Saturday, February 26, 2011

Adding Some Rainbow to Winter

Saute the stems of the chard
Loads of leafy greens
Chard. What is it? It's one of those elusive greens that seems to be mentioned in all the health magazines. This veggie is in the same family as beets and spinach and is also high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits. Chard packs a punch with Vitamins K, A and C. It's nutritional value is lauded, but does it taste any good?

The perfect mix of savory & sweet make this a delicious & healthy dinner

Last month I clipped a recipe that was printed in the Chicago Tribune for rainbow chard that sounded interesting and figured I'd give it a shot. It was DELICIOUS and rainbow chard has become my new veggie obsession. I've made this recipe at least 3 times now and decided I'd take some photos of this beautiful green to show you just how great it is.

When I make this recipe I typically serve it over brown rice. I have substituted peanut oil for sesame oil as well.

This recipe appeared in the January 19th Chicago Tribune

Stir-fried Swiss chard with pine nuts and balsamic butter

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Makes: 2 servings

From "Fast, Fresh and Green," by Susie Middleton

1 teaspoon each: balsamic vinegar, soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon dark brown sugar

12 ounces Swiss chard

1 tablespoon peanut oil

3 tablespoon pine nuts

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1. Combine the vinegar, soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl. Pull or cut the stems away from the chard leaves. Cut or rip the leaves into 2- to 3-inch pieces. Slice the stems crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces.

2. Heat the oil in a large wok or skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts; cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. (Watch carefully because they brown quickly.) Off the heat, transfer the pine nuts to a plate, leaving behind as much oil as possible.

3. Return the pan to the heat; add the chard stems and a pinch of salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until shrunken and beginning to brown lightly, about 5 minutes. (They will begin to crackle in the pan as moisture evaporates.) Add the garlic; stir-fry just until fragrant, a few seconds. Add all of the chard leaves and 1/4 teaspoon of salt; toss the chard leaves just until wilted, 30 to 45 seconds. Stir in the balsamic mixture; remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the butter until melted. Fold in half of the pine nuts. Transfer the chard to a serving bowl; garnish with the remaining pine nuts.

Nutrition information

Per serving: 237 calories, 76% of calories from fat, 21 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 10 g carbohydrates, 5 g protein, 739 mg sodium, 4 g fiber

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pasta Pasta!

Wow -- look at the size of that pasta!

I love making fresh pasta and especially when it's with friends. My sister gave me a fantastic pasta maker for my birthday a few years ago and I'll take it to friends' homes to make some tasty treats. A few weeks ago I ventured to Erin's house and we made spaghetti. The pasta was so light we only had to top it with olive oil, red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese. Delicious!

Add the out comes spaghetti!

Cook, add a little cheese and we're ready to eat

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Weekend Forecast? Lots of GREAT Ethnic Restaurants

I was cleaning out my wallet this afternoon and realized I had several credit card receipts from recent dining adventures:

Looking at this small smattering of receipts I realized something. I get around. I eat out. And guess what? I love it!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Gourmet Oatmeal Heats Up A Cold Winter

Oatmeal. It seems that you're in one of two camps, you either love it or hate it. Personally, I have to be in an oatmeal mood or I won't eat it. Cold snowy weather (like we're having here in Chicago) helps the craving. Sometimes I think about oatmeal though and just think "blah". Sure it's filling but I want to feel satisfied. Sated. I need something with a little more zip.

If you haven't heard of Three Sisters Oatmeal, you're in for a treat. Dark Chocolate. Brown Sugar and Maple. Cinnamon and Apple. These are the sort of flavors that are going to add some zip to your morning. You can find the oats exclusively at Whole Foods. I was estatic (it doesn't take a lot folks) on a recent trip to Whole Foods when they had three packages for just $7. Yes, that's 15 bowls of hearty, gourmet oatmeal at a bargain. For you oatmeal purists who enjoy spending an hour making your oats, this product is not for you. You can only make Three Sisters in the microwave. Speedy and delicious.