Monday, May 30, 2011

Fancy Pants Swiss Chard With Sun Dried Tomatoes, Pine Nuts and Garlic

Swiss Chard – An Anti-Cancer Rock Star

Find Printable Recipe Here

Few people south of the Mason Dixon can claim ignorance about “greens.” No, I don’t mean salad greens either. Salad greens = Iceberg Lettuce back in the day. We might see an occasional curly or red leaf lettuce but that was only after Mama and Daddy got

“fancy” and started watchin’ those cookin’ shows on PBS.

No, growing up in Texas, I can tell you greens =collards, mustards, or turnip greens and they made their way onto the family dinner table with regularity. They were cheap. They were filling. Few if any of us kids fought for the last serving, so there was always plenty to go around. In fact, my brother may have grown
roots on his bum from the number of hours he spent in his chair at the dinner table on the night Mama served greens. You see, Mama wouldn’t let us leave the table before we’d had x-many bites of such-and-such vegetable. 
Turnip Greens & Salad Greens as part of a Southern
New Years Day Tradition

My brother was a stubborn dude. And he hated greens! He’d gag and retch and sit there mumbling, defiantly resisting the call of just getting it over with and getting on with more important things like playing outside with friends.

Yes, greens in our house meant the kind of veggie you cooked for long, agonizingly slow hours in a large cauldron with salt pork or bacon and onions. Contrary to my brother, I loved greens and would beg to drink the liquid like a soup! You could say, I’ve had a life-long affair with greens.

So imagine my surprise when I had my first date with these new-fangled greens = Swiss Chard! First off, it was only a couple of years ago and I’m 48 as of today. Swiss Chard defies every cooking lesson related to greens that I ever received from WaWa, Mama or Khakki. No salt pork required! Not that I don’t love my salt pork, but I can’t even imagine cooking this leafy green to the edge of death like we cook our true “Southern Greens” – capital S, capital G.

Photo courtesy of Choda
 Swiss Chard reminds me of some of those hoighty toighty Euro greens you find at Whole Paycheck (ahem, Whole Foods). They need a bit of a delicate hand. Just a quick cook, and Bob’s your uncle. They’re done! And if you mess that up, you end up with a squishy pile of mushy gunk that tastes worse than dirt! Just don’t do it! Don’t overcook the Swiss Chard!

But cook ‘em right and oh my gawd! They taste divine and deliver a veritable cornucopia of nutrition.

Swiss Chard kicks Texas booty as an anti-cancer rock star. In the coming months you may get a little tired of me talking about nutritionally potent, anti-cancer food. (I hope not – since my life is literally at stake here. Sure hope I get it right about this nutrition stuff…) But yes, it kicks booty in the vitamin and mineral department. And this might surprise you, but as an overall nutrient super hero, swiss chard can beat any fruit juice and dang near any veggie you care to compare it to! 

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Likely, you will hear anti-cancer this and anti-cancer that outta me. Even if you don’t have cancer, eating the foods we’ll be talkin’ about will help make sure you receive a buttload of nutrition and maybe keep you from developin’ the awful “C” in the first place. It will also help you maintain a healthy, low carb or controlled carb lifestyle.

What will be in glaring absence will be sugar, white stuff, most grains, and sinful dessert. Although sinful desserts that are sugar free and low carb might make an appearance on occassion. Also absent will be my glorious Brown. Brown foods rock in the taste department but new evidence links brown foods to cancer...

*sob. hic. wahhhhhhh.* But that’s another post entirely. Although, I still intend to continue reinventing comfort food…

Find Printable Recipe Here

Fancy Pants Greens Swiss Chard with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Pine Nuts and Garlic

Swiss Chard with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Pine Nuts & Garlic
 Serves - 4
Difficulty - Easy Peasy
Prep Time - 5-10 Minutes
Cook Time - 5 Minutes

1-1/2 lbs Organic Swiss Chard (1 Bunch), washed and chopped coarsely
4 Pieces Sun Dried Tomatoes, julienned
2 Tbsp Pine Nuts
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Cloves Garlic, sliced thinly
Sea salt
Black Pepper
Red Pepper Flake (optional)
Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Wash and chop Swiss Chard. Be sure to keep the stems and chop them too. Separate the stems from the leaves because they will need to cook a tad longer.

Bring large pan of water to a boil and drop in a little sea salt. Once boiling, add Swiss Chard stems and blanch 30 seconds before adding in the Swiss Chard chopped leaves.

Blanch Swiss Chard for 1 minute. Remove Swiss Chard leaves and stems with slotted spoon and drain well. I place them atop paper towels to fully drain off liquid. (You can also steam these). You can also place blanched leaves into a bowl of ice water to shock them and stop the cooking, but honestly? I don’t do this most of the time. I’m going so fast, I usually drain and drop them right back on the heat to finish the dish and get ‘em on the table!

Heat sauté pan with EVOO and garlic over medium heat. Stir for 2 minutes over medium heat until garlic starts to become tender. Add pine nuts and sun dried tomatoes and cook another minute or two. Add Swiss Chard stems and pieces.

Season with sea salt or Kosher salt and black pepper. Sometimes I add in red pepper flakes but that’s optional! Cook over medium heat about 2 minutes or until SC is done to your preference. I like it to still have some “bite” or tooth. That’s known as al dente. Top with a little grated parmesan and serve. The parmesan is optional too! Serve immediately.

SusieT’s Note:
Swiss Chard is a truly versatile green. You can flavor it so many ways. This is a basic Tuscan style recipe and works great as a breakfast green, believe it or not! I love to make this in the morning and serve it under a poached or soft boiled egg with a smidge of goat cheese. *drool* Swiss Chard is a great way to start your day with a power packed portions of calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin K1, B Vitamins, magnesium, potassium, selenium and zinc.

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Check out the nutritional bar graph for the entire recipe. It’s so low calorie, go ahead and eat a couple of servings if you feel like it. Heck, eat the whole pan of it if you want! Filler like this is an easy way to boost nutrition, contain your calories and keep carbohydrates low while making your tummikens happy. A full tummy = no cheating=happy tummy!!!

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Nutritional Information – Full Recipe

Nutritional Information – Single Serving

Find Printable Recipe Here

1 comment:

  1. Hope you are doing all right. You continue to be in my prayers. I miss your posts.


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