Minty Limey Goodness
Chilled Corn Soup

CSA Challenge

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Our friends are out of town and generously bequeathed us their CSA box for the week. We forgot to pick it up - we're like that - but sorted it out by this morning.

When I was around four years old my mother belonged to a vegetable co-op. When it was her turn to shop we got up at dawn and went to a big wholesale market to buy vegetables. Then she divvied up what she had purchased and filled a dozen boxes to be picked up from our garage. When it wasn't her turn we would drive through the maze-like alleys of DC every week trying to locate the garage du jour. I remember that it was always sort of exciting to see what we got, like opening a present. I haven't thought about my mom's vegetable co-op in at least two decades but when we opened the CSA box this morning I had that Proustian jolt as the smell of fresh vegetables in waxed cardboard hit me between the eyes.

I think we'll have to sign up with this CSA ourselves next summer.

Today's haul is comprised of a dozen ears of corn, a pound of green beans, a bunch of carrots, two pounds of new potatoes, six smallish cucumbers, four white onions, a bunch of dill, a bunch of watercress that has unfortunately seen better days, a big bunch of swiss chard, five yellow squash and a big zucchini.   

The challenge is: what would you do with any/all of these things? Please be as vague or specific as you like. 

[Oh, and swiss chard specifically? Help? The only thing I can think to do with it is smother it in cheese and bread crumbs and bake it as the snow swirls outside the window. Not very summery.]

Comments

I use Swiss chard in minestrone, along with a load of other veggies. It's also good in a white bean and sausage soup.

The yellow squash and zucchini? I usually saute some chopped onion in half butter, half olive oil, and add sliced rounds of the vegetables. Then I add sliced mushrooms, saute until things are done but yet have some "bite" to them, and it's a good side dish. First time I ever had this as a guest at a dinner, it included bacon bits. Rather than bacon, some red chili pepper flakes might also be good.

In my opinion, summer is prime time for just enjoying veggies in their fresh and mostly-unadulterated states. They're just so extra yummy when they're fresh from the dirt. The drawback here is that you have all of these things already picked and in their prime, but needing to be used while still thusly. So use the most fragile things first. The carrots and potatoes will keep indefinitely (carrots in the fridge, potatoes in a cool dark place). Eat the corn right away because it degrades quickly. You can make all sorts of yummy corn salads, corn salsas, etc., or just grill/boil it and put some butter and salt on it. Eat the green beans steamed and buttered because they're amazingly good fresh that way. I usually just use chard by putting it into soups/sauces/salads, but you can also blanch and freeze it for that cheese-breadcrumb-snowy deal you mentioned, but when it's actually winter. You could use the cukes and dill for fridge pickles-- pack them into a jar with spices (I like garlic, hot pepper, mustard seed) and half vinegar-half water, a couple teas salt. Let them sit in the fridge for a month or so until well pickled. Or make tzatziki, or cucumber salad. The sqaushes will keep a while for use in numerous different things-- fritattas, zucchini cakes, sauteed with butter, gratin, quiche, soup, stir fry, grilling, etc.

So... those be my ideas. Enjoy your veggies. :-)

here's what i do with the chard from our csa:

chop a clove or 2 of garlic. heat in a large pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper. throw in a few red pepper flakes if you're feeling frisky. wash the chard well and chop. add it to the pan, still damp from washing. turn it over a few times, them toss a lid on it and cook until wilted, 3 or 4 minutes. yummy with corn and some kind of grilled meat.

We started using a CSA this summer and I love it. I'm eating vegetables that I wouldn't normally buy in the store and my 16-month old is never short on pluots and blueberries (here in WA, at least). I've made a frittata and a quiche with swiss chard, but I think next time we get some I'll saute it and use it as a base under some grilled salmon. Also, I roasted my carrots this week-- the baby loves them as finger food. And we're having green bean stir-fry tonight-- our box was very similar to yours!

I also got Chard in my veggie box this week, and I've never cooked it. I found a recipe on Chowhound that sounds appealing, either as a burrito filling or over brown rice, maybe--saute the stems in oil for a few minutes, until tender. Add the leaves, two cans of black-eyed peas (but I might only use one, and use black beans) and cayenne pepper and/or cajun seasoning. (I might throw cumin and chili in too.). Right before serving, add a couple pats of butter. Sounds interesting, anyway.

