Chard and Beet Greens

Chard, Beet Green, Caramelized Onion, Ricotta, Goat Cheese, & Pine Nut Pizza

For as long as I’ve been filling my own pizzas, I’ve been topping them with chard. I’m not sure how I came up with chard as a no-brainer pizza topping – I’ve certainly never seen it on the list at any pizza joint – and every time I buy chard to put on a pizza I find myself preparing to put the pizza together going, What was I thinking? Chard on pizza? But every time I take the chard-pizza plunge, I’m reminded again why I do it. I don’t like tomato sauce, and the chard has all the moisture and sweetness you could ask for, as well as its own uniquely great texture in contrast to the crust.

I decided to try a new kind of crust by my beloved pizza-shell makers, Vicolo Pizza. This was a spelt crust, using a form of wheat that is often easier to digest than regular wheat. I’m sad to report that the spelt crust may be easier to digest, but I found it much, much harder to consume! It’s back to the cornmeal (and wheat flour) crusts, eaten sparingly as a special treat, of course.

The pizza was fortunately completely redeemed by the lusciousness of its toppings.  Into that spelt crust I piled fresh sheep’s milk ricotta cheese, caramelized onions, sauteed chard and beet greens, fresh goat cheese, and toasted pine nuts. Phenomenal!

Too many cabbages? Que sera, sera

Que Sera Cabbage Salad

I’ve been so very tired lately. Too tired to cook, too tired to even figure out what I might want to eat. Luckily for me, exactly one and one half blocks from my house is a Mexican restaurant that makes a pretty decent and decently priced kid-sized bean, rice, and cheese burrito. I went down there yesterday and and once again bought my main meal of the day, asking them to add a side of this fantastic cabbage salad they make there. Then I carried my paper bag of burrito and salad back to my house and ate my rice and my beans and my cabbage. Meanwhile, down the hall, there were four kinds of cabbage in my refrigerator.

Yes, four kinds of cabbage. A half a head of napa cabbage, a red cabbage, a Savoy beginning to wither, and the most recent addition to the community, a pointy Wakefield. So I did what any girl would do when confronted with this sort of cabbage surplus. I called my mom.

Every year when I was a kid my mom and I would throw a huge Chanukah party. Well over a hundred people would pile into our little house, lining up in rowdy crowds outside the kitchen for latkes, and heading back to the dining room for plate after plate of the cabbage and cucumber salads my mother would start making the night before in enormous vats, keeping her eye on all the steps involving ice water and salt and vinegar throughout the night as she transformed our house into a twinkle-lit wonderland. It was this fresh, silky cabbage experience that I wanted to replicate, as much a winter cabbage association as the heavy cooked cabbage dishes I’d been putting off making.

Here, straight from Mom and the Silver Palate Cookbook, is the Que Sera Cabbage Salad of my youth (scaled down for a home audience, of course!).

(Recipe behind the “more”…) Continue reading

Spinach for breakfast

Spinach with Garlic, Potato and Egg Dish

I stopped buying spinach some time in college. I hated washing it, or rather, I hated eating gritty spinach, which was usually how my roommates and I ate it, since we all hated the effort it took to wash it well. Then they started selling prewashed baby spinach in those cellophane bags, so I started buying spinach again. Then I got waste-conscious, and stopped buying spinach so I wasn’t using up all that plastic. Now I’m back to spinach. And if I thought it was gritty before…

Dirty Spinach

But the spinach keeps coming, every week it comes, which means this time I don’t have a choice. So I fill a tub with water, I use kitchen shears to snip the leaves off their crowns, and I plunge them in. I swish them, then I rinse them, then I rinse them again. It’s a lot of work. But I’m finding I don’t mind. The spinach is there, so I clean it. It cooks up so tender and sometimes even sweet.

I usually eat the whole batch in one sitting, at breakfast time. I don’t know why spinach has become solely a breakfast food, although I do generally wake up craving eggs and greens. So once a week I wash and wash my spinach, saute it with some garlic and olive oil, and fold it into an omelette, or tuck it under some poached eggs, or eat it alongside something like the (unfortunately not very successful) potato-and-egg bake pictured above. And, when I sit down at last to eat my breakfast spinach, I feel like I can taste the satisfying flavor that comes from grit-free spinach, accomplished sans cellophane bag.

(For some more concrete ideas on how to use spinach for breakfast, please read Spinach for Breakfast, the Sequel!)

Watermelon Radish and Wakefield Cabbage: Week of January 30th

This week I was so tired my produce sat in its box on the kitchen floor for two days until Duck arrived and put it away for me. So no photos or perky accounting of amounts. Here’s the basics:

Pink Lady Apples
Navel Oranges
Crocodile Spinach
Watermelon Radish
Red Kale
Bok Choy
Wakefield Cabbage
Tokyo Turnips
Tadorna Leeks
Satsuma Mandarins