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swiss chard

Swiss Chard and Black Bean Fritters

Swiss Chard and Black Bean Fritters

Random mornings off from work are my favorite. The streets are quiet. The sunlight is spilling itself through the windows. The music is whatever I want it to be, and however loud I choose. And the kitchen is mine for the taking.

Talk about a me-centric morning. But sometimes those are very much in need.

I shot a wedding on Friday, which allowed me to take the start of the day at my leisure. Rather than logging all those hours in front of the computer, I decided instead to spend some serious “me” time in the kitchen. Rarely a bad choice. Especially when you’re working hard, and a long day awaits.

Swiss Chard

A meal filled with greens and protein is never a bad idea before (or after one) one of those days. I particularly love how much swiss chard fits into this recipe. That rainbow stemmed green is a warrior, I tell you.

Putting up a fight against the first few frosts, swiss chard still seems to be holding its own in the gardens around here. It’s one of my favorites to view, so naturally filled with beauty and color. The day it leaves the garden will be a sad one for me.

Luckily, it’s still going strong, ready to lend its nourishment in recipes like this. These fritters are crispy on the outside, yet incredibly moist inside, and filled with all the energy you need to take on the day. Pair with a dollop of yogurt, or maybe even a ketchup/hot sauce combo if serving for breakfast.

Swiss Chard and Bean Fritters

 

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Autumn Pumpkin Chard Chili

When the pumpkin bug finally hit me, the results were glorious – these Pumpkin Pie Muffins were a huge success. Ever since their departure from the oven, I had been antsy to get my hands on some more of the puree. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one with this desire on my mind.

I swear, the pumpkin bug is just like the flu. Around this time every year, it spreads like an orange wildfire, and almost always I encounter a shortage at the grocery store. No more PUMPKIN!? What an autumn dilemma. How’s a girl supposed to experiment with pumpkin in everything from chili to hummus without a steady supply at my disposal?

If I were still in my school days, I’d hop my butt over to the closest farm patch and get my hands slimy with a fat, fresh ol’ jack-o-lanterm. (If you’ve never roasted one, the pumpkin seeds alone are totally worth the effort.) But those days are gone and my free time seems to be too.

Luckily, I still find time to stalk the grocery store. Perhaps if I ditched my grocery store hobby I’d have more free time…but then I wouldn’t be around for restock day. My last pumpkin purchase led me to this chili, which is given a nice creamy heartiness from the seasonal ingredient. The chili itself gets a full-bodied flavor from its heavy load of spices, complimented by an earthiness from the chard. That being said, don’t expect the pumpkin to be the star flavor here, although I could definitely picture actual pumpkin chunks or butternut squash as a nice addition to this dish.

Instead, as I said before, the pumpkin lends an element of richness to this dish—one that happens to be incredibly fiber-filled, fat-free, and packed with vitamin A. Like most chili, this makes a great tummy-warming meal for a crisp autumn day, and the pumpkin only adds to that feeling.

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Smoky Garlic Swiss Chard

The only time I buy Swiss chard at the store is when the kale and collard section is looking pretty lousy. Other than that, I only eat Swiss chard when it’s in season in my parents’ garden and I happen to swing by around that time for a visit. Even then, it’s not my first pick of the crops, but I’ll accept the variation it gives to my diet.

I’m not sure why I have a slight aversion to chard. Maybe it’s the one too many times I was forced to eat it at a friend’s house growing up. I get that feeding a vegetarian child can be challenging, but I wouldn’t say Swiss chard stewed in orange juice is the solution. I’ve heard it’s a classic pairing, but I’ll take my OJ in a glass, not spread on my plate of chard. The thought still makes me cringe and steers me away from the leafy green veggie almost every time I’m at the store.

However, recently I decided to give it another go. On my latest grocery trip, just one bunch of kale sat alone on the produce section shelves, growing yellower by the second. It seemed silly not to grab the far more beautiful bunch of red-stemmed Swiss chard just an arm’s distance away.

I ended up just making a simple saute, using smoked paprika and garlic to mask some of its earthy flavor. I’d deem this the perfect dish for those skeptical of chard. It’s more spicy and flavorful than anything, while playing off the tenderness of the leaves, the attribute I do love about this green. Serve as a healthy side or mix into pasta dishes or omelets.

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Sauteed Swiss Chard with Chick Peas

When I came home to my parents house for Thanksgiving, I walked out to the garden one morning to scope out what was left.  What I unsurprisingly found was a lifeless plot of land filled with nothing but chunky clumps of slightly frosted dirt.  That is, except for a small but thick row of swiss chard stretched across the garden and still standing strong.  I bundled up a huge bag to take back with me to good ol’ Philadelphia.  And this is what inspired me to create the following recipe.  A green-centered dish using up the last of the garden’s harvest.  That’s a combination you really can’t beat.  Enjoy.

Sauteed Swiss Chard with Chick Peas

-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1/2 large onion, diced
-2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
-4 cups swiss chard, leaves roughly chopped, stems diced
-1-15oz. can chick peas, drained
-Scant 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
-One large orange, juiced
-Salt, to taste

Heat oil in large skillet.  Saute garlic and onions until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add crushed red peppers, and saute another 2 minutes.  Stir in chick peas.  Add swiss chard, and salt to taste.  Cook 8-10 minutes until leaves are tender, stirring frequently.  Add orange juice.  Saute another 2 minutes, or until stems are tender.