I also got dill, and I used a handful in a homemade buttermilk ranch dressing, which I've been dipping other veggies in.

Are you willing to share your homemade buttermilk ranch recipe, AR?

I have admitted my Hidden Valley packet weakness but I can be saved, I think.

This is the second year we've grown swiss chard in our yard and it's the most food I have EVER gotten from one pack of seeds. I like to saute it with some garlic in olive oil as April suggested. I like to throw in a handful of currents to balance out the red pepper flakes I put in----and also some pine nuts. The swiss chard can be a little sharp and the sweetness of the currents softens it.... I usually pull the stems/ribs out first, chop and saute them before adding the leaves.... Oh, and sometimes I add in a bunch of corn cut off the cob instead of the currents/pine nuts. Again, it's the sweetness that seems to pair nicely with it... You can really use it anyway you would spinach as well....

My husband and I just made refrigerator pickles and refrigerator zucchini pickles and I don't know how they'll be but we're rather tickled....

For zucchini and squash, I love to do the kebabs that are in Six O'Clock Scramble - slice them about 1/2" thick, toss with olive oil and salt, then thread on a kebab with chicken sausage slices (I get them from Trader Joe's) and grill for about 10 minutes. Cherry tomatoes on a separate kebab for just a few minutes.

Eat off the kebab or transfer into a dish and toss with oregano. For some reason, my kids will eat things off a stick that they won't eat otherwise, so this works for us.

Love this new blog!

Grilling corn is always fun and easy: soak it IN THE HUSK in a bucket of water for awhile, then throw it on the grill STILL in the husk. Delicious! Cook, let cool slightly, peel off the husk and you'll have delicious corn-on-the-cob!

There is a really delicious pasta with sausage and chard on Fine Cooking -- http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/penne_sausage_chard.aspx. The light sweetness of the balsamic works really well with the chard. It's quick, easy, and reheats nicely too.

Also, try the "As Seen On TV" veggie storage bags. Believe it or not, they actually work!

I say chop and freeze the swiss chard. My key is to freeze it flat on a cookie sheet, then put it in a ziploc bag or small freezer container - do this for any herb except basil, works great. By doing it this way you don't have a solid lump o' herbs.

I'm big on grilling anything this time of year - we don't have a/c, and the thought of even turning the oven on makes me melt a bit. I do foil packets on the grill. For potatoes, large dice, some onion (I like red), or chives or scallions, olive oil (brush the foil with it too), 2 ice cubes, and turn often on low heat. I also double layer the foil, just in case. I do it with zucchini, carrots, etc. Obviously potatoes and carrots will take longer, and I would only use 1 ice cube with the zucchini) - and clean up is a piece of cake!

Mmmm - cake - zucchini cake .... Oh, I haven't done this, but my mother in law has - grate the zucchini as you would for making zucchini cake, but squeeze as much moisture out of it as you can. Measure out the amount you use for your favorite zucchini bread/cake/muffin recipe, and freeze flat on a piece of wax/Saran/parchment paper. Transfer to freezer Ziploc bag. Take it out during the winter, and make your cake, etc. Good way to deal with the overages of zucchini.

I do what April above does. Saute it in garlic and butter and serve on the side.

Or I chop it really finely and add it to a pastryless quiche. (3 eggs, 1/2c flour, 1 1/2c milk, 3 bacon rashers chopped, 1 small onion chopped, 1c cheese grated and whatever else you want to add, like chard. Salt, pepper, beat it all together, pour into a greased dish and bake in a moderate oven for 45 minutes.)

Just had to mention the "marinated zucchini" from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home - you saute the squash in olive oil until golden, then layer it in a dish, sprinkling each layer with red wine or balsamic vinegar and mint, or basil, or oregano - whatever nice herb(s) you like. Let it sit a bit and eat at room temperature. It's amazing!

