Sunday, May 23, 2010
A Thursday morning walk-around.
I love the first few minutes in my garden, because that's when I do the walk-around, looking for new blooms, new bugs, new weeds, and new chores. (It's that last task that typically sends me back inside for ice tea).
During Thursday's walk-around, I hit the jackpot. First, I found a robin's egg, a little cracked but still whole. Is any color more beautiful than robin egg blue?
Next, I decided to harvest my first Swiss chard. It's been about six weeks since I planted the chard, and it's doing well, both in pots and in my herb bed. Where does it grow best? Both places have their advantages. The in-ground plants are bigger, but the potted plants sit close to my patio furniture, so I can notice the remarkable way chard grows when I'm having a cocktail. (Like lettuce, the small, new leaves unfurl from the center of the plant.)
The next day, I used the chard for dinner, working off a recipe in Deborah Madison's fabulous book, Local Flavors: chard with red beans, cilantro and feta cheese. The combination of fresh thyme (so Protestant) and cilantro (so ethnic) is lovely. I never would have thought to combine the two.
I know this post is getting long-winded, but here's the recipe:
1 can unsalted red kidney beans from Whole Foods, undrained
1 small white onion, diced
1 bunch of greens
1 cup of chopped cilanto
lots of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
3 or 4 ounces of feta cheese
2 T olive oil
Simmer beans with half the cilantro, thyme, sea salt to taste, and the bay leaves.
Clean, cut off the stems, and chop the chard. Toss it into boiling water for about five minutes. Drain and set aside.
Saute onions in olive oil. Strip the thyme off a few more stems and add it to onions. When onions are soft, deglaze the pan with a little vinegar (not too much!).
Add the beans, simmer a little, and toss in the greens. You might need to add a little stock or water to make more liquid.
Garnish with rest of the cilantro and cheese. Serve over rice.