about 5 min. Otherwise, just add the wine and immediately go to #4.
4. Stir in chard leaves. Cook until wilted (doesn't take long).
5. Stir in (squeeze in) lemon juice and cheese.
6. Season to taste.

Here comes the sample bite!

Served with yams - recipe HERE.

5 y.o. - Eagerly took the sample bite. Looked at me. Ran to garbage can.
10 y.o. - Eagerly took the sample bite. Looked at me. Two thumbs up. She really liked it. But, when I put some on her plate, she became repulsed when she realized there was cheese in it.
11 y.o. - Dutifully took the sample bite. Glances at me. "Pretty good." (Me, happy and astonished at his compliment, "Pretty good?!"). Him, "Yeah. Sort of." Then, after giving him his dinner plate, he said, "I don't think I like it."
Hubby - "I dunno." But he ate it.
Me - I really, really liked it and finished my kids' servings.

Next time: Each person can add their own cheese if they want it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Parsnip Pancakes Improved

Kid Rating:  1 1/2 out of 3 like them
Do Again:  yes -- they are good and will win the kids over

Recommend:  food processor

I finally invested in a food processor!!!!  I had bloody knuckles the last time I shredded parsnips, it also took 20 minutes.  Grrrr.  This time with the processor:  less than one minute PEOPLE!  All blood retained.

1 pound parsnips, peeled and shredded (buy small to med)
1 large carrot, shredded
2 scallions (just under 1/4 cup, finely chopped)
1 egg (or three)
1 T flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 T vegetable oil

(Next time:  maybe have a side sauce to drizzle on them)

scallions from my garden

1.  Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
1a.  Drop first egg on floor.
1b.  Absentmindedly add second egg to shredded parsnips and stir while realizing you forgot to steam the shreds first.
1c.  Put shreds into colander and rinse egg from them.
2.  In a steamer or colander set over a pot of boiling water, steam the parsnips and carrot for 5 minutes or until softened but not mushy. Set aside to cool slightly. 

3.  Transfer vegetables to a medium bowl and add the scallions, third egg, flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir until well combined.
4.  In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 1/2 tsp of oil over moderate heat. Using a 1/4 cup measure (I used an ice cream scooper -- my grandmother's), spoon mixture into skillet.  Cook for 2 minutes per side or until golden brown.  Transfer first batch to a large baking sheet (I sprayed with cooking spray).
5.  After finishing the batches, bake the parsnip pancakes for 7 minutes or until they are heated through and lightly crisped.
Press into scoop - pack down.
This helps keep the pancake shape without
shreds falling apart too much.

Made 12

Family Review:
11 y.o. - Not his favorite, but eats it.  (I think a sauce on it may help).
10 y.o. - "They were okay.  If they were served, I would eat them."
5 y.o. - No
Hubby - Liked it.  They went over much better than last time.
Me - I really liked them.  Not mushy.  Fresh tasting.  Mild.  Some of the fajita sauce dripped onto them, and it tasted good.

Idea for next time:  add a sauce or different seasoning, try a flavored oil or butter to cook in (butter could burn - careful).

Food Processor Love

Too expensive. Takes up counter space. I don't cook much anyway.

Those were my reasons for not purchasing a food processor sooner.

It takes too long. It's a pain and hassle (to chop/shred/slice).

Those were some of my excuses for not cooking.

A few weeks ago I was preparing parsnip pancakes and shredded my knuckles. The shredding took 20 minutes. I was grumbling, "I'm getting a food processor. I don't care how much it is, I'm not putting up with this anymore."

Within a couple of days I bought this:
Better Homes and Gardens
WalMart - $99
I've prepared dough with it and shredded cheese. And those parsnips? Less than one minute (that's right, uh huh, that's right).

This is how I feel about having a food processor:

It's such a big difference to have the right tool for the job.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Swiss Chard with Caramelized Onions

Kid Rating:  2ish liked it (didn't try it on the 5 y.o.)
Do Again?  Yes, but slightly modified

Chard leaves are mild (not too bitter) and can be used raw in salads (usually younger leaves) or cooked.
Recipe based from, click HERE

1 lg yellow onion, chopped (I used a red onion)
2 T olive oil (I used 1 T butter, 1 T olive oil)
1 tsp brown sugar
1 bunch red Swiss chard, rinsed and chopped
{I had about 12 leaves, which didn't seem enough for the chard:onion ratio.  It cooks down; I would double the leaves.  Also, I used the same chopping technique as with collard greens.  You can see that HERE (scroll to the pictures).}
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, rinsed and sliced
2 T capers, rinsed
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt (I used kosher)
Dash of pepper
Squeeze of lemon (don't use a whole lemon like allrecipe suggests) suggests using a cast-iron skillet.  I used a regular pan (hard-anodized nonstick).

-Cook onions slowly in oil over med-hi heat (not too hot) until they begin to brown.
-Stir in sugar and continue cooking for a few minutes.
-When onions are brown and tender, stir in chard and olives.  Cook until chard is slightly wilted (covered).
-Stir in capers and salt and continue cooking until chard is completely wilted (up to 3 minutes, depending how wilted they were before).
-Season with pepper and squeeze lemon juice over top.

I should have doubled the
amount of leaves.

The stems are blechy raw but a
little better when cooked.  I'll
leave them out next time.

Love the onions!  I may do a
medley of different onions
next time for fun.

I put in the chopped red stems
before the leaves to give them
a head start in cooking.  I'll just
leave them out next time.

See how it's mostly onions?
More chard next time.
Family Review:
5 y.o. - didn't give to him to try, let me get the recipe right first
10 y.o. - She "loved it!" and asked for more.  HOWEVER, she only liked the greens and not the onions, olives, nor capers.  (Maybe if I minced them or blended them into a sauce one of these times...).
11 y.o. - "I didn't really like it, but if I had to eat it, I'd eat it."
Hubby - "No."
Me - I really liked it except for the red stems when raw.  They were kind of okay when cooked, but I'll just leave them out for now until I get the recipe right.  The olives and capers were great, but I seem to be the only one who enjoys them.  The chard had a softer texture than the collards.  I'm surprised I was okay with that, but I'll try to cook them less next time.

One last note:  the chard was not as fresh as they could have been.  You can see from the photo they are slightly wilted (leaves should be spread out more).  They were beautiful at the market, but I couldn't get to cooking them right away (a week+).  I bet it would make a big difference to have fresher leaves.