I've been coveting my friend's CSA goodies but we're a family of 3, only 2 of whom eat veggies at all and only 1 of whom (me) who is an adventurous eater. Sigh...

when I sautee chard, I throw in a few splashes of maple syrup (along with the garlic, etc). it tempers the bitterness and brings out the brightness.

it also goes really well with/in almost any cooked potato dish. you can use it as a kale substitute in colcannon.

your chard looks pretty young and tender, so if you slice it into thin strips and let it marinate in a nice sweet (like citrusy) dressing, you could turn it into a salad. actually you can still eat it in a salad if you steam it a touch first to soften it up. goes well with fruit.

Veronica -

What's a bacon rasher?

Swiss chard pesto: steam or boil chard, put in food processor with garlic, olive oil and salt. Lots of salt. Sometimes I add fresh basil. If my daughter weren't allergic, I would add parmesan (instead of lots of salt). Use it on pasta (my favorite shape for this is fusilli, the corkscrew) or as a spread on crackers (my daughter's favorite). In pasta sauce form it is the only green vegetable my son will eat. I usually make it will kale, but chard works.

Mar, I think "bacon rasher" means "slice of bacon"...?

I suggest stir frying the swiss chard with some garlic and ginger, soy sauce and a dash of vinegar. Serve over rice or as a side dish to pretty much anything.

MC

This is the second time I've heard about CSA. One of my friends told me about it a while back, and I never heard of it. But it does sound like an excellent idea and a great way to get fresh produce. My friend also posts about what she gets from the farm, and the recipes she cooks up with all those fresh veggies. So I went back to her blog, and dug up an idea for you. She also got some Swiss chard a while back, and made something delicious with them. Her idea was to use it in spanakorizo - a traditional spinach and rice recipe. She didn't have spinach, since the farm made a mistake, I think. So she used the Swiss chard, and she wrote that it came out very yummy.

Here's the link she used - http://greekfood.about.com/od/maindishes/r/spanakorizo2.htm

for the chard: either cooked with eggs in abreakfast tart or the way we usually have it is
get some good italian sausage--we have a family market nearby that makes awesome chicken sausage. we saute that till just done, then add the chopped chard and some garlic. serve it over pasta with a red sauce and some romano or reggiano.

if you get tired of corn on the cob, make a chicken casserole. Brown pieces of chicken, skin removed if you must, with some salt and garlic powder (use a really good quality garlic powder or just actual garlic-though it's hard not to burn the garlic when you are browning meat). When browned, put into a casserole dish along with your veggies--chop everything --carrots, squash, onions, corn, potatoes. If you are not against using some canned soup, get a can of cream of anything (mushroom, chicken, broccoli, whatever) and mix with milk, pour over the chicken/veggies and cook on 400 for an hour, covered, then take off the cover and cook for another 20-30 minutes. Serve with hommade croutons/crostini on the side.

rainbow chard. yum!
Here are some ideas from another delicious blog... http://cookalmostanything.blogspot.com/search?q=chard

I put chard, cooked in a frying pan in butter, with cream and parmesan cheese over fettucini (this can tolerate some mix of other cooking greens, but don't use all kale, and slice anything tough really thin). Cream really cuts the astringency of slightly bitter green things. Ratios can tend towards fettucini alfredo, or you can add two big bunches of greens per package of fettucini.

In a pinch, blanche the chard and freeze it. I find that I need to freeze anything fragile (including corn) that I don't use the evening I bring my CSA home, or it tends to rot in the fridge. We seem to be able to use up our leafies in soup (even just added to a package of ramen) if it's been frozen in small portions, but a side dish of it rarely goes down well.

For the chard...

Chop the chard. You'll want to remove the firmest parts of the ribs and chop them separately. Start sauteeing the ribs in olive oil first, then add the leaves when they start to soften. You can fit massive amounts of chard into one skillet as it cooks down.

Meanwhile, mince 1-2 cloves of garlic. Then sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of kosher salt over the garlic and wait a minute or two. Mash it with the side of your knife until it's a paste.

Add as much of the garlic paste as you want to the chard midway through cooking. You want the garlic to cook but not burn. When everything is as soft as you like, stir in a generous spoonful of sour cream and small spoonful of dijon mustard and a dab of prepared horseradish. Sorry I don't have exact amounts.

It has quite a bite to it, which is softened by the sour cream. We love chard this way! It goes well with brauts or artisan sausages on the grill. My husband's family is Mennonite (originally from Prussia, but more recently from Kansas and Manitoba) and they eat it this way all the time.

Our CSA has been extremely greens-heavy this year (it's their first season, and I doubt they'll plant quite as much mizuna-spinach-arugula-chard-kale-romaine-tatsoi next spring). My husband isn't a great fan of cooked greens, and we can only handle two salad-for-dinner nights per week, so my go-to recipe is a greens pesto.

Cut out the stems of the chard or kale (any tender green is fine as-is), steam briefly, then process with as much garlic, salt, and olive oil as you please. If you're working with anything large or tough, adding a squirt of honey cuts the bitterness, and it's a great place to put tired-looking greens. Oh, and it's best to process this for a few minutes, to get it as smooth as possible.

We use this to toss with pasta, or serve it over curries, stirred into soups, etc. But it could also be used as a side or on top of fish or chicken. Greens cook down of course, so 2-3 pounds often yields a little over a cup when it's done.

Oops, Ellen beat me to it. Sorry for not reading thoroughly.

A friend taught me a great simple chard recipe. Chop the white and light green parts of a large leek (or two smaller ones) and saute over med-low heat in a mix of olive oil and butter. Add the chard stems once the leeks begin to soften. When leeks are fully soft add chopped chard leaves, cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. I was skeptical until she made it for me--it's a truly great flavor combination.

Po-tay-toes?
Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew.

Swiss chard was my favorite veggie from our CSA last year and I planted loads in my garden this year (the bunnies are eating a lot of it but there has been some left over for us). My favorite way to fix it is to saute some diced pancetta and then toss in chopped swiss chard and cook until soft. I sometimes add a splash of chicken broth if it needs some liquid to cook in. Yum.

Veggie fajitas and summer vegetable soup (Martha has a recipe by this name) and straight up corn on the cob with burgers or hot dog or bbq.

Herbs past their prime:

Soak on the counter in vast quantities of ice water. There is a debate about whether or not a sprinkling of salt before icing the water helps or hurts. Sounds damaging to cell walls to me, but I am no scientist.

Chard: My dad grew this. It's hella easy to grow, and like asparagus, keeps growing if you harvest correctly. So we ate a lot. It's yum.

Fill sink with water. Place chard in, swish vigorously. Repeat until all cleaned.

Starting at the stem end, rip off the leaves off either side of the stems. Trim cut ends from stems. Slice in thick slices, rather like celery. Chiffonade the leaves. Place each in separate piles.

Mince some garlic.

Heat a HUGE pot on blistering hot. Add a tbsp of olive oil. At a tbsp of butter, and the stems, saute for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and the chiffonade of leaves. Season with an appropriate amount of salt and pepper (look at the pile, realize it will deflate, and season accordingly). Saute until they start to wilt, rather like baby spinach.

Taste a leaf. Correct seasoning. Cover and let sit for 3-4 minutes, then uncover. Add another pat of butter. Butter makes chard taste like heaven, and really, you're only up to about 50 cal of butter per person.

I have never found any chard I like better than this.

Zucchini I do rather the same thing, only in a large nonstick pan. Olive oil, butter, slice them on a cheapie plastic mandolin. Saute in batches, season. Rather similar to your deconstructed kebabs. I have yet to find zucchini I like better than this.

Corn: Barefoot Contessa corn-cheddar chowder. With Kerrygold Irish Cheddar, unless you have another grainy, salty cheddar you like better. Oh. My. G-d. I want to eat, or cry. Either will do.

I'd probably do the potatoes roasted (oven or pan) with butter, salt and parsley. New potatoes deserve to have their flavor accented. Nothing more. Grilled fish maybe, steak, chicken. Pan roasting is so lovely, clean and halve or quarter them (think half a fingerling, making stubby half fingers), add some butter and just a touch of water (2-4 oz) to a frying pan, cover, cook until fork tender, then ramp up the heat and brown well. Garlic at the beginning is good too. A little butter while browning if needed, and some parsley at the end. Must be a nonstick pan.

My friend has been putting yellow squash and green beans in salad, with a poppy seed dressing every time I come over. Raw. Surprisingly good. Normally I can't stand green bean fuzz, but she picks them from her garden, and they're so fresh and sweet.

Cucumbers, I like asian cucumber salad, and something spicy to go with, sate and peanut sauce, or noodles and meatballs (I like the Costco teriyaki meatballs with the yaki soba noodles, and cabbage or bok choi, or pea pods, or celery and carrots and onions, with gyoza sauce as the stir fry sauce, but add more chili oil). Cucumber salad, is simple, rice wine vinegar, ungodly amount of sugar, a dash of soy sauce, a dash of salt, until it's that luscious thick, sweet, salty, peppery mix. Shake, shake, slice the cucumbers, slice in (thinly) some onion, (thinner) some carrot, dress well, let sit on the counter an hour or so while prepping the rest of dinner.

Gazpacho works too. Must use sherry. Yum.

Carrot maple coins are always good. Or honey. Peel, slice in coins, add to a large nonstick saute pan with butter, a little water, a little maple or honey, a little salt and pepper, cook until JUST tender, then ramp up heat and caramelize. Takes very little extra sweetness to make them yummy. They are addictive. The kids love them.

Salad is good too. I used to love pretending to be a horse, or bugs bunny as a kid and eat peeled carrots with the foliage attached. Explains a lot, no?

Onions... easy. I put them in everything that sees a saute pan or stock pot or casserole pan. I can not keep myself in onions. My hungarian roots will tell (onions and mushrooms. Oh my.).

I do the same sausage-chard-pasta thing Lulu does, except without the red sauce. Just toss the pasta with the sausage-chard combo and a little more olive oil, salt & pepper. My 2.5-year-old loves it. Also the garlicky version April does.

And, this is going to sound crazy, but if you like smoothies, you can toss a handful of leaves into the blender with whatever your normal smoothie ingredients are. It actually works with any type of greens and if you can get past the color, you can't taste it. Good if you need to use up greens that are a little wilty.

Swiss chard is lovely when lightly sauteed and splashed with lemon juice and butter.

As for the rest, I like to roast any combination of summer veggies in the oven at 400 degrees. Chop them into fairly thin rounds, toss with some olive oil, season with a dash of salt and pepper (and/or any other seasoning you desire) and roast for half an hour. Yum! These are also very good cold the next day wrapped in a tortilla with a splash of balsamic vinegar.

I'll admit it - I have no idea what to do with most of those things... My mother would, I'll give you her # if you'll just promise to come over and cook for me! These pictures are soooo amazing and your recipes sound great!

Better yet, I'll just bring my son Jim and we'll camp at your house - we don't take much space. No? You sure? He's cute, and he likes vegetables!

Drat.

Well, when you take food photos like that you really shouldn't expect any less than begging from me.

I was reading about a website in our weekend paper's foodie column recently that's designed to solve the dilemma of "I have x ingredients - what can I make?". I haven't used it so can't vouch for it, but recall that the journalist gave it the thumbs up. It's http://www.supercook.com/. I'm interersted to hear if anyone else has found it useful.

I use chard pretty much in place of spinach anywhere. Soups, quiche, etc. Sometimes I saute it with garlic and chilli flakes over high heat (essentially pan roasting it a bit) and then put it on homemade pizza. Also, I use it in palak paneer (Indian spinach curry), this was inspired by a particularly green heavy CSA batch and pretty much started my Indian cooking. There are hundreds of different recipes for it but basically what I do is saute onions, garlic, and ginger, add spice mixture (I would look up Palak paneer recipes and see which mixture looks best to you, everyone is different), add chard, some tomatoes, and when it's cooked down blitz it in the food processor. Then I add some sour cream or yogurt mixed in, and cut up cubes of tofu to use instead of paneer, though if you want to use paneer I'm sure it would be even better.

Well damn, forgot my corn salad. Corn (blanched on the cob, and sliced off in kernels), red or green onion, cherry tomatoes. I used to add avocado, now I slice it on top of the finished salad at serving.

Make dressing of: zest and juice of one lime, garlic clove, salt, pepper, a touch of honey, and olive oil. Pulse with stick blender, drizzle in (rather quickly) olive oil, until it's blended and emulsified. Correct seasoning (remember, for unseasoned veggies! Should taste a little salty). Drizzle over salad, toss. Let sit, on counter or in fridge for an hour.

Sometimes make this with quinoa cooked in chicken broth, as a light meal, roughly half salad mixture, half quinoa, well dressed. Great for gluten free/anti-inflammatory folks.

I forgot my potato salad. Best approximation I could come up with for the potato salad at a place called Red, Hot and Blue. Memphis 'cue chain that moved into Dallas shortly before we moved out. Mediocre BBQ, but dayum, I've had dreams of their potato salad for years. After hunting the internet for a copy cat recipe, I finally found enough suggestions, tips and tricks to come up with a reasonable approximation. It's fast, easy, and addictive. It also has the side benefit of being much healthier, and much tastier. My family that likes traditional mustard/pickle potato salad pouts, but then gobbles this up, and there is none for my midnight foraging. Damn.

Boil the potatoes in their skins in salt water (should taste sea water salty). I prick both sides before boiling. If they are new, cook JUST until a fork goes half way through easily, but still firm. If they're big, often the skins will start to split, and they'll start to look waterlogged. I pull them out at that point, and finish in the microwave, which completes the cooking, and dries them back out some, reducing the starchiness (waxy or new potatoes are best for this. Yellows or golds are my absolute favorites, some starch, but not gluey). Also hard cook some eggs (1 per 2 fist sized potato).

While they're boiling, in a big mixing bowl put about (for scalability, measurements are per potato, assuming a nice fist sized one) 1-3 tbsp (depending on your level of hedonism) of regular Best foods/Hellman's. Add a few shakes of lemon juice, a sliced green onion (green and white part), a generous pinch of poppy seeds, enough boxed chicken broth (I use Pacific free range organic) to thin by half, and here is the must ingredient, celery salt (to taste, but should be well seasoned. They are potatoes!). Pepper too. Mix well. Taste the dressing, should be a wee bit over seasoned before the potatoes go in. Add more celery salt if needed, but not too much.

When the eggs are done (I use an egg cooker, since I'm terrible about timing eggs. The steeping method works well too, yolks that have JUST solidified are wonderful!) shock in ice bath. Makes easier to peel (under light stream of water) and faster to handle. They're usually done before the potatoes. I peel them, cut them in half lengthwise, in thirds crosswise, on top of the dressing.

When the potatoes are done, I cut them in quarters lengthwise, thick slices crosswise, and mix gently, while all is still nice and warm. This is a rather thin dressing, and the potatoes and eggs need to absorb it, which takes residual heat. Once it's well mixed, I taste, correct seasoning, and pile into the fridge (although if you're eating right away, it can be done, but I like to chill the dressing back down ASAP). This is better the next day anyway, so great for take alongs and pot lucks.

Oh. My. G-d.

It ruined me for any other potato salad.

It took me EIGHT YEARS for the internet to produce any search results that were remotely helpful, and lots of people's WRONG assvice before I found this.... and it is the closest replica I've found. I spent EIGHT YEARS, a dedicated potato salad lover, turning up my nose at any other. It is the crack of potato salad.

Be careful, it is addictive, and people will take great, heaping piles (especially if they realize it's theoretically lower in fat than your typical potato salad). And then they come back for more.

It is all summery goodness. In fact, I've been known to make the potato salad, and the corn salad, and throw something on the grill, and call it a day. It keeps for several days, so I make giant batches, and we will eat potato salad with some veggie or even a green salad and cook the main dish outside.

double damn...

forgot about peels. You can leave the peels on if they're thin skinned potatoes. Otherwise once they're done cooking, let them sit spaced out a bit on a platter or tray to cool some. When you can handle them without wanting to cry, peel them, and slice them into the bowl.

I peel them always, because potato salad isn't health food, and if I'm going to eat it, I want to enjoy it, dammit.

This is the only thing we do with corn now: strip the husks and silk, wrap in tin foil. Stick cobs in the oven at 200C for about an hour. Strip the corn off the cobs, mix with parmesan and roasted pine nuts.

ENJOY.

I too would love the ranch recipe. I grew up with the original, and the gluey, mayonaissey chemical tasting nastiness makes me want to gag.

I use hidden valley packets, italian for my summer pasta salads, ranch, well, as you'd expect, but boy would I love to know how to make something else.

BTW, using the packets and adjusting thusly:

Instead of recommended liquids I use 1 part mayo whisked with 1 part sour cream whisked with the packet then slowly whisk in 2 parts buttermilk.

THAT is more like the real hidden valley ranch that I grew up with.

Here's my favorite swiss chard method (also great with kale or a mix of the two):
- rough chop the swiss chard (after rinsing, drying etc)
- saute some diced bacon (about 6-8 slices per bunch of chard) until browned and crispy
- add chard to the pan and saute until wilted
- remove from heat and drizzle apple cider vinegar on to taste
- season with pepper

Chard: take off stems. If you want to cook them, you need to do it separately (although looks like you have red chard, so be prepared for them to taste somewhat beet-like). THe leaves take a bit long to cook than spinach does but you can use them interchangeably. Our favorite: saute garlic in olive oil, add red pepper flakes if desired, throw in chard w/ a pinch of salt & saute until wilted. Add toasted pine nuts, and if you like them throw in sun dried tomatoes, regular tomatoes, or whatever. Splash w/ a bit of lemon juice or red wine vinegar. I like to serve it w/ cannellini (warmed w/ olive oil, parsley, and a bit of lemon) and some sort of italian bread or crostini.

When greeted w/ too much chard (or kale, mustard greens, etc), I blanch it briefly in salted water, then chop, stick in a zip-loc, and freeze, then pull it out in the winter and add to white bean soup (or whatever).

Swiss chard is very good sauteed with some onions and tomato and garlic and white wine and then put on whole wheat pasta with some pecorino or parm and pine nuts and capers. It's probably our favorite pasta dish.

Chard is a challange as it can be very bitter. A quick blanch is key to getting rid of a lot of the bitterness.

Sautee it with some bacon or pancetta and use it as a base for an Alfredo sauce.

Our CSA is getting a bit overwhelming this year. The freezer is filling up quckly with the large batches of left overs and I haven't even started canning.

Our garden is overflowing with zucchini and yellow squash, so I just made a vegetable and polenta casserole from Joy of Cooking. You saute whatever veggies you're using (I had an onion, a red pepper, some garlic, and the aforementioned zucchini and squash-- the recipe also called for new potatoes), then stir them into a loose polenta batter and bake. The recipe, as is, seemed a bit underseasoned, though. More salt and pepper would help.

OMG, this is so very timely. My husband and I just signed up for this, and I think I'll like it, but I've already run to the store twice (in two weeks) to buy things we didn't get in our box (mostly fruit, which was sadly wanting).

Your box actually sounds fairly diverse. We got a handful of interesting things I'd never seen or rarely eaten before, and FIVE different kinds of lettuce, I'm not even kidding. Do you know how hard it is for two people to finish three large Rubbermaid containers packed FULL of lettuce before it dies a slimy, wilted death? After 12 days I am SO SICK OF SALAD, make it stop! I have to give props to my husband, though, for being very game about it.

As for recipes, I'm afraid I don't have exact ingredients or measurements handy, but I stopped going by the recipe once I'd figured out the jist of this one, which is: halve a zucchini and create a hollow space in each half by removing the seeds and some of the flesh (but leave plenty in there as well, you don't want to cook just the skin). Rub with olive oil and salt, pepper, or other preferred seasoning; put in oven to bake until softish. In the meantime, cook up some ground turkey (amount will vary based on how many servings you need) and saute with the zucchini parts you removed, some diced onions, and/or whatever else you might think sounds good in there - just make sure it's finely chopped. Then add just enough of your favorite red pasta sauce to keep the meat and veggies together. Once your zucchini is cooked to your desired doneness, spoon the ground turkey mixture into it and top with ricotta or feta cheese.

Again, I apologize that I don't have the exact amounts or times or oven temps, but this is an extremely flexible recipe, and since you obviously know your way around a kitchen, you can basically cook up your ground meat with any other vegetables, spices, or sauce you want and pile it onto your squash and get a reasonably filling and tasty meal with both plants and protein just based on what types of flavors you like.

I'd freeze the chard for winter.

For that corn, I'd shuck and grill it and make Mexican corn. Here's a great link to it--definitely delicious and different.

http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com/2007/08/light-in-august-mexican-corn-on-cob.html

You can use swiss chard as a subsitute for spinach in pretty much any recipe. My family likes it better than spinach actually 'cause it isn't as bitter.

My favorite use of yellow squash and zuchinni is sliced real thin with asiago or swiss cheese in an omlette or scramble.

Love your this new blog btw. Gives me ideas for the constant questions "what's for dinner?"

So weird... Another lady who's blog I just started reading was talking tonight about cooking Swiss Chard!


You really should compare notes with her. :)

http://deadbabyjokes.blogspot.com/2009/08/what-i-did-this-summer.html

i love this recipe that we found for a crustless swiss chard quiche, which makes the chard so damned delicious (we find cheese hides a multitude of flavors). we have made the quiche a few times, and even made it for friends who just had baby #3...they liked it too! best yet our kids (4 and 1) eat it up, and it's easy:
http://www.recipezaar.com/Crustless-Swiss-Chard-Quiche-311434
you can look up microwave pickles for all those cucumbers if you like bread and butter style pickles...or email me and i will send you the recipe.
you can freeze herbs and use throughout the winter- cut as much of the frozen off with a scissor as needed. just like fresh.
saute the zucchini onions and tomatoes with some shrimp and serve over pasta- mmm.
here is our favorite potato recipe right now, easy peasy cook em up then toss with feta cheese, mint and greek olives (you know the ones you get by the lb at the antipasto bar at the grocery store?): http://www.goldenearthworm.com/recipes/2009/2/13/red-potatoes-with-olives-feta-and-mint.html
carrot cake/muffins for the carrots (look up silver palate for the recipe- yum!)
also, our favorite thing to do with string beans is steam and toss in some sesame oil salt and pepper- cause that *is* yummy.
we got a fruit share (not organic but grown responsibly) with our csa this year and love it!
love both blogs! good luck and enjoy!

try pizzoccheri -- chard, potatoes, swiss cheese on buckwheat pasta.

http://www.deliciousdays.com/archives/2007/02/16/pizzoccheri-della-valtellina-embracing-comfort-food/

Swiss chard is great as a substitute for spinach - really adds a nice different flavor. I use it chopped into spaghetti sauce, or in stir fry, or in lasagna. In fact, a great deal of what I do with my CSA box ends up in either spaghetti sauces/primavera or fritattas or stir fry. It's hard to go wrong.

Here is a link to woman, also name Julia, who is blogging about her CSA, including what she has done to Swiss Chard. Might be helpful - http://www.bodiesinmotivation.com/2009/07/csa-week-one/

I hope your Swiss chard turned out lovely, whatever you did with it. I actually start CRAVING these kinds of greens in the summer (probably a holdover from the days when I had a share in a CSA - oh, I miss it!) My key to Swiss chard is low and slow, with garlic oil and red pepper flakes. 20 minutes. Then pile it high on crostini rubbed with a cut garlic clove. I'm sure it's been mentioned above already, but it's worth saying again. Any leftover can go into scrambled eggs or frittata, a sandwich (Tony Lukes had a cheesesteak with sauteed greens on it and it's a surprising and wonderful combination).

This is a wonderful treasure trove of chard-based meals. Which is EXACTLY what I was looking for. So timely....

I second the saute' with garlic, some kind of nuts and some kind of dried fruit (I like cranberries myself) treatment for the chard. Or make eggs in a nest, from Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Vegetable Miracle. The recipe is online.

FABULOUS recipe for zucchini by way of the (apparently now defunct) fabulous site Kitchenography:

http://kitchenography.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/08/the-red-cats-quick-saute-of-zucchini-with-toasted-almonds-and-pecorino.html

I don't have any specific recipe, but I have found myself making a chicken pot pie with random vegetables pretty frequently... store bought pie crust (the rolled kind is the best), can of cream of chicken soup (or cream of anything really), some diced up cooked chicken (and if I dont have it, I just omit the chicken and barely notice) and bake it about 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown. It is easy and for some reason the leftovers are better than when it's freshly made. You will need a pretty deep pan or two pie pans, as one pie pan is just not big enough when you have a big haul of veggies that no one will eat on their own! (eeh, what's that? it's a potato! No, it's not! Pretend it is!") Yum. and cheap!